Did you know that you can use Gmail for your business email?
Yep. For example, say your web site is abcde.com, and your email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can use Gmail to take care of sending and receiving all of your email for email@example.com. Sure, it’s not a Gmail address – but Gmail will still look after it for you anyway.
And best of all, it’s free…
Why Sticking With Your Web Host’s Email Service Is A Bad Idea
OK, so I have a feeling you’re probably wondering, “Why on earth would I use Gmail to look after all of my emails? My email is handled by my web hosting. Isn’t that good enough?”
In short, no.
Well, first you’ll need to know a little about how your email is handled…
If you’re like most small business owners, then your web site’s email gets sent and received via software installed on your web hosting space. The emails you send and receive also get stored there.
You may also have more than one email address. Maybe you check two of your web site’s email addresses, but you also have a personal Gmail address. That’s three email addresses that you have to login and out of.
So far, we’ve touched on four main areas:
- Email gets sent
- Email gets received
- Email gets stored
- Separate logins for separate email accounts
Let’s look at each one now…
Emails That Get Sent Via Your Web Hosting
Back in the caveman days of the internet, us ‘web surfers’ would have to use desktop software like ‘Outlook’ to download and upload our emails. It wasn’t in ‘real time’. And while software like this still does have its place, most of us now rely on checking our email online.
When you check your email on a website online (like Gmail, or Hotmail for example), it’s called ‘webmail’.
Clunky Email Dashboard?
If your email is handled by your web hosting space’s software, then the likelihood is that your webmail dashboard isn’t going to be that user-friendly.
Email takes up enough of our time as it is. If you’re going to make sure you’re as productive as you can be, then a fast and efficient webmail interface is a must.
- It’s very user-friendly.
- It’s clutter-free.
- It’s fast.
- It’s free.
And there’s a reason why it’s the most popular free webmail out there.
Emails That Get Received Via Your Web Hosting
Remember how I mentioned the importance of a fast and efficient webmail service? Something that will make you as productive as you can possibly be? Well, consider, my dear Owner, the massive problem of spam.
Those hundreds and thousands of unwanted emails from strangers who want to sell you Viagra, or who need your account details to send you lots of mysterious money (how kind of them).
If your web site is new, then you may be smiling to yourself, thinking, “I don’t get spam. I’m ok.”
If that’s you, then beware!
It’s just a matter of time.
If you want to get your email address out there (and you will), then it just needs to fall into the wrong hands just once for ‘spam doom’ to strike.
Spam can suck out your very soul. You surely have better things to do than wading through hundreds of emails every day in a vain attempt to pick out the few that merit your attention.
Stop Wading Through Spam!
Now, remember I was talking about that rather limited and clunky webmail system that your web site’s email is probably stuck with? Well, guess how good its spam filter is? Actually, you probably know already. How much time do you waste sifting through this mindless drivel?
Enter Gmail again.
Gmail has one of the most advanced spam filtering software in the world. And it’s free.
Worried that Gmail is filtering out things it shouldn’t? Simply go to your spam folder and mark the emails you want to keep as ‘not spam’.
Gmail will learn.
It’s that good.
But, (and, do I need to mention that we use Gmail for all my businesses?) you’ll quickly find that it rarely get’s it wrong. They’re kinda clever, those Google people.
Email That Gets Stored On Your Server
What’s one little email? Nothing to worry about, right?
Well, let’s add some attachments to that. Some files, some photos…
And, oh! Let’s add several hundreds of spam emails to that too.
Hmmm… all of a sudden you can imagine just how much space that innocent email inbox will take on your web hosting space.
What happens when your mailbox gets full?
Sorry. No more email.
That means you may miss emails. Important ones. Ones that may mean more business and income for you.
Definitely. Not. A. Good. Thing.
That’s just another reason to use Gmail to handle your business email.
Free up your web hosting space and prevent the dreaded ’email full’ return emails from creeping up on you.
At the time of writing this article, Gmail gives you 15GB free. That’s plenty to be getting on with. And once you near that limit you can always buy more storage space for a negligible amount.
How To Setup Gmail To Send And Receive Your Business Email
You can set Gmail to receive your email in two ways:
Don’t worry about what these mean for now. Just know that you have these two as options.
In a nutshell:
- Forwarding is simpler to do but it means you may not receive all of your emails. However it’s reliable if you’re forwarding one Gmail address to another.
- SMTP on the other hand, is far more reliable and it’s what we recommend to use for your business email. However it’s not quite as straight forward to set up, so you may need to ask your web host for help with configuration (although we have always managed easily, and we are not techies).
To add your email address via SMTP, click on the cog icon (settings) in Gmail. Then click the link shown below and configure:
Once you’ve configured the settings correctly, you’ll see this message:
You’ll need to login to your old webmail system and locate the confirmation email from Gmail. Click the link in that email, and you’ll be good to go. Gmail will now send and receive your business emails. 🙂
Separate Logins For Separate Email Accounts
I know I keep mentioning it but when it comes to your success (and sanity) it all comes down to productivity. As a small business owner you have a trillion things pulling you this way and that. So you need to be as efficient as possible, especially with your email.
Time spent logging in and out of email accounts is not efficient.
If you use Gmail in the way I’ve described above, you’ll just need to login once. All of the emails you receive will be at your fingertips – from all of your email inboxes. And you’ll be able to choose which email address you wish to reply from at a click of a button (or let Gmail do it automatically for you).
“Say what?”, I hear you ask.
Take a look at this cool setting here:
Cool Gmail Extras
Those are the basics but I’m just getting started!
Here are a few more things you can do with Gmail, that will help your working day run smoother:
Access to Google Drive:
- When you sign up for a free Gmail account, you get access to ‘Google Drive’ (also free). I like to call it my ‘mobile office’.
- Google Drive includes lots of nifty free software services and stores it all in Google’s ‘Cloud’
- I especially love Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets. While Google Docs and Spreadsheets has a more limited functionality than Microsoft Word and Excel (but, btw, does everything I every need), the collaborative aspect is amazing, especially considering it’s all in real-time.
Share Documents and Spreadsheets With Your Colleagues
- Set whether they can view or edit them.
- Talk to them via an instant messaging window in the sidebar if you’re both online at the same time.
- Has someone deleted something important? Not to worry – Google saves revisions so you can literally go back to a previous version at a click of a button.
Organize Your Emails With Labels And Filters
- You can ‘tag’ different emails (which Gmail calls ‘labels’) based on who sent the email to you, when it was sent, the words the email includes.
- You can then use ‘filters’ to automate how and when an email show be labelled.
- Indeed, labels and filters provide so many different ways to organize your emails, the mind boggles.
Google Labs is a place where you can opt to include free ‘addons’. Ultimately, these add-ons increase the functionality of Gmail, but since not everyone wants them, they’re listed here. There are some seriously cool things you can do with Google Labs. A couple of my favourites:
Canned Responses – If you find yourself typing the same thing again and again, just save it as a canned response. From then on it will be there at a click of a button.
Undo Send – Possibly my favourite from Labs. It gives you a few seconds after pressing send, to cancel. Great if you spot a typo at the last second or realize you’ve got the wrong email address!
Boomerang for Gmail
Boomerang is possibly one of the most useful features of all. This software service acts as an ‘add-on’ to Gmail (and it’s free for the first 10 messages per month).
It lets you control when you send your gmail (you can schedule emails to go out in advance). Check out Boomerang’s 50 second how-to videos on YouTube to get a better idea of what Boomerang can do for you.
What I love the most though is that you can set Boomerang to show you the email again if you haven’t heard from someone within a certain period of time (which you specify).
It acts like your virtual Personal Assistant, reminding you to follow up with emails that haven’t been replied to. That frees your mind up from worrying about whether you’ve dropped any balls (since you’re juggling so many as a small business owner)!
Gmail is far, far more than just ‘a free email address’. Think of it as advanced email software service that lets you access and organize your email online in real time.
And it’s owned by Google who has data centres all over the world and the fastest, most reliable servers you can imagine.
Thanks to its superior, inbuilt spam software, you won’t need to wade through hundreds of unnecessary spammy emails. All the important emails will be right there.
And with it’s advanced labelling and filtering system, Google Spreadsheets, Google Docs, apps such as Boomerang for Gmail, Google Labs, canned responses, and a ton of other apps and integrations, your email productivity will go through the roof.
All of that.
So go forth, Owners! Go forth, and use Gmail. 😉
Note: for those of you thinking you are too big for Gmail, they have Google Apps (we use this in my fire protection business and you would never know) and it only costs $50 (£33 in UK) per user per year. Even the BBC use it – along with 5 million other businesses.
Sorry, access to this special content
is for ‘Owners’ only
Owners log in
Not a member of
the Owners Club yet?