How to Setup and Manage Email for Your Town

When it comes to setting up emails for your municipality, it’s worth exploring the different available options.

While many people opt to use a free email account, like one through Gmail or Yahoo, others choose to use a branded email address –which features the name of the business, organization, or in the case of municipalities –the name of the town, for a more professional look.

Let’s take a quick look at the different options –free and branded, and explore the pros and cons of each. Read on to find out which one is best for you.

Using an Existing Personal Email Address

Using a personal, pre-existing email account is something that some companies and municipalities opt for.

  • Advantages

Choosing to use a personal email account is often a matter of convenience and time. Since the account already exists, some simply continue to use that one rather than set up a new one. Of course, another advantage is cost: these accounts are also free.

  • Disadvantages

Unfortunately, a personal email address looks unprofessional. This is especially true for personal email addresses that may include a nickname, a spouse’s name, or other monikers. Additionally, using a personal email address could potentially open up employees or officials to unwanted and unnecessary exposure should there be any open record requests.

Semi-Branded Email Address (With a Free Provider)

Using a semi-branded email address involves using a free provider, and setting up an email address that includes the town’s name. A semi-branded email address would look something like this: townofstockton@gmail.com.

  • Advantages

One of the primary advantages of using a semi-branded email address is the cost. Like using an existing personal email address, a semi-branded one is free since it involves using a free provider such as Gmail or Yahoo. Unlike using an existing personal email address though, a semi-branded one ensures that personal and work emails are kept separate. It also looks more professional than a personal email address.

  • Disadvantages

While a fully branded email makes it easier to manage email and gives you the ability to override the settings in the event that an employee or official leaves, a semi-branded email doesn’t include this option.

Branded Email Addresses

A branded email address is essentially branded to your town and website address. For instance, if your website address is townofstockton.com, your email address could be clerk@townofstockton.com or supervisor1@townofstockton.com.

  • Advantages

There are a number of significant advantages of having a branded email address. One of the most obvious ones is perhaps the most important: a branded email address looks much more professional.

A branded email address also adds a level of authenticity to your municipality. For example, while copy-cats can easily set up emails –such as townofstockton@yahoo.com, it’s much more difficult to recreate a branded email address like @townofstockton.com. Anyone who receives correspondence from your town at this email will instantly know that it’s from your municipality.

Finally, there’s the issue of perpetuity. With a branded email address, should one of the officials or employees leave you will still retain the email address, and will only need to change the password. This will help ensure that your email accounts, documents, and other information that is shared over email remains confidential. And should your email address be printed on correspondence, PDFs, or other documents, there’s no need to worry about updating these documents each time an employee leaves.

  • Disadvantages

There really is only one main disadvantage when it comes to using a branded email, and that is cost. As it currently stands, there are no free branded email addresses. While Google used to give away up to 10 free branded email addresses, they put an end to this in 2012.

Which option is best for you? Should you use a free email, or go with a branded one. While price is one of the reasons that many use free email addresses, keep in mind that often, email addresses are included with the domain name. If you’re having a website built, be sure to ask about branded email addresses. In many cases, these are included.

No matter which type of email address you choose to use, when setting up a new email address for an employee, consider using the position of the employee instead of their name. This is important for a number of reasons. Not only will it save you from having to edit documents and papers to change the email address should the employee leave, it will also help keep things more organized and official, and will make correspondence easier.

At TownWeb, we specialize in website design for municipalities. If you’re interested in a website for your town, contact us today.

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