Using free email - avoid being a bonehead

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with API Network

It just makes me cringe when someone in business sends me an email and instead of their domain, they have @comcast.net or even worse, @aol.com. That to me screams they're either clueless or they just don't care. Most common lame excuse: "I've had this address for a long time and it would be too much work to change."

That's a pretty bad attitude if you're using email for business.

There is a good reason to use a service like gMail and you can configure it so that your domain (website) continues to get the branding visibility it requires.

Let's start with some email basics. There are two ways to store mail.

  • On the server (a.k.a IMAP)
  • On your hard drive (a.k.a POP)

Good example of a POP account would be when you install Thunderbird to your laptop.  Each time you connect to your account, it drains the messages from your web server and dumps everything into a local inbox on your hard drive.

Benefit: Your web server inbox should never fill.  Once you download your mail, you can perform a backup. Drawback: If you need to get to your mail when you are without your laptop, then you're stuck reading only the new stuff.

Using an IMAP type of account (which means mail stays on the server) you can use what's called a "web client" to read/reply.

Benefit: You can generally get your email from any web connected browser. If it's your web server, you can schedule backups to run every day without you even thinking about it.

Drawbacks: Some web clients suck; Some office networks block access to ports where web clients run; Some web clients don't allow you to change the reply-to address. Some (actually most) free web services have no customer service. If one morning you wake up to find your mail all gone, it may in fact, be all gone. In some cases, you can't do backups of your mail.

Rather than listing all the web clients that suck, and for the sake of keeping this concise, I'll stick to gMail -- which doesn't suck.  If any of the following apply to you, then a gMail switch is worthy of consideration:

1. Your current server has an inbox limit that's low and people send you huge files that can cause "inbox full" error messages. (or you just never delete anything, which will eventually produce the same condition)

2. Your current web client makes you want to kick something

3. You use Outlook (or any other email product) locally and realize it's not a good solution because you need to get your mail when you're not at your PC.

4. Your office network has ports blocked (it's a security thing) so you can't get to your mail.

Assuming one of the above apply to you, here's how you can use gMail to make things better:

Step 1 - Create a gMail account (simple enough) You can pick any cryptic email name you want as you'll not be showing that to clients anyway.

Step 2 - After you login, go to Settings

gmail settings

Step 3 - Click the Account tab

Click Accounts tab

Step 4 - Edit Info

Edit Info next

Step 5 - Set your name to First name/Phone number. Make it really simple for people to call you. Then change the reply-to so it matches your address from your website. 

Change the reply to and your From name

Now all that's left is to create what's called a forward account on your website. If you have access to your own control panel, it will look something like this: 

What email Cpanel looks like

(If you don't have cPanel type access to your account, you may need to contact your hosting company to help set the forwarder)

Remember that if you are having full inbox issues on your server to delete your existing account.  (Of course, only do this after you have drained all your email from it first!)  And by the way, there is no simple way to transfer all your old email to gMail -- so you'll need to consider this your fresh start.    One more thing, if you store your address book online, make sure you export that data too!   (that can be imported into gMail with little effort)

Remove your account -- carefully

Now people will be able to write you via you@your_domain.com, which will immediately bounce to gMail. When you reply from there, they will see YourName/Phone number in the From line and when they hit reply, it will go back to your_domain.com. (They will be able to see the message was sent from gMail but as long as you have configured the reply-to with your domain, you'll have accomplished your goal of keeping your domain in front of them.)

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Rainer
7,184
Natasa Glamoclija
Natasa Glamoclija - Brookfield, IL

Thank you for tips.

May 19, 2008 02:44 AM #1
Rainmaker
197,582
Cheryl Willis
RE/MAX Solutions- OZARK MISSOURI - Mount Vernon, MO
MO Broker - Mt Vernon, Monett, Aurora, Barry & Law

I have seen several post on not using yahoo or other e-mail addy.  I am not as computer savay as most BUT, have had very good results with yahoo.  it is a recognizable name,  I can sort mail and even have it 'call' me if certain stuff hits the in box.  So far not convinced I need to change. JMHO  cheryl  ozarkcastle@yahoo.com

May 19, 2008 02:50 AM #2
Rainer
109,059
Linda Tremblay
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc, PA License #AB065488 - Doylestown, PA
Associate Broker - Bucks County, PA Real Estate Services

Thanks for the good information. I do have a gmail account but never used like that.w

May 19, 2008 02:50 AM #3
Rainmaker
595,080
Associate Broker Falmouth MA Cape Cod Heath Coker
http://www.CapeGroup.com & http://www.REindex.com - Falmouth, MA
Heath Coker Robert Paul Properties Falmouth MA

If you have a business, you should have your own domain.  Even if you work in a broker's office, having your own site shows you plan to be in business.  Email from a generic account indicates poor computer skills and/or short time in business.

May 19, 2008 02:54 AM #4
Rainmaker
283,861
Dave Woodson
Dave Woodson - Chesterton, IN
Not the Average Agent

I am with you 100%.  The first chance I had to get mine.  I was all over it.  It drives me insane to see email.com or yahoo.com

May 19, 2008 03:06 AM #5
Rainer
26,949
Crystal Ledbetter
Texas Home Group - Montgomery, TX

you do need to have your own domain,  brand yourself not your broker, 

May 19, 2008 03:09 AM #6
Rainmaker
95,977
Sharon Lancaster
Sage Executive Group Real Estate - Kelowna, BC
SRES, Realty Executives Okanagan

If only I had read this earlier ... I did use my Remax address.. and am now changing to Realty Executives.... do you know how I can change my Active Rain email address from my profile? Do I have to delete my profile and start again? I cannot find the edit for emails...??? Now I want to set up a gmail... as per your suggestions...

Apr 09, 2009 01:42 AM #7
Rainer
26,353
Kasey Kase
API Network - Mequon, WI
I'm not really a pirate

Sharon:   It's never too late to start being different/better. :)   But I don't get it....  You already own sharonlancaster.com, why are you not using that domain as your primary email?  <rhetorical>     

If you need any help, give me a ring.  Glad to help. 

Apr 09, 2009 04:25 PM #8
Rainer
6,589
Tina Del Casale / NMLS#191852
Sandy Spring Bank / NMLS#2184 - Rockville, MD
Renovation & Jumbo Loans in MD,DC,& VA.

Looking for that advice on how to change the email address I signed up with Active rain with to my new gmail account. 

Jun 11, 2009 05:45 AM #9
Rainer
26,353
Kasey Kase
API Network - Mequon, WI
I'm not really a pirate

Hey Tina:  Wouldn't you change that in My Profile (Edit)   ?

Jun 11, 2009 06:05 AM #10
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Rainer
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