Is an unprofessional e-mail address holding you back? It’s a common refrain for job seekers, as unprofessional e-mail addresses on resumes can make prospective employers think twice about hiring them. But did you know that it can have the same effect on prospective customers seeking local service providers? An unprofessional e-mail address might convince them not to do business with you. At the same time, Google has rolled out new procedures for claiming business listings that require business owners to have e-mail addresses with corporate domains. Without one, the process is much more time-consuming and complicated. That means a professional e-mail address won’t just help you attract new customers—it will also streamline your online advertising efforts with Google. You might not have given your e-mail address much thought up until now, but it could make a world of difference for your business.
Have an Easier Time Dealing With Google
First, let’s discuss the new Google policies that make this upgrade a little more urgent. Google has changed how they let you claim a listing. It used to be that when you had an advertiser trying to claim a listing on your behalf, Google would automatically call you for verification. Now, however, Google requests verification from you (the business owner) via e-mail (unless otherwise prompted by a phone call from your advertiser). But it can’t just be any e-mail: Google needs to receive an e-mail stating that you authorize “X” company to manage your listing, and this e-mail must come from an address on a corporate domain.
What’s a Corporate Domain Anyway?
What do we mean by “corporate domain”? Well, a domain is what a user types into their browser in order to visit a specific website. It usually ends with “.com,” “.gov,” “.org,” “.net,” etc. So, a corporate domain is a domain that contains a given business’s name. For example, Bob’s Appliance’s corporate domain would be “bobsappliance.com” or something similar. Thus, Google would want to see an e-mail from “firstname.lastname@example.org” when authorizing a third party to claim and/or manage that company’s listing. This is a way for Google to safeguard against spam: An e-mail from a corporate domain proves that an actual owner or employee of the business is the one e-mailing them. It’s not impossible to claim a listing or transition management without a corporate domain, but it’s a longer and more convoluted process involving a lot of back-and-forth phone calls. You’ll have a much faster resolution with Google if you can simply e-mail them from a business domain. This is an especially important point if you’re switching or planning on switching SEO providers.
What to Do:
- Set up at least one e-mail address on your domain that you can send e-mails from to prove that it’s you when you’re claiming or verifying your listing. Google wants to talk to you and wants to know that it’s you.
- Always maintain ownership of your listing and just make your advertiser the manager. This way, Google will always know that you’re the verified owner.
Don’t have your own corporate domain? Not sure how to get one? Talk to your advertiser. Most advertisers will be able to provide you with one; if not, they’ll be able to point you toward the correct resources. Either way, you’ll need to coordinate with your advertiser before creating a new domain. And if your advertiser has already built and optimized a website for you (like Prospect Genius’s LeadTrax™ sites), you can still register your own domain and have your advertiser connect the two. If you’re doing it all yourself, here’s a good place to start.
Make Yourself More Attractive to Customers
Now let’s look at this from a marketing standpoint. Pretend you’re a local homeowner looking to hire an appliance repairman to fix your fridge. When presented with these two e-mail addresses, which one would you choose to contact for the job?
Most homeowners would choose the second one, as it appears much more legitimate. Even if it’s only a one-man operation, an e-mail address from “bobsappliance.com” makes the business look much bigger. That’s what prospective customers want to see.
Legitimize Your Business
Whether it’s Google or prospective customers, people like seeing a professional e-mail address. It makes your business look more legitimate, which is helpful for resolving issues with your Google listing and marketing yourself online. Your business’s success will only increase when you upgrade your e-mail address with a corporate domain, so take action now. In the mood for a laugh? Check out The Oatmeal’s comic, “What your email address says about your computer skills.”