Don’t Send From a Free Email Address

When is a “Free” resource or tool a bad thing?

We all like getting something for free. And when you’re a small business, especially if you’re just getting started, you’re probably on a strict budget. So you love finding anything that helps you run your business without spending a penny.

But there are times when “free” ends up costing you.

Email’s Supposed to Be Free, Isn’t It?

Email’s been around for several decades now, and free webmail services from Yahoo, Hotmail and others have gotten us used to the idea that it doesn’t — and shouldn’t — cost anything to send or receive email.

Additionally, if you’ve got a favorite webmail client that you used prior to going into business, it’s tempting to keep using that one (either with the same address, or with a new “business” address that you set up).

Please understand…

This is a BIG mistake.

What’s the Matter With Using a Free Email Address?

In our How to Get Started Webinars we discuss why not to use a free email account for the “from” address on your messages.

Some of the reasons we give there showed up in a great post I just read. I was on Joe Rawlinson’s excellent Return Customer blog today, browsing through some past posts. Turns out he recently discussed why using a free email address is just a bad idea.

I agree with him on all counts (though I think the odds of a major free email host like Yahoo! disappearing are pretty slim). Take a look and see what he has to say.

Why Shouldn’t I Use a Free Address For My Email Campaigns?

There are a lot of reasons not to use a Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, AOL or any other free webmail address as your Reply address. Most of them mirror what Joe says, but there’s one more related to opt-in email marketing that I’d like to add:

Free email addresses get lower deliverability

Anyone can get their hands on a free webmail account. That includes spammers. Think about how much spam you get from free webmail addresses compared to the amount you get from all other domains!

Now, I’m not saying that an ISP is going to look at a message, see that it’s from Yahoo and immediately filter it. Most of us use free webmail accounts everyday for without issue. I send a lot of non-business email with my Gmail account.

But when you start sending higher volumes of email, more often, content filters become more of an issue. And sending from a free webmail account does increase the likelihood of your message being filtered. You’re much better off sending from an address at your own website domain.

How Do I Set Up Email To Be Sent From My Domain?

If you already have a website, your webhost probably provides you email accounts with it as part of your hosting package. Get in touch with them to find out how to set up email addresses at your domain.

Don’t have a website yet? That’s your first step (after all, it’s rather difficult to market online without a website). Get in touch with a web hosting company. Ask if they offer email accounts with their hosting package (they will).

Small businesses need to save money where they can, even when it comes to marketing. But your business email address isn’t the place to do it. It’s too cheap and easy to do it right, and there are too many consequences for doing it wrong (or not at all).

For more on why using a free email address is bad, check out:

Return Customer: Your Small Business Is Worth More Than a Free Email Address.