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There is nothing like a name

Email and website addresses are becoming essential marketing tools for


IFAs. Internet experts say say an internet domain name will soon be as


important to an IFA as a phone number and getting the right name is


essential.


The Goodfellow Group managing director Simon Burgess says: “Domain names


and email addresses are massively important marketing tools for IFAs. Your


company name is your brand, so you must get your web domain and email


address right. Who would want to take advice from a firm who cannot even


get their branding right?”


But IFAs need to act quickly as the best names and addresses are being snapped up and, when it comes to addresses, it seems even the server you use can say something about you.


IFAs say if you want your company to appear professional, you should avoid


using free email addresses. But experts say this is an outdated bias and it


is perfectly acceptable to use Hotmail addresses and Freeserve accounts.


Mike Scott, author of the Online Guide to Investing, says: “There is


absolutely no reason why IFAs should not use Hotmail accounts. They are


practical as they can be accessed from any computer in the world and are


used by many professionals.”


Domain addresses are big news. But many IFAs are unable to register the


name they would like as sites are being bought by people looking to sell


them for a profit. Potential addresses such as best adviceonline.co.uk and


bestifa.co.uk have already been bought. But are these the sort of email


addresses IFAs should be going for in the first place? Is it not more


important to register the name of your firm in the address?


Chase de Vere Investments investment director Janine Starks says: “We own


chasedevere.co.uk but we also own lastminuteisa.com. The name


Chase de Vere does not mean a lot to people who have not heard of us but


are looking on the net to put their money in an Isa. The name lastminuteisa


means a lot.”


Bridgewater Financial Planning managing director Chris Wicks says it is


only for specific marketing purposes that names such as thebestifa are


useful. He says: “It is not important to have an address like this unless


it is has a direct-marketing aim. It does not matter for our clients as we


tell them our addresses. But if we were trying to be the last name in


mortgages, I suppose an address like thebestmortgage advice would be


useful.”


However, using your company&#39s name in your email and web address is vital,


say marketing experts. They say IFAs should exploit the marketing potential


of email addresses and domain names.


Registering the company&#39s name as an email address and domain name also


makes it easier for clients to remember the add resses or to be able to


work them out for themselves, say IFAs.


Berry Birch & Noble marketing executive Elaine Harvey says: “We use the


company name in our email and our web addresses. It makes it easy for


clients to remember them.”


Starks says: “We all have our first name, last name and company name as


our email addresses. It seems obvious and clients can pretty much guess our


addresses even if they have not been given them. It is also important to


have simple addresses. Dots and dashes are confusing.”


Some IFAs say email addresses portray an image of a company and it is


vital to have an address with your own domain name and avoid free email


addresses.


IFAs say using free email services such as Hotmail and Freeserve can make


their company seem smaller, less professional and even less reliable. But


internet experts say email accounts such as these have many advantages.


Scott says: “Hotmail accounts, for example, mean you can be independent


and you can access your messages from anywhere in the world. The catch to


being attached to a server is that you are then tied to it. If you want to


change your server, you have to then change your email address as you do


not own it in the same way. Many professionals use these accounts as they


are reliable and flexible.”


However, many IFAs are resisting free email addresses, saying they can


damage the image of the firm. Wentworth Rose managing director Philip Rose


says: “We are a serious business and want to come across as such. Using


accounts such as Freeserve on someone else&#39s server would make us look


small. It could give clients the impression they are dealing with someone


working from their bedroom above a garage.”


Burgess says: “Under absolutely no circumstances should IFAs use free


email addresses. They look cheap, shoddy and you are promoting another


brand such as Hotmail by using them rather than your own.”


Portraying the right image is important if you want people to read your


emails in the first place, says Wicks.


He says: “There is an awful lot of junk email about and people can receive


hundreds of messages every day, so if you want your message to be read,


having the name of your company in the address can help.”


Burgess says it is essential that IFAs use their company name as it is


their intellectual property and needs to be protected.


He says: “Domain names and email addresses are massively important


marketing opportunities for IFAs. They absolutely must protect their


company name as it is their brand name. This means it is their intellectual


property and must be registered as their email address and domain name.”


Intelligent Pensions managing director Steve Patterson says IFAs must act


quickly to avoid frustration and disappointment.


He says: “My firm browsed for possible domain names and then made our


decision. But by the time we came to register two addresses only a week


later, they had both been snapped up by some one else.”


Burgess says: “Many prestigious IFAs cannot now register their name as it


has already been bought. Once an IFA has dec ided on a name, the message is


to act quickly and act now.”

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