You can’t call yourself a professional and still use that old free email address. You know, the one that ends in @gmail.com, yahoo.com, or going even further back in time, hotmail.com. Sure, you could use this, but it’s a surefire way to look unprofessional to your potential customers. Whether you’re looking to maintain a professional image for sending out resumes, displaying on your blog, or for your business and its staff, a professional email address is a must-have.
Pro tip: Having a custom email domain is key to a professional-looking email address. Don’t make the mistake of paying for a domain name when you will likely be eligible to get one for free through a plan or provider you’re already using. Learn how to get a free domain and set up your business email.
Using Full Names Only
The most common email address format is to use the owner of the email address’ name. This may be the first name only, the last name only, or both first and last.
Easy to remember
Not ideal for businesses with a larger staff
1. First Name Only
The first name only email address is a good format for bloggers and solopreneurs. It comes off as more friendly than last name only and is also more memorable. However, it’s not a great choice if you’re a growing business because you’ll likely end up having employees with the same name.
2. Last Name Only
The last name only email address format is a good choice for small businesses looking to give off a more professional impression. For example, this could be ideal for a small law firm with only a handful of staff members. Like the first-name-only format, it’s not a great choice for growing businesses because you’ll likely wind up with staff with last names in common.
3. First & Last Name
The first and last name email is very identifiable, though it can also get long. For example, if your name is Elizabeth Thompson, then your email address will be pretty long. And the longer it is, the more likely people are to misspell it by accident.
Combining Initials With Names
One of the best—and therefore most common—professional email formats for business is to use a combination of names and initials. Unlike using full names, combining initials with either a user’s first or last name helps to reduce the likelihood of having multiple people with the same email within a business.
Good for businesses with multiple staff
Increases user privacy
4. Initial of First Name & Last Name
The first way to format this is by putting a user’s first initial first. Whether to use the period between will come down to personal preference, though it can be wise to use one as some last names may blend with an initial to create a new word, which can look strange. By the way, most email services will treat the name, be it with or without the period, the same, meaning if someone forgets, you’ll still receive their email.
5. Last Name & Initial of First Name: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Same as the previous professional email address idea, you may also want to use the last name with the first initial after. This is better for large organizations that manage users by their last names, as opposed to first.
In some cases, organizations may choose to shorten names in order to ensure email addresses do not exceed a certain number of characters. This is especially common among very large organizations, such as universities. However, it’s not recommended for small businesses as they’re not as memorable and can lend to more typos when others type your email address.
Difficult to remember
Keeps email addresses short
Increases the chances of someone misspelling your email
6. First Initial, Middle Initial & First Four Letters of the Last Name
You can use any combination or number of characters. In the example above, we used the first and middle initials followed by the first four letters of the user’s last name. However, you can choose to use any combination of initials and any number of characters.
Using Keywords or Identifiers
Another professional email address idea is to use keywords or identifiers within the address. For example, you could add a user’s degree (e.g., md or jd), position or department (e.g., sales or CPA), or even location for businesses with multiple locations.
Offers the ability to use the first name
May need to update email addresses
Easily organize by department or location
7. Name & Department
Combining a user’s name with their job title is another professional email address idea. While it’s not a commonly used email format, it could be a unique choice for small businesses that have a number of different departments in client-facing positions. For example, a digital marketing agency could use this email format if their clients are in contact with a number of people, such as a sales rep, a web designer, and an SEO strategist.
8. Name & Title
In some cases, you could go even further and instead of including a user’s department in their email address, you could use their job title or position. For example, an accounting firm might include CPA, assistant, and tax manager to differentiate between users so that clients can easily identify who they’re speaking to without remembering their role. Of course, the trouble with this is that if staff move into different roles, you’ll need to update their email address.
9. Name & Degree or Certification
Similar to including the job title within an email address, in many cases, the better way is to include the user’s degree or certification. For example, including M.D. (doctor of medicine) or J.D. (Juris doctor) indicates a user’s job title without directly stating a specific position, which may change over time.
10. Name & Location
If your business has multiple locations, you may want to consider identifying a user’s location within their email address. Keep in mind this is not a good username format if your locations are close together and staff often work at different locations.
Using Generic Inbox Names
If you’re creating a professional email address to publicly display on your website, it’s a good idea to create a generic email address. For example, you may use email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to display on your contact page. It helps reduce spam to your personal inbox, and it also helps businesses with teams managing one inbox, such as, say, customer service.
Ideal for team inboxes
Must manage a separate inbox
Keeps personal email addresses private
Pro tip: If you have multiple people managing one team inbox, it can become a headache. To help automatically delegate incoming emails, use a tool such as Front. In addition, many customer relationship management (CRM) tools allow you to connect a generic email address that can then be assigned to various sales or support reps, making it easier for your team to access.
11. Generic Contact Inbox
Every website should include contact information. However, you may not want your personal or direct email address displayed on your site. To safeguard your email, use a generic contact email address.
12. Generic Customer Support Inbox
The same goes for a customer service inbox. Give your website visitors direct access to your customer service team by providing a support-specific inbox.
13. Generic Returns Inbox: email@example.com
Those that sell online should also consider creating a return inbox. While many businesses still use a generic customer service inbox for returns processing, separating the two will help you provide better service to all of your customers.
14. Generic Sales Inbox
Sales are key for businesses, and directing your potential customers to a generic contact inbox is a fast way to make them feel as though they’re not getting a good customer experience. Instead, let your potential customers know they’re going to get the assistance they’re looking for by providing a sales-specific inbox.
15. Generic Human Resources Inbox: firstname.lastname@example.org
Businesses with a human resources team or those that simply accept job applications online should consider creating a generic human resource inbox, such as email@example.com. It will help your business look more professional and credible, which can help instill confidence in qualified applicants.
Pro tip: If you’re interested in creating generic email inboxes to display on your website, but you’re on a very tight budget, use an email forwarder instead. Most email service providers offer free email forwarding where you can set up what looks like a normal email address, which actually automatically forwards to your personal email inbox.
Tips for Choosing a Professional Email Address
No matter whether you’re a blogger, a professional freelancer, or a business, there are a few things you always need to have when creating a professional email address. For example, you absolutely must have your own domain name. You should also try to keep your username formats short, memorable, and easy to organize.
- Always use your own domain
- Keep it short
- Make it easy to organize
- Consider the size of your business when choosing a username format
Be sure to follow these three rules when choosing a professional email address.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I set up a business email address?
To set up a business email address, you’ll first need to get a domain name. You can get this from a domain name registrar, such as GoDaddy or Hover. Or, if you plan to use WordPress to build your website, you can get a free domain through a web hosting provider, such as DreamHost. Then, choose an email service provider, connect your domain, and choose your username. Get the step-by-step instructions on how to create a custom email address.
Is it possible to get a free business email address?
Yes, there are a few different ways to get a free business email address. For example, if you already have a domain name, you can get up to five free business email addresses through Zoho Mail. If you don’t have a domain name yet and plan to build a site with WordPress, then you will be able to get a free business email with a web hosting plan, such as with DreamHost. Learn how to get a free business email address.
What is the best domain name registrar?
With so many domain name registrars, it can be difficult to choose which is the best to use. The best registrars are those that are not only the most affordable, but those that also offer a number of domain name extensions, a user-friendly interface, and extras like domain name privacy. The best overall include Namecheap, Hover, GoDaddy, and 1&1 IONOS. For help deciding which is right for you, check out the complete breakdown of the best domain name registrars.
Is domain name privacy worth it?
For most, domain name privacy is money well spent. The reason being is that without domain name privacy, the contact information you used to register your domain name will be available publicly on the internet. What this means is that you’ll be susceptible to a great deal of spam, and potentially worse, security issues. To decide whether it’s worth it for you, learn more about domain name privacy.