The old axiom stands—opinions are like ….oh never mind, this is a family rated editorial. This week in the TRO Community there was a good fight. Well, maybe not a fight, but a professional disagreement about professionalism in the travel industry. The topic—e-mail addresses.
Stuart Cohen, one of TRO’s Business Coaches (you do know about the free business coaching at TRO, don’t you?) suggested it was time to ditch the aol, gmail, hotmail, yahoo, netzero, and comcast e-mail addresses for something more “professional” and go with a branded email address. And then it got heated.
Initially, he had plenty of backers. But then, a few detractors jumped into the squirmish and voiced their opinions and I have to admit, I am not sure which side of the fence I am on. Maybe you can help. Here are some arguments from both sides.
For a BRANDED email address
- It is more professional sounding. Would you go to a doctor with a firstname.lastname@example.org email address?
- It ties in your brand with your agency.
- It is easily recognized by my clients.
For an UNBRANDED email address
- An email address does not sell travel. A travel professional does.
- I had this address before we had websites, my customers recognize it.
- No one cares what your email address is.
And yes, some of those arguments can be made for both sides of the debate.
Me? I can see both sides of the issue. When I first entered the industry in 1995, we did not have a website and our email addresses were through a local ISP with their domain. We grew and changed with the times and when our first site went live (it was actually a Carlson Wagonlit Travel site) we retained the local email addresses. But when we obtained our domain, we migrated the email addresses to the domain. At this point, I am squarely in Stuart’s corner with one exception—if you have had the same email address for eons and your clients are aware of that “sub-brand.”
Personally, I would not embark on a new business relationship with a professional who did not have his or her own domain and email address. Let’s face it, if we are not acquiring new business we are dying. And today’s consumer is well aware of this new fangled thing called the Internet. For good or bad, impressions matter.
What are your thoughts? Are you email@example.com or are you firstname.lastname@example.org? Does it matter for your agency? Does it matter when you personally are looking to engage a professional outside of the travel industry? Let me here your thoughts!
PS: One more plug for a branded email address—SEO. The search engines will be better able to rank your domain and allow their users the ability to contact you if the domain and email are the same.