Saturday, July 23, 2005

Intentional Identity Theft

Identity Theft is a big thing these days. Everyone is afraid of it, as they should be. So what I can not understand is businesses that inentionally steal their own identity. Everyday I see it, on contractor trucks, business cards and even online advertisements and company websites, intentional identity theft. You have seen it too, but have you wondered why does this business owner or salesperson not think highly of themselves? I do, everytime I see it. It makes me wonder if I want to be their customer, but definately makes me want to be their vendor.

What am I talking about, e-mail addresses. I just cringe when I have been interviewing someone, either as a potential client, Internet Consultant or friend and they tell me their e-mail address is something@theirISP.com. This is bad. When you are doing business and you had someone your e-mail address you are branding your self. This is a very important aspect of marketing, getting you name in front a a contact as many times as possible.

The rule of thumb that I was taught in my marketing education is get your action point across six times to get a descision. Your e-mail address will brand you more than you know. Think about your customer who likes you and refers to you another potential customer. Once they tell them your e-mail address at some ISP (by the way that stands for Internet Service Provider and is the company that provides you connectivity, not hosts your site), that does not help them remember you. Domain names were created so humans could remember where things were on the network. Think about it, it is much easier to remember chris@extremewebworks.com versus chris@216.27.17.71. That is why many business phone numbers are made of words and phrases.

When that potential new customer is given your e-mail address with a familiar ISP, they will remember that ISP, not you because that ISP has most likely branded themselves in their mind. More than likely they have a dozen or more e-mail address ending with the same domain, so the likelyhood they will remember yours is slim. But if you use your company domain, they might remember the domain and at least loook up your website to contact you or someone else at your company. If you do not believe me, you should. I have potential clients contact me every month from my website contact form, saying they were given my e-mail from someone I know. Think about if I had given them an e-mail address at my ISP (by the way I do not even know what that address is), I would probably be short a customer or two today to say the least.

So the moral of the story, get a website, with e-mail and tell everyone you know. If you can not afford that at least register a domain and find somewhere to host e-mail for you. We offer packages like this under $100 per year. There are many other Web Hosting comapnies offering similar packages.

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