Business Resources

Email Systems to Run Your Small Business

Sending emails to your customers, vendors, employees and professional network is much more than a simple exchange of information; it's another extension of your small business brand and identity. Like yourbusiness phone or wireless phone, an email address allows your customers, vendors, and employees to find and reach you easily and quickly. A contact email address on your website is arguably, after your company name, the most important piece of company information on your site. And a vanity email address, one that lists your company's name (joe@joesflowers.com, etc.), is a must. They aren't expensive and often come as part of a high speed Internet service package.

  • IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) is the most popular protocol for email retrieval where email is received and held for you by your email server. You can view the email heading or the sender's name, then decide whether or not you want to download the email. You can also create and manipulate multiple folders or mailboxes on the server, delete messages, or search your small business's email. The benefits of IMAP is that it supports both online and offline modes of operation.
  • Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3) is a less sophisticated protocol that doesn't support multiple folders on the email server. When you check your email, all of it is immediately downloaded to your computer and, except when previously specified, is deleted from the server. The protocol supports a simple download-and-delete model for access to remote mailboxes.

Email Marketing

Email is also one way to harness your customer database and execute a CRM or customer relationship management plan. The email "blast"-an email that announces a new product, service or sale-is the foundation of email marketing. To figure out how to manage a successful campaign, you need to know your customer. Are they more likely to be receptive to your pitch on a Monday when they're facing the work week ahead or a Thursday, when they're looking for recreation or entertainment options for the weekend? Or do they not use email? Perhaps direct mail is the way to go. Or, you may find more success with a social media outlet (Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn). It depends on your industry and its customer demographic.