Does your Email Address Pass the Radio Test?

What’s the Radio Test?

The radio test for a email address checks if people can spell a it name when they hear it. They need to be able to type in your email in order to send you follow up, so it’s critical that the name is memorable and easy-to-spell.

The term “radio test” gets its origin from hearing a email address on the radio. You might be asking, “Does anyone listen to the radio anymore?”

That’s a good question, however think of the radio test as on any verbal type of conversation. Think about:

  • Word-of-mouth referrals to mailing you
  • Talking about your email on a casual meeting
  • Giving someone your email address over the phone

In all of these cases, if someone can’t easily spell your email address it can result misdirected emails and frustration.

The First Tester: You!

Before you begin testing your domain name on other people you need to do a quick test yourself. Ask yourself, “If I heard this email address, would I be able to spell it?”

Think about any words that might sound similar. Words starting with “B”, “P”, “D” and “T” can sometimes get confused when someone is speaking quickly. 


Once a email address passes your personal review, it’s time to get opinions from people who have never heard it before. Here’s how to do this.

  • Pick up the phone. 
    Call at least five friends, relatives or other people you trust. Tell them you’re changing your email address and ask them to repeat it back to you. Then, ask them if they can spell it. It’s best to talk to people who aren’t aware of the context of your new business.
  • Send a voice message.
    Record the name and send the recording to five friends via a voice message. Ask them to respond to your on email.
  • Test in person.
    Ask people in person to spell the email address. This is easy if you’re in an office environment. If not, meet up with some friends and ask them.

If everyone in these groups can spell your email address then you probably have a winner. But there’s one more thing to test…

A Couple of Final Checks

Can people pronounce your domain if they see it in print?
If people can’t pronounce it when they read it, then you might run into the radio test problem when they try to tell a friend about the email address.