It may be tempting to use a "freebie" email account or the email account that comes with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) account. Why pay for something you can get free?
Free email accounts have serious disadvantages:
If you don't have a suitable domain name for your business, get one. Domain names are inexpensive — less than $15 per year at most registrars. Hosting your domain is also quite inexpensive. It is a relatively small expense which gives your business a more professional image.
Show your customers you're a legitimate business that is here to stay. Spend a few bucks, invest in a domain name and web hosting, and set up fully professional “firstname.lastname@example.org” email accounts for you and your associates.
You can get away with typing all lower case and sprinkling your messages with acronyms, cute alternate spellings, and emoticons in email to your friends. But not in business correspondence.
Avoid the temptation to slop out a hasty email. You'll make a much better impression if you type in full sentences, use proper punctuation & capitalization, and check your spelling.
And never assume that the person you're writing knows what IMHO, INAL, YMMV, and ROFL mean. Just because they're using email doesn't mean they are familiar with the acronyms used in casual online chat. If you want to make a good business impression, use the same language, grammar, and tone that you would use writing important business letters.
It is rude to place large attachments (pictures, files, etc.) in email and send them without first asking permission from the recipient.
Your recipient's email account may have a maximum file size limit. Your attachment could fill their inbox to the limit blocking all other incoming email. They may have a slower connection that will tie up their email client as it tries to open your message.
Pasting images into email is akin to adding file attachments. If the file size of the image is large, it will create the very same problems.
Be polite. Ask first before sending large attachments.
It is tempting to put images in your email messages. Or get fancy with the text by changing sizes, colors, fonts, and styles.
When you do this, your email client is using HTML code to reproduce your formatting and images. HTML in email is less forgiving of coding errors. And the dirty little secret about email clients is they often do a poor job of creating HTML code.
Your messages can end up looking very different — sometimes even unreadable — on your recipient's computer.
Judging by the number of emails I receive with serious problems — from businesses large and small — it is obvious that most people have no clue how bad their email looks when it is opened by others.
For the most businesslike results, learn how to format your email to look good in plain monospaced text. By setting up your email software to send “plain text” messages using a “monospaced font” such as Courier, your email will be fully readable no matter who you send it to.
Sending plain text email does not mean it has to be ugly and boring. With a little creativity and care, you can make plain text messages that are easy and pleasant to read. Take a look at this example of professional quality plain text “formatting.”
Email should be checked often and answered promptly. Check your email at least once a day. Treat email with the same level of importance that you give phone calls and letters.
If you can't get to all your email right away, consider setting up an auto responder that sends a message back confirming you received their email and letting them know when they should expect a reply.
My website packages include ample email accounts so you, your employees, and other associates can each have their own professional business email address. Plus, I provide technical support for each email account holder.
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