We’ll admit it: business culture is kind of weird. On the one hand, there are traditionalists who swear by strict adherence to all sorts of unspoken guidelines – things like wearing a blazer and buttoned up shirt at all times, or addressing all clients as Mr./Mrs. Last Name. On the other end of the scale are those hotshot entrepreneurs and startup employees who probably wore t-shirts to their own weddings and act like their customers are their buddies.
So, yes, there is a lot of variance among professionals. One thing everyone can agree on, though, is having an email address that looks good. This isn’t just true when applying for a job (although it certainly is important during that process); it’s also true when communicating with your vendors and clients. Using an unprofessional address can even hurt your sales.
Don’t let that happen. Whether you come to work in a t-shirt or wear a blazer everyday, here are three email addresses that you shouldn’t use in your business communications.
Any email address that includes your childhood nickname
Using an address that includes a nickname is, pretty obviously, a bad decision. That being said, it can be pretty funny when people make this bad decision for themselves. Be honest: you probably have at least one address that is something like my own first email address, [email protected] Hopefully you aren’t using it too often.
When you made this ten years ago, you probably thought it was cool. Now, when you send email to potential clients from this address, you come off as completely out of touch, and possibly just plain weird.
This goes for any address that includes phrases like “sparklysunshine”, “beyoncefan12”, or “footballbro9”. If you want, use these phrases in your Pokemon Go username. Or use these addresses to sign up for newsletters and download offers you don’t really want.
Just don’t use them to email your business contacts.
Any address @aol.com
This is a bit less obvious. [email protected] isn’t that bad, right?
Well, yeah – it’s not bad compared to [email protected] But if you’re using this email address to send to clients, it’s telling them that you use aol.com for your mail services, which tells them a couple of things.
First, it probably means that you created this email account a while ago. Secondly, it suggests that you’re not incredibly technically savvy. Take a look at a Google Trends chart of searches for leading mail clients, and notice where AOL mail falls.
It was just as popular as Yahoo, Gmail, and Hotmail – in 2004.
If you’re in an industry where it’s important to stay up to date on data and trends, it probably isn’t a good impression to send emails from a service that was at its peak of relevancy 12 years ago.
Any email address @yahoo.com
Finally, this one’s a bit more controversial. That’s because Yahoo mail is actually pretty popular, as you can see from our Google Trends chart. In fact, it actually has nearly 300 million unique users – so if you’re using an @yahoo.com address, don’t feel too bad, because you’re certainly not alone. Here’s the thing, though (and this is, more or less, the main takeaway from this post): unless you’re using an email address that is @yourdomain, you appear unprofessional.
Think about it: would any successful business believe that investing in their own domain and email is too high a cost?
Owning a domain and using it for email services simply looks more legitimate. It means that you have the resources to spend on a website and an email. And, of course, having an address that reads @yourdomain helps people to remember your brand.
So, there you have it: 3 email addresses that make you look unprofessional. Don’t make a bad impression with your prospective customers. Invest in a digital presence that showcases the quality of your brand.
Jon is an inbound strategist with a passion for helping clients take the mystery out of their marketing. His goal is to write about digital marketing using as little jargon as possible. He’s watched a few too many Pittsburgh sporting events.