Monday, December 21, 2015

What an AOL Email Address Says About You

A number of years ago I worked with a very prominent attorney in the big apple who refused to have
a website. He told me “if anybody wants to look me up, they can Google my name.” One day he and two other attorneys received a referral, he met with the prospective client and then lost the case…which was one of the biggest cases in years. When he asked the millennial-aged client why he turned him down, the response was that after their meeting he looked him up online and he was the only attorney without a website so he thought “he wasn’t up on the law.”

I had a mentor of mine in NYC tell me that years ago, people will make snap judgments about you based on how you dress, the watch you wear, the car you drive, your business card, and your office location. In places like NYC, they also looked at your phone area code (is it a 212 number?) Today, there is a growing emphasis to virtual branding signals such as your website, your LinkedIn profile, your reviews online, and your email address. 

When people see an email address, it sends the following potential signals:

  • This person may be old – why else would they STILL have an AOL email address?
  • This person may not be up on modern technology in their business
  • This person may be hard to relate to
  • This person may not be the most innovative person to work with

I realize that these perceptions can be highly judgmental but they are no different than the signals and perceptions we have for people.  The bottom line is you DO NOT want to send these potential signals to your current and prospective customers and your certainly don’t want them published in your marketing, on your resumes, and on your business cards. 

Getting a new and professional email address is much easier that you think. Google offers them through gmail and if you use email for client confidential business, simply setup a new email account with companies like that can register and help personalize your email address for around $5/mo. 

So the next time you do business with somebody who uses an AOL email address, let them know that the damage in perception can far outweigh the costs of using more professional options. 

#aol #email #brandmanagement #personalbrandmanagement


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