If I had a pound for every time I have had the conversation about emails for business over the last 5-6 years, I would have made a lot more money out of those conversations than I would out of providing the service itself. That’s not because we don’t charge enough for it, it’s because we don’t offer it as a service at all. In fact, without exception, we entirely recommend the service that google now call “Google Apps for Work”
What’s the difference between business and personal email?
When you set up a business, it’s important to look legit. This is especially important when it comes to communications. And since these days a large volume of communication is done via email, it is important that emails look legitimate. An email from [email protected] (not an email address, so don’t use it!) wouldn’t look as legitimate as an email from [email protected] or [email protected]
For personal emails it might not bother you that you are effectively advertising BT or gmail etc with every email you send, but with a business email, you should be advertising yourself via your own business domain.
There are of course hundreds of providers of email services that will allow you to send emails from an email address that contains your own domain name. If fact, the company who sold you the domain will very likely offer the service. The problem is, just because they offer it, doesn’t mean it is going to be any good or indeed very easy to set up.
Google Apps for Work
Google apps for work, on the other hand, is very easy to set up – it comes with a step by step guide that’s almost fool proof. And not only that, since it is based on the gmail interface, it is also very easy to use. Being a cloud based service it also means you can access it from any computer anywhere in the world, even if you use it for gaming or read news about Overwatch online.
Google apps for work isn’t just an email service provider. It also offers a calendar, contacts management, access to google+ and hangouts (which is a little like skype, but works). It also offers online file storage, collaborative online word processing, spreadsheet software, presentation making software and quite a bit more. It also means you can be signed up to google analytics and webmaster tools with your work email which keeping all the google related tools you might need to use for your business all under one login.
Another distinct advantage is it’s popularity. Being a very popular service means there is an increased level of integration with third parties. Or moreover, the level of integration third parties offer with it is higher.
To start with, it’s integrated into devices like the iPhone. This means there is no need for messing around with pop3 and smtp – and all that stuff that no one really understands – in the way you would need to with a small unheard of service provider.
With Google, on an iPhone or iPad you just click the google link, enter your name, email and password and it does the rest for you. And that’s with the Apple gear I use – I can only imagine how well it must integrate with Android kit!?
There are also plenty of other integrations that might not come to mind until you start using it. A good example of this is how well our CRM integrates with it. We use a CRM called Capsule. It’s a nice simple product that best fit our needs when we started using it a few years back. Unfortunately, one of the things that bugged me was how tedious it was copying and pasting email addresses and contact from emails into it. Thankfully, capsule decided to do something about this. Now, when someone emails me, just below their email in the google email interface, there is a series of options for adding details to capsule. If a new or prospective client emails me, I click a button or two in the google interface and their details are sent to the CRM. The CRM then send those details back to my Google contact list, which then automatically syncs with my mobile phone. Not only this, but since Google and Capsule offer team services for my whole company, those contact details are also synced to everyone else in the office’s contact list, and even Greg’s mobile phone too.
Ok, Ok, we are into some pretty geeky levels of integrations here, but actually its all down to the popularity of Google’s service, and how many third parties support it.
Keeping your eggs in separate baskets
Using an email service provider that differs from your web hosting provider comes with a couple of distinct technical advantages too. For a start, if – as occasionally happens – your web hosting temporarily fails, you website will temporarily fail to work. If your email service is held elsewhere, when your website is down, your emails won’t be. Not only that, but in the 5-6 years of using google, it hasn’t ever gone down on me. There are very few things I have been using daily for 5-6 years that I can say have worked flawlessly!
It also gives you freedom to move other services to different providers with less fuss. So, if you want to move web hosting or your domain to a different domain registrar, whilst there will be a very brief impact on the email service, you won’t have to go through any hassle of migrating old emails. If you have never migrated emails, you won’t know what that means, but trust me, it can be a pain.
So, why am I telling you all this?
Firstly, I have been meaning to write a post to point people at when they ask me about email for a while. I spend so much time talking about it I thought I would save myself from having to hear myself say it over and over again.
Also, on an even more selfish note, Google have just launched a referral scheme meaning that for anyone who signs up on my advice, Google will give me a tenner.
So, if you would like to use Google apps for work, and you would like Google to give me a tenner then please follow this link to sign up – http://goo.gl/XhUAu5 – and if you get stuck, give me a shout!