Email—some people love it while others hate it. Managing email is a business necessity but can be a time drain.
You absolutely must have an email address to function in the real world today. From buying online to confirming a dental appointment, your email address has become part of your identity.
I’m going to cover what I consider the top three email services for a small business owner. The most obvious contender is Gmail. However, there are two more that come to mind. Outlook/Office 365, which is Microsoft’s new email service, and ZohoMail, which has been around for many years.
1) Gmail: $50/yr standard and $10/month for Vault
Gmail is probably the most popular SMB cloud-hosted email solution. It offers the ability to customize your email address (email@example.com) and comes with 30 GB of storage per account for anything associated to that email address including documents, instant messaging, calendar, pictures and email. Additionally Gmail has 24/7 customer support, 99.9 percent uptime, strong security (including two-stage authentication), and compatibility with most desktop clients.
Gmail also offers Vault at a higher price point, which features email and chat archiving, email discovery, legal holds, and the ability to run audits just in case you face litigation or compliance audits.
2) ZohoMail: Free or $24-$36/yr plus all kinds of free and paid add-on services
Sharing many of Gmail’s features, ZohoMail is a stellar email option, built specifically for businesses. With over 30 different services—many free up to a certain number of users—it outdoes Gmail and Outlook with dedicated customer relationship management (CRM) tools, an invoice service, wiki and many more web applications, all integrated with your Zoho account.
ZohoMail is less expensive than Gmail but you get fewer gigabytes of storage. However, some of the Zoho services that Google doesn’t have do integrate with Gmail.
3) Outlook/Office 365: $5/month and up
The familiarity of Microsoft products is comforting to many. Office 365 starts at $5/month and includes 25 GB of storage. However, Outlook.com is free and rumor is that it has bottomless storage. With both services you get the lite browser-based version of the MS Office suite. As expected, Office 365 has 99.9 percent uptime, 24/7 customer support, and both services allow you to use a custom email address. I’ve read that Microsoft’s spam filtering is excellent and it’s easy to sync to mobile phones including iOS, Windows Phone and Android. Microsoft has a strong offering and I see a great number of people flocking to it.