How many of you are still using Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, AOL or EarthLink to send email on behalf of your business? How many of you are actually paying both AOL and EarthLink every month to send email to your prospects and current customers? Did you know that every time you send an email using these services you are literally allowing them to take money away from your business? Please don’t get me wrong, I too have used and still use some of these services but I never use them for my business. I use my business email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) for communication, correspondence and marketing. The minute I hit “send,” not only do I get to put my company name in someone’s email box but I also give them a way to get back to my website for additional information on my company-and the possibility of a sale.
Your email address has become a major form of both marketing and branding. So much so that when you send it out to multiple people in the form of an offer you have for your goods or services your company name could be read by millions. So, why would you allow Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, AOL or EarthLink to get all the credit. These email services already have millions upon millions of customers. Yet you have been letting them take precious marketing and branding dollars right out of your pocket. Every time you send that email you’re giving them a free marketing opportunity to your prospects and customers. Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, AOL and Earthlink all love it when you decide to start a business and use their email address. It does not matter if you choose a name like email@example.com, you are still giving AOL the ultimate way to market their service.
Ok so now you know what you should not do. Now here are the steps involved in what you should do.
Step 1: Go quickly to a website like proemailaddress.com and register a domain name for your business. If you can’t get your exact business name try and get the domain name of what you specialize in: ex. Wesellrestaurants.com, or how your product delivers performance: ex. Thechaindrive.com
Step 2: In doing the search and then registration of a domain name, try your best to get a “.com” name. “.com” is still the most popular and the most recognized. If you cannot get “.com” go for “.net” and last but not least, “.biz”.
Step 3: Get an email package that will supply you with at least 5 email addresses to start. Get more if you have more people in your company, but 5 email addresses are enough for most small businesses.
Step 4: The two most important email addresses are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. firstname.lastname@example.org should go on every marketing piece you give out. This includes your business card, brochure, letterhead and fax coversheet. Try not to put email@example.com on your website. Use firstname.lastname@example.org for this purpose instead. This info email will be your catch-all email address. This will cut down on the amount of spam you would receive at yourname@yourbusiness.
Step 5: Send a change of email address letter informing all your customers that have been using your old Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, AOL, and EarthLink that you now have a new email address and the old one will no longer be in use. One of the best ways to do this is to use a service like Plaxo.com. Plaxo.com will help you send out the latest information on you and your business via email.
Step 6: Use the auto response or vacation response feature on your old Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, AOL, and EarthLink email to inform those that are still sending email to you that you have changed your email address to email@example.com Make sure you inform them that they should now use your new firstname.lastname@example.org email from now on and that your old email address will only be checked once a week for the next 30 days.
Step 7:Create a signature line at the end of your new email@example.com again informing those who had your Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, AOL, and EarthLink of your new email address and to update their spam filters with the change.
Step 8: If you are having problems in keeping up with your email list and want to send out broadcast emails more efficiently, consider using a third party email distribution service like Constant Contact or Broadcast Email Expert.
Step 9: Use the message on your voicemail to remind those that call you that you now have a new email address and/or website. Give them a choice to leave a message or send an email to your new email address.
Step 10: Finally for those of you who use AOL and EarthLink you may decide to cancel these accounts so you can save money. Since Yahoo, MSN, and Hotmail are free you may decided to keep these accounts-but again you should not use them for business purposes. Keep these email accounts for personal use only, and bring more money to your business by bringing more people to your website using