Email is one of the most powerful tools your company can have. It is used to communicate and store files. We use email as evidence that we have sent a document and evidence that we have sent and received email. We even use email for marketing and yet some companies place so little value on it.
For those of you who are not technical here are a few terms that you may or may not be familiar with.
Email Client: this is the software that your email is viewed on such as Microsoft Outlook, Thunderbird, Entourage or any other software that receives email.
Email server: This is the place where email is sent before it gets to the email client. So, if you have a company called xyz.com and your email address was firstname.lastname@example.org, when I send you an email, the email arrives at your email server and waits until your email client (software) connects to the server and draws down the email.
Read further down to understand about POP, POP3, IMAP and Microsoft Exchange.
Email protocols: POP also known as pop3 stands for Post Office Protocol. This is the simplest and cheapest form of email because it usually comes free with your website hosting. The way that this works is that (if you were using Outlook) Outlook would go out to your website and pull down your emails on to your computer. The emails then sit on your computer on what is called a PST file. There are limitations to this type of email. For example, all your email is stored on your computer. There are ways to configure your email client to leave a copy on the mail server but this can be a pain if you need to reinstall your email account because it will push all your old email back again, so you could have thousands of emails that you have already read back on your machine. You are also limited to only using one device to connect and send email at any one time. If you send an email from your iphone or blackberry you won’t see it in your Outlook client. I try to discourage people from using this type of email but not everyone gets the message.
IMAP also know as Internet Message Access Protocol. This is a very easy way to protect your email. With IMAP you have email on your email client as well as the server. The client works with the server so that as you read an email it is shown as read. You can use as many devices as you like. If you send an email from your iPhone or Blackberry it appears in your sent folder on all your devices. IMAP is an easy way to protect your email and have it available on all your devices.
Microsoft Exchange also known as Exchange is the preferred method of email solution for all major corporations. Microsoft Exchange works very much like IMAP with added features. Unlike IMAP, Exchange has a calendar that can be shared across the company. you can have a list of contacts called a global address book that everyone has access to. You can schedule meetings with people with your organisation and the meetings will go straight into your calendar. And, should you have an iPhone or Blackberry, your contacts and calendar get pushed to your device, so you know who you are meeting and when. Microsoft Exchange is what everyone should have but not everyone wants to pay for the services. That said you can buy Microsoft Exchange from as little as £6.99 per month plus VAT. But here is a warning. There are many wannabe IT hosting companies out there. They all make the promises that they’ll be there when it goes wrong. But in my experience you always get what you pay for and if you go for the cheapest option, well you know what I mean!
Avoid using these:
Long email addresses. The problem with a long email address is that as someone types it into the email field there are many opportunities for them to type the wrong letter so try and keep your email address short and simple.
Do not use any Free email facilities as your business you email such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or hotmail. Email addresses like these put people off doing business with you. Just take a moment and imagine if you were receiving your bank statements email@example.com it just doesn’t look right so, if you have a website and a company name it is always best to have an email address that matches your website or business. (anything else looks dodgy)
If you would like to know more about email, how it works and perhaps what you should be using as a business please call me. And as always, if you have enjoyed reading this please leave feedback