GOOGLE TOOLS FOR REALTORS SERIES
In this Google Tools for Realtors Series, we will cover, review and provide how-to tips and strategies for Google's suite of productivity tools including such tools as:
- Google Calendar
- Google Alerts
- Google Wave
- Google Documents
- Google Maps
- Google Earth
- Google Local Business Center
- Google Adwords / G-Mail Ads
- Google Blogger
- Google Analytics
- Google Groups
- Google Sites
- Google Talk
- Google Voice
- Google Search
- Google Toolbar
In this first installment of the Google Tools for Realtors Series, we will take a look at how Realtors can effectively use Google Calendar in their real estate practice including such topics as:
- Getting Started with Google Calendar
- Working with Calendars
- Using/Syncing Google Calendar with Other Calendar Programs
- Mobile Google Calendar
- Embed Calendar
- Strategies for Using Google Calendar
GETTING STARTED WITH GOOGLE CALENDAR
WHY USE GOOGLE CALENDAR?
Google Calendar is a great tool for organizing your business meetings, marketing efforts and more. The benefits to Google Calendar include:
- Online Access - Available Anywhere at Anytime
- Multiple Calendars - Ability to Create Multiple Calendars that Can Be Viewed Individually or as an Integrated Calendar
- Sharing - Easy to Share and Coordinate Schedule with Others including Making the Calendar Public, Embedding in Website or Blog, or Allowing Others to Subscribe to Updates via RSS Feeds
- Scheduling - Easy to Schedule Meeting, Events and More
- Synchronize - Easy to Synchronize with BlackBerry's Calendar, Microsoft Outlook and More.
CREATING A GOOGLE CALENDAR
Step 1 - Create a Google account. Then go to http://calendar.google.com.
Step 2 - Click on Create.
Step 3 - Using the Create New Calendar input screen include:
- Calender Title - Use a short distinctive name. The calendar name should be short so that it can easily be viewed under the My Calendars section. It should also be distinctive so that the title can be recognized by others with whom you may share the calender.
- Calendar Description - Google calendar makes it easy to create public calendars and to share calendars with others. The description of the calendar should be keyword rich so that others can find your calendar - especially if it is used by an organization.
- Location - Similar to Calendar Description, the Location simply assists others to find your calendar.
- Time Zone - Google Calendar allows you to share calendars across the world and syncs events on calendars in other time zones to the time zone for your account.
- Public Calendar - If your calendar is for an organization or if you want it searchable by the public generally, click on Make this Calendar Public. For organizations advertising their group events, this is recommended.
- Sharing - If you want to share the calendar with a specific group of individual, enter their e-mail addresses. Then set their permission settings such as view only, edit, etc.
TYPES OF CALENDARS
Google Calendars allow you to create multiple calendars. The benefit is that you can create calendars for specific purposes and specific groups. Once created, you can view the calendars individually or can integrate the calendars as a single calendar. Events can be color coded based on the assigned calendar.
We recommend creating calendars for specific purposes. Here are some examples of the calendars that I have created for my use, the use of team members, and groups:
- Listing Tracking/Showings
- Women's Council of Realtors - Events
Google Calendars can be integrated showing all Google Calendars, can be viewed individually or can be viewed as groups by hiding selected calendars (either by highlighting only the calendars to be shown or by clicking on hide calendar if already shown).
Google Calendars can also be viewed by day, month, custom setting (set in your general calendar setting screen) or by using an agenda showing a list of events in chronological order without the calendar.
WORKING WITH GOOGLE CALENDARS
ADDING EVENTS - VIA GOOGLE CALENDAR
After you have created a Google Calendar, add an event to your calendar.
Step 1 - Click on Create Event.
Step 2 - Using the Add Event input screen include:
- What - Enter the name of the event or action.
- When - Enter the start date/time and end date/time
- Where - Enter the location by general description or address.
- Calendar - Before hitting save, make sure that the event is being added to the correct calendar.
- Description - Include a description of the event or task. For example, for a meeting, include the agenda or action items to be discussed.
- Attachment - Upload and attach a Google document (e.g. agenda) to the Event. People viewing the Event can then download the document. The document can be in any format supported by Google Documents such as Word, Excel Spreadsheet, PowerPoint, PDF and others.
- Repeats - If this is a reoccurring event, you can make a single entry and create a reoccurring event selecting daily, weekly, monthly or annually. If you have a repeating event with different topics, you can create the event and then go back clicking edit on the edit shown on the calendar. This will allow you to edit all of the reoccurring events, the future reoccurring events, or the specific event only. This is helpful where you have reoccurring events with different topics, speakers or action items.
- Reminders - See below.
- Privacy - Privacy determines who can view the event. Whether your calendar is public or private, there are times when you want other to see some or not all of the events. For example, if you have a public calendar, you may want the event to be shown (e.g. meeting). However, you may want to hide the items or deadlines that you entered on the calendar associated with event (e.g. send out invites/agenda).
- Default allows you to set the event's privacy to the same setting as the calendar's privacy setting.
- Private allows the event to be viewed by you and anyone else with whom you have shared the calendar and have the permission setting to make changes to the events. For example, if a private event is placed on a public calendar, it can only be viewed by you and the other people who have an administrative setting allowing them to edit events.
- Public allows anyone to see the event - even if the calendar itself is private.
- Default allows you to set the event's privacy to the same setting as the calendar's privacy setting.
Step 3 - Editing Events. If you need to edit an event, simply double click on the event to open and edit the event.
ADDING EVENT - VIA G-MAIL
You can also add events to your calendar via G-Mail.
Step 1 - Open E-Mail.
Step 2 - Click on More Action Tab.
Step 3 - Click on Create Event.
Step 4 - Repeat actions described in Add Event - Via Google Calendar above.
SET GENERAL GOOGLE CALENDAR SETTINGS
For Google Calendar, there are four general settings:
- General - The general settings relate to time zone, format and related items. Set "Automatically add invitations to my calendar:" to "No, only show invitations to which I have responded."
- Calendar - The calendar settings include a list of calendars, notification settings and sharing for each of your calendars covered below.
- Mobile - The mobile settings allow you to enable texting of daily agendas, reminders, etc. Enter your cell number. Receive text. Enter code to enable texting.
- Lab - The lab settings allow you to include add-on items to your calendar. Click enable or disable.
SET INDIVIDUAL CALENDAR SETTINGS
For individual Google Calendars, there are three general settings:
- Calendar Details- Change "Auto-accept Invitations" to "Do not show invitations."
- Share Calendar - Allows you to share calendar with specific group of individuals. Set permissions to approved level.
- Notifications - Set when you want to be notified. If you select Daily Agenda, you receive a daily e-mail with a list of the day's scheduled events.
CREATING REMINDERS/DAILY AGENDA FOR A CALENDAR
To create reminders for an entire calendar, click on the Notifications tab. You can set up reminders (one or multiple) to send you an e-mail or pop-up at a designated interval prior to an event. You can create a daily agenda of all of the day's events to be sent to you via e-mail. If you have opted to receive a daily agenda from more than one calendar, it will be sent in a single e-mail received at 5:00 a.m. each morning.
Here is an example of a Daily Agenda received via e-mail:
CREATING REMINDERS FOR AN EVENT
In addition to setting default reminders for a calendar, you can override the default reminder for a specific event by clicking on Options when creating an Event. The setting for the reminder for the Event will override the default setting for the Calendar.
USING/SYNCING GOOGLE CALENDAR WITH OTHER CALENDAR PROGRAMS
IMPORTING OTHER CALENDARS INTO A GOOGLE CALENDAR
Step 1 - Open calendar in Microsoft Outlook or other calendar program. Save file in an iCal format. Same approach can be used for importing Facebook event to your Google Calendar.
Step 2 - Under Other Calendar / My Calendar list, click on Add. Select import Browse to located saved iCal file. Select the Google Calendar where the events are to be imported. Click Import.
EXPORT GOOGLE CALENDAR EVENT TO OTHER CALENDAR
Step 1 - Go to Google Calendar Settings. Click on Calendar Details Tab. Scroll down to Private Address. Click on iCal.
Step 2 - Click on URL.
Step 3 - Click open with Microsoft Outlook.
SYNC MICROSOFT OUTLOOK (Default File) AND GOOGLE CALENDARS (Primary File)
Step 1 - Download Google Sync Calendar file from http://dl.google.com/googlecalendarsync/GoogleCalendarSync_Installation.exe.
Step 2 - Run file.
Step 3 - Enter Google e-mail and password. Select 1-way or 2-way sync. Select time intervals for updates.
Note: Only the primary Google Google Calendars will sync. Secondard Google Calendars will not sync.
MOBILE GOOGLE CALENDAR
CONNECT TO GOOGLE CALENDAR VIA CELL PHONE
Step 1- Open browser on cell phone to www.google.com/Calendar.
Step 2 - Sign into Google Calendar.
RECEIVE NOTIFICATIONS VIA TEXT MESSAGING
Step 1 - Go to general Google Calendar Settings. Go to Mobile SetUp tab.
Step 2 - Enter cell telephone number to receive text message. Enter Google code from text message.
Step 3 - Go to specific Google Calendar's Notification page. Click on SMS to receive Daily Agenda. Repeat for each Google Calendar.
CHECK YOUR GOOGLE CALENDAR VIA TEXT MESSAGING
Step 1 - Enable texting messaging as described in Step 1 above.
Step 2 - Send command to GVENT (48368):
- nest - for next calendar event
- day - for all event's today
- nday - for all event's within next 24 hours
SYNC GOOGLE CALENDAR WITH YOUR BLACKBERRY
Step 1 - Point Blackberry browser to http://m.google.com/sync. Download Google Sync.
Step 2 - Click menu button and select Get Link. Click download.
Step 3 - On Blackberry Home Screen, click on Google Sync icon. Sign into Google. Click on Sync Now button.
To embed a calendar on your website or blog, take the following steps:
Step 1 - Go to Google Calendar Setting Page. Click on Calendar Details Tab. Go to Embed this Calendar section.
Step 2 - Click on "Customize the color, size, and other options". Then select options such as calendars to include, size, color, etc. Click on Update HTML.
Step 3 - Cut HTML code and paste into your website or blog.
STRATEGIES FOR USING CALENDAR
Strategy 1 - Google Calender is a great calendar for creating a dynamic calendar for your website, blog or Facebook Fan Page. Change your Google Calendar and it automatically updates your website and blog.
Strategy 2 - Google Calendar is a great collaboration tool for groups or teams. The calendar is live with data automatically updated. There is no need to sync or e-mail calendars.
Strategy 3 - Google Calendar is a great tool for time blocking. Plan your sales calls, your prospecting activities, your marketing activities and other reoccurring events in a single spot.
Strategy 4 - Google Calendar isn't a CRM product. However, it can be used to track things like listing tasks, closing tasks, etc.
Strategy 5 - Google Calendar is a good back-up system for proprietary calendar platforms.
INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT HOW TO USE GOOGLE TOOLS IN THE MARKETING AND SALE OF REAL ESTATE? Contact Ryan Shaughnessy at 314-971-4381 or send an e-mail to Ryan@PREASignatureRealty.com.