- a substance obtained from vanilla beans or produced artificially and used to flavor sweet foods or to impart a fragrant scent to cosmetic preparations. "vanilla ice cream"
Mmmmmm... So delicious! Sometimes there's nothing better than a plain, no-frills, nothing fancy scoop of vanilla ice cream. Simple is good. Generic is good. Sometimes...
The other usage of the word vanilla is not so good:
adjective (informal): vanilla; adjective: plain vanilla
- having no special or extra features; ordinary or standard. "choosing a plain vanilla email provider might not be the best decision when marketing your business online."
A plain-jane, generic email provider like GMAIL, HOTMAIL, YAHOO or your Internet Service Provider is never a good choice when creating an email address for your company.
The amount of business owners and entrepreneurs that continue to use a generic domain as their primary email is surprisingly high. Though Gmail is free and a simple way to send emails, anyone can register for an account. If you're an entrepreneur or business owner, this CAN mean:
You’re using a generic email address to represent your business, and may be coming across cheap and not credible.
Here are 6 fundamental reasons why a Gmail address is bad for your business.
- It leaves a bad first impression.
- It makes you disappear into the crowd.
- You become less credible.
- You get what you pay for.
- Your generic email address does not promote your brand.
- It’s hard to remember.
1. It leaves a bad first impression.
When sending an email to a prospective client or business partner and they see genericness, it doesn’t come across as professional or business-like. It also creates skepticism in the minds of an email recipient, seeing your email as temporary or unprofessional. It's always good, in this case, to have a custom email address using your unique web domain. Having a generic email address might not just make a bad impression... it might not make any impression at all.
2. It makes you disappear into the crowd.
Gmail is one of the most popular email platforms in the consumer market. By using a Gmail account to conduct business, you immediately disappear into the crowd. It comes across as cheap, does not contain your domain name in the title (which people can follow through to your website), and does not reinforce the fact that you are a real business, or that you are serious enough about your business to make the effort to customize your email address.
3. It makes you less credible.
When you introduce yourself to a new client or a potential partner, your word is everything. Using a custom email address gives you credibility - makes you seem real, and holds you accountable to a domain name. A generic email address weakens your brand, fails to build and promote your business, and does not represent the credibility of your business.
4. You get what you pay for.
Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc...are free services meant for everyday consumers. When you use these as a business address, you are communicating to others that you don’t care enough about your own business to invest your money into getting an email address with your business name, from your own website, and missing a key branding opportunity. They think: "If you're skimping so much on your OWN business, how much might you be skimping on your client's service?"
5. Your Generic Email Address does not promote your brand.
Acquiring a high quality email hosting service will allow you to promote your business with a domain name, website, and online calling card. Make no mistake about it, Email domains like Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo are not a business tool and should be highly discouraged to be used in any professional setup if you are an entrepreneur or business owner.
6. It’s harder to remember.
The repetition of your business name is key in getting a person to remember your business. An everyday, free, public email address is instantly forgettable. All an email recipient is going to see is the generic domain, and any person has dozens of generic addresses that they may correspond with regularly.
The Bottom Line
Communicating via Email is the single most prolific communications method on the planet, surpassing the telephone by a significant margin, and yet spending money on an email address (that costs as little as $5.00 per month) is low priority for people. Many business owners use common excuses for not spending money on email, but really when it comes down to it... it's worth taking a look at the marketing impact of a well thought-out email address for your business.