If you are the only person in your business it is easy to think everything should just come to your inbox. But, it pays to think ahead with your e-mail account structure. Later on when your company is 3 people, 10 people, or maybe 50-100 people, it will be obvious you need separate email inboxes for various departments and communication channels.
At the solopreneur level, setting up a few strategic email accounts and forwarding those accounts to your individual email inbox will leave you in a good position when bring on new team members down the road.
If you start this now, you will also train your customers (and automated web services) to send different types of updates, requests, or information to the correct e-mail.
Avoid the nightmare of an individual inbox stuffed with everything from Google reviews to Workers Compensation invoices!
Having some structure set up in the original To: Field will help you use filters to sort e-mails into their correct folders too.
Make an email account for each department – such as [email protected]
Register those accounts with the email of the related department.
In the beginning of your company, you can forward every email account to your work email account. This way, all emails initially flow to you.
When your company grows to the point that other people are responsible for some task, you simply forward the email account (with all of the related messages) to the individual or group that is responsible for taking care of that task.
- Communication channels go to support staff
- Sales leads go to sales staff
- Marketing emails, youtube, and analytics accounts go to marketing staff
- Office admin tasks are forwarded to the office admin
Email Account Structure
When you first start brining your business concept online, you will want to set up an email account for every department or communication channel of your business – even if you are the only person in the company at the moment. If you are a company of one, forward all of the accounts below to your individual business email account. Usually [email protected]
As your company grows various e-mail accounts will forwarded to:
- Various Departments
- A Ticket System
- A CRM System
For almost all of the emails below, I would set the sender’s name to your company’s name.
Be sure to set up a gmail account for marketing and a separate gmail one for youtube.
The Many Types of Email
Think through the types e-mail you will be getting from the outside world. Let’s brainstorm what is filling up our inbox, shall we?
New Client Emails
- New Sales / Prospective Clients
- Replies & Quotes
- Questions About Your Service
Current Client Emails
- Customer Service
- Updates About Their Service
- Technical Questions
- Product Returns
- Tech Support
- Feature Requests
Messages From Web Applications
- Automated Email Open Rates
- Google Analytics
- Google Webmaster Tools Warnings
- Comments From YouTube
- Customer Survey Results
- New Google Reviews
- Google My Business Updates
CRM Generated Emails
- There are a ton of these
- They usually require some kind of action by office admins
Accounting, HR, Government Emails
- Worker’s Compensation Updates
- Payroll Service
- SOS Filings
- Reset passwords for Accounting Software
Setting Up an Email Host
Setting up a number of e-mails can get pricey with consumer level products such as the Google Suite. It is also very, very difficult to move your e-mails out of Google Suite if you ever want to change to something else.
I recommend Siteground because they let you set up as many [email protected]domain.com as you like with your monthly subscription. Siteground also has wonderful customer service. I used the GrowBig plan to get started.
I recommend Siteground because they let you set up as many [email protected] as you like with your monthly subscription. Siteground also has wonderful customer service. I used the GrowBig plan to get started.
Siteground is one of the most common and one of the best value hosts for small business and small (smaller than amazon) e-commere websites. If you are new to wordpress, check out our recommended wordpress tech stack, which will get you started off on the right foot.
We set up our employees and contractors with the Thunderbird e-mail client because Thunderbird is free and very powerful.
Email Account Size
An email that is getting used all of the time, such as the owner’s e-mail address, should be between 4-6 gb. That will hold about 3-10 years of e-mails depending on usage.
For regular use 2-3 gb is good. For lite use 1 gb will hold plently of emails. Siteground only charges you for the memory you use.
This is your individual business e-mail. It will be your main account. Forward all e-mails that you need to see here – in the early days at least, pretty much everything will be forwared here. It is OK to forward something to [email protected] then forward from the office acount to the yourname account.
This is the e-mail that is advertised on your website, submitted web forms for sales leads, marketing copy, and maybe even some business cards. It is often the first point of contact you have with prospective customers. Plenty of existing customers will e-mail you about updates or service requests too.
Other common names for this account are:
When your company grows to the point that you start to hand off routine tasks, it is common to hire a two or three office admins. An office admin handles on-boarding new customers, handles customer support, updates and maintains daily CRM tasks, and covers other established processes. Generally there is only one office admin per shift at first, so I like to have all office admin’s use and reply to one office admin e-mail account. This way nothing is missed or replied to twice. Later if the volume & velocity of these tasks increase you can invest in more enterprise level software that can spread out these tasks.
Accounts forwarded to the office admin account are:
If you have a service based business you will want some way to externally track what is going on with this account. Also be aware that you will want a backup of this account because the user has all permissions.
When you are ready to bring on an office admin, I like to have one address that is a landing spot for any customer update, sales lead, billing questions, or anything needs to be taken care of on a regular basis. Depending on your the type of company, alternative names for this account might be:
This one is for:
- Automated Email Systems- MailerLite – Mail Chimp
- Customer Surveys – SurveyMonkey
- SEO & Other Directories – Yelp – Bing Places – Mapquest
- User experience software – Hotjar
- Stickers & Magnets – Lizard Labels – StickerMule – Sticker Giant
- Social media, (other than Facebook) – Linkedin, Imgur
- Stock Art, Font Suppliers, etc
I use this one for job postings on indeed. There is always a flood of applicants and it is impossible to sort through them if they land in your daily driver account. This is the only account that I do not forward to my personal account.
I also ask applicants to write a 50-100 word cover letter. This makes it really easy to go through and delete applicants that did not follow the process.
This was actually the account that prompted me to put together a structured e-mail system.
This one is for those items that should only go to the owner. There is not much of this but, it is nice to have the option if you come across something you would like admin permissions and would like to add your usual account as a user with standard permissions.
Also, if you ever want to sell your business, having a few things set up in an owner account can make your e-mail an easy switch.
You will want a gmail address to access all of the wonderful tools that Google has to offer.
Google voice is a really easy way to get a second number coming straight into your mobile phone. It is not quite a business grade phone system, but you can take calls, sms, and mms. It can be integrated with Hangouts for more connectivity options. You can only be logged into one account at a time.
GoDaddy’s Smart Line is an option, that totally came out of the blue, for a second line on your mobile phone. I’m not a huge fan of GoDaddy, but somehow they are the first that I know of that offer this type of service – It is not a VoIP, they actually use your cellular data – black magic I say.
This one is for:
Some other common accounts might be:
This will give you a solid foundation, but every company is different.
Whatever department you have, make an e-mail for it. It is convenient to just set up a forwarder when a new hire comes on board or you want to add responsibility to a current employee or contractor.
Please comment below if you have other systems or ideas about how to handle e-mail. We love to hear from our readers!