Is it okay to use a free Gmail address for my business? (Video)

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In today's episode of #AskAnnie, I'm discussing whether you need a branded email address or if @gmail.com is ok.

This is Episode 6 of my Facebook Live series, #AskAnnie. You can watch the video episode below or read on for the transcript version. Like our Facebook page to catch these broadcasts live!

Hello, welcome! Today in this episode of #AskAnnie I'm going be answering a question that I received fairly recently.

Do you really need to brand your email address or can you just use @gmail.com?

Welcome to #AskAnnie. These are short episodes that I do live to answer your questions about branding a small business. My name is Annie Franceschi. I'm a brand creator and speaker and I run Greatest Story Creative where I help you show your value, tell your story, and grow your business through small business branding.

Now here's the problem, you might be seeing a lot of people who use gmail addresses. It cost $5 a month or $60 a year to have a branded email address. So instead of cindy@gmail.com maybe you have cindy@cakesbycindy.com.

It cost money to do that and with so many expenses as an entrepreneur, it can be tough to legitimize all of those. A lot of people who are doing business now are just using that cindy@gmail.com address. So with so many costs, do you really need to be spending $60 a year on having a business email, when gmail is free? You can even make it cakesbycindy@gmail.com (that's a little bit better, right?) So can you avoid this expense?


A branded email address is something you really need to brand yourself well, to brand your business well, and ultimately to grow it.

That's why we care about branding it in the first place. We want our businesses to be successful. Do you really need it? I think that might not be the right question to be asking.  Should I be spending money on this when I can get get it for free? And all these other people are doing it this way. Shouldn't I just be doing that?

It's easy to forget that everything we do about our businesses, whether we're going and meeting someone in elevator, or we're handing someone our business card, or we're sending them an email, we are telling them a little bit about ourselves. We are telling them our story, even in something as innocuous as an email address. So we want to have as much control over that as we can and so some of the things we need to be considering are, what will a branded email address will do for you?

As opposed to being cindy@gmail.com, being cindy@cakesbycindy.com? I really feel like when it comes to this question of do I need a branded email address or is it okay to just do gmail, there are three things and three reasons why you might want to consider branding it.


A branded email address gives you credibility.

One of the biggest reasons that you want to have a branded email is it can give you credibility, as opposed to somebody who is just using a free gmail address. If I get an email from somebody who has their domain name in it (it's cindy@cakesbycindy) I'm going to take them a little bit more seriously. I'm going to feel like they have some credibility in what they're talking about, especially in product based businesses, where you are selling products, you want to have the air of somebody that you're not just doing this out of your house. You have a company and that company's name is in the email address and that that goes a long way.

Just like if I'm getting email from target.com or anthropologie.com I want to get an email from cakesbycindy.com. We don't want to be shortchanging ourselves when it comes to credibility.


A branded email address makes you seem more professional.

The other thing you want to consider goes hand in hand with that professionalism. You're instantly going to set yourself apart as more of a professional than the people who are just using a gmail address. It's going to give a certain air, it's going to add to that credibility, but you want to be seen as a professional, whether you're a service based business owner or a product based business owner that's going to be really important. I don't want you to overlook that.


A branded email address shows a level of commitment.

And the last thing that has come up for this when I started to really think about why is it important. Why can't you just have the gmail address that's so common? It's actually what I used to do and the third thing that I really see it being a value to have one is, commitment. You are demonstrating your commitment, your investment in what you're doing as a business owner by investing in a professional email address.

When you're sending the email you're saying I care enough about what I do to spend the money on doing this, to add that touch, to know that it's important, to put my best foot forward when I'm sending you an email or conducting business with you. You're saying I care enough about this to make an investment.

If you're not necessarily caring enough to spend $5 a month on doing this, that might be the impression you're giving people that you want to work with. We don't want to have that impression, right?

 

  • Credibility

  • Professionalism

  • Commitment

These are big deal things, right? Credibility, professionalism, commitment. These are all things we want people to associate with our businesses. So rather than ask yourself, well gmail is free, why don't I just do that? Do I really need to spend the money on this?

Maybe the better question is would you pay $5 a month or $60 a year to have everyone you come into contact with think you are more credible, think you're more professional, and think that you're committed to what you're doing? 

Is it worth it to be seen that way in the eyes of your ideal clients, customers, and collaborators? Is that going be worth that $5 a month? Maybe it is now if you start to really think about what it's buying you.

The other question I would say is sort of the flip, which is what might it be costing you? You know if you were using a gmail address, I did that for a number of years. It was greateststorycreative@gmail.com, and I regret that. I wish I'd spent the $5 up front because it was not putting my business as best foot forward and I think it did cost me that professionalism and credibility that was very inexpensive at the end of the day.

If we're only talking $5 a month to get all of these things, that's not such a bad deal, right? If you have domain where you just have your gmail address and you've been sort of on the fence about this, I can't recommend enough that you go out today, if you can.

I'm going to put some links here in the comments, so that you know how to do this, but to go ahead and get your email address at your domain. So go from cindy@gmail.com to cindy@cindyscakes.com because that is going to add credibility, professionalism, commitment. It's going to do a lot for you, for what I think is a hell of bargain, you know. $5 you can't beat that and you can actually run it through gmail as well, so I'm not knocking gmail. Gmail is a great thing, but in terms of putting our best foot forward, showing up for our clients and customers, and saying we're really in this. We really are a business and we really care about what we're doing, you don't want to miss that opportunity if it's just $5, right?

Think about it, take action on it. I encourage you to do it. It is something I wish I'd done sooner and I wish you every success along the way.  

Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of #AskAnnie. I'll be back in a few weeks with another great episode. If you have branding questions that you're wondering about. Are you making certain branding mistakes? Do you want to know how to do certain things when it comes to growing your business? Leave them here in the comments and maybe they'll pop up as a new future episode, but until then I really appreciate you watching and have a great day and thanks again for watching #AskAnnie. I'm Annie Franceschi and hope you stay awesome!