Email is a preferred choice of communication between brands and consumers. A Marketing Sherpa study suggests more than 7 in 10 (72 percent) U.S. adults prefer to communicate with companies over email as opposed to other mediums.
Many people see email as more flexible and productive compared to phone calls or personal interactions, as they can take their time to weigh options thoroughly before sending a response.
Email removes the pressure of making immediate purchase decisions. It is the most effective and accessible way to reach people all over the world and is synonymous with good customer service.
Business email tips
Given how important business email is for marketing and communications, here are three reasons why you should not use Gmail for business.
Email recipients will judge you based on your email address and content. Here are some potential thoughts that will come to mind when prospects receive an email from a generic Gmail account:
- This is an old school company. I cannot expect innovative ideas from them.
- Why are they using a free Gmail account? Is this even a legitimate business?
- If this company will not invest in a proper email address, do they have the funds to sustain their business?
Are these the kind of first online impressions you want to make?
When you meet clients for the first time, you want to project an aura of professionalism. From your attire and handshake to the way you walk, you consciously make an effort to exude credibility.
Your email content should receive that same level of attention. It represents how you look in the online world. An email address that clearly shows who you are and the company you represent instantly makes you appear credible and professional to the recipient.
An email account contains valuable information: email contacts, agreements, project history and progress, supplier negotiations and more. Confidential business information should be protected. Unfortunately, using a Gmail account can make this challenging.
If team members use Gmail, you have no control over content when a password is changed or if an employee leaves the company. You have to trust that departing employees will do their part to delete their email account and refrain from communicating with your customers or suppliers. If customer issues arise, you will not be able to check prior email correspondence. This could easily put your business relationships in jeopardy.
Your brand is more than its visual aspects such as a name, logo and tagline. Brand image and perceptions are easily formed and impact how people view your business.
Every email you send is a chance to market your brand. Well-designed emails clearly show that you put effort and care into communications. It sends a positive brand message to your audience.
For email to be an effective marketing tool, it has to match your company’s brand personality and brand image. It is wise to integrate your brand logo and colors to make emails more memorable.
Unfortunately, Gmail is generic and limited in its design capabilities. A generic email conveys inexperience, while a branded email communicates competence. It tells the recipient your brand is established, unique and qualified.
Use branded email instead
These problems are not only exclusive to Gmail, but you will most probably encounter the same issues with any free email provider. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for.
The good news is that setting up your branded email address does not have to be costly or complicated. It is one of the best investments you can make, no matter the size and type of business you own.
Maggie Aland is a staff writer for Fit Small Business, a website that provides small business owners with information to help their businesses succeed. She writes on a variety of marketing topics, ranging from newspaper ads to how to market your business on Facebook. Before joining Fit Small Business, Maggie worked as a marketing associate at a niche publishing company.