What You Don’t Know about Your Business Email
The Sprocket Report
Most of us don’t give a thought to our email until something stops working the way we expect. Then what seemed like such a simple tool suddenly becomes a technological nightmare. But fear not! Here are a few tips that will give you the confidence of an expert:
While the number of options has never been greater, email is still incredibly important to business communications with 122,500,453,020 emails sent every hour! So are you making the most of your email? Of course Email Marketing on its own is a huge deal, but that’s a topic for another article. Today we’re talking about the basic nuts and bolts of business email.
Your Email Address
It’s hard to believe, but there are folks who still conduct business with an email address like email@example.com. Stop that immediately if you want to be taken seriously. Instead, use something like firstname.lastname@example.org or even email@example.com.
An email address like that not only looks way more professional, it also provides a bit of marketing. Most folks know that the “acme.com” in your email address refers to the URL of your company. They will use that to learn more about what you offer.
You might also want to have more than one @acme.com address, such as a “sales@” or “info@.” These addresses can be used to sort messages and make it easier to read and respond.
Getting a New Email Address
When an email address contains the URL of the website like “@acme.com,” most folks assume that the service must automatically “come with” a website. It typically doesn’t, but depending on who your web developer is, they may choose to bundle email with your website’s hosting. For instance, at our Sprocket Store, all Hosting Plans come with email accounts. But you can also purchase your email address separately for about a dollar a month.
Once you have chosen your new business email address you need to set it up so you can send and receive email messages. There are two basic ways email works and you’ve probably heard the acronyms without really knowing what they mean: POP and IMAP.
POP stands for Post Office Protocol and IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. By knowing their full names, the differences in how they work makes much more sense.
Picture email as working like the Post Office. People send mail and the Post Office sorts it into P.O. boxes. In order to read your mail, you have to go to your P.O. box and open the door to look inside. If you have a POP account, you take all the letters out of your P.O. box, close the door and take the letters home to read. If you have an IMAP account, you read the letters while at the Post Office and then put them back in the P.O. Box.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of account, but with the increasing use of smart phones, IMAP is more common. With POP, when you read your email at your work computer, you take the “letters” out of the “P.O. box.” So if you go back to the “P.O. box” later from your smart phone, the letters are no longer there for you to read. But Internet Message Access Protocol does pretty much what the name says: you can access your messages via the Internet from your phone or any computer.
A number of email clients offer services for receiving, sending and organizing your email such as Outlook or MacMail. You can set them up to receive your email as POP or IMAP and if you have more than one email address, you can see all of the messages in one place. Which email client you choose may depend on the devices you use or the standards in your office.
Finally, don’t forget to use the Signature option in your email. You can set it so your signature is automatically added to every one of your messages to include pertinent information like phone numbers and social media accounts. Some folks include their logo, their mission statement, logos of associations they belong to and much, much more. Maybe too much more! But consider at least some basic professional contact information.
Now that you’re familiar with how email should work, take a look at what you have to be sure it’s really working the way you want it. If it’s not, give us a call. You know we’re always happy to help!