In my database of leads and prospects, I see many email addresses from services like Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Comcast, and so on.
It may seem like a good idea to use a free email provider and, by the way, you already have that @gmail address that you have been using for years. Why go to all of the bother and expense to change now?
These email services are meant for personal use and should not be used for your business email. Here are three reasons why:
- 33% of people doubt the trustworthiness of a generic email used for a business.
- 24% of people are concerned about sharing personal information with a company not using a custom email domain.
- 23% of people have reservations about giving their credit card details to a company using an email address from a free service.
- According to GoDaddy, 75% of U.S. e-commerce customers think it’s an important trust factor for a small business to have an email that matches their website domain.
You need your customers, leads, prospects, vendors, and other business relationships to feel comfortable working with you. Using a free email service may undermine all the efforts you put into building your business’ professional image.
Imagine planning a big family event. You need to select a company to rent party equipment and catering services. You go online and find two local companies that provide the services that you need and both websites look very professional. You complete the inquiry form requesting a quote. When you receive the quotes, they come from:
Which one are you more likely to trust? Which looks more professional?
Most free email services have poor security records. Yahoo and AOL have some of the worst security reputations in the business and both have had major data breaches that exposed a significant amount of customer data.
Free emails are a target for scammers. These online criminals know that most corporate email systems are more robust so they target these free services to find their marks.
Spam is a much bigger problem with free email services, although Gmail has a strong reputation for managing spam.
Free email services do not supply archiving and backup services and they do not offer email retention policy compliance or email vaults – both of which can be critical in the event that you are involved in a lawsuit.
What to Do?
You need to configure an email service to use your business domain for your email. This is possible with services like Gmail and Yahoo and both have business plans that include storage, backups, additional security, user management, etc.
You can also purchase an email hosting service from your website hosting provider like GoDaddy, Bluehost, or HostGator.
But, for a relatively small amount of additional cost, you can have your custom email service hosted by the world’s best technology companies like Microsoft, with its Office 365 platform, Google with its Google Workspace (formerly G Suite); or specialty providers like ProtonMail.
Here are a few links to the providers that we recommend: