A professional email address with a clear and simple naming structure, using a bespoke domain, is important for any business which is serious about building trust with customers. Over time, trust translates to a solid brand reputation and better sales, so it’s something that every business should take seriously.

The following three simple rules for creating a business email address will help you to start developing your brand reputation now.

Use your own domain name

Using your own domain name is the number one way in which a business email address can help a business improve its professional image. Using name@yourbusinessname.com increases trust and lends your business an air of respectability. It’s also a great way of publicising your business name and of keeping control of your brand. Let’s delve a little further into why using a custom domain name is so important for businesses.

Avoid an unprofessional image – using a generic email host such as Yahoo or Gmail automatically makes you look unprofessional and dilutes your credibility.

Email address availability – when you use your own domain, any handle (the bit before the @) that you want is available. It’s unlikely, for example, that john@gmail.com is available, so you would likely need to insert numbers and characters into your handle which, again, makes you look unprofessional among your customers.

Continuity – brand continuity is important in business. When you have your own domain, you can set up all your staff email addresses in the same format, e.g. j.bloggs@yourbusinessname.com. This helps you to cultivate an organised, clean brand image.

Memorability and identifiability – customers are far more likely to remember a simple email address, such as john@yourbusinessname.com, compared to one filled with special characters and numbers that you’d need to use if you were using Yahoo or Gmail.

Better control – businesses using an internet service provider (ISP) for their email accounts don’t have any guarantee that their provider will continue to operate in the future, or continue to provide the kind of email account service they want. Using a custom domain means that you can maintain your email account, even if you choose to switch to a different web host.

There are many tools on the internet that can help you to find available domain names, so have a look around and research what’s available to you.

Standardise your display name and email format

Your domain name is only half the story when it comes to setting up your email addresses. Standardising the handles you use for all of your team is also key to developing your brand. Make sure this is decided before you start setting up your employee email addresses. In general, the most professional formats are full name, a combination of name and initials, or first or last name only. Here are some ideas to help you:

First name and last initial: joeb@yourbusinessname.com

First initial and last name: jbloggs@yourbusinessname.com

Last name: bloggs@yourbusinessname.com

First name: joe@yourbusinessname.com

Full name: joebloggs@yourbusinessname.com

You could even set up a general email account such as info@yourbusinessname.com. It’s important to take into account the username length, and your business’ size, when setting up your email addresses. For example, a first name only policy will not work for larger companies as there will almost certainly be multiple Johns!

Display names are also a very important part of email address creation. This is the name that displays on the email snippet when the email lands in your customer’s inbox. Commonly, this will be your first name and last name, but there are other options that might be more suitable. If you’re using a generic email address, you may want to change the display name to your company name, for example, Your Business Name Here <info@yourbusinessname.com>.

Set up specific email addresses for use on your website

Setting up a special email address for use on your website, such as contact@yourbusinessname.com, is beneficial. It’s easy to remember and will never go out of date (if you use an employee’s email address, they may leave, which means you’ll have to update all your webpages with the new contact information).

It’s important to set up email forwarding if you use specific email addresses in this fashion. This ensures that the emails get to the right people in your company. Business email providers usually make email forwarding very easy to set up, so it’s worthwhile exploring this as an option for your business.

In summary, using an email address that makes use of a custom domain name lends far greater credibility to your business and makes you seem more professional. Furthermore, it helps you to develop, publicise and control your brand. Customers will be able to easily contact you and your contact details will be easily recognisable and memorable.

Put simply, it’s the best option if you want to build trust with your customers and be taken seriously.