Chances are, email is your primary means of communication in the workplace. Each of your team members needs an email to sign up for online accounts, schedule meetings, and communicate with each other and with customers. But not all email addresses are appropriate for business settings. Your college nickname isn’t likely to make a difference in a business-oriented environment.
Need help deciding how to structure your business email addresses? In this article, we’ll cover the basics of email address structure, as well as some of our top tips for creating a professional email address.
Parts of an email address
There are four main parts to every email address:
These components appear in the same order each time. While the username and the @ symbol may be self-explanatory, the domain name and top-level domain can be confusing.
The domain name refers to the mail server, i.e. the repository where your emails are kept. Gmail, Yahoo, or your company name are examples of domain names. The domain name of your email is separated from the domain (.com, .org, or .edu, for example) by a period.
Business email address format options and examples
There are plenty of email address format options that are professional and less likely to cause issues each time you onboard a new team member.
Common email address format options
Formula 1 : [email protected]
Small organizations often opt for [email protected] As an option. This format has a fatal flaw: as your business grows, you can hire two people with the same first name. Also, if your team members correspond with clients who might have that first name, this format option is bound to create confusion. This works for tight-knit teams but isn’t a practical long-term solution.
Formula 2: [email protected]
Format 2 helps alleviate some of the concerns posed by Format 1 by sticking an initial or two of the user’s last name at the end of the username. It’s also easier to remember than some longer username options. But that doesn’t entirely solve the problem, since two team members can have the same first name and initials.
Formula 3: [email protected]
This is another common business email format. It looks more professional because it includes both the first and last name of the user.
It also nearly eliminates the problem of duplicate email usernames, since multiple people in your organization are relatively unlikely to have the same first and last name. Format 3 is a great option for businesses large and small to communicate both internally and externally in a professional manner.
While the three formats above are some of the most popular for business email, they’re far from the only options. Some companies like to get creative when creating email addresses. Or maybe they prefer directing customers to services rather than individuals. Here are some alternative formats for professional email addresses:
Tips for creating a professional email address
If you’re still deciding on a professional email format for your organization, here are some tips to help you:
Keep the address short
When it comes to email addresses, the rule of thumb is the shorter the better. Business communication is easier when customers and partners can easily remember your email address.
Avoid accents and obscure characters
If you’re only doing business in the United States, it’s wise to avoid accents, obscure characters, or non-Latin letters in your email address. This can cause confusion and waste time, as people may have to search for special characters just to send an email. However, if you are doing business overseas, feel free to use accents and non-Latin letters where appropriate.
Be aware of the risks of certain email address formats
Your email address must be pronounceable and readable. There will be times when you need to read your email address over the phone or in person. It can be tempting to shorten long or unusual surnames, but keep in mind that doing so could defeat diversity, equity and inclusion goals. Also, always keep an eye out for username combinations that could create offensive or inappropriate words.
How to use a custom domain for email
So you’ve decided on your username combination and now focus on the domain side of the equation. Here are some helpful considerations:
Should you use a custom domain name?
When you’re just starting out, you can cut costs by choosing to use Gmail or Yahoo as your domain name rather than paying for email on top of web hosting. But as your business grows, you’ll push past the limits of free accounts and need to consider using the same domain for your website and email address.
Of course, that means transferring all your contacts, email exchanges, and calendar data to a new account, but that tends to pay off in the long run. Having a custom domain gives your business more authority and security while boosting the overall professionalism of your business.
How to Choose a Web Host/Email Client
When selecting an email host, there are a few main points to keep in mind:
- Storage capacity
- Ease of use
Depending on the size and scope of your business, some of these factors will be more important than others. As long as you follow the suggestions we’ve covered in this article, you’re sure to find a professional email address combination that works for your business. Then you’ll be ready to correspond with customers or even launch an email marketing campaign with confidence.
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