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Small Business Marketing Question: What's Your Email Address?

Last week, a man named John contacted me to inquire about building him a website.

He used the FREE 30-Minute Initial Consultation form on my website to set up our initial appointment and to tell me a bit about his business needs.

John and I met by phone a few days later. At the end of our phone conversation I gave him a quote for the work he needed done. And on the spot, he hired me.

Now this isn’t unusual. More often than not, the clients I work with come through my website, either directly or by referral. They utilize my 30 minute free consult. I give them a quote. Shortly after, and sometime on the call itself, they decide if I’m a good fit for their needs or not.

What makes this situation more unique is that this wasn’t a referral of any kind. And John didn’t find me through a Google search. Nor through another website link or an article I had written.

The path that brought John, and his work, to my door was a bit more interesting – and often overlooked.

Much of the correspondence I do is through email. I do, of course, spend time on the phone and seeing people in person. But email is surely my most used way of communicating with people.

Whether I’m sharing photos of my family with friends, keeping up with family – including mom, setting up appointments with clients and prospects, exchanging design ideas with other web developers, or a whole slew of other ways I communicate with people, I use email.

And I used email a couple of weeks ago, when a good friend of mine was doing some research for a book she’s writing about identifying and making needed changes in our life. I forwarded her some web resources I know about. Once, called (Colorgenics) she liked so much that she forwarded the message to friends of hers.

One of the friends she forwarded my message was John. And John just happened to be looking for a web designer.

John, of course, looked at the Colorgenics site – which has some interesting testing using colors to identify our states of mind and emotion.

What he also did was look to see who the link had come from. He found my friend, of course, but he also saw my email address as being the one the original message had been sent by. And, of course, he saw that my email address has my website name in it – dawud@healthywebdesign.com

So he looked at my website, saw what I do, read about my (services ), saw I offer a FREE 30-minute consultation, and contacted me through the form at the bottom of that page.

A few days later, he became my client.

Now, I didn’t know John before this. And my friend who forwarded my message about Colorgenics didn’t know John was looking for a web designer. So what made the contact?

Simple…my email address.

Our email address is one of the most valuable (and inexpensive) ways of marketing our business. If you have a website, you really want to be using an email address from your website. That way, every time you send a message, you’re also sending your web address along with it.

Some of my clients have had the idea that they should use their website email for business and their Earthlink, Hotmail, Yahoo or AOL accounts for personal use.

I don’t agree. How would John have ever found my website if I had used my Comcast email address or one of the other email addresses I have that don’t connect to http://www.healthywebdesign.com?

Use your website email for everything. And if you want to have different email addresses for business and personal use, then create two email addresses from your website. I actually have seven (7) email addresses setup from healthywebdesign.com. Each serves a different purpose. And each can be checked from one program with the click of a single button.

Almost all website hosts will allow you to create more than one, and often hundreds, of email addresses at no extra cost.

So if you have a website, begin right now – today – using an email address that was created from your website. And if you’re using both an email address from your website and your Hotmail or Earthlink or whatever, stop. Very quickly begin to phase out your non-website email.

As a matter of fact, sending a message to everyone you know telling them about your new email address – and highlighting your website – may lead to some interest in your business.

John is not the only client in the past 9 years that has inquired about my work after seeing my email website in my email address. He’s just the most recent.

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Comments

  1. I have to agree with you. I can’t understand why people don’t use their domain names for their email addresses. I certainly do and always have. And when I see other domain addresses I automatically go to my browser to check out their website. I often wonder if I’m different to other people as many don’t seem to understand this. Thanks for the article.

  2. Kathie,

    I feel the same way. I really can’t believe how many people don’t use email addresses from their domain.

    The only reason I’ve come across that I agree with is in blogging – making your email address available to everyone on your site. I can see using GMail or another service for filtering. Plus, GMail lets you create accounts that appear as though you’re sending mail from any domain. I know Yahoo! does the same thing – it just costs.

  3. That’s why I use a spam filter – to filter out the spam. I’ve had my main domain since 1996 – long before spam was a problem. I refused to let every man and his dog make me change using my domain address. I did end up updating it in 2002 to reflect the industry I belong to, but that domain and my original one (asecretary.com.au) are both connected and point to the same webspace.

  4. Kathie,

    I hear you. I suggest everyone uses their domain name for email. As my story tells, you may never know how someone comes to know you because of it.

  5. thanks for the article , interesting

  6. seo,
    Funny thing, I now use my GMail account for almost everything. Yet, I still recommend domain-based email to clients, especially if they’re still in the building stages.

  7. Very interesting! I too think that the back linking is important. It does not matter much whether it is your email address to your web site or the other way around. Just as long as the link is followed. I really enjoyed this conversation. It certainly has you thinking about what you are creating.

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