Setting Up Email For Small Business

Planning Ahead

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. 

TLDR

Make an email account for each department. Such as [email protected] and forward that to your individual email to start. 

Later, when you hire an accountant, forward that email account to their individual e-mail account. And so on with other departments and other communication channels, such as support, sales, 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
  • Billing
  • Cancelations
  • Updates About Their Service
  • Questions

Product Support

  • 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] as you like with your monthly subscription. Siteground also has wonderful customer service. I used the GrowBig plan to get started. 

Siteground Recommended

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.

Email Client

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. 

Just because you hire someone does not mean they need an individual e-mail account. You may just want to set them up with the [email protected] or [email protected] to start.

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.

If you are the only person in the company, this e-mail should forward to [email protected] Then forwarded from [email protected] to [email protected] so you can respond directly. 

Later these e-mails can be forwarded directly into a CRM system such as Infusionsoft other automation software such as Unifiecom for Amazon sellers.  

Other common names for this account are:

If you have a tech, SaaS, or physical products based company, I recommend setting up a ticketing system, such as Zendeskright away. This will handle all tech support, customer questions about your product, feature requests – but not sales.

 

This is the account I dedicate to the CRM system. Your CRM will generate an email for almost every action taken by a customer. A separate account, or a few separate email accounts, can help wrangle the load. 

Usually the CRM system can send different types of generated alerts to different email accounts, and therefore, alerts can be sent to different departments via different e-mail accounts. You can make accounts for [email protected], or [email protected] for example. If you are the shipping and billing department, again -forward these e-mails to your individual email account: [email protected]

Be aware, the internal messaging systems in some lower quality, or homebrew, CRMs will have trouble replying back to the original sender’s e-mail. If this is the case, some messaging will need to happen within the CRM itself.

Also, it is not recommended to forward CRM generated e-mails to a ticketing system. It is better to forward these to your [email protected] If you need a tracking system, think about setting up a kanban style Trello board to keep track daily CRM tasks. 

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:

  • Incoming sales leads from [email protected]
  • Generated mail from your CRM system
  • E-mails generated from Social Media

Like many other company e-mail accounts, the sender’s name of the [email protected] account should be the name of your company. 

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.

My team really likes Trello for keeping track of customer service items. In the future we may move to Zendesk or Asana will help automate support & sales. 

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:

To my knowledge, for Facebook My Business you will need to login with your Facebook credentials.

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.

To my knowledge, for Facebook My Business you will need to login with your Facebook credentials.

We have a separate e-mail for youtube to modularize our youtube presence. The thing about youtube is that once something is up and has a lot of views, you don’t want to take that down. but maybe you don’t want to associate it with your brand any longer. 

For example one of my companies was not able to secure the trademark for our original name. So we had to update everything on our youtube channel to our new name. But, I did not want to delete videos with thousands of views. I was then left to leave our youtube channel with our original gmail address and update every google marketing tool to a new e-mail. I now just make a email for youtube. 

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:

I would not put bank accounts on any shared e-mail. I keep bank accounts on a separate gmail account with two-factor authorization

All of your web services under one name can be helpful if you pass off web duties to a third party. It is wise to use different usernames for these services for security. 

As your company grows, you may want a few people to see orders from Amazon, such as accounting, the office, or maybe operations. 

If you have a feedback form, send it here. You may want to forward this to a few team members in real time. 

If you are not sure if you should add this one, check out 50 Cent’s book, The 50th Law. Feedback is, of course, critical.  

Ahh, all those spammy subscriptions. If they are all To: [email protected], you can filter them all to the trash.

Going Further

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!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *