There is an ongoing debate about whether social media accounts are essential for a modern business to survive, or whether firms could thrive without SEO. However, there are two things every online enterprise needs regardless of its industry. It has to have a website and an email account. Luckily, UK2.NET can help you with both website and email hosting.
Because it happens behind the scenes, email hosting has always enjoyed a certain mystique. Consumers rarely understand the intricacies of spam filters or appreciate the importance of sender reputation. Yet being able to reliably send and receive email is crucial for businesses and consumers alike. Messages have to arrive promptly and without significant display issues, to achieve their full potential.
A world without inboxes?
Despite concerns in the 2000s that spam volumes might eventually kill off email, it remains an essential method of communication. That’s particularly true for corporate messages, which accounted for most of the estimated 269 billion emails sent daily last year. Emails can serve as a binding contract, and they’re great for obtaining definitive answers or updates. Customers are more likely to enquire or complain via email than any other platform, and email marketing conversion rates are 40 times higher than through Facebook and Twitter campaigns.
You’ll rarely encounter a company without an @ symbol somewhere on its Contact page because email hosting’s benefits far outweigh the limited cost involved. When you register a new website domain with UK2.NET, we’ll offer you a choice of email hosting services for just 50p a month.
You’ll receive two gigabytes of storage, round-the-clock technical support, and protection against viruses and spam. You can access webmail on almost any device, though messages are easily imported into packages like Outlook or Thunderbird. And real-time synchronisation ensures your account will be completely up to date with recent activity, whenever and wherever it’s accessed. But we digress… Let’s get back to the task at hand, why you need email hosting.
Building a brand
Email hosting gives you an address that dovetails with your brand. When a customer buys something through John Smith Ltd, they expect to receive an email from email@example.com, not firstname.lastname@example.org. The latter could be from absolutely anyone, whereas the former clearly relates to their recent purchase. And since the public is regularly advised not to open unsolicited mail (particularly if it contains attachments), identifying messages as having a legitimate source helps to ensure they’ll be received and read.
A proprietary email account also provides free advertising. Whenever a message arrives in someone’s inbox, it’s subliminally reinforcing your brand. As the digital equivalent of a business card, it can be forwarded and shared endlessly. And depending on the chosen prefix (sales@, johnsmith@, etc), it could identify the author’s name, department or key areas of responsibility. It’s no surprise that UK2.NET’s business customers usually sign up for our email hosting services, making the most of their online presence.
Email Hosting in the UK
In terms of dependable email hosting, UK-based companies have always had an advantage. While certain nations are synonymous with spam, domestic data protection laws have prevented our servers from becoming prolific junk mail distributors. Even so, companies handling email hosting UK-wide have to work hard to deliver genuine messages to their destinations.
Because of its opaque nature, it’s hard to tell if an email goes astray. The sender won’t know it wasn’t received, and the recipient won’t know it was sent. Unless these parties communicate through other channels, missing emails may never be identified. And that’s a problem if your company relies on e-marketing, electronic contracts or email enquiries. Not receiving the latter is especially damaging, since an ignored customer will have no qualms about going elsewhere. In today’s fiercely competitive online marketplace, new business inquiries simply can’t be ignored.
It’s hard for new email accounts to develop a sender reputation. This is a number from one to 100, calculated for each active IP address over a rolling 30-day average. Contributory factors including a presence on industry blacklists, sending emails to accounts for the first time, and the use of words or phrases associated with spam. Since a new account has no track record of authenticity, outgoing messages often end up in junk folders until they’re flagged as ‘not spam’ by recipients. And although the account holder is primarily responsible for this, the hosting company has a role to play, too.
Dependable email hosting UK-wide (and internationally, for that matter) involves a number of elements. The email exchange must contain effective, constantly evolving spam filters to weed out incoming junk. The host company has to offer storage for attachments, to prevent incoming messages from being rejected by a full mailbox. At the same time, it must permit attachments of at least 10MB on outgoing emails. It should work equally effectively on Android and iOS devices as on a PC or Mac. And above all, dependable hosting requires a user-friendly webmail interface that can be mastered in minutes, and which never goes offline.
Email hosting UK2.NET-style
To help our customers keep in touch, UK2.NET email packages deliver all these elements. Up to 100 accounts can be attached to a single domain name, reinforcing a brand or business with every sent message. We offer Personal and Professional packages, starting at just 50p a month with no adverts. Every customer receives inbound spam and virus protection to keep their inbox safe, with a choice of POP or IMAP settings. We provide round-the-clock technical support in the unlikely event something goes wrong, while a detailed knowledgebase of articles is available online. We know dependable email hosting matters to you – which is why it matters to us, too.
Choosing the Perfect Personal Email Address
When you’re setting up a new company, choosing the right email address represents an important consideration. For many firms, this will be their primary method of communication, used for invoicing, handling new business enquiries and negotiating contracts.
What Does Your Email Address Say About You?
Despite the improving reputations of specialist email providers like Google, whose Gmail service is increasingly being adopted by small businesses around the world, nothing looks as professional as a personal email address linked to your company domain. If you run a small business called Imaginatory, email@example.com will represent your brand far better than firstname.lastname@example.org. The former infers professionalism and a cohesive corporate entity, whereas the latter suggests a homespun enterprise with few IT resources to call upon.
Domain Names and Extensions
Clearly, the first step to matching a personal email address with your company domain requires choosing an appropriate domain name. This should be relevant to your business (ideally including at least part of the brand name) while being as concise as possible.
Hello? Info? Contact?
With an appropriate domain name secured, the next step in acquiring a personal email address involves choosing a prefix that’s fairly easy to dictate down the phone. Stock prefixes like ‘hello’ or ‘mail’ are also popular choices, though your own name is always a good option. Companies with more than one staff member sometimes distinguish email accounts by using employee forenames, which only becomes a problem if two people with the same name end up working there…
Web Hosting and Email Hosting
Web hosting clients will include a number of email accounts with each domain they sell, while additional email addresses can be purchased separately. At UK2.NET, we provide unlimited email addresses with our web hosting packages at no extra cost, ensuring every sent message or business card reinforces your company’s domain name through its contact details. It’s possible to request up to a hundred different mailboxes for separate users or sub-brands, with integrated protection against spam and viruses. Webmail access means messages can be checked from anywhere, alongside compatibility with email packages like Outlook or Thunderbird.
And finally, if you’ve spent the last few paragraphs thinking that Imaginatory is a great name for a company, UK2.NET can sell you the imaginatory.co.uk domain name for just £0.99.
Professional Email Marketing Without Breaking The Bank
Regardless of our ongoing obsession with social media, email remains a crucial platform for marketing products and services. Spam remains a persistent problem, but sophisticated mail filters are increasingly able to differentiate between genuine marketing messages and mass-mailed junk. And no matter how much we embrace voice-controlled virtual assistants like Alexa and Cortana, they don’t relay lengthily written communications all that well.
The significance of email marketing is underlined by a few simple statistics:
#1. Research suggests 86% of consumers actively want to receive promotional messages from firms they trade with every month.
#2. The median ROI of email is over four times higher than paid search results or social media advertising, particularly now that social platforms are becoming more algorithmic.
#3. A quarter of all campaign emails sent last year were opened, which compares very favourably to direct mail.
#4. Revenue returns from segmented email campaigns — sent to specific people based on their likes or behaviours — are 760% higher than generic one-size-fits-all mailshots.
The latter statistic acknowledges a key attribute of any successful email marketing programme – it needs to be personalised. ‘Professional’ and ‘personal’ go hand in hand. Sending a message to thousands of recipients with an opening line of “Dear,” won’t impress anyone, nor will emails with clearly irrelevant messages, such as offering car insurance discounts to non-drivers.
Any segmented email programme relies on a comprehensive user database, but this is time-consuming rather than expensive to compile. Indeed, collecting demographic information on current or prospective customers is one of the many cheap email marketing techniques used by companies nowadays. Email itself is free to send and receive, and there’s no reason for significant costs to be incurred. That’s why the majority of marketing professionals consider database segmentation to be the single most effective tactic for optimising email distribution.
Here are some other ways to undertake a successful yet cheap email marketing campaign:
#1. Don’t pay for expensive email hosting.
At UK2.NET, we specialise in affordable email hosting. For a limited time, we’re offering our Personal package for just 50p a month. The cost of a canned drink secures you a dedicated address and 2GB of mailbox storage, access via webmail and full compatibility with Outlook, Thunderbird, etc. We also provide round-the-clock tech support – though you shouldn’t need it!
#2. Use analytics tools.
Don’t just send emails into a void and wait to see what happens. An entire industry has evolved around monitoring and evaluating mailshots. These effective yet cheap email monitoring tools are provided by firms like Hubspot, MailChimp, and AWeber. Do some research to determine which provider might serve your needs best, and stick to the most basic subscription to keep costs low.
#3. Use a template designed to look equally good on desktop or mobile devices.
It’s well known that most internet traffic is carried on mobile devices nowadays, requiring formatting around the smaller screens of mobile phones and tablets. Two-thirds of emails are read on mobile devices, and 80% of recipients delete a message if it doesn’t display clearly. Even worse, 30% of people will unsubscribe altogether.
#4. Send messages in response to particular events.
If a customer abandons their ecommerce cart (which happens depressingly often), wait a few days and send them a polite reminder or a small discount offer. If someone signs up for information, a personalised welcome email achieves four times the open rate (and five times the click-through level) of a more generic missive.
#5. Distribute messages from named individuals.
It’s fine to have generic ‘sales@’ or ‘noreply@’ email accounts for automated messages but encourage communication with a specific employee. This counteracts the internet’s anonymity by adding a human element to any communication. It’s also advisable to have pen portraits of each named staff member on the About Us page of your firm’s website.
#6. Do A/B testing.
Not sure what A/B testing is? It’s a fairly simple process where an email’s target audience is divided in half, and each group receives a different message. There might be variations in the title, use of graphics, incentives or anything else. If one message has a higher open rate than the other or achieves more of a sales uplift, you’ve learned valuable lessons ahead of the next email marketing campaign.
#7. Don’t do anything suggestive of spam.
Messages marked as junk damage your sender reputation, making it harder to successfully distribute emails in the future. Avoid trigger words like ‘free’ or ‘bargain’; send emails in small batches; make it easy to unsubscribe, and don’t use attachments unless they’re essential. There are cheap email spam testing tools available online, which are worth using.
Optimise Response Rates
Finally, marketing experts recommend a few tips and tricks for optimising response rates and ensuring the highest possible return on investment:
#1. Send emails on a Monday night.
The highest read rates for unsolicited emails are achieved on Tuesdays, while Monday and Friday perform relatively poorly. Equally, messages dispatched between 8 pm and midnight are most likely to be opened.
#2. Don’t flood subscriber inboxes.
Even if you’ve secured the Holy Grail of a double opt-in (where someone signs up and then confirms their readiness to receive messages), a single weekly email should minimise the risk of audience fatigue.
#3. Make it very clear who the email is from.
Statistics suggest almost two-thirds of subscribers open an email based on who sent it, whereas less than half open it because of its subject line.
#4. Ensure people click through from emails to relevant web pages.
Audiences quickly depart if the information they’ve clicked to view isn’t immediately available. And websites with short average visit times suffer when search engines rank page results.
#5. Don’t be afraid of gentle humour.
It’s best to avoid sarcasm or criticism, but self-deprecation is very endearing. Puns and plays on words are also good – anyone who spots the joke will appreciate it, and the rest won’t realise what they missed!