Business email providers offer features and resources above and beyond those often found in personal email offerings. How do you pick the best business email service for your needs? With thousands of email providers competing for your business and endless offers of free this or unlimited that, the casual email user is usually tempted to go the free email route.
When email plays a business role, cost shouldn't be the only deciding factor.
There can be a money-saving advantage to starting with the cheap or free email plan, but problems with such plans might include lack of storage, too much spam, and blocked or undelivered emails.
Before selecting an email plan, evaluate your current needs and consider future requirements — like if your business grows. Think about how many additional email addresses you might need, and whether a personalized email address will benefit branding and marketing efforts.
There are many considerations when choosing an email plan — and it can be a difficult decision even for experienced email users. But fear not, we're here to help!
Which email plan is right for you?
Let's first consider the four main types of email plans:
You can get a free email account practically anywhere. But, you need to consider, does this particular free email account meet your needs and will it grow with your goals? If you just want an email address to put in forms when filling out an application, or just want to have an account to access occasional email communications, then you're probably fine. However, if you need anything more than that... if you want a regular channel of communication for friends, family, or more importantly, business purposes, chances are, a basic free email account will not work for you.
A personalized email address is actually not that pricey. Often, you can get a free personal email account when you register a domain or get a hosting account. Most companies out there throw in a small personal email account when you buy other services. With personal email, you can set up your email address to use your domain name.
For example, if your domain name is coolexample.com, your email address can be firstname.lastname@example.org. This is particularly handy when your domain name is your business name.
While you can use a personal email account for business, once your business starts growing, you will want to consider moving up to a business-class email account. This will give you additional email addresses that you can use for employees or various departments of your company. For example, you can have an email address for email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com.
With a business-class email account, you can also more easily separate your business communications from your personal communications.
Hosted exchange email
When email isn't enough, there's hosted exchange email, which is intended for business use and helps employees collaborate, communicate and organize. Hosted exchange is not only email; it also includes a calendar and online collaboration tools. The cost is a little more, but the benefit and increased productivity your business experiences from using hosted exchange definitely outweighs the price.
Where will you be in five years?
So, now that you know a little about the different types of email plans, you need to decide what kind of email user you are.
- Are you using your email only for occasional personal communication?
- Are you using your email for business communications?
- Do you have employees who also need email? Is your business growing and expanding?
- Do you need productivity tools for collaboration?
The good news is, you can generally upgrade or downgrade your email plan with most business email providers. So, don't feel like you're going to be stuck if you pick the wrong one. Make a decision and go with it. Then, if you find it's too much or too little, adjust.