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Email : 5 Tips that Will Make You Go Whoa

25 Apr Posted by in Blog, Tools | 1 comment
Email : 5 Tips that Will Make You Go Whoa
 

It has become the most important business tool: we check it, forward it, archive it yet we never take the time to service it… until it all comes crashing and we realise that maybe a little TLC could have prevented this drama.

Why bother – 0urs is working just fine! 

Over the years I keep on thinking I have seen it all when it comes to dicey email setup. Yet once a month there is a new winner. Are you one of them?

Can you afford to have a risky email setup run your business?

  • During the QLD floods, many companies couldn’t use their email to communicate to their clients because their email server was located in their building and the power supply to their buildings had been turned off.
  • Are you one of those? You need to ring your wife/on site manager/cleaners to turn the office computer on as you forgot to confirm a booking and your email only lands in that computer’s inbox
  • Once your emails have been downloaded to one computer they don’t get downloaded to your others
  • You don’t want to display your email address on your website because your inbox suddenly gets clogged up with spam (remove the email from the website and watch those bookings drop!)
Enough is enough. Spend 10 min to read this article to get things right.

 

1. Use a professional email address

If your website address is www.mycaravanpark.com.au then your email addresses should end with @mycaravanpark.com.au. Do not go for mycaravanpark@bigpond.com – not only may it give the impression to the traveller that you are operating out of a tin shack but should you ever want to change your internet service provider then you will lose your email address. You can also forget about having more than one email addresses!
How to get it right: when you talk to your web developer next ask them to setup your email using the same domain name as your website. Before you do that though, read point 3. below.

 

2. Get given access

Ensure your email system allows you (and not your web developer) to create extra email addresses. A good suite of addresses would be:
  • info@mycaravanpark.com.au – use this one for your business cards, brochures as well as where you want to list your details on other websites and materials
  • firstname@mycaravanpark.com.au – create one of these for each one of your team members that requires one. If you work with seasonal staff it may be a good idea to chose a generic address such as tourguide@mycaravanpark.com.au instead of jonno@mycaravanpark.com.au. Why? Well, if Jonno leaves after the dry season and is replaced by Sam you want to make sure Sam can take over Jonno’s inbox without needing to redirect Jonno’s email to to Sam. If this doesn’t make sense just trust me on this one :)
  • reservations@mycaravanpark.com.au – use this one on your website. Why not use info@ you may ask. Well, I have 2 compelling reasons. 1) if you use a web specific email address on your website then you know that all the emails sent to that address will be coming from your site. This therefore allows you to track how well your web marketing is going. 2) if your email system doesn’t deal with spam very well then this email (and possibly the info@) will get all the spam. If you use firstname@mycaravanpark.com.au on your website (and your email system lets spam through) you are going to be very annoyed, very quickly
  • accounts@mycaravanpark.com.au - this is always a good one to have so you can email all accounting pieces to that address and give your bookkeeper access to it.

 

3. Use Google Apps

I could have also named this heading:

  • Do not host an email server in your office
  • Do not go with your website’s host email system
  • And no I am not on a retainer from Google.
Google Apps is Google’s business platform (you may be familiar with Gmail, one of their systems). Traditionally, email has been setup on the same server as your website. Email is therefore what we could call an offshoot of web hosting. Whilst hosting platforms have dramatically improved, not much TLC has been given to the email component of the hosting. Oftentimes it is very poor, offers limited capacity and little functionality.
Google Apps is an alternative to “attaching” your business email to your website host. … and what an alternative it is:
  • First and foremost it is hosted on Google’s servers. Some of you may cringe but think about it: I would much prefer my business’ livelihood to be hosted on Google’s servers than those of a small hosting company…
  • With Google Apps you don’t only get email but also calendar, Google Docs and much more
  • You can still use Outlook (if you wish) but you may soon say bye bye. The web based interface is so much better
  • You don’t need your web developer to “manage” your email. You do it all yourself through the admin console. Create new email addresses, change passwords etc
  • Each inbox gets a massive storage allowance. Say goodbye to full inboxes that cannot receive any other emails until you delete some
  • It syncs beautifully on all your computers, smartphones, tablets and TV even
  • It is Free (up to 10 email addresses plus aliases)

 

4. Use IMAP not POP

Excuse me? Remember my point above “Once your emails have been downloaded to one computer they don’t get downloaded to your others”? This is the issue that tourism businesses raise with me most often. And the solution is called IMAP.

  • IMAP mirrors your inbox on all your devices (computer, laptop, iPhone, iPad). This means that if you delete emails from your iPhone then your office’s inbox is going to be all nice and tidy as well
  • POP creates havock. It literally “pops” emails from the server into your inbox. The first device to “pop” will get all the content. If your iPhone “pops” second then it won’t catch the new message. Doesn’t matter if you are in the office at that time but it gets very annoying if you are trying to run the business from a trade show 500Km away. Pop is so passé!
Where do you use IMAP and POP though? Well, you use it when you configure your email checking devices (such as your Outlook and email on iPhone). The problem is that not all email hosts support IMAP. Google Apps certainly does.

 

5. Ensure spam is managed properly

One of our client called our office the other day and asked us to remove his email address from his website because suddenly his inbox was all spam! Hmm, removing your email address from your website? Not a good idea unless you want to lose bookings was my instant response. But how come this client getting spam in his email was my second though (this client uses our Smart Tourism Website, which comes built in with Google Apps and Google Apps moves the spam away from your inbox instantly). A little chat with our development team confirmed that our client had in fact declined Google Apps and wanted to keep his old legacy system… hence why he was getting spam.

How to get it right? How do you ensure spam is managed properly? Well you have 2 options:

  • You choose a good email host that has anti-spam built-in (Google Apps!)
  • You choose a good email host that has anti-spam built-in (Google Apps!)

In conclusion

There is really no two way to go about it. Email is THE most important web marketing and communication tool of the century. Don’t just think “she’ll be right”.
Talk to your web developer today and ensure you email setup is supporting your business instead of hindering it. If you are not happy with your current setup ask for a change to Google Apps. If you are a small business with a handful of email addresses you are looking at 2 to 3 hours work from your web professional to switch you over.

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