How to Display a Profile Photo in Gmail When Sending Email From a Non-Gmail Domain

by | Jul 17, 2019 | Marketing Tips, Miscellaneous Randomness | 40 comments

If yours is like many businesses, you use Gmail to send emails from your non-Gmail domain that represents your business. We’ll use furrydog.com in our example because we specialize in animals. So let’s say the email address we are sending emails from through Gmail is bark@thefurrydog.com. (Maybe your domain is something like dungnzndragnz.com. We won’t judge.)

One thing that’s awesome about Gmail is that your Google account profile photo shows up next to your email address when sending emails from your Gmail address, (like furrydog@gmail.com).

HOWEVER, you don’t see the Google account profile photo when you send emails through Gmail from a non-Gmail domain. I’m talking specifically about when you have other email addresses set up under ‘Send mail as’ under your ‘Accounts and Import’ settings in Gmail. Like bark@furrydog.com for example.

furrydog@gmail.com <– profile photo is shown.
bark@thefurrydog.com <– profile photo doesn’t show.

Instead, when you send email through Gmail from a non-Gmail domain (e.g from your ‘send mail as’ email accounts, like bark@furrydog.com), what the email recipient sees is this:

Talk about boring!

Where’s the personality?

If you’re doing your branding right, you want it to be consistent across all your social and communication channels, including Gmail. Sure you may have a great custom signature line, but it shouldn’t end there.

Do you really want a blue person icon representing your business in email?

NO.

via GIPHY

Here’s the great news. There’s a very simple workaround to get your Google account profile photo to show up when sending emails from a non-Gmail domain!

“What’s my Google account profile photo?” you ask?

This one:

gmail profile photo for cowbelly

By the way, you can totally change that photo if you want.

 

How to display your Google account profile photo when sending emails from a non-Gmail domain.

Follow these steps exactly to get your Google account profile photo to show in Gmail when sending email from a non-gmail domain. Ex: your domain is furrydog.com, and you use Gmail to send emails from info@furrydog.com.

It’s a quick and easy five-click process. It should take you no more than about three minutes. (Four or five if you’ve been drinking or are sleep deprived. Six minutes if both.)

1 Using your desktop computer / laptop, go to https://myaccount.google.com (or in Gmail, click on your profile photo in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and and click on MY ACCOUNT)

2. Click on PERSONAL INFO on the left side of the page.

3. Under CONTACT INFO, click the right arrow next to the email(s). Scroll down to ALTERNATE EMAILS.

4. ADD Your Business / Alternate / New email to the ALTERNATE EMAIL cell. (Note- If you can’t see the ALTERNATE EMAIL tab, you might need to click on ADVANCED OPTIONS button. The alternate emails section is in there somewhere. If you can’t find it, we can’t help you. Try again when you are sober and/or well-rested.)

Here you’ll want to add all the emails associated with your domain that you’d like to send from and have your Google account profile show up. Like bark@furrydog.com, or customerservice@furrydog.com, or sales@furrydog.com (you get the picture).

Google will then ask you to verify the new email address by sending a verification email to the email address you just added as an alternate email.

5. VERIFY the new ‘alternate’ email when it drops into your inbox. Don’t skip this step because the profile photo won’t show up until you do this. And don’t come crying back to us telling is it doesn’t work.

I know, I know, we all hate waiting for ‘verification emails’, and are prone to ignoring them. But don’t do that here, because you will have wasted all your time until this step. And time is your most precious resource that you’ll never get back. Life is short. Cherish every moment. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Chase your dreams. 

Ok sorry, where was I? Oh yeah, see that email below?

Click on that teensy, barely-visible word in the verification email that says ‘here’. Because Google wants to torture it’s users make sure you are paying attention and actually want to do this thing, they’ll make you log into your account (again), even though you’ve already logged in like a hundred times in the last three minutes.

6. TEST.

Send an email to anyone with a gmail email address to test it. They should see your profile photo next to your name.

Like this:

Ask the recipient to send you a screen shot of what they see to verify that it’s working.

Did it work for you?

If you followed all the steps above and it still didn’t work for you, head over to the Gmail Help Community to get personalized assistance. (Please note we have no affiliation with Google or Gmail.)

Be sure to share the post so other businesses can feel the email profile photo love too!

May your days be filled with great email profile photos forevermore.

-The Cowbelly Media Team

40 Comments

  1. Fernando

    Hi! It worked but only with one email. And I followed all the steps, any ideas why it didn’t work? I got the verification message and the non G-mail email appears in “alternate emails”, however, when i send an email to another gmail account, it doesn’t appear the profile picture. I would appreciate your help.

    • Jamie Piper

      Hi Fernando,

      When you say ‘it worked, but only with one email’, what do you mean? Are you trying to send emails from different domains through the same Gmail account? Or are they all from the same domain? If you are trying to send from multiple email addresses from different domains you’ll need to go through the process for each domain and address. For example, I have three different Google accounts, and hence three separate Gmail accounts. Each of those accounts is set up to send email from one unique domain, so I set up my alternate email address in each Google account. Hopefully that makes sense.

      Do you see a question mark instead of the photo? If yes, this means that you need to set up SPF & DKIM records for your email in order for Gmail to recognize it as a valid sender. I recommend doing a Google search for your email host’s name + SPF records. That should take you to a page with instructions on how to set up the proper DNS settings.

      If you don’t see a question mark, and you already have SPF & DNS records set up, then I recommend going through the steps again, and making sure you click the verify link in the email, and see if it works a second time.

  2. Dylan

    Hi!

    Does anyone know how you can achieve this as a professional user with an info@….. email, as you communicate with people with an outlook or hotmailadress?

    • Jamie Piper

      Hi Dylan! Did you try it and the Google profile photo isn’t appearing in the recipient’s Outlook or Hotmail emails?

  3. Ioana

    Hello,

    On my end, I can see the alternate email tab but I cannot change or add any emails.

    • Jamie Piper

      Do you not see the blue ‘ADD OTHER EMAIL’ link seen in the screenshot in step #4 above?

  4. Juho Kerppola

    Hey Jamie! Thanks for the tutorial, I’m trying it out using RoundCube webmail service and sadly not getting the desired outcome. I have completed all the steps and the alternate email is added – I even tried signing in using it and it worked great – but when I send email using the redirection the profile picture is not displayed in the receiving end. Any ideas why this might be?

    • Jamie Piper

      Hi Juho! I think that this process only works if you are sending email through Gmail itself. Meaning you use Gmail to send your non-Gmail domain emails, as opposed to using a webmail service like RoundCube or SquirrelMail. I don’t know this for certain though. Does your web host offer a different webmail program? You might try that as well and see if it works. You might also contact your host to see if they know why the problem might be limited to the redirection. Sorry I can’t be of more help but I hope you work it out!

      • Martín

        Hi Jamie,

        In addition to what Juho says, I’ve also tried sending from the gmail app, but same results. So, I believe it only works if you send it from the website, which makes things harder to those who work a lot using the mobile phone. Is there any other workaround?

        Thanks!

        • Jamie Piper

          Unfortunately not that I know of. Have you done a search in the app store for a mobile gmail extension?

  5. Lisa

    Why. A. You sometimes see a profile pic and other times just see an initial ? Mine keeps changing for people I email and from them

    • Jamie Piper

      I’m sorry I don’t know the answer to this as I haven’t personally witnessed the behavior. Have you tried asking in the Google products forum (gmail)? There are Google employees who use the forums so they may be able to help.

  6. M Zhuo

    It works as of 2020! Thank you very much!

    • Jamie Piper

      Great to hear!

  7. Hugovidafe

    It only run in one email, I have two emails in my domain, and I only see the photograph in one of the two accounts

    • Jamie Piper

      Did you click the verification link in both the emails you received from Google for each of those email addresses you added in Alternate Emails? You’ll need to make sure to verify each email you add. Even if you see the emails in the list of alternate emails, they won’t work unless you clicked the verification link in the email Google sends for each one. If you didn’t receive a unique verification email for *each* email address you added, try removing them and repeating the process one-by-one for each email you add, and make sure you get the email from Google to verify each email added.

  8. eric

    Great article and I like how its written. Unfortunately, I followed all the steps and did the verification. But it’s not working for me….

    • Jamie Piper

      It’s possible it’s a browser caching issue, since Gmail is browser based. Try deleting all your cache (cookies, history), and refreshing your browser and see if your new profile photo appears. I’ve also noticed there’s a lag sometimes with updating Google products, so that could be part of the problem as well.

  9. Reinhart

    Thank you very much!!!

    • Jamie Piper

      You bet! Glad it worked for you!

  10. Kate York

    Thank you so so much! Worked perfectly and I will share this link!!

    • Jamie Piper

      Fantastic! Happy to hear it. Thanks for commenting Kate!

  11. Caleb Bunting

    Hi there! I followed these steps exactly and the account is now linked. Will the profile photo update automatically for my domain email? There are no settings to change the profile photo for the alternate email, only the Gmail account it is linked to. Thanks!

    • Jamie Piper

      It’s possible it’s a browser caching issue, since Gmail is browser based. Try deleting all your cache (cookies, history), and refreshing your browser and see if your new profile photo appears. I’ve also noticed there’s a lag sometimes with updating Google products, so that could be part of the problem as well.

  12. Harish

    Hi, I followed your steps but its not working. It’s not showing the profile picture. can you guide me.

    • Jamie Piper

      It could be a browser caching issue since Gmail is a web application. You might want to try deleting your browser cache and then trying again.

  13. Andrew Aceti

    Hi Jamie,

    Is it possible to do this with a brand account? I noticed that there is no alternate email section for this type of account. Right now I have my personal account with my name and my brand account tied to it.

    • Jamie Piper

      I’m sorry I don’t know the answer to this Andrew. I’ve only ever used brand accounts for Youtube and am not familiar with a Gmail brand account. My guess is if it’s not listed as an option anywhere in the above process then it’s not an option, but you may want to ask in the Gmail product forums, because the developers would know how the brand accounts work with regards to Gmail.

  14. Isabel

    Hi!
    Everything works great except in the Gmail App. I cannot see the profile pic while I send the emails from the app. Any idea how to fix it?
    Thanks!!

    • Jamie Piper

      I just tested it myself and, as you said it looks like it doesn’t work in the app. Sorry I don’t have a solution for that. I recommend posting a request in the Gmail product forums asking the developers to change that.

  15. James Webb

    I have several different email addresses info@blah.com info@bob.com going in to the same inbox for different projects I am running. I don’t want them all to show the same profile photo but different logos. I have searched and tried many different things to be able to achieve this. Have you found a solution other than have separate accounts for each?

    • Jamie Piper

      Sadly I don’t think that’s possible. I think the only way that could be accomplished would be to create a unique Google account for each logo. You might need to get creative and come up with some sort of icon or profile photo that is more generic, that could fit across all brands. Of course, this is tough to do if one of them is food and another is airplanes for example. But put on your thinking cap and see what you come up with.

  16. samuel khaemba

    Hi Jamie,

    I followed the steps, and it worked perfectly. Thank you so much!

    • Jamie Piper

      So happy to hear it! Google products can be maddening, so it’s always nice when something you try to do with one of them actually works. 🙂

  17. Panos

    Just wanted to say thanks, this still works in 2020.
    I can’t understand why email clients can’t just use the website’s storage space to host the profile picture and implement a `change avatar for identity` mechanism.
    Be safe and #stayhome people.

    • Jamie Piper

      Awesome! Happy to hear it works for you Panos. Yeah I don’t understand it either. It seems like a little bit of work on Google’s part would make things a whole lot easier for their Gmail users.

  18. Josh

    I’m curious if you have a way to do this if I’ve already had my alternate email registered. I’ve been using gmail for my work email for years and don’t want to delete and then re-add (step 4 above). For some reason, my chosen photo shows up when sending from my native personal gmail account, but when “sending as” my business email, it uses a different photo of me that i must have uploaded somewhere but I can’t find where/how/why it’s still there! Thanks for your help!

    • Jamie Piper

      Sorry to hear it isn’t working for you. Have you tried asking in the Gmail help community? There you’ll find people who work for Google and are familiar with unique situations like you describe. To do that, head over to the Gmail Help Community to get personalized assistance for your specific problem- https://support.google.com/mail/community?hl=en.

  19. Christian Shaffer

    Hey. I followed all your steps perfectly and unfortunately this doesn’t work for me. I tried clearing cache, cookies, using different browsers, logging out and in, etc., but the receiver of my emails still doesn’t see a profile picture. I need this resolved.. I see your replies to other people and it doesn’t sound like you have any more advice but I’m desperate.

    • Jamie Piper

      Unfortunately because have no affiliation with Google or their products, we can’t speak to each person’s set up or situation, and don’t know why the steps aren’t working for you. I recommend asking in the Gmail help community to get to the bottom of why your recipient can’t see your photo. There you’ll find people who work for Google and are familiar with unique situations like you describe. To do that, head over to the Gmail Help Community to get personalized assistance for your specific problem- https://support.google.com/mail/community?hl=en. Best wishes for a good outcome!

About Us

Cowbelly is a visuals-first, creative, web and design agency that provides commercial animal photography, video, stock dog and cat photos, graphic design, branding, web design, email services, content and other services to pet-industry brands.

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