When I purchased my first domain name waaaayyyy back in the day (over 10 years ago), the plan that I signed up for included a professional email account. This was great because it meant that I wouldn’t have to use an @gmail.com email address for my business communications. I had email services from the same provider for 13 years, but recently realized that I needed to switch over to a professional email account through Gmail. I made the switch in April 2017 and it is one of the best decisions that I’ve made for my business. Today I will be discussing 10 reasons that I switched to a professional Gmail account and how making the switch got my life together!
1 / You can use a profile picture to show that your email address is authentic
This is the first thing that peaked my interest. I receive tons of emails everyday and I started noticing that when my favorite influencers sent their marketing emails, their picture appeared next to their name. I wondered if I could add a profile picture with my provider at the time and found that I was unable to (booo!!). So what does this picture really do? Along with giving a personal connection to your email list by seeing your pretty face (or logo if you’d prefer that), you are also letting email recipients know that your email address has been authenticated. WTH does that mean? To keep it simple, it means that the email was actually sent from you and not some malicious account acting like you. As Google explains:
"If you see a question mark next to the sender's name, the message isn't authenticated. When an email isn't authenticated, that means Gmail doesn't know if the message is coming from the person who appears to be sending it. If you see this, be careful about replying or downloading any attachments." (credit)
When sending business emails, you want to feel confident that your recipients aren't going to question if the email is truly from you or not (especially if you participate in email marketing).
This is how the “From” section in the email header looked before switching-
And this is how it looks now-
Gmail tests for authenticity in all emails received, so if someone is using an email account that isn't Gmail or if they don't have a profile picture, the image next to the name will be a default shadow figure icon-
2 / Better organization
Since emails come in frequently, organizing your inbox is a must. My former email provider allowed me to create folders so that I could store emails, however, there were no labeling or automation rules built in. At my 9-5, I use rules so that certain emails are moved automatically to folders that I have specified based on a search criteria. I wanted to be able to do the same thing with my business email account. Since I also use Gmail for my personal email, I already knew that this was possible with Gmail because I did it already. Switching to business Gmail made filtering, labeling and moving messages a possibility. By creating these filters, you can get a better grip on your inbox and not be so overwhelmed when you open it.
Also, a well known fact about Gmail (and the reason that I signed up for a personal Gmail account when they first came out) was that your emails are grouped by subject. This means that your inbox will not list every single email that you receive in an email thread. They are rolled up into one line and you can view the complete history at once. This keeps your inbox cleaner than the average inbox, and it makes it easier to find messages since they're all rolled up into one line item.
3 / Easier to integrate with Zapier and IFTTT
I believe strongly in automation for blog and business processes especially when you work a 9-5 at the same time. Zapier and IFTTT are two web apps that allow you to create automated tasks to work for you without having to remember to do them. When I began using these web apps to create automated tasks for my blog and business, I saw that Gmail was one of the programs that they integrate with. Unfortunately, I was unable to integrate automated tasks by using Zapier and IFTTT with my former email provider. Although Gmail has a pretty solid way of organizing and moving emails automatically, Zapier and IFTTT have automated task abilities that go above and beyond what Gmail offers. For example, I have a Zapier task set up that does the following for new customers:
When a new sale email is received in Gmail, the customer is automatically added to my email list in ConvertKit
The customer is tagged in ConvertKit accordingly based on the item/service purchased
One week later they are sent a survey regarding their satisfaction with the item purchased
All of this happens behind the scenes according to the task details that I set up, so I don’t have to remember to do any of it. Without Gmail, this would have involved a lot of extra steps to make it work which would also have equated to more time wasted.
4 / Access via mobile app
Whenever I consider using a new program, I always check to see if they have a mobile app. Having the ability to access your information from anywhere even without your laptop around is priceless. I am a major advocate for apps (extra extra bonus points if the app is available offline!), and Gmail has a mobile app. My former email service provider didn’t have an app, so the only way to view my emails on my phone and iPad were to add them to the Mail program. This meant that any customization that I had in my account (a specific signature for example) didn’t carry over. I also had even LESS control of how I could view and sort emails. Since Gmail has an app, everything that I can do on the website I can also do and see via mobile.
5 / Canned Responses
You know those questions that people email or leave blog comments about over and over and you keep sending the same response over and over? Rather than getting caught up in this time suck, you can create Canned Responses. This is basically an email template that you can easily access. So if someone asks you, “What kind of printer do you use?”, by creating a canned response, instead of hunting for the product details and typing the email, you can pick the canned response and send it off in less than 10 seconds. This is an awesome feature because it can also be used in workflows. For example, I have a canned email that I use when sending details to clients that sign up for my Automation Setup service. There is a lot of information in the email, so it is a HUGE help having that email in a template.
6 / Priority Inbox
You have the ability to create various views of your inbox. When you set up a priority inbox, all of the emails that you consider most important will always appear at the top of your Gmail account in its own section. For example, my priority inbox shows all positive feedback from customers and email subscribers. I choose to set up my inbox this way so that I can start the day off looking at positive information which in turn helps to motivate me and keep me going. It’s good to know that you are helping people and when they take time out of their day to send a nice note, it means a lot.
When setting up your priority inbox, you will have the option to choose the different filters and labels that you want to show up in it, so you can get very specific. Maybe you want to view all emails from a particular customer, vendor or email address first. They sky is the limit here.
7 / Comes with a full suite of Google products (AKA G Suite)
Two of the Google programs that I use every single day are Google Docs and Google Sheets. They are a major part of my blogging and business workflows. Fortunately, when you sign up for a business Gmail address, you also receive access to the following which is known as G Suite:
Ability to build an intranet for your company, a project site for your team or a customer portal (no coding needed!)
Team video chats
You may be thinking, “But I get these for free already, so what’s the difference?”. The difference between the free Google programs and the ones included with your business email account are the following, and this comes straight from the horse's mouth:
“With G Suite, you'll receive a number of additional business-grade services not included with Google’s free consumer apps. These services include: custom business email @yourcompany, twice the amount of cloud storage across Gmail and Drive, 24/7 phone and email support, 99.9% guaranteed uptime on business email, interoperability with Microsoft Outlook, additional security options like two-step authentication and SSO, and administrative controls for user accounts.”
The extra Drive and Gmail storage were enough for me, so everything else was just an added bonus!
8 / Infinite backgrounds if you want a custom look
Inboxes can look so boring. It’s something that you’re logged into all day, so why not make it look more appealing and fun. Gmail gives you the option to load themes to your account and you can also add backgrounds. My old provider? Not so much. They only let me change the color scheme (boring!). I’m a visual person, so I like to take advantage of visual additions in programs that I use.
9 / Smooth transition
When I decided to switch to Gmail, I was concerned about the simplicity of transitioning from my previous email service provider. I was unsure what was involved, but after some research it didn’t seem as intimidating. The process of switching over wasn’t as bad a I thought and I was up and running in a 24 hour period. You also have the ability to import emails, and though I didn’t do this, it is an awesome option to have. I didn’t import emails because there were only a select few that I wanted to bring over, so I emailed them to myself instead.
10 / Affordable
G Suite is not going to break the bank. It’s only $5 per month! It is also considered a business expense, so make sure to include it on your business taxes. My former domain provider included a business email account, but even the cost of that was more than what I pay now for my domain and gmail. This made the decision to switch a complete no-brainer. All of the things that I mentioned above that I would be able to do with a gmail business account and for less than I was already paying?! Yeah, I jumped ship with a quickness.
If you do not have a professional email address and are running a blog or business, you really need to get one. A custom email address makes you appear more professional and people will be more willing to work with you and take you seriously. If there is a product or service that I’m considering purchasing and the contact email is @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, @outlook.com, etc, I am much less likely to purchase from them ESPECIALLY when I know how inexpensive it is to have a business email address. If this is you, or if you have a business email that isn’t hosted by Gmail, you can try them out for free for 14 days to see how you like it. Here is the link to sign up and to read more!