Monday, June 28, 2010

Managing Email Accounts

Some of us are consultants and are used to having various email accounts to manage, but for those of you who aren't sure how to handle this, my good friend, Dyske has kindly allowed me to publish his article on the subject so here it is...
Managing Email for Your Business

I remember the days when only a small number of my friends and colleagues had email accounts (i.e. mid 90s). I used to think, "Oh, wouldn't it be nice if everyone had email... I could send out my party invitation in one click!" (Yes, I used to throw parties.) Now we assume everyone has an email account. Even our government asks for our email addresses, which implies that having an email account is a social responsibility. Also, every legitimate business is expected to have its own domain name for the email addresses of their employees. It does not look professional to have email addresses at AOL or Yahoo. But it's not so simple to have your own domain name and manage it. The solution I offer below assumes that you have a small business without an IT department. That is, it is a cost-effective compromise, and not a definitive solution for all businesses.

Let's suppose you have a restaurant called Chinese Laundry and your domain name is Every employee should have his or her own email address with that domain name, like But, if you were to create an email account for every employee, she would have to check two accounts all the time: her personal account and her business account. Unless she happens to be tech-savvy, she wouldn't know how to add another account to her email program. As a business owner, you become responsible for trouble-shooting it. Or, you would have to provide a separate email program (or Webmail interface) for your business. Either way, it's a hassle unless your business is large enough to have an IT department support them.

So, don't create a new email account, but forward the email to an existing account. Instead of creating a new account you can forward each email to a specific address. Suppose your employee, Mary, has a personal account, You create a forwarding address,, and configure it to forward all the emails to This way, Mary will start receiving all the business emails into her existing Yahoo account. No need to install or learn any new program. Even if she decides to leave your restaurant after her appearance on Top Chef, all you have to do is delete the forwarding address. Mary will stop receiving emails addressed to You would also have the option of forwarding the emails to your own address so that any business contacts Mary had would now be contacting you.

For critical roles like sales, support, and press, it is better to create email addresses dedicated to those roles. For instance, instead of using for press inquires, use This way, even if Mary leaves the company, there would be no disruption. Also, keep in mind that each forwarding address could forward the emails to multiple email addresses. The emails sent to could go to your account as well as to Mary's.

Typically you create forwarding addresses on the website of your ISP, the Internet service provider, who hosts your website (e.g. Media Temple, Blue Host, Dream Host, Pair Networks, etc..). You could also do this through your domain name registrar such as Network Solutions and GoDaddy, but I recommend that you use your ISP. (For some of you, I am your ISP, so you can ask me to set up your forwarding addresses.)

One thing to keep in mind is that when your employee hits "Reply" or compose a new email, the "from" address would be her personal address. If you want the "from" address to be her business address, this can be configured in most email programs like Outlook, Entourage, and Apple Mail. Since every email program has a different way to set this up, I cannot go into them in this newsletter, but here is how you can do it in Gmail:

1. Click on "Settings" (upper right corner).

2. Click on the "Accounts and Import" tab.

3. Within the section labelled "Send mail as", click on the button "Send mail from another address" and follow the instructions.

4. Within the same section, there is also an option labelled "Reply from the same address the message was sent to". You should have this selected.

Once you have it set up, whenever you compose a new email, you should be able to select a "from" address from the drop-down next to "From:". And, when you hit "Reply" on any email sent to your business address, the "from" address would automatically be set to the same address.

In Gmail, you can also create "Filters", so that all emails sent to your business account would be labeled as "Business", or whatever label you create. This is also available on the "Settings" page.

In the rare cases where your employee does not have an email account, or where she prefers not to mix her personal emails with her business emails, suggest that she create a new Gmail account. Gmail is free and it can be used with any email programs and devices (Blackberry, iPhone, etc..). Gmail is what I use also, and you will need it for other popular tools like Google Analytics anyway, which will be another topic of this newsletter in the near future.

I hope this is helpful to some of you, and if you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to email me.

All Rights Reserved Rosemary Flannery and Dyske Suematsu 2010

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