Background

You just set up your new organization and you have your spiffy new WordPress, Wix, Squarespace or Weebly web site. You look like a pro, now you want to communicate like a pro. For this example, I’m using the inhearts.org domain and I’m setting myself to send email as chris@inhearts.org rather than my Gmail address of highslot@gmail.com.

It takes 3 things to pull that off:

  1. Create my branded chris@inhearts.org email addresses with Directra
  2. Configure Gmail to use my newly branded email address.
  3. (Optionally) Configure my iPhone Email app to use my branded address.

Today, I’m going to jump to Step 2, because my inhearts.org colleagues are eager to get started. I’ll cover Steps 1 and 3 in a follow-on post.

Gmail account settings

Go into Gmail and click on the Settings option.

You will see a navigation bar at the top of the page. Click on the Accounts option:

From there, you will get a screen that has something like this. We are interested in the “Send mail as” section (see the red arrow):

Here you’ll see how I’m currently set up (click the image to zoom):

  1. Existing highslot@gmail.com address assigned by Gmail
  2. Existing branded chris@ibeck.com email that I setup previously
    1. Notice this is my default
    2. Also notice my SMTP server is “smtp.forteinc.com” (more on this later)
  3. “When replying to a message” preference (very important) so Gmail will use the correct address when I reply. This ensures that:
    1. Replies to a message sent to highslot@gmail.com use that same address
    2. Replies to a message sent to chris@ibeck.com use that same address

Click “Add another email address you own” (in the red box) and to get this pop up:

Add another address

  1. Enter you Name and Email.
  2. Leave “Treat as an alias” checked

  1. Most of you should accept the default of “Send through Gmail”
  2. But if you have an SMTP service (like I do for chris@ibeck.com) you can specify it here. I will cover this in a future blog.

  1. Press “Send Verification” and you are almost done

Verify the new email address

Gmail is very security-conscious and they don’t want you sending email with a from address you don’t own — like president@whitehouse.gov. So Gmail gives you two options for verifiying that you own the newly branded email address by sending an email to that address (i.e., chris@inhearts.org) like this:

  1. The simplest thing to do is just click the link in the red box.
  2. Or you can copy the confirmation code next to the red arrow and paste it here:

Using your branded email

Now, when you compose a new message, you’ll see a From box on the new email:

  1. My default From address is chris@ibeck.com (from my Settings above)
  2. But now I can easily pick chris@inhearts.org when I want to use that address

Best of all, when I reply to an existing message sent to either chris@ibeck.com or chris@inhearts.org, Gmail will automatically use the correct one for me. This makes it easy for me to manage all my email addresses in a single account without having to remember which one to reply with.

Now, if only there was a way for Gmail to figure out which one use when I compose a new message. Hmmm…

Your are emailing like a pro

Donors and followers of www.inhearts.org no longer get unprofessional-looking emails from highslot@gmail.com or even chris@ibeck.com.  Now, I look like a pro using chris@inhearts.org thanks to Directra and Gmail.

Originally, when I set up my blog, my purpose was to learn WordPress and build a WordPress plug-in. Alas, that went on hold.

Recently, I’ve joined International Network of Hearts, an organization dedicated to stopping human trafficking — especially as it pertains to the San Diego / Tijuana border where I live. My goal is to help INOHearts to:

  1. Cast their vision to volunteers, supporters and followers
  2. Communicate more effectively both inside and outside the organization
  3. Establish and promote their brand identity across all communication channels
  4. Scale from a small team to a team with hundreds of volunteers
  5. But, most of all, save hundreds of young girls from a life of sexual slavery

As a software developer learning Ruby on Rails and relying so heavily on the blogs of others like Railscasts or Signal vs. Noise, I’m motivated to share and curate whatever best practices I learn for something that I’m equally passionate about.  Here are just some of the challenges we face:

  1. Rebrand our Wordpress web sites in both English and Spanish
  2. Use Directra to promote our brand via email and voice
  3. Manage our social media channels in both English and Spanish
  4. Empowering our entire team to actively participate in our social media efforts

As our team develops best practices, I will publish them here on my blog and maybe (just maybe) we’ll actually learn to use WordPress in the process.