If you are a startup or a small company, you are probably chasing fast growth with a shoestring budget. But cutting corners with your marketing efforts could mean not reaching your customers. This includes using free business email accounts instead of paying for professional email.
Regardless of your industry, email is a great way to reach your customers. It us estimated that one the top 3 activities on a mobile device is checking email, with about 60% preferring to communicate with business via email.
Email accounts are as important as your business. Have the best one.
Here’s how using free email hurts your business
Money is often tight during the startup phase, but cutting corners by using free email might have unwanted effects. Here are a few of them.
- You might not be taken seriously.
- It’s harder to retrieve lost emails.
- Your messages could go into the spam folder.
- Plus the annoying advertisements.
Before we detail the downsides of free email and propose a better option, let’s give free email its due.
There are many free email service providers, and their services are still free. It’s great, isn’t it? It is a huge enabling factor for many.
Email addresses are often used for authentication purposes. Whether for shopping, internet banking or networking, you need an email address. Hats off to these service providers who have enabled everyone to have a free account.
Are you using your free email account for business purposes?
The fact that anyone can have a free business email account has a flip side — what’s to distinguish your legitimate business emails from those of a fly-by-night spammer?
Let’s understand why we discourage using a free email account for your business.
Drawbacks of using free email for business
As wonderful as free email is, it can have unforeseen effects for businesses — especially new ones that don’t yet have any reputation.
1. You might not be taken seriously
Perception is reality. Had it not been so, branding would not be such a popular business topic.
Put yourself in the shoes of your customer, who receives business emails from the following accounts:
Which email address do you think a customer would trust? Of course, the second one! It is like choosing between a generic and a branded product.
The free email when used for business purpose seems unprofessional and unreliable. The customer could perceive the business to be new, non-serious, part-time — or even a scam — and therefore might not even open your message.
You might be doing better than your competitors, but if you aren’t branding your communications, your competitors will have a better chance of winning contracts.
2. It’s harder to retrieve lost emails
Have you ever lost crucial data from your inbox? Like when you get that warning that your free space is running out, so you delete all the old messages from your inbox and from the trash…..
Retrieving this data is next to impossible because “free” means “no technical support.” Using free business email accounts can cost you big if you lose vital business or customer data.
3.Your messages could go into the spam folder
Email frequency globally is very high, with and estimated 59% of marketers sending a weekly email. This frequency, coupled with the use of a free email account, increases the chance your emails will land in your customer’s spam folder.
Sixty-nine percent of customers decide the fate of the email (trash, spam or read) by just looking at the subject line and email address.
With a free email account, you run the risk of being flagged as spam by the recipient’s internet service provider (ISP). Even if you make it past the ISP’s spam filters, there are high chances of you getting rejected by the readers themselves.
4. Plus the annoying advertisements
Do you know free email service providers scan your messages/emails in order to display targeted ads on your computer/mobile screen?
When an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product.Tim Cook CEO Apple Inc.
Google announced in 2017 that it would end the 13-year-old practice of scanning your emails for advertising. Google does not snoop for advertising, but it still reads your emails.
Why invest in a paid email account?
Many startups are reluctant to spend money on anything considered non-essential, especially in the early days. Here’s why a professional email account (e.g. J.Doe@AwesomeBusiness.com) is a smart investment:
Build credibility and trust
A professional email address builds trust with your customers. According to research, using a professional email for business increases the likelihood of customers doing business with you by nine times.
Business runs on trust. In fact, a professional email address is imperative if you are a B2B company. Your vendors might not take your orders seriously, as they could doubt your legitimacy and therefore certainty of payment.
Increases brand exposure
If you are calculating the expense of buying an email account, think of the free marketing it does every time you hit the Send button.
Unlike free business email accounts, professional email accounts can be customised with your website domain name, making your email address You@YourBusiness.com. With each message you send, your customer is reminded of your business name.
Remember it takes six to eight touches to convert a customer. After only six emails from you, there is a very high chance he’ll think of you the next time he is ready to buy.
A paid email account also makes it easier for clients to recognise your employees when different teams of your company reach out to them. If the customer is contacted first by Sales@YourBusiness.com and post-purchase by Support@YourBusiness.com, the customer will be quicker to share any crucial information because they’ll recognize the email address.
Improves your data security
A reputable email service provider does not share your data with anyone. They do not monetise your information by showing you targeted ads.
With paid email, your data is secured not just at the service provider’s end but also from employees’ end.
If you allow your employees to use free email accounts for business communications, the data they share is untraceable. Once they leave your employment, all those business exchanges will be lost. Not only can you back up professional email, in case you ever need to find a deleted email, but you retain control of all accounts — even after an employee leaves.
Forget free business email accounts
At a time when 45% of consumers respond positively to email offers, your business simply can’t afford to get email wrong.
It is a no-brainer to invest in this marketing technique — especially when it is just a few dollars per month per user. The free marketing with every message alone will make up the cost quickly. So grab the deal and up your email game.