Compared to how many emails are sent on a daily basis, hardly any get opened these days, and even fewer actually get a response. In fact, while we still love email for both work and our personal lives, it’s amazing how much time we spend ignoring them!
This is especially true in marketing where the average open rate (i.e. how many recipients open an email) is only a touch over 21%. That means all your time and effort is simply being tossed aside almost 80% of the time!
Knowing this, you go about spicing up your subject lines and crafting content to beat all others and… still nothing. Emails left unopened, or worse, sent to spam. Maybe it’s because you’ve overlooked one simple factor – your actual email address. Recipients aren’t looking at what was sent, but who has sent it.
And that’s no surprise considering how important trust is for online interactions. Recipients need to be able to quickly and simply identify the sender (that’s you!) before making a decision about whether or not to open and respond. It goes a little something like:
Read the sender’s email address – Are they to be trusted?
If yes, check the subject line – Is it worth opening?
If yes, read the content – is it worth replying?
… and so on.
You’ll never even make it past the first step if you haven’t got a trustworthy professional email address. So, let’s look at ten simple rules for how to create a professional email that will get you replies. However, before even looking at rule one, you have to take a pretty tough step…
That’s right; it’s time to give up your old email address. Yes, the nostalgia may be palpable and the memories great, but the hour has come to retire “gam3rbo¥firstname.lastname@example.org”.
1. Professional Email Needs to Stay Consistent
Making a professional email is part of making your brand, which is why it’s so important to ensure that it is consistent. It represents what you do, who you are, and what you stand for – and will do so long into the future.
Perhaps your company is just you and the cat for now, but two years, five years, 20 years down the line? Who knows how big you’ll be! Always plan ahead, including for your professional-sounding email to ensure that it can scale with you. There’s nothing worse than spending time, energy, and money on communication to then have to switch all your emails.
As such, make your email match your company name. If your company is PJ Construction, for example, your email should be: “email@example.com.” Then, whether it’s you or your new hire, recipients will know exactly which company is reaching out to them—helping to build trust.
In practice, let’s look at what you started with vs what you’ll have now:
Which email would you be more likely to open? Yup, your old address hasn’t even got a fighting chance.
It can be tempting, especially as a small business, to use a free email provider such as Gmail or Hotmail, but this immediately detracts from the credibility of your email. In addition, it gives the impression of a hobbyist playing at business rather than a professional email address reflecting a true professional.
2. Avoid Using Nicknames
Just as we separate our work and home lives, it’s important to separate our personal and professional email names. Your business email address should reflect how clients and partners see you – and this means cutting out the nickname. For example, if your name is Robert, but your email is firstname.lastname@example.org, it can quickly get confusing.
Even if your team members know you by your nickname, it should still be avoided since they aren’t the ones who will judge your address. That said, if you only go by your nickname (i.e., don’t ever use your full name), then it should be your email to avoid confusion.
If, for example, you only ever introduce yourself as Matt to clients, partners, or other external individuals, then that’s what they’ll expect of your professional email address. Alternatively, if you don’t want to choose one or the other, you can always use initials or a combination such as email@example.com. This is very common in larger companies where there are likely to be people with the same first name.
3. Avoid Using Numbers and Special Characters
The number of email users was more than 3.8 billion in 2019 and is expected to be 4.2 billion by the end of 2022. That’s a whole lot of people all looking to get a unique address. While firstname.lastname@example.org might work for a business in a pinch, you’re very unlikely to be the one with that address.
This inevitably leads to variations on common names, which is how we end up with things like “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Using digits or special characters does create a unique free address, but unfortunately, it’s useless for business.
When it comes to professional email usernames, using numbers or special characters (#$%=) is considered a big red flag for reliability and credibility. Having these numbers or symbols can even trigger a spam alert from the receiver’s email provider, meaning the message might not even make it to their inbox.
If you absolutely have to include a non-letter character, then use a period (.). Many email providers already have rules in place that stop the use of special characters, but keep it in mind when you create your professional email address.
4. Make it Easy to Read
The fastest way to get lost in the clutter is to make your emails look like a mess. This starts with an email address that should stand out from the chaos of names, subject lines, labels, and buttons that clutter most inboxes.
Using your business name (which should already be memorable) and a simple first name as discussed should already set your emails apart from the competition. First, however, it’s worth looking over your inbox to see what stands out to get some ideas.
It’s also essential to keep your inbox organized so you don’t miss the replies!
5. Test and Experiment to Find What Works Best for You
While these rules are a helpful way to start creating a professional email, what works best for you will only be discovered through trial and error. When creating a new address to begin reaching out to clients or marketing, test a few of them to see which gets you the highest open rates and the most engagement.
When doing this, it is essential to try to reduce the number of potential variables so you know if it is the name creating the impact. This means using the same subject line, message, buttons, etc. Of course, this is only possible if you already have large lists to email, so work with what you’ve got.
6. Create a Dedicated Email Via Your Website Host
So now you may be wondering how to create a professional email address from a practical perspective? If you already have a website, there’s a good chance that you can quickly make your own dedicated email address using your website host.
The exact process for doing this will differ depending on your host, but it usually is relatively simple and can be broken down into some basic steps:
- Log into your host provider and navigate to the relevant website (if you have more than one).
- Navigate to the “Email” section for your website.
- Select “Accounts,” “Email Accounts,” or similar.
- Enter your desired professional email address and click “create”, “generate,” or similar.
And you’re done! Now use a modern email client to send, receive, and stay on top of your business emails.
7. Don’t Have a Website? Create a Business Email with a Dedicated Email Host
Even if you don’t have a website yet, you can still create professional email addresses using a dedicated email host. The first step is securing a domain for your business – this will usually be your company’s name. Then, you can use online tools such as this one to check if it’s available.
Hosted business email is available from some big companies that you probably already know, such as Office 365 from Microsoft, Google Workspace, and Zoho Workplace. In addition, numerous smaller email hosts offer excellent and affordable business emails, such as Rackspace or Private Email.
However, most of these only offer web-based email clients, so you’ll still need a decent desktop and mobile email client to make the most of your business account. If only a solution provided hosting and incredible tools for all of your workplace needs in a single place.
8. General Addresses for General Purposes
Out on the web, coming across email addresses such as “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org” is very common, and they play an essential role. It is quick and precise what these email addresses are used for and why you might contact them.
However, you should avoid sending individual emails from these addresses since they don’t reflect an individual within a company. This can make recipients less likely to open then and less likely to respond as it doesn’t feel like there is a person on the other end but a brand.
9. Don’t Go Overboard on the Signature
Professional sounding emails often include a professional sounding email signature, but be careful not to go too far. It can consist of some information about you, such as your full name and title, and contact information like your website, email address, and phone number. Many signatures also include a small image that reflects your brand—such as the logo.
However, before you start attaching big hero images, keep in mind that large images or a bad image to text ratio can send your emails straight to spam. Less is often more when it comes to a professional email signature, with simple messages winning out.
10. Spike’s Email Client for Desktop and Mobile
After so many years just logging into email providers like Google, you may be wondering how to even access business email accounts on your computer or the go. That’s where Spike comes in, an advanced email client for desktop and mobile that loves own-domain email addresses!
Spike provides a new kind of email interface, with Conversational Email and a Priority Inbox. Conversational Email turns old-school business messages into Instant Messenger style-chats, cutting away the clutter so you can focus on what’s important.
Priority Inbox keeps the important messages front and center while pushing everything else (like newsletter or app receipts) into your “Other” box to be read at your leisure. So stay focused and never lose sight of a message again, with less clutter and more organization.
What’s more, Spike also provides a suite of essential tools such as read receipts and on-demand encryption when it comes to sending emails. And this is in addition to all Spike’s other fantastic productivity features, including:
- Video Meetings
- Voice Messages
- Online Notes
- To-Do Lists and Tasks
- Integrated Calendar
- Lots more!
How to Make a Professional Email – A Recap
Making a professional email is largely about stopping and thinking about what “professional” looks like in your day-to-day. Would you introduce yourself to a new client using your high school nickname and a high-five? Probably not, so why do it in your email?
Similarly, a big part of your business branding is making your company stand out from the rest. Professional email is exactly the same – it’s about setting your communication apart from the competition.
Test out a few different structures (and even a couple of hosts) to find what’s right for you, then get yourself a kick-ass email client and start sending those professional messages!
The future of email is here,
are you ready for it?
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