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What’s in an… email address?

I know there are many things about technology that seem intimidating.  I will attempt to explain the simplicity and reasoning behind having email addresses setup with your domain.  In general, I realize that most people go to gmail, yahoo or the others and just get an email for simplicity sake.  I’ll admit, it is very simple to get a gmail address with something like mychurch@gmail.com.

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But is that really the best way to set things up?

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Email is beyond becoming a primary means of communication.  That matched with Facebook and it is just one of the many reasons our USPS can’t stay in business.  Most people are pretty savvy with email and I’ll attempt to offer several points on best practices for setting up email at your organization.

It’s Professional –

I was working with an individual a few months ago on a loan restructure.  I got all the information about what they could offer me and then it was time them to send me to the person who actually collected the info from me.  When I received the email from that person, his address was something like pharmacyman@msn.com.  Needless to say, our business with that company stopped at that point.
By not having an email address at the domain of the company he was working for, a red flag was thrown up for me and I was not comfortable anymore.

Get email addresses setup @yourdomain.com.  Most hosting companies offer this for free or at very little cost.

 

It’s Consistent –

When there is only one person in your organization it is tempting and often simpler to just setup the free account.  Most will setup something like mychurch@gmail.com or something like that.  Resist the urge.  While it may be simple in the short term, it’ll cause headaches in the future.

It should cost around $15 per year to purchase your domain name for your organization.  Most companies will offer a number of accounts for free with that purchase.  Google Apps offers up to 10 addresses for their basic accounts at your domain.

Now, when you add people or avenues for communication, it is consistent throughout your organization.

Choose a nomenclature and stick to it throughout.  We’ve all seen them, first.last@ initialLast@ firstname@ and so on.  Pick a format and use it for everyone.  This will make it very simple for people to figure out how to contact everyone in your organization if they know the names and format.

It’s Personal –

How many times have you sent an email to someone that is like frankandlinda@msn.com?  Maybe its even more generic, mychurch-office@gmail.com.  What assurance does this give to the sender that you will be reading their message?  I realize that most of us are not sending confidential information, but many times, it is just nice knowing that the message we are sending is getting straight to the person we are sending it to.

A consistent setup –

When we work with churches and organizations, we’ll setup the email addresses as follows in the example below:

We get the pastor setup with 2 addresses.  One is the primary email address and the other is an alias “nickname” that forwards to the primary.

firstname@church.com (e.g. jeff@church.com)– alias pastor@church.com

We then setup the secretary.

firstname@church.com (e.g. linda@church.com) – alias office@church.com

Perhaps there is an associate minister.

firstname@church.com (e.g. fred@church.com)

Maybe a ministry leader needs one to.

firstname@church.com. (e.g. tom@church.com)

 

Do you see a trend?  Very consistent, professional and this setup would take about 10 minutes.  Also, if I know one address, I can pretty much figure out anybody else on staff.

I’d be happy to discuss with your organization how to get setup and make your email setup simple.

I’m interested in hearing other thoughts on email setup.  Comment below and let me us know how you setup your accounts and why.