A professional e-mail address helps you succeed in business

In business, having a dedicated e-mail address is vital. And an address that uses your own domain name gives you a better chance of success than, say, a Gmail or Hotmail address. Job applicants who use own-domain addresses also make a positive impression on prospective employers, boosting their chances of being appointed. Those are the conclusions of our recent study of e-mail use by businesses and self-employed professionals.

Mini-survey of businesspeople

At the end of May, we did a mini-survey to gather data on e-mail use by businesspeople. Questionnaires were sent to members of the SIDN Panel and others. A total of 141 businesspeople and professionals answered the questions.

An own-domain business e-mail address carries weight

From the responses, it was striking how much importance people attach to business e-mail. No fewer than 88 per cent of respondents said it was important or very important to their activities. A sizeable majority (67 per cent) reported using their own .nl domain name for business mail. The most commonly cited reason for doing so was to project a professional, unambiguously Dutch image.

Gmail and Hotmail unpopular for business mail

A small proportion (5 per cent) said that they used a Gmail or Hotmail address for business. Hardly any used an address based on their internet service provider's domain (e.g. @ziggo.nl). Those that did were motivated mainly by convenience. They typically already had the address or thought it was too much trouble to create an address based on their own domain name.

Professional addresses are taken more seriously

According to our research, however, businesspeople who take the convenient option are doing themselves no favours. The findings indicate that a professional .nl address makes a positive impression and is taken more seriously. Particularly where job applications and tenders are concerned. Three quarters of respondents said that a tender from tender@businessname.nl made the best impression, for example. Only 3 per cent would have confidence in an identical tender from businessname@gmail.com. A job application from someone with their own .nl domain would also be viewed more positively. Half of respondents said an own-domain address made the best impression, compared with just 9 per cent who would prefer an applicant with a Gmail address. One in three respondents had no preference.

Grafiek offerte aannemersbedrijf EN

Q: Suppose that your business gets several tenders for building work that you need doing. Which tendering business would make the best impression on you? (n=98)

Setting up an own-domain address is easy

One final finding of note is that respondents generally thought that setting up own-domain e-mail addresses was straightforward. Two thirds of those who had set up their own addresses rated the process easy or very easy. Fewer than 4 per cent felt it was difficult. In other words, using a domain of your own for business e-mail doesn't have to involve a lot of time or trouble. And the results of our survey show that an own-domain address is very worthwhile, because of the professional image it projects and the positive impression it makes.

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