Today, email is a necessary tool for conducting real estate business. While the protocol itself hasn’t changed, the way in which real estate agents view and use email has adapted over time. We are now seeing a shift towards more all inclusive systems, forward-thinking ideas, productive processes and cloud systems.
Corporate Branded Email
Company emails are often offered to real estate agents, and while these generally do a decent job, they are not able to keep up with the likes of Google (Gmail) and Microsoft (Hotmail/MSN/Live) and run into issues that the larger companies are able to avoid. Spam, organization, and security are very important to real estate agents, and corporate branded emails aren’t allowing agents to be as productive as they could be.
There was a time when getting a company email not only seemed like a good idea but was practically a must. Doing business from firstname.lastname@example.org came across very unprofessionally, and people frowned upon it. As with many things in business, things have changed and email communications is one of them. Today, the evolution of communication to an increasingly informal level has not only made the use of a dedicated email provider perfectly acceptable, but in many cases, preferable. This means that businesses can finally take full advantage of all the benefits they offer.
Dedicated Email Provider
Currently, the two best email solutions for real estate agents are Google (Gmail) and Microsoft (Hotmail/MSN/Live). These services are free and offer more features than company emails. Aside from already being more complete solutions, they also update more far more frequently, are more secure, and have better device integration. Here is an overview of all the features you get with a free dedicated email provider that you don’t receive with corporate branded emails.
“This means that businesses can finally take full advantage of all the benefits they offer.”
Spam Handling (Is Your Message Getting Through?)
As spam continues to be a problem on the Internet, many filters and and scanners are allowing less and less email through, potentially blocking legitimate communications. In most cases, all of the main dedicated email providers (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Aol) have arrangements with each other to better allow proper email through while blocking the junk. Corporate branded email are not part of those arrangements increasing the chances that you will have difficulty getting a message through since your provider does not appear on the “white lists”.
The other issue is that while Gmail and Hotmail have millions of users, your company will only have a handful by comparison making every sender more valuable in terms of the filters and scanners evaluation of the content being sent. If a couple of people using your system send email that is considered spam then more filters and scanners will block everyone from the same domain. This may lead to situations of your important messages not going through because a few co-worker were spamming. Dedicated email providers have far more advanced and updated spam filters that are continuously improved based on crowd-sourced feedback which means that they are able to avoid these issues.
Security (Your Information is Important, Protect it!)
Security measures on corporate email servers are generally sub-par when compared to today’s top standards. With dedicated email providers having millions of users, security is much more of a priority. Users can expect the level of security their email has to rival that of banking systems, something that cannot be said of corporate branded emails. Although nothing is 100% secure online, generally speaking it is much tougher to “hack” Microsoft and Google than it is ABC Real Estate Company.
Maintenance & Updates (Whats Good Today is Better Tomorrow)
Server maintenance and upkeep is always an issue when dealing with a corporate branded email. Dedicated email providers are able to keep their systems updated with more advanced updates far more frequently than corporate branded email. Using a dedicated email provider ensures that you have the latest innovations in email. Dedicated email providers also have far more redundancy when it comes to servers and systems ensuring much better up time. If you think about it, when was the last time Gmail “was down”?
In addition to the security updates new features are constantly being added to improve your user experience. Microsoft recently launched “sweep”, a way to quickly sort through an over cluttered inbox and clean things up in a matter of moments. Google is constantly adding in features to Gmail such as Google Docs, Calendar and Google Voice.
“Using a dedicated email provider ensures that you have the latest innovations in email.”
Cloud (Anywhere, Anytime Access to Your Information/Instant Backup of Your Date)
Dedicated email providers all operate in the cloud meaning that your information is immediately saved securely online as you enter it. While corporate branded emails may not even support the IMAP protocol, dedicated email providers are allowing you to keep all of your messages stored in the cloud, along with giving you access to powerful search functions processed by cloud computing.
Device Compatibility (Your Computer, Phone, and Tablet All Working Together)
Technology advances in many areas at once, so it is important to your productivity to make sure that all the real estate technology you utilize integrates well with each other. Corporate branded emails often do not take the necessary measures to ensure that their email addresses are compatible with the latest devices that real estate agents are using. This is counterproductive and discouraging for agents looking to take advantage of real estate technology for their business.
Both Microsoft and Google make operating systems for mobile phones, computers and tablets. If anyone is up to date on the necessary integration of devices it is these two companies. You must also consider that they plan updates to their email service in accordance with devices that may not yet be available ensuring that they are always a step ahead when it comes to compatibility.
Documents and Sharing (Store Files Online and Work Together in Real-Time)
Gmail is Google’s service and comes loaded with online tools (Google Docs) that allow you to create and share documents and photos. You are able to access this account from any device connected to the Internet where you will not only have your email but also any stored files or saved documents. YouTube will also use your existing Google account saving you the need to create and remember additional account information when using the video service.
Hotmail/MSN/Live are all essentially the same thing. This is Microsoft’s free email solution and like Google offers online document creation and sharing as well as file and photo storage. Through your Microsoft account you are able to access an online version of Microsoft Office through their “Sky Drive” which will allow you to create, share and store documents. Once again you are able to log into this account from anywhere.
Freedom (Its Your Data)
A major consideration to not forget is freedom. By using a corporate branded email, you are locking yourself into a company because all of your email communications are going through their servers using their branded email address. What if you want to switch companies? This is a non-issue when using a dedicated email provider. You are able to move between companies and keep all of your emails and communications without having to worry about migration or updating contact information with clients.
“You are able to move between companies and keep all of your emails and communications without having to worry about migration or updating contact information with clients.”
Still Prefer a Custom Email Address?
If you still feel the need to have an email address with a custom domain name, we have the answer for you. Many of the dedicated providers offer the option to have a custom domain so that your email will still have a more “professional” appearance while taking advantage of the benefits of dedicated email.
Check back soon as we will be posting an article on how you can setup a custom domain with a dedicated email provider.
While company branded emails were once a necessity, today they simply restrict productivity. Communication is becoming less formal as each day passes (think social media). What’s becoming more important is not the domain of your email address, but the features and ability to deliver your message while maintaining the best possible security and offering device compatibility.
It is in your best interest to use a dedicated email provider like Google or Microsoft in order to be as productive as possible in real estate, today.
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