|Is Your Email Address Sending the Right Message?|
As a therapist, you work hard to make a name for yourself and for your practice. It can take months, or even years, to build the professional credibility which is critical in establishing trust among both clients and colleagues. Opening your own private practice presents professionals with a whole host of issues including the acquisition of proper office space, a telephone system, business cards, practice management software, insurance and compliance with HIPAA regulations, just to name a few. When it comes to selecting an email address, the obvious quick and easy solution is to simply choose a free email provided by one of the major email providers, like Google or Yahoo. Although free is great, we must ask ourselves: will this be the right choice to help me develop and maintain a professional appearance as a psychotherapist?
The simple answer is “no.” It may be tempting to use a free email provider to help cut business costs, but this can send the wrong message and actually result in a loss of prospective clientele. A business card with an email address like JohnSmith@aol.com or HealingTherapy@hotmail.com may not instill confidence. Even worse, it may deliver a negative impression about your services and your business as a whole. A recent 2011 study by graphic design and branding firm, Visible Logic, Inc, discovered that 70% of nearly 500 business professionals surveyed said it is unprofessional to use an email address from a free domain host for a business.
The bottom line is that psychotherapists who are in private practice are also often business-people too. Being a tech savvy, business-minded person is important when trying to demonstrate a level of professionalism for your practice. The good news is that buying a domain name is inexpensive, and setting up an email address is easy. You can research your domain name options on domain registry sites like GoDaddy or NetworkSolutions (do a Google search for “Domain Registration”) and work with their customer service to help you set up the email address. Once you have chosen a domain name that best reflects your company name or what you do professionally, the suggested email address structure is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also in this issue: Argonaut Separates Your Progress Notes from Your Psychotherapy Notes