I don’t know about you folks but I haven’t had much success finding certain products and services from local businesses on the Internet. Not that they don’t exist, but I suppose advertising on the Internet is something that most of us seem to still be tentatively exploring. Because I usually don’t have time to leaf through other traditional advertising media, each time I’m driving through town I’m on the lookout for billboards, informative company cars and such. Maybe not the most effective method but it has rewarded me enough times to keep at it.
So I quickly look for the punch line that tells me what the product or service is and if I’m interested, zoom in for the email address so I can follow up later. Why the email address? Well, first, I’m not that great with numbers and second, although some businesses may not have functional websites (if at all), they have generally accepted the benefits of email and Internet connectivity.
I have noticed, however, in this endeavor of mine, how there is much neglect in self branding when it comes to email domains. There are so many of these free Gmail, Yahoo and MSN addresses in business. Needless to say, the free webmail accounts reflect poorly on a business. Many potential clients perceive it as unprofessional. As if that’s not bad enough, it’s extremely difficult to get an email account that’s easily usable or memorable on Gmail, Yahoo & MSN. It’s usually taken.
The solution to this problem is to get your own domain (www.yourcompanyname.co.zw) and have your email hosted by your ISP, or at your company premises. Having your own domain and email establishes credibility with your audience and being that it’s associated with your website, it makes you much easier to find online. There’s also another solution; register your domain and let Google host the email for you for free. You basically get a standard Gmail mailbox that uses your domain name. As long as you need 50 or fewer addresses, Google offers the service free of charge. Check www.google.com/apps/.
Using the Google apps has its benefits: the obvious one is that it’s free. It also simplifies email management a lot; no servers to worry about. You also get a lot of email efficiency and uptime: This is Google handling your mail; it’s just as good as Gmail. On top of that you have your 7 gigabytes capacity, chat with other Google accounts, powerful email search, advanced filter options, power spam filters and other bells and whistles.
Now to be clear, Techzim is not recommending this solution for big companies. There’s a lot to consider when you’re big and working with an IT professional to guide you would be best. This is just letting you in on something that has worked extremely well for us and will probably save you some dollars and email pains too.
If you’re a small and growing business, we’d love to know what you use for email. Please share in the comments below.
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