A lot of small businesses start with a free email address, such as Xtra, Yahoo, Gmail, or Outlook. However, if you are using a free email service, you are sending a wrong message to your customers, suppliers, and anyone who does business with you. Here are the reasons why using the free email service is a bad idea.
1. You are sacrificing the opportunity to get the name of your company on the mind of your new contacts. Instead of telling people "this is my company and the part after @ is our domain where you can learn more about us", you are advertising your Internet provider.
2. Your online identity gets eroded and becomes not very trustworthy. Say, you have a cleaning company and you get the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Nobody stops your competition from getting an email address like email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
3. Hackers love free email accounts. Companies like Spark (xtra) and Yahoo are notorious for getting hacked and once your email address is hacked, you may not get any help getting it back. Your emails might get completely deleted, your email can start sending spam to all your contacts, undermining your reputation, your business cards will become useless, and you might have to start your email accounts from scratch - losing years of correspondence, contacts, and all of your meticulously organized records.
4. Free typically mean no or very little tech support. When your email service goes down, who are you going to call? Google is probably not going to answer your call. And even if you can get to a real person, there is no expectation that they will help you - you are using a free product so adjust your expectations accordingly.
5. Free email services won't be there forever. In November 2017, Vodafone stopped providing email services and all customers with @clear.net.nz or @vodafone.co.nz emails had to make new accounts with other providers. Imagine the hassle telling your new address to all of your contacts!
6. It simply looks unprofessional. Which one of these messages do you want to send to your potential customers?
- Your company cannot afford a domain name and a professional website with email
- The email you sent is coming from your personal email account and not your business account
- You are not organized or professional enough to get a domain name for your company
- You are not concerned with privacy
- You are doing business as your hobby and might not be there next time
7. Your email is much more likely to get flagged as spam. Many spam filters these days are looking for free email account email addresses like Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo. The reason is that spammers typically use free email accounts to send out spam. It is easier to setup a free email account and it doesn’t cost them a dime.