Everyone… take note. I have a new email address. It’s: email@example.com – you can remember that, right? How about firstname.lastname@example.org? Surely your clients can remember that! They’ll store it in their address books forever. Maybe email@example.com, not to be confused with firstname.lastname@example.org. Piece of cake, right?
Let me remind you that address books aren’t foolproof. Bookmarks go bad. Post-its get lost and business cards are great – as long as the information is guaranteed to remain accurate, which it’s not if someone else owns the name. Do you own the name AOL.com? Didn’t think so.
Your email address is your brand. Your brand is part of your business. It’s a reflection of you, your professionalism and how seriously you take your business. AOL was not designed for business and neither was Yahoo, or Hotmail or any of the other free email services – except Gmail, which I’ll get to in a future article.
Pop quiz: anyone remember Home.com? AltaVista.com? They offered email services too – and Home.com went under and hundreds of thousands of their users lost their email accounts. AltaVista stopped offering email service years ago – and just yesterday I saw a contact in my address book still had that email address listed. I have no way of getting in touch with them. Their web address was a Homestead.com free address.
What if Bill Gates decided to buy AOL tomorrow, and decided that everyone now had to have a Hotmail.com address instead of AOL.com? Far fetched? Not in today’s economy. Spinoffs happen. Companies are bought, sold and shuttered every day.
When Home.com folded, hundreds of business owners had to reprint business cards and letterhead and wait for their yellow page ads to expire – and untold amounts of business was lost. When TCA Cable merged with Cox Cable, those users had to change their addresses, too.
Let me bottom line it for you.
Domain names are cheap. Less than $10 a year. Don’t risk one dollar of your hard-earned marketing budget by using an email address that you don’t own. Make a great first impression and get a name that reflects your brand and your business, and remember to renew it each year!
You can get hosting for as little as $7 a month, which includes email hosting. That’s a very small price to pay for your own piece of mind, and the security of owning your own little piece of virtual real estate, isn’t it?. If you don’t like that host, or they go out of business, you can move your name and nothing is interrupted. Trust me, in this day and age, savvy clients expect professionalism – from your logo to your website to your email address. You don’t have a second chance to make a first impression. You barely have 7 seconds before they surf on, toss your card and move on to your competitor.
Questions? Where would you rather email me:
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org – don’t be surprised if one of those bounces back, though.
Chelle Honiker Yarbrough, CTC lends her sass, moxie and training savvy to the travel industry, as she has since her humble career started in 1987 with Ask Mr. Foster. She speaks at several travel conferences a year, the next being the TradeShow in Orlando, September 12-14. Catch her there, or on Twiiter @chelleyarbrough or Facebook: Facebook.com/chelleyarbrough. TRO Readers can also signup at http://travelwebtraining.com for GeekSchool: A 12-week training class for busy pros on organization, social media and her favorite topic, WordPress.