Sure, we all email friends and family and that is fine. But where email really shines is business. Think sales contacts, inter-office memos, team work and file sharing, not to mention PDF invoices and receipts for all things purchased online. Email gets the job done every day, while Twitter and you-know-who get all the media attention.
When your business sends out an invoice, do you Tweet it? Or post it on Facebook? Nope, I thought not. You EMAIL it! Spam filters aside, it works darn good.
And email is a great way for new potential customers to make first contact. The humble website contact form has generated billions of dollars in business.
There are situations in which a free, say Gmail account, would serve the purpose good enough. They show you some ads, based on their reading all your email content and you get a free email account. A fair deal. Kind of. This works well for people who do not use email much but need to have an address so they can receive email when necessary.
But for your beloved business, a free email address is a big no-no. First of all, many are put off by an email address like HappyPuppy56734@aol.com. So take charge, get your business a domain name even if you do not want a website (huh?). Now you are mary@MyWonderfulBusiness.com. Much more presentable. And marketable.
Many business people I know sit near a computer (yep, an actual desktop computer) and compose and reply to a substantial number of emails throughout the day. Here you need to focus on your customer communication, not advertisements crying their siren song of… “Read me! Please read me! Just for a second.” You need to “Be the Outlaw” and abolish ads from your business email client/interface. This can be done a few different ways. The best way is to signup for CapeWP.com’s Business Class Email. Which has always been the true Outlaw’s choice for email. Always working, super fast and never any ads. Ever. Plus an excellent interface with no surprises. So easy you already know how to use it.
Then there are a few variations on a theme. Many simply login to a webpage with their browser and make use of the Web Mail interface of Business Class Email. This works for many people because it is always the same. Anywhere you access your email from, it is always the same. Same folders, same SPAM filters, same interface. No need to synch up with anything else because it is always itself. Some like to use a desktop email client such as Outlook. If you do, your Web Mail and Desktop email are not perfectly synched (unless action is taken to make it so). It is a good enough method that works for many people.
If you require your email and all email folders to be in sync all the time, then there is really only one game in town. It is called Microsoft Exchange. And it is a bit pricey. Runs $10 to $25 per month depending on options. Per user. Yep, not cheap, but for larger businesses who truly depend on up-to-the minute email communication, it is a very small price to pay. And it saves you having to spend thousands of dollars on purchasing and maintaining your own company email server. All in all, if you need it and use it, (hosted) Microsoft Exchange is a huge win. I tried it out myself so I would know what I was talking about and I was very impressed.
CapeWP.com offers Microsoft Exchange on an as-needed basis. Most clients simply do not need such power. And for these clients (and I include myself here), there is yet another game in town. It is an addon to Business Class Email that will use a subset of Microsoft Exchange to sync with your mobile device. It keeps your email and email folders in synch and also your calendar events and Contact information. If you put an appointment into your iPhone, it shows up in your webmail. And vice versa. There is a 15-minute delay here. Usually not a big deal at all.
The above method addresses what most of us need. Most have phones and would appreciate not having to duplicate entries. This adds a nominal fee of $25 per year to your bill. I am testing this out and all indications are go. Seems like a fair deal all around and it gives me the flexibility I need without overkill.
There is one more email method that is new and not fully tested by me. I have no reason it will not perform exactly as advertised. It is the MOBILE version of your Business Class Email. So when you are using your mobile device (of many type) just go to this page and use your current login info and you will see a cool mobile version of Business class Email designed for smaller screens. Upside is it is free, downside is it precludes using your phone’s built in email app, which many have come to like. Here is the link for current users of Business Class Email: http://apps.rackspace.com/mobile
The above does not portend to be an exhaustive list of all email possibilities, but does touch the bases fairly well.
The takeaway here is that it will behoove you to put some thought into whether your current email system is meeting your needs.
The Business Class Email (I wish I could copyright that phrase) which I use and offer to clients is the best I have found. If there were better, I would be using it. Email is one of my passions. And I have tried ALMOST every email offering currently available. At least once! Business Class Email wins every time.
Many think that because they use Comcast or Verizon for Internet access that they need to use the given email. Comcast and Verizon have a huge stake in leading you to believe that this is true. Becasue if you use their email address, it advertises their company for free with every email you send! Yikes! The truth is that although you may need to have one of their email addresses as part of their initial setup, you certainly do not ever have to use that email address. Wouldn’t you rather advertise YOUR business with every email you send?
Be the Email Outlaw.