A professional email address isn’t as important as your URL, but it’s close
Some website visitors will forgive an @gmail, @hotmail or @yahoo email address. The trust-building process starts the instant a prospect lands on your website. And by the time a visitor comes across your contact email, they’ll likely have spent a few minutes browsing your site.
Maybe they read about your services, noticed some credibility indicators or got a sense of your brand’s personality. Maybe they began to bond with your business. And once they see that email address with your company name followed by @gmail, maybe they’ll ignore it and contact you anyway. Or maybe they won’t.
It’s a toss-up.
Just like your URL, an email address that isn’t unique to your business tells website visitors you’re not serious about your company. Maybe you’re running it out of your mom’s basement. Who knows? This is why you need a professional email address.
Don’t give your website visitors a reason to leave your site. You can get a professional email address from GoDaddy, Microsoft, Google and many other sellers. Some hosting providers also enable you to create a free professional email address when you purchase one of their packages.
Do I need an email address? Can I just use the contact form?
My mentor Carol Tice once told me that some prospects don’t like using contact forms. And I tend to agree. When I message a company, I almost always choose an email address over a form because I typically don’t get a response from the latter. An actual person’s email address, like [email protected] (as opposed to [email protected] or [email protected]) tends to get the best response.
That said, I recommend including both a contact form and an email address. Give people a choice. While some people prefer the ease of a form, others may not bother contacting you if you don’t list an email address.
Quick tip for newbies with a small budget
When you’re just starting your business, you likely want to cut costs as much as possible and skip the added expense of an email address. As mentioned, some hosting providers provide a free email address. But what happens when they don’t? Thankfully, there just so happens to be a way to gain the boosted credibility of a pro email address, but without the costs.
I can’t speak for all domain registrars, but GoDaddy offers a free forwarding email address when you buy a domain. What’s a forwarding email address? It basically looks like a pro email address, and forwards any emails to your free Gmail, AOL or other account.
For example, my writer’s email address [email protected] is free and forwards all prospect emails to my Yahoo account. But wait a second. Doesn’t that mean you reply back from your normal, free account? Yes, it does. But don’t worry about losing credibility once you reply.
In the many years I’ve used this trick, I’ve never once had a potential client not respond to the reply from my Yahoo account. Point being, if you’re on a budget, consider using a free forwarding email address.