This is my son's email address. He keeps telling me to get an email address for my business (I am a graphic designer in Morristown, NJ.) What's the point? How will email help me conduct my design business?
Well, your own E-mail address could help you in a couple of ways. First of all, E-mail is becoming more popular these days that you might want to consider putting your E-mail address on your business card. Why would this be better than using your son's? The name of your address itself could be marketing your business's name.
Secondly, it would allow a client or potential to discuss rates or other confidential matters that you might not want discussed in front of your son or anyone else. (That confidentiality goes both ways, in the sense that your son might want to be able to have E-mail exchanges that he might not want you to see.)
Thirdly, there is an ease of E-mail communication that can work more effectively than voicemail or an answering machine. Exchange bids or estimates, for example.
But thus far, this has all been limiting E-mail to the mundane business administration of your operation. What about the actual product? Depending on the E-mail that your client (and future potential client) is using, you could easily send to them on-line a rough design you've sketched out, for their quick assessment. They could send you a copy of an image that they have seen on-line or even a brochure or magazine ad (presuming they can access a scanner) that they want to show you.
And how the final product? That, too, can be sent on-line much more quickly and less expensively than an overnight service. (Not to suggest that any of us creative sorts ever try to push the extreme limits of our deadlines, but .....) :-)
You said in your message that do you do not think that many of your current clients are on-line. Well, that may be true today, but it's not likely to be true for long. More importantly, a huge number of companies out there often think they do not have access to E-mail, when they actually do. Please don't forget that on-line services such as CompuServe, America On-Line and Prodigy today offer full E-mail Internet capabilities, as well as limited Web capabilities. (Make that "incredibly limited Web capabilities," but I'll rant on that some other time.) :-)
So when some small company tells me that they don't have access to E-mail, I usually ask them whether they or anyone else in their group uses any of those on-line services. If ANY ONE of them does, then they can receive that document you want to send them. And if they can put the image or document they want to send you on a disk, then they can E-mail it to you. (Ask them whether any member of their family has such an account. If they do, then the E-mail exchange could often happen as soon as when they get home that evening.)
As to scanning in images, even if the client/prospective client doesn't have a scanner, a very inexpensive trip to a local business center (a print/copy shop or many of the larger office supply stores) will often see a document scanned onto a disk in a matter of moments. From there, transmission is relatively easy. (If you're actually trying this and having some problems, just E-mail me privately and I'll do what I can to walk you or your client through it.)
Elizabeth Mann also wrote:
Also, he says I could put up a Web page on a service like this one. Please explain the benefits of that- most of my clients are local companies and I do not think they are online.
As to most of your current clients not being on-line, please see the earlier part of this response. As to the Web homepage, you're a prime example of a small business where it makes a LOT of sense. At best, your current marketing is likely an ad in the Yellow Pages and some brochures given to people who have expressed an interest. The Web allows you to select as many of your favorite designs as you'd like as create a page with it. As mentioned in some of the pieces posted elsewhere on this page, the beauty of the Internet is that it's space is virtually unlimited, so feel free to post as many of your favorite designs as you'd like, preferably categorized in some organized fashion.
The page could be linked to other graphic design pages, allowing people you've never heard of to come upon your page as they are searching for "graphics design." From there, the effectiveness of your designs do the selling. The Web today is a very effective way to present graphics, as long as they are material to the content on your page. (While I will gripe about excessive use of graphics on some pages, that's only where the graphics are decorations. In your page, the images would absolutely BE the content.)
Other than using this international posting to connect with potential clients you would likely have found in no other way, it's a great presentation technique. If you were talking on the phone with a potential client, you could tell them to hit your site from an Internet site or from an on-line service and see for themselves whether your designs are of the nature that they want.
There are a variety of Internet providers that would be willing to host your page for a relatively small fee.