Why Your Small Business Needs a Custom Email
One of the first things you need to set up when starting your business is an email address. Understandably, many small businesses, when they start, want to limit their expenses. As such, for this reason, they often opt for free email addresses from providers like Gmail, Outlook.com, or Yahoo Mail.
Unfortunately, this could be the wrong decision as there are several disadvantages to using free email providers, from a lack of features to service limitations and constant ads. So, the better option is to get a custom email for your small business.
In contrast, custom, branded emails eliminate these issues. A custom email provides you with more credibility, privacy, flexibility, and scalability. Besides providing more credibility, a custom email also improves deliverability and, combined, makes for more effective marketing. Ultimately, a custom email allows you to serve your customers better, market better, and generate more revenue.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the reasons why your small business needs a custom email in more detail.
What is a custom email?
Before looking at these reasons, though, let’s first recap what a custom email is. This is important as many people often confuse custom email with paid email, even though they are different concepts.
A paid email service is similar to free email services like Gmail, Outlook.com, and Yahoo Mail, but you pay a relatively small fee every month to use the service. In return for this fee, you then get access to additional features that free emails don’t offer. Here, some examples include Fastmail, Tutanota, and others and services like Gmail and Outlook also offer paid tiers.
In contrast, while a custom email is also a paid service, you get to choose your own domain name. In other words, instead of using hostafrica@
gmail.com, your business’s email can be
firstname.lastname@example.org. More importantly, when you use a custom email for your small business, you’ll enjoy several other benefits apart from just using your own domain. We’ll look at these benefits a bit later.
The drawbacks of free email services
Now that we’ve recapped what a custom email is, and before we look at the benefits of a custom email, let’s look at some of the drawbacks of free email services like Gmail and Yahoo Mail:
- Features: When you use a free email provider, you’ll typically have access to fewer features and services compared to a custom email.
- Limitations: In addition to fewer features, free email services typically also have limitations in place that could prevent you from using them as an effective business email. For instance, you’ll generally have limited storage space, and you won’t be able to send or receive emails with attachments above a certain size.
- Privacy: The saying goes, “If something’s free, you are the product.” And with free email services, this could certainly be true. As such, your privacy could be compromised and your business’s data sold to other companies.
- Ads: One of the ways free email providers recoup their investment in providing the service is by selling adverts to other companies. In turn, you’ll get these personalised ads in your inbox.
Although paid email services offer more features than free email services, you’ll still experience some of these disadvantages when you subscribe to one of them.
Why your small business should have a custom email
Hopefully, you’ve now seen that, although you can save money by using a free email service, they’re not the best option. With that in mind, let’s look at the reasons why your small business needs a custom email.
Apart from your business’s website, its email is one of the first touchpoints your customers will encounter and use to interact with you. As such, it’s one of the critical components of your business’s branding. So, it makes sense that you want to make your email appear as professional as possible.
Just think about it, customers will be more likely to see you as a professional when they send an email to or receive an email from
email@example.com compared to hostafrica@
gmail.com. Likewise, customers will be more willing to provide their payment information if a business has a custom email.
Ultimately, a custom, branded email gives your business credibility in a competitive marketplace and allows you to build trust with your customers.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, your email address is a significant part of your business’ branding. As such, it also makes up an important part of your business’ marketing strategy and efforts. Simply put, if you have a branded, professional email address, it’s free advertising of your business name and your customers will be more likely to open your marketing emails.
But it goes further than this, though. Email marketing in itself is a very cost-effective marketing tool. In fact, it’s estimated that for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you’ll get a return of $42. This is simply because billions of people around the world use email. So, when using an email marketing platform like Mailchimp, it’s always better to use a custom email rather than the provided domain.
Another benefit of a custom email is that it improves your email deliverability. But wait, what is deliverability? Simply put, deliverability is your ability to deliver email to your customers’ inboxes. So, if you have increased deliverability, your customers are more likely to receive your emails. If your deliverability is low, you won’t have much success and your business’s communication as a whole will suffer.
Although many factors influence deliverability, one of the most prevalent ones is when your emails end up in your customers’ spam folders. And email providers are more likely to flag emails from free providers like Gmail and Yahoo as spam.
Custom email providers like HOSTAFRICA offer tech specifically designed to help with this: Delivery tracking, Email routing (MX editor), Deliverability checking, Blacklist protection, as well as the ability to manage IP address reputation. These all comes included in our custom email hosting packages.
When you have a custom, branded email for your business, you’ll typically have a unique address for every employee or department in your business. So, for example, you might have email addresses like:
Now, if you don’t have a custom email, you’ll need to create free accounts on free providers for every department with a free email provider. The problem is that the email addresses you would like are not always available. So, using the examples above, your email addresses might look like this:
Considering the above, you probably see the problem. Apart from looking unwieldy and not professional at all, there’s also no consistency and makes it tough to remember. When you use a custom email, you’ll eliminate this problem and always have consistent, branded, and professional email addresses for your business.
We’ve already touched briefly on privacy earlier and mentioned that your business’s data might be sold. But privacy goes further than this. When you use a free email provider, you’ll typically have one email address for a specific department, and this email will be shared by a few employees.
For example, if you have one free email address for your accounts department and three employees, they’ll share the email. This presents a significant problem in that you’ll never know if emails to your business reach the intended recipient. Also, it allows all employees to view any business-sensitive info or personally identifiable client info contained in the emails, which might violate local and international client privacy laws.
With a custom email, this is not a problem, as you’ll be able to create unique email addresses for every employee.
Even the smallest vulnerabilities can and do bring down businesses from small to mega corporations every day. A custom email brings the advantage of a hosting package, which normally includes your own web-based control panel. We provide our client with the industry leading control panel called cPanel.
This means you or your IT admin get to manage and tweak every aspect, giving you the power to run a tight ship on your security.
You can set up spam filters to protect your business and employees from spam emails, emails containing malware and phishing attempts.
Another critical advantage is that you can restrict email account passwords from employees. This is critical for two reasons:
- Humans are the weakest link in cybersecurity: Too often businesses are brought down because employees unwittingly gave hackers access. If employees don’t know their account passwords, they can’t be tricked into giving it to a cybercriminal. Read our Email Phishing Safety Guide to learn how to protect your business.
- With free emails, everyone has access to your security settings: This means a disgruntled employee can change the password locking everyone else out, and can proceed to hold your emails hostage or simply delete them forever. When you have your own custom domain control panel, admins will always be able to access employee email accounts and emails, even if they change the password.
This leads us to the next advantage of a custom email control panel: email retention.
Retain and manage all emails
Although emails are sent to a specific email address within your business, if you set up your email accounts using IMAP, you’ll have a copy of every email available on your server, even if an employee deletes it from their device and leaves your employ.
In other words, as the business owner, you maintain ownership of all company records and can ensure you comply with any legal data retention requirements.
cPanel allows custom domain clients to use BoxTrapper. It protects your inbox from spam by requiring all email senders not on your Whitelist reply to a verification email before you can receive their mail.
SSL certificates aren’t just essential for website protection. It encrypts all communication that passes through the internet. Since emails pass through the internet, they too need to use SSL to encrypt the data to make sure it can’t be intercepted and read along the way.
We provide our custom email hosting clients with a free SSL certificate.
Considering the above, a custom email will give you peace of mind knowing your data and company is safe.
Simply put, a custom email gives you more control over your business’ emails. Manage everything from a web-based control panel like cPanel:
- choose between setups using POP3, IMAP or SMTP.
- Create and delete addresses
- Restrict who has access to passwords to the IT/admins only
- Set up auto-responders and forwarders,
- manage mailing lists, addresses, disk usage, routing, filters
- Track delivery
Flexibility and scalability
With a custom email, you’ll be able to choose exactly how much storage you need, starting small and increasing as your business grows for a more affordable price.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll also be able to create as many email addresses as you need, depending on the package you subscribe to, of course. As such, you can create email addresses for all your employees and departments as they’re introduced. In contrast, with a free email provider, this is simply not the case.
Another major benefit of a custom email is that as long as you pay for your domain, your email addresses remain yours, regardless of which hosting provider you move to.
In other words, you’re not locked into a specific provider. This has several benefits.
For one, you can choose a provider that offers the features and services that meet your business’s unique needs and requirements now and in the future if your needs change.
You can move your hosting elsewhere at any time without needing to change your email addresses. This could, for instance, be the case when you’re no longer satisfied with the service they provide, when they increase their pricing, or when you move your office to where your hosting provider doesn’t offer its services.
With free email services, this is not the case and changing providers means losing your email addresses, and costing you lots of time moving your emails.
Ultimately, this custom email hosting gives you far more flexibility than free email providers.
A common deterrent for many businesses that prevent them from getting custom email addresses is cost, especially for smaller businesses who want to limit their expenses.
Sure, free email providers offer their services at no cost, but you have to consider the drawbacks of using these services and the fact that your business will inevitably outgrow the limits of free emails providers.
Likewise, you need to consider the advantages you’ll enjoy when using a custom email. In other words, you need to consider the value you’ll get when you use a custom email for your small business. And besides, using a custom email for your business isn’t as expensive as you might think.
Isn’t it time to get a custom email for your small business?
Now that you’ve seen the benefits of custom email for your small business, isn’t it time you got a custom, branded email domain for your business?
If it is, check out our email hosting packages with the features and pricing to suit any requirement.