What is an alias and why is it important to have one
One of the best kept secrets in Gmail is the email alias. Also known as an alternate email address.
When you first set up your email you may not have been thinking about the long-term use of it. You may have set up your email using your own name, only to realize now you don’t want people to email you “personally”. You’d rather have them email a more generic inbox, like ‘hello’ or ‘studio’. Or maybe you want your executive assistant or VA to have an email address, but you’d prefer that any emails they send/receive go to your inbox because they’re also managing it.
You might think the solution is to create a new, more generic inbox, but that means paying for another account and managing another inbox.
The solution? Setting up an email alias in Gmail.
An email alias will allow you to set up multiple alternate email addresses all housed under your original email address. For free.
Examples of Gmail aliases to have
If you’ve never heard of or gotten overwhelmed with the idea of setting up aliases, here’s some ways I have used aliases.
- For newsletters — instead of having every newsletter I subscribe to go to my own email address, I have a specific newsletter alias. This also helps when I buy something I can use my own email address (or an accounting one) to buy the item, while keeping their newsletters separate.
- For your own email — I started out with a generic email and realized I want to have one that would just be for me, using my own name.
- For accounting — if you need to send receipts somewhere or want people to directly billing/invoicing questions somewhere specific, set up an “accounting@” alias.
- For support — years ago I had courses, so I set up a support inbox so I could respond to support requests from one place. Emails were rare so it made sense to make it an alias, most people though, I would recommend setting up a custom email and not an alias for this purpose.
How to setup a Gmail alias
- Go to Google Admin: https://admin.google.com/ac/users
- Click on the user you’d like to have an alias set up for
- In the middle/left menu click “Add alternate emails”
- Add the alternate email(s) you want to set up (these are the aliases)
- For each one click “Save”
- Next, go to your inbox: https://mail.google.com/
- Click the Settings gear icon, and then “See all settings”
- Click Accounts in the top menu
- Under the “Send mail as:” section, click “add another email address”
- Add the name you want the email to show as coming from (ie. your name, “Company Name Support”, your team member’s name, etc.
- Add the email alias you just set up
- Make sure “treat as an alias” is checked
- Click “next step”
How to organize your Gmail aliases
Now that you know how to set up aliases in Gmail, as well as some examples, I’ll just say this once…
Don’t go too crazy on the aliases. Keep to a limited number and you’ll keep your sanity.
But also, when setting up your aliases, make sure to set up filters and labels to match. This will actually allow you to leverage what you’ve started to set up.
For example, if you set up a newsletter alias, set up a Newsletters label and create a filter that will take any email sent to that alias and add that label to it. Automatically.
If you haven’t yet set up your labels (or they’re in need of an overhaul), this blog post talks about setting up labels and sections in your inbox. In that post I share the exact inbox framework I use for myself and clients. It includes the exact labels I use, as well as how to set up inbox sections. Which is the key to having a stress-free inbox.
The problem though, can be that your inbox gets flooded constantly with emails, chunks of which don’t actually need to go directly to your inbox, or can get organized up front. Besides having a great filter and label system, using Gmail Aliases is the second best thing you can have. And it’s free to do.
Wrapping it up
Aliases can be a sanity (and budget) saver, but just make sure that you’re using them wisely and are setting up the additional support systems (filters & labels) to go along with them.