To Gmail, or to Not Gmail - An Agent's Question ?

By
Real Estate Agent with Evergreen Realty

Have you pondered the question: "Should I use Gmail for my real estate business?"  Some people think its a great idea, others oppose it.  I've decided its not the way to go, and I'll share some reasons why I made that decision.  I hope many of you will get involved in this thread and post your feelings.

The main attraction for most people is that Gmail is "Free".  We who have been around for many generations know that nothing is truly free.  Everything has a cost, though it may not be apparent.  However, most people jump on this bandwagon to get a free service.  Here is why I avoided that decision.

  1. Privacy for my clients:  As a professional, I want to respect my clients' privacy on all matters of a transaction.  I realize that much of the end result will be posted to public records, but all of the thoughts, personal information, transaction details, documents, and other communications should not be exposed to data mining.  After reading the Google Privacy Policy ( https://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/privacy/ ), I am less than comfortable that my email content transferred through Gmail is actually private.  Data mining is the cost of a Gmail account.  Personally, I am comfortable with their policy because it is clearly stated, and anyone using the service knows upfront what they will be doing ... mostly !  However, I'm also concerned that the policy is not in the best interests of my clients.  If they want to use Gmail, that is their choice, but as their agent, I have to use my best abilities to protect their interests.
  2. My email address should contain my branding:  I want every piece of mail I send to reference my website.  I want people to be curious about what I offer, and they see my site as part of my correspondence to them.  Gmail advertises Google, but "Tim4Homes" advertises me !  I'm all about selling my services, and that means constant impressions of who I am.
  3. My email address should show my professionalism:  Gmail is free.  To many people, if that's my address, I'm sending the message that I want to cut corners on my email expense.  Is that significant ?  Doesn't it also plant the seed that if I'm doing it on a very simple item, then perhaps I'm also going to cut corners when providing services to them ? 

Please don't take this as some type of negative about Gmail or Google.  That's not the point at all.  As agents, seeking clients, I believe we need to do everything we can to enhance the image we share, and to promote our brand.  I'm thankful that consumers have an opportunity to enjoy email if they can't afford the cost of a private service. 

Maybe you came to some different conclusions about the Gmail question.  I'd love to hear what you think.

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Rainmaker
423,981
Jean Hanley
Coldwell Banker Kivett Teeters - Hemet, CA
Specializing in Folks Who Want To Buy/Sell Homes

I am on the fence about this.  I am not totally sure that people fixate on the whole branding issue when it comes to an email address.  Let's see what others say.

May 05, 2013 08:03 AM #1
Rainer
16,704
Tim Stone
Evergreen Realty - Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Tim4Homes

As a consumer, that is one of the first things I notice.  If someone has a viable product or service, I expect to see a legitimate company name in that email.  If I don't I'm skeptical and usually delete the email.  I want to see the company that stands behind the person.

May 05, 2013 08:11 AM #2
Rainmaker
284,767
Gene Allen
Fathom Realty - Cary, NC
Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate

You can still use gmail and have your own email address. I use gmail and a yahoo service to provide me a all the branded emails I want as well as a website address.  I forward the Yahoo service to my gmail.

Jun 03, 2013 11:22 AM #3
Rainer
16,704
Tim Stone
Evergreen Realty - Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Tim4Homes

Gene,

That sure seems like a lot of effort to avoid $4 a month for a secure exchange server account that is cloud based, coordinates all of your email accounts, is accessible from all devices, and handles email, contacts, calendars, and to do lists.

More important to me is the fact I read the Privacy Notice supplied by Google, and came to the immediate conclusion I could not use their service because it compromises the confidentiality of my clients.  My exchange account is totally secure, a one place does all solution, and it is not data mined !  It costs $ 4 / month.

Tim

Jun 04, 2013 01:26 AM #4
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Rainer
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Tim Stone

Tim4Homes
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