This article is not for everyone. If you use Gmail or Hotmail/Outlook or Yahoo or any other web-based email service you will probably never need this article. This article is for those folks who need to change their business email address. It’s a stress some will never know but just in case, here’s some advice.
I was inspired to write this because of a customer’s experience. Their email was hosted through a local ISP (firstname.lastname@example.org). When the ISP was purchased by new owners my customer was informed the ISP would discontinue email service in one year’s time. My customer had hundreds of clients and suppliers who needed to be informed of the new email address. Not knowing how to handle the change was stressful to them. Here are some steps to make the process easier.
Plan and Prepare Well in Advance
If you know you’re going to have to change your email address, start planning for the change right away. Whether you have a few days, weeks, or months, get started as soon as you can. There is no excuse for waiting.
1: Set Up New Email Accounts
If your old email address is going away, you’ll need a new one to replace it. From a marketing/branding perspective, if you own a business, all email addresses for the business should be on your own domain name. I am amazed at the number of small businesses that don’t do this. I’ll talk about why this is beneficial in another blog post.
2: Start Using Your New Email Accounts Right Away
Once your new email address is set up, start using it right away. You don’t want to prolong the use of the old address. Friends, family, customers, suppliers and everyone will see your new email address and this may trigger them to update their address books. I’ll be honest: a lot of people will miss the change. The next step will help more people pay attention to the change.
3: Set Up Autoresponders
An email autoresponder will send an automated response to anyone who sends you a message. Your response should inform the sender that your existing email address will be discontinued and let them know how to reach you going forward. The onus is on the sender to update the contact information they have for you.
Here is a sample autoresponder message:
“Hello! I want to let you know that my/our email address will be discontinued as of <date>.
Please update your address book to reach us at the following email address: <new address>.
If you have any questions, please contact us by phone at <phone number>.”
I suggest adding a phone number as it can lend more credibility to your auto response. You can add your complete business contact information if you choose.
Autoresponse messages can be very helpful when you have a long period of time before your existing email address is discontinued. If you don’t have a lot of time, you’ll have to work a bit harder to let people know about the change.
4: Advertise the Change
Businesses have lots of ways to get the word out these days. You can let people know about email address changes in lots of different ways.
- Add the new information to your website.
- Promote the new address on your social media feeds.
- Use your customer email list and email a notice with the new information.
- Send a postcard informing customers of the change.
You can be more creative if you like, but the point is there are many ways to let people know your email address is changing. It is helpful to be repetitive when advertising the change. Letting suppliers and services know can take more work.
5: Update Your Online Service Accounts
Chances are you have accounts with at least one online service. Some of them may mail you regularly while others don’t. Messages you get from them are mostly automated and are not monitored if you reply to them which means your autoresponder messages won’t be read. You will need to log into your account with each online service provider and update your email address manually.
** This is exceptionally important for your account with your domain registrar. **
If you do not update your email address with them you will not see domain renewal notices and you could potentially lose your domain. At the very least you will have a service disruption for a day or more if your domain expires because you missed the notifications.
By the way, not every online service sends regular email, so I recommend going back through your inbox for at least a year’s worth of messages. If you’re the type of person who puts email into folders for different senders, go through each one to make sure you’ve updated the contact information they have on file for you. Be thorough!
6: Keep Checking Your Old Email Account
Chances are there will be some folks who don’t update their address books quickly. It’s a good idea to keep checking your old email account so you can see which customers and services still have your old email address on file. Contacting customers directly with a personal message usually gets their attention. Lot into the remaining online services to update your contact information.
7: Double Check – Priority Customers and Services
Create a list and check to make sure your most important customers and online services have your new contact information. You don’t want to take chances with your best customers and your mission-critical services.
By taking these steps you will have done your best to let everyone know about your pending email address change. It doesn’t have to be stressful. Just follow the process, be thorough and things should work out fine. By the time your old address goes offline, most people will have forgotten it if you’ve been diligent.
I hope you found this article helpful. Please let us know what you think by leaving a comment below. Thanks!