Your email address is like your online business card. For many prospects, it’s the first thing they see when they interact with you, and it can have a huge impact on the kind of impression you make.
Forty-seven percent of recipients base their decision to open your email on subject line alone, so it stands to reason that your email address can also have an outsized impact on open rates.
So while you may want an address like QueenOfTheRealm, HoppyBeerLover or SpoiledRotten123 for your personal predilections, save those for your personal email account. When you’re communicating with potential clients and current customers, it’s critical to have an email address that inspires confidence.
Best practices for picking the perfect professional email address
The best email addresses keep things simple. While using your name seems ideal, many simple first-last name combinations may have already been allocated to other digital users. Or, you may have a lengthy name or one that varies from traditional spelling formats, both of which can potentially create issues.
Keep things easy to remember
With so many people conducting business via the tiny screens of their mobile devices, misspelling an address is common, even if it’s something that would generally seem easy to spell correctly.
If you require your business contacts to remember something with a long string of letters and numbers, they may find it’s too difficult to contact you and move on to someone with an easier address.
Make it pronounceable
If you call or converse with someone and mention your email address, he or she should be able to accurately write or repeat the spelling of your username without having to ask you for clarification.
You’ll have to read your email address aloud often in business, so make sure it’s easy and doesn’t require a lot of explanation.
Choose a trustworthy domain
If you’re using an email service, Gmail is considered more up-to-date and relevant than AOL, for example – and this choice can color how recipients view your business. While there may be other great providers outside well-known ones like Gmail, it doesn’t do your business any favors to go with a technically-proficient platform that has an impossible-to-spell-or-remember name.
A personalized domain for your business can also be a good choice if you’re able to secure one. The same guidelines apply to creating your URL: make sure it’s memorable, spellable, and pronounceable.
We’ve pulled together a few ideas for email address combinations below. Take a look, then try out a few to see which one fits your business best:
If you’re in luck, your first and last name combination will be available. If it’s not, these other options might fit the bill:
1. First initial + last name = CWales
2. First name + middle name + last name (this one can be more effective for people who have chosen to make a name switch from a maiden name to a partner’s last name, because their maiden name may be more familiar/common) = CatherineMiddletonWales
3. First name + middle initial + last name = CatherineMWales
4. Nickname + last name (choose this if your nickname is common and professional; something like “Squee,” for example, is neither) = KateWales
5. Last name + first name (inverting keeps it simple and gives you additional options to find an address that works) = WalesCatherine
Overemphasizing your qualifications can be a bit touchy; too much emphasis on a specific title can seem obnoxious, and using industry-specific jargon can be hard to remember. However, in some situations, using a degree or title you’ve earned can make sense:
6. Job title + name (this works well when your job title is closely tied with your role, like a doctor or counselor) = DrSmith, ProfessorJones
7. Job title only = JavaDeveloper
8. Qualifications + name (this one fits if you’re working in a profession that’s closely tied with your qualification; if you have a qualification that is not well-known to the public, it can just look like alphabet soup when they review it) = RossGellarPhD
Feature your location
If your business is tied to a specific area or region, or if you’re a branch or franchise of a larger company, it can make sense to include your location in your email ID:
9. Name + city = ShawnSantaBarbara
10. Name + state = ShawnCalifornia
11. First name + company = ShawnPsych
12.Full name + company = ShawnSpencerPsych
13. Company + city = PsychSantaBarbara
Let form follow function
If you’re using your email address to attract inquiries on your website, it can make sense to set up an address that details exactly what they’re contacting you about. For example, a journalist may not be interested in emailing an address that sounds sales-y, while a typical customer probably wouldn’t understand why they’d need to connect with a PR manager:
14. Department = Sales
15. Role = MediaInquiries
16. General = Questions, Info
17. Name + Role (this can be a great option for personalizing the experience a bit more, but make sure to stick to the easy-to-spell-and-pronounce guidelines) = JimSales or AngelaAccounting
18. Community connection = Outreach, Sponsorship, Donations
19. Job searchers = Careers, WorkWithUs
Do something creative
If your brand has a unique niche, or if you use humor as a selling point, it can make sense to have an email address that’s a little more quirky and interesting.
However, if you choose to go this route, make sure the address you choose is on-brand for your business. If you’re selling a serious product like data security or life insurance, contacts that you’re cold emailing may not respond well to an address like “HackerStopper” or “PushingDaisies”:
20. Founder’s email (this doesn’t have to be monitored 24/7 by the founder, but can give the impression of availability and connectedness, with emails escalated up as appropriate) = BenandJerry, JeffCEO
21. Greeting = Hello, Howdy, Bonjour
22. Core value = Empathy
23. Company name + vision = ManpowerWinWork
24. Corporate Mascot = KeeblerElves, GEICOGecko
25. Play on words = MOOsletter
Once you have your perfect email address in place, don’t forget to set your display name. Choose something that makes sense to the person opening the email, like your name or a combination of your name and business name.
After that’s in place, you’re ready to start sending out those emails. Check out this list of great email subject lines to help you get started with moving your email campaign forward.
Did you choose your own email address? Which, if any, of the combinations above did you choose? Feel free to share in the comments: