This article is part of a larger series on Business Email.
A professional email address is one that does not end in a generic address like @gmail.com, yahoo.com, or going even further back in time, hotmail.com. However, when it comes to creating email addresses for your business that others will take seriously, what you specify in front of the @ sign is just as important as what follows it. We put together the best professional email address ideas, examples, and format options to help make the creation process simple.
Keep in mind that before you can set up a professional email address (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org), you need to get your own custom domain name (e.g., yourbusiness.com). Check out the legit ways to get a free email domain.
Here are the five best professional email address ideas and examples to guide you as you decide on a format for business email:
1. Using Full Names Only
The most common email address format is to use the name of the individual who will be using the email address. This may be the first name only, the last name only, or both first and last.
|Memorable||Not ideal for businesses with a larger staff|
First Name Only
The first-name-only email address is a good format for bloggers and solopreneurs. It comes off as more personal than last name only and is easy to remember. However, it’s not a good idea if your business is growing because over time, you’ll likely end up having employees with the same first name.
Here are a few examples of first-name-only email address ideas:
Keep in mind that if you go with the first-name-only format, you’ll also need to decide whether you will use legal names, nicknames, or your team member’s preferred name. If you have more than one team member with the same first name, you’ll need to modify your format in some way, such as by adding the initial of a last name.
Last Name Only
The last-name-only email address format is a good choice for small businesses looking to promote a more formal or professional image. For example, this could be ideal for a small law firm. Like the first-name-only format, it’s not a great choice for growing businesses because as your company grows, you become more likely to wind up with staff with last names in common.
Here are a few examples of last name-only email addresses:
One downside of using last names (aka surnames) is that some surnames are more difficult to spell or recognize. They may be harder to remember and more susceptible to spelling errors and bounced emails.
First & Last Name
The first and last name email address format is very identifiable, though it can also get long. For example, if your name is Elizabeth Thompson, your email address will be pretty long. And the longer it is, the more likely people are to misspell it by accident.
Here are a few email examples using first and last names:
One downfall of this format is that the email address can get very long for those who have lengthy first and last names. In addition, if one or both names have a non-traditional spelling, they are more likely to end up being misspelled, resulting in bounced emails and missed messages.
2. Combining Initials With Names
One of the best—and therefore most common—professional email address ideas for business is to use a combination of names and initials in the email ID. Unlike using full names, combining initials with either a user’s first or last name reduces the likelihood of having multiple people needing the same email address within a business.
|Good for businesses with multiple staff||Less memorable|
|Increases user privacy||Can be confusing|
Initial of First Name & Last Name
The first way to format this type of email address is by putting the user’s first initial first. Whether to use a period between the initial and last name comes down to personal preference, though it can be wise. The last name preceded by an initial may seem like a new word, which can look strange. By the way, most email services treat the name the same with or without the period, meaning if someone forgets to include it, the intended recipient will still get the email.
Here are a couple of professional email examples using the initial from the first name plus the last name:
Last Name & Initial of First Name
Similarly to the previous professional email address idea, you may also want to use the email account owner’s last name followed by their first initial. This is better for large organizations that routinely manage users by last names, as opposed to first.
Here are two examples of professional email address ideas using the last name followed by the first initial:
3. Shortening Names
In some cases, organizations may abbreviate or shorten names in order to ensure email addresses don’t exceed a specified character limit. This is especially common in very large organizations, such as universities. However, it’s not recommended for small businesses. These types of professional email addresses are not easy to remember and are more likely to result in typos.
|Increases security||Difficult to remember|
|Keeps email addresses short||Increases the chances of someone misspelling your email|
First Initial, Middle Initial & First Four Letters of the Last Name
You can use any combination or number of characters to create a shortened-name professional email address. In the example above, we used the email account owner’s first and middle initials followed by the first four letters of their last name. However, you can use any combination of initials and any number of characters that make sense for your business.
Here are two examples of using the first and middle initials, plus the first four letters of a last name to make a professional email address:
This is an example of an email address idea that is best suited for very large companies. This structure is not recommended for a small business as it can be confusing. The addresses are not very memorable, and are more likely to be misspelled and result in errors.
4. 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 professional degree (e.g., MD, DDS, or JD), position or department (e.g., sales or CPA), or even location, such as a city 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|
Name & Department
Combining a user’s name with their job title, while not the most common email format, could be a unique choice when choosing a professional email format for a business that has multiple 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, account manager, web designer, graphic designer, and a search engine optimization (SEO) strategist.
Here are a few examples of professional email address ideas using a first name and department:
While this email format provides a good way for customers to identify the person as well as the department they’re communicating with (as opposed to using a generic department inbox, such as email@example.com), it’s generally advisable to avoid it. This format essentially locks team members into departments, which is problematic when individuals change roles within a business.
Name & Title
Similar, but 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 add CPA, assistant, and tax manager designations to email addresses. This differentiates users so that clients can easily identify whether they are communicating with the right person and role in a business. The downside is that if staff move into different roles, you’ll need to update their email address.
Here are a few examples of using name plus title:
Again, similar to using a department, using a title can pose problems when a staff member changes roles. These types of professional email addresses are also harder to remember, which may result in errors.
Name & Degree or Certification
Just as with the idea of including the job title or a department within an email address, another option is to include the user’s professional degree or certification. For example, including MD (Doctor of Medicine) or JD (Juris Doctor) indicates a user’s job type without directly stating their specific job title, which may change over time.
Here are a few ideas showing how to use a name plus a professional degree in email addresses:
This email address idea should be limited to those with degrees that clearly reflect their career. For example, it works in the medical field, but it wouldn’t work well for individuals holding degrees such as bachelor’s or master’s degrees, which don’t indicate a job type or role, and which are far more common.
Name & Location
If your business has multiple locations, you could add the user’s location to their email address as an identifying and distinguishing keyword. Keep in mind that this is not a good email format idea if your locations are close together and staff often work at multiple locations. As with department or title identifiers, it’s also problematic when team members transfer to a different location.
Here are some examples of professional email address ideas using a name variant plus a location:
This format should be used sparingly and reserved for businesses with multiple locations, especially if the locations are meaningful to your customers. If a team member transfers to a different location or works at multiple locations, it could create confusion and result in errors.
5. Using Generic Email Inbox Addresses
If you need to make a professional email address to publicly display on your website, it’s a good idea to create a generic email address. Examples of generic email addresses appropriate for use on website contact pages and other mass marketing collateral include firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. It reduces the probability of getting spam sent to your primary inbox and works for businesses with teams that need a shared inbox, like customer service or sales.
|Ideal for team inboxes||Must manage a separate inbox|
|Keeps personal email addresses private|
Pro tip: When multiple people manage one team inbox, it can become a headache. To automatically delegate incoming emails, use a tool like Front. Many customer relationship management (CRM) tools also enable you to set up a generic email address and assign it to various sales or support reps, making it easier for your team to access.
Generic Contact Email Inbox
Every business website should include contact information. However, you may not want your primary business email address displayed on your website and other mass-distributed marketing materials. To safeguard your email and reduce incoming spam, use a generic contact email inbox that can be accessed individually or automatically forwarded to one or more members on your team.
Here are a few examples of generic email addresses:
Generic Customer Support Email Inbox
It’s common for customer service teams to share access to incoming messages using a shared customer service email inbox. Give your customers direct access to technical support and your customer service team by providing a support-specific generic customer support email address.
Here are a few ideas for generic customer support inbox email addresses:
Generic Returns Email Inbox
Businesses that sell online should also consider creating a generic company email address for returns and requests for refunds or exchanges. Many businesses use a single generic customer service inbox for returns as well as other types of customer issues. However, separating the two inboxes enables you to more efficiently service your customers and escalate cases needing additional customer care.
Here are two examples of generic return inbox email addresses:
Generic Sales Email Inbox
Directing potential customers to a company-wide generic contact email address could easily make them feel their business is not valued and that they are not getting a good customer experience. Instead, direct potential customers to the help and assistance they want by providing a sales-specific generic email address.
Here are two examples of generic sales inbox addresses:
Generic Human Resources Email Inbox
Businesses that accept job applications online should create a generic human resource inbox email address, such as firstname.lastname@example.org. It gives your business a more professional image and makes it look more credible to candidates, which instills confidence and connects qualified applicants with your hiring team more efficiently.
Here are a few examples of generic human resources inbox addresses:
Pro tip: If you’re interested in creating generic email addresses 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 an email address that automatically forwards to your primary email inbox.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I set up a business email address?
If you’re planning to build your business website on WordPress, you can get a free domain through a WordPress web hosting provider, such as DreamHost. Then, choose an email service provider, connect your domain, and choose your username. Get step-by-step instructions for 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 using WordPress, you can get a free business email with the purchase of 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 know which is the best to use. The best domain registrars are not only affordable, but also offer a number of domain name extensions (such as .com, .org, .store, or .io), provide a user-friendly interface, and include extras like domain name privacy.
Some of the most popular and best domain registrars are Namecheap, Hover, GoDaddy, and 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 businesses, domain name privacy is money well spent. Without domain registration privacy, the contact information used to register your domain name is available publicly on the internet. This is likely to result in getting a great deal of spam, and potentially worse, website security issues.
Use these professional email address ideas to decide on a format and set up your business email. While it’s common to use first or last names, it’s worth considering what your business needs now and in the future. After choosing the best format for professional email addresses, it’s easy to set them up through an ultra-affordable and reliable email service provider like IONOS, which offers business email hosting for just $1 per user, per month.