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Is Your Email Address Hurting Your Business?

A woman sitting in front of a computer - her hand is outstretched with bright email icons flowing from her hand into the screen.

We all use email every day. And while social media gets most of the buzz, it’s really email that gets the work done, day in and day out. All of which means that if you own and operate a small business, you need to be sure that you’re taking full advantage of this wonderful tool. Step one is paying attention to how you come across when you send emails to other people.

Here are two big mistakes that I see - over and over again - in my work with solo professionals and small business clients:

1. A generic or hard-to-understand “from” line. Most of us pay a lot of attention to the “subject” line of our emails. It’s the headline, and the thing that entices people to open our emails in the first place.

But the “from” line is even more important. Why? Because that tells the recipient who is sending the email in the first place. If it’s a friend, relative or company I do business with, I’m very likely to open it (regardless of the subject line). If I don’t recognize the sender, I’m very likely to assume it’s spam and click delete.

The other day, for example, I got an email message from “Gabbi,” with a blank subject line. Well, I don’t know any Gabbis. I was about to delete it until, at the last second, I remembered a woman named Gabriella who works with one of my clients. Sure enough, she was sending me some important information. It made me wonder: How many of her emails are regularly deleted?

Another common faux pas of this sort is when the “from” line is simply an email address. That’s okay if your full name is part of your address, but not so good if your e-mail address is something like

What’s the solution? Make sure you set your email display name in your email program's settings so that it contains both your first and last name.

2. Not using a custom domain for email. You may not know this, but if you own a domain (e.g.,, you have the ability to create email addresses ( that use that domain name.

I frequently see emails from small businesses and solo professionals who use Gmail, Verizon, Comcast, Yahoo! and other providers to act as their domain. An example is

Not only can this approach paint you as a hobbyist (as opposed to someone who has all of their business systems set up) it also represents a missed opportunity to help people find your website. When you create an email address that uses your custom domain, you are advertising your company, as well as where it can be found on the web. It's definitely something to consider!

Like any tool, email is only as good as the way in which it’s used. Polish up your approach and start getting the full benefit from this important aspect of your business!


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