The right e-mail address for professional communication

Imagine that you’re founding a startup with two friends and are currently seeking investors and business partners. Part of doing so successfully is presenting your business in a professional manner. There are a range of things that lead to a strong first impression, even things as small as an e-mail address. In this article, I’ll explain why it’s important for your businesses to have its own domain for e-mail communication, how to organise your mail accounts and whether a catch-all address is a good idea.

The right e-mail address

Are you still using a free e-mail account like Hotmail or Gmail? Of course there’s nothing wrong with using free providers such as these for your personal communication, however for your business you‘ll want to have your own domain, for a more professional impact and several other benefits. It should, for example, be directly relevant to your company or website and of course you can setup multiple mailboxes all using the same domain. Most companies use personalised addresses like firstname.lastname@yourdomain.com or just lastname@yourdomain.com however impersonal group addresses like info@yourdomain.com or support@yourdomain.com are also common. This way you can better organise customer communication and direct it to the right person or department.

Mailboxes and forwarding

With group addresses that don’t belong to an individual person such as support@yourdomain.com, the question arises as to whether they should be dedicated, actual accounts or instead setup to merely forward mail to an account or accounts. Dedicated mailboxes are a good idea if you want to easily separate individual e-mails from those of the group address. Additionally, with a separate account for the group address, all sent mail is saved there so even if multiple people have access, it’s immediately clear what has been read and answered already.

Forwarding only addresses are better, however, if you want to quickly and easily see everything sent to the group address in your personal e-mail account that you access with local software or your mobile device. This is particularly useful if you’ll be receiving e-mail from multiple group addresses as everything will be consolidated into a single inbox, yours. My tip is to use the filter function in your 1&1 mail client to automatically sort forwarded e-mail into designated subfolders to keep your mailbox organised and clean.

Forwarding addresses also don’t have to go to just one other address. You can setup a group address (e.g. info@yourdomain.com) to forward to multiple other addresses. This is of course very useful if you want several people to be notified directly in their own inbox. However, the disadvantage is that if one person has already answered the e-mail, the others won’t be able to see it and is thus not a good idea for general e-mail addresses. There are advantages and disadvantages of both dedicated mailboxes and forwarding addresses. Both are possible, but the user needs to decide which best fits their needs.

Catch-all forwarding addresses

If you want to be absolutely sure that you receive all e-mails sent to your domain, i.e. everything sent to you@yourdomain.com which includes those with typos (e.g. your.name@yourdomain.com), then you can setup a catch-all address which does exactly what the name suggests. The disadvantage of this is that you’ll often receive a lot of spam addressed to random addresses at your domain. This is why I recommend setting up a strong spam filter if you choose to use a catch-all address.

As you see, there are many methods of setting up and organising your business e-mails. Make sure you take the time to find the most suitable domain name for your business and what type of e-mail solution makes the most sense for your needs. Following the tips outlined here will provide a solid basis for professional e-mail communication. And all of these options and more can be easily setup or changed in the 1&1 Control Panel in the e-mail section.

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