When I started my own business, I jotted down a list of administrative and setup tasks that I needed to complete right away.
One of the first tasks I tackled: Getting a professional email address.
I didn’t want to send from a free email address — an amateurish move. Which is why I prioritized setting up my professional address.
If you run a side hustle, business, or nonprofit, I also recommend that you send emails from a professional email address.
They come with many perks. They boost credibility, trust, and brand recognition. And they can also improve email deliverability and subscriber engagement.
But how exactly?
In this blog post, I’ll explain everything you need to know about professional email addresses. You’ll learn:
- What a professional email address is
- The difference between free and professional email addresses and which one businesses should use
- How to choose a professional email address name
- The benefits of using a professional email address
- How to set up your professional email address
And more! Let’s jump in.
What is a professional email address?
A professional email address, also known as a branded email domain, is personalized to match your brand or business. Custom email domains are intended for professional use. They are for businesses, creators, side hustlers, or non profits.
How is it different from free email addresses?
Free email addresses are those provided by third-party email service providers, such as Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook.
Free email addresses are intended for personal use, like sending emails to friends or family or receiving emails from brands you subscribe to.
However, you can send marketing emails from free email domains. It’s just not the best option (more on that in a second).
Why you should use a professional email address
If you’re sending and receiving personal emails, use a free email address.
However, if you run a side hustle, or you’re a business or nonprofit, you should use a professional email address.
There are five primary reasons why you should use a professional email address for your business or side hustle:
1 – Increase your email deliverability and email engagement
Professional email addresses often earn higher deliverability rates, as they appear more trustworthy to email recipients and email providers, like Gmail.
“It’s important to send all your business emails from a professional email address.” says email expert Brian Minick, the Chief Operating Officer at ZeroBounce. “You’ll enjoy better email deliverability and more engagement, which is crucial to boosting your conversions.”
But why do free email addresses see lower deliverability rates?
“Free email accounts, like gmail.com or aol.com, are not intended for commercial sending purposes,” explains Minick. “They’re also heavily abused and therefore, you have a higher chance of landing in spam or being blocked altogether when you use them for mass sending.”
And custom professional email addresses often appear more trustworthy, because recipients see a brand they know in the from address.
Imagine it for yourself: Which email are you more likely to trust?
Likely, you’ll trust the first email address more, because it’s more credible.
2 – Establish your email domain reputation
When you send emails using your professional email address, you build a sending reputation.
If you send high-quality emails to subscribers who want those emails, you’ll likely have a good reputation. If you send unwanted emails, you’ll likely have a bad reputation.
The type of email address you use for your marketing could be the difference between your emails ending up in your subscriber’s inbox versus the spam folder.
3 – Build trust and credibility (And boost your open and click-through rates)
Businesses seem more credible, trustworthy, and professional when they use a professional email address.
And when subscribers trust your brand, they’re more likely to open and click on your emails.
Anyone can create and use a free email address, and it’s easy to impersonate a business with one. “I don’t trust emails from brands that use a free domain,” says Anne Tomlin, Founder of Emails Y’all and Email Loot. “I associate free domains with individuals, never companies.”
On top of that, subscribers are more likely to mark emails from free email addresses as spam or delete them. “Unless the email comes from the brand domain, I assume it is someone posing as the brand, and I immediately delete it,” says Tomlin.
I feel the same. Most of the time, I won’t click on a link in an email if I see the message is sent from a free address, instead of a professional address. Why? I don’t trust the link. Scammers often send from free addresses.
4 – Enhance branding and recognition
When a subscriber receives your email, they see your address at the top of the email.
If you use a professional email, you reinforce your online identity and your brand.
For example, I subscribe to emails from Finimize, a financial email newsletter. When I open emails from Finimize, I see their custom email domain at the top of the email.
While this might seem like a small detail, it is a branding opportunity. Great branding is often subtle, and it can be as simple as consistently displaying your brand in small ways in multiple places.
5 – Appear more professional and intentional to subscribers
Professional email addresses are more … professional. They include your business name, after all. They are also a mark of intentional planning and branding. Another great sign of professionalism.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, sending marketing emails or business emails from a free email address is amateurish. It’s what people do when they’re not that serious about their business or don’t understand how free addresses appear to subscribers.
Now, you may think a free email address can still look professional, especially if you carefully choose a professional name for it — like MyBusiness@gmail.com.
But there’s a problem with this.
If you send messages from a free email domain, your email domain might have additional characters attached to it when it appears in your audience’s inbox. That’s not a great look for your brand.
For example, let’s say you use AWeber for your email marketing.
This is the free email domain you use: YourBusiness@gmail.com
This is what your subscribers see in their inbox: YourBusinessfirstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s why …
To crack down on spammers, many internet service providers (like Gmail and yahoo!) use an authentication method called DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance). Basically, DMARC helps ensure the emails you receive are actually from the sender they claim to be from. But DMARC can also quarantine or not deliver emails if you send emails from a free email domain.
To ensure your emails still get delivered even if you send from a free email domain, your email marketing provider (like AWeber) rewrites your email address.
That’s why special characters may appear at the end of your email. It’s a safety precaution to ensure your emails get delivered, but it also makes you appear less professional.
6 – Increase control and security
Beyond the email marketing benefits, professional email addresses also enhance the email experience for you and your employees, giving you more control and security.
With a professional email address, you have more control over your email infrastructure and security settings. You can implement security measures specific to your organization’s needs, such as stronger password policies, access controls, and email filtering rules to block malicious emails.
How to choose a professional email address
Now that you understand the importance of a professional email address, you’re likely ready to start sending emails with one.
But how do you go about choosing a custom email address name?
Keep it simple …
Match your email address to your website domain
For example, AWeber’s website domain is aweber.com. AWeber’s email address is aweber.com as well.
Matching your email address to your website domain keeps your branding consistent and provides a unified user experience.
Don’t have a website or website domain? Then, choose a professional email address name that closely matches your business name.
How do I set up a professional email address?
We’ll show you how, step by step, using one of the most popular domain registrar companies — GoDaddy.
Step one: Register your domain name
(Already have a domain name? Skip to step two.)
If you don’t have a domain name, go to GoDaddy’s domain name website page.
Type in the domain name you’d like, and see if it’s available for purchase.
If your domain name is available, purchase it through GoDaddy. If it’s already in use, consider using a slightly different domain name.
Step two: Set up your email
Now, you’re going to purchase an email account through GoDaddy.
Log in to your GoDaddy account and buy an email account that fits your needs, using your custom domain as the foundation for this email account.
Want step-by-step directions? Check out this article.
Pro tip: Don’t send marketing emails from a “do-not-reply” address.
Step three: Connect your email marketing platform
Now we’re at the final step! It’s time to set up your email marketing platform so that it sends emails from your new custom email domain.
For example, here’s how to do it from an AWeber account:
1 – Go to your domain settings
2 – Add your new custom email domain as a sending address
3 – You will receive a message with a link to verify. Click the “Verify email address” button in this message.
Now you’re ready to send emails with your custom email domain.
That’s a wrap!
In this guide, we’ve discussed everything you need to know about professional email addresses, including understanding their significance and unraveling the importance of a professional email address for businesses.
You’re now prepared to choose, register, and start sending professional looking emails to your audience.
Remember: Your email address is one of the first impressions you make with email subscribers. It can improve your email deliverability, your branding, and your trust and reliability.
So, don’t wait. Set up your professional email address, and start reaping the benefits today.
Need an easy-to-use tool to send emails that will get delivered? Start with a free AWeber account today!