Let’s start by laying our cards on the table. This is not a quiet article offering an objective view of the pros and cons of different choices in business. It is a plea for any business owner who has not yet bought your own domain name to cough up the few dollars it takes and start looking truly professional.
There are good reasons that larger businesses register their own domain names; such as microsoft.com, and that’s to protect brand identity and intellectual property.
What is a domain name?
A domain is a unique name that appears after the @ sign in email addresses, and after www. in web addresses. It typically takes the form of your organization’s name and a standard Internet suffix, such as yourbusiness.com or stateuniversity.edu.
Why have a domain name?
Using a custom domain like “firstname.lastname@example.org” with Office 365 can help build credibility and recognition for your brand.
Your customers and prospects will see your name with every email. This helps to keep you front-of-mind and it makes you easy to find if they want to engage with you.
We know that as a business franchisor, you’ll almost certainly have registered your own domain name. But many franchisees never do and operate with a generic Gmail-type email address.
That doesn’t support their business, and nor is it good for the franchisor.
One obvious impact that it has the business look less professional. Let’s say you’re looking for someone to clean your house once a week, and you see two local businesses. One has the email address email@example.com, while the other has firstname.lastname@example.org. Which one are you more likely to contact?
Tracy at Professional Cleaning’s advantage becomes even more obvious when you then visit her website. She’s a local franchise operation, but one with her own local domain name and website. That tells you that she’s someone who’s professional in her own right, and also well supported by her franchisor.
Why set up your domain in Office 365?
A second impact of not having a business domain name is the lost opportunity to use Office 365 for business class email.
Office 365 syncs emails, calendars, and contact information across your devices in real time. It allows people to share calendars, so franchise operators can delegate booking appointments to someone else.
Office 365 can turbo charge email marketing by allowing image-rich emails and messages up to 150 MB in size. It supports franchisors in supporting their franchisees with centrally created campaigns that can be customised at a local level.
So why don’t all franchisees register a business domain name?
More often than not, they don’t know how to do it and where to start. To make things easy and straightforward, we’ve put together this helpful web page or you can watch this video for step-by-step instructions.
One hesitation we hear is that if you change your email address, there’s a chance some people will still keep using your old one. The good news is that you can keep your old Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, Xtra or other free email and have emails that are sent there redirected to your new one. Here’s a guide to doing this in Gmail.