Gmail is one of the most widely used email platforms across the world, and there’s a good chance you’re using it in some form in your real estate business, too. But are you getting the most out of all of Gmail’s features for your business?
Setting Up Your Gmail Inbox
To begin setting up the way you want your Gmail inbox to look, log into your Gmail account. On the right-hand side, you’ll see a widget that looks like a gear. Click on that, and click on Settings.
From there, you’ll want to select the Inbox tab. The first selection available to you, Inbox Type, helps you determine what the overall layout of your inbox should look like. For example, choosing Priority Inbox will automatically separate your messages into three categories: important and unread, starred, and everything else. (If you select Priority Inbox, you’ll also be able to customize the settings for each category further.)
Gmail also has Importance Markers, which you can toggle on and off, which is just a quick visual of what Gmail thinks may be most important to you. Usually, they’re messages from either someone in your contact list or a person (as opposed to a company or mailing list) who is writing to you individually.
The Settings area is also where, under the General tab, you’re able to determine how many emails you see at one time on one page, where you can turn your desktop notifications for incoming emails on and off, where you can create a customized signature for all your outgoing emails, and where you can even turn on Snippets, which allow you to see parts of each email message before you even open it!
Managing Your Email in Gmail
Once you have your settings the way you want them and your inbox customized to maximize your preferred workflow, it’s time to help with your email organization. Gmail doesn’t have traditional email folders, like Outlook. Instead, it gives you the ability to create Labels, which are a quick way to categorize and find important emails. Labels can be produced in one of two ways: from the Labels tab, and directly from the Inbox.
To create a Label in settings, go to your Gmail Settings and click on the Labels tab. Scroll down until you see the ‘Create New Label’ button under Labels.
Some suggested Labels for your Gmail account include: Buyers, Sellers or Listings, Closed Transactions, Rentals, and Business Expenses. Another way of organizing them is to put the current year in front of those, i.e., ‘2022 Buyers’, to better sort them out. One nice thing about Labels is that you can ‘nest’ a label underneath it. You can do that by creating a new label, and then following the instructions to choose which label it should ‘nest’ underneath.
For real estate, nested labels could include individual buyer names underneath ‘Buyers’ or individual listing addresses underneath ‘Listings.’
You can also create labels from your inbox. Just select all the messages you’d like included under one label. Then, click on the icon that looks like a pentagon on its side. Clicking this will allow you to either move those selected messages into an existing label or to create a new label for those messages.
Labels are a great way of visually sorting and managing your Gmail inbox, and one of the easiest ways to control your email.
More Gmail Features
Google is constantly adding features, so always be on the lookout for new ones.
Smart Compose for Gmail
When this feature is turned on in your Settings (under the General tab), Google will give you autocomplete suggestions for your words and phrases as you start to type messages. It will also begin to ‘learn’ your preferred phrasings and messages to offer them as options as you continue to use Gmail.
Nudges and Hover Actions in Gmail
Gmail can also ‘remind’ you about emails you may not have responded to in a while. These are called Nudges, and you can find their settings under the General Tab in Gmail Settings. With Nudges enabled, you’ll not only be able to see those messages that may still need responses; Gmail will also move those messages to the top of your Inbox, so you get a visual cue as well.
Also in General Settings is Hover Actions, which is another useful feature.
Hover Actions give you the ability to make decisions about messages straight from your inbox by only clicking on one icon to the right of the message, as seen below. You can choose from: Archive, Delete, Mark as Read, or Snooze.
Which leads us to another feature…
Gmail’s Snooze Feature
Gmail’s snooze feature allows you to snooze a message until later – your choice. Snoozing an email means that it will disappear from your inbox until the appointed date and time.
Undo Send in Gmail
Ever wish you could take back an email right after your pressed Send? Or remembered you forgot to include something in your message directly after you send it? Next time, you can use Undo Send in Gmail. Go to Settings -> General tab, and five choices down, you’ll see Undo Send. You can set the time limit that you have to cancel the sending of your message here.
After you compose and send a message, in the bottom left-hand corner you’ll see this option, which will let you undo the sending if you’d like:
What’s Google Workspace?
Ever wonder how other real estate agents are branding their name or their personal business’ name in their email address (like, “firstname.lastname@example.org”)? Unless they’ve had their email provided to them by their company, like CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty provides its agents, they may be using Google’s Workspace.
Google Workspace gives you all the features of a standard Gmail account, along with the ability to add other team members, create other email accounts associated with the same brand name, share Google calendars with team members, and more.
Exploring Add-Ons for Gmail
You can begin to explore other features for Gmail by enabling some of Google’s recommendations under the Advanced tab, which you can find under Settings in Gmail.
You can find other add-ons for Gmail in your favorite browser’s store, where they’re usually called Extensions or Add-ons. One of our favorite Gmail extensions is the Unroll.Me for Gmail, which allows you to seamlessly manage your subscriptions and easily opt out of any spam or unwanted email lists.
Another popular add-on for Gmail is Mixmax which, for a cost, provides an extended amount of features that are seamlessly incorporated directly into your existing Gmail account, including tracking opens and click-throughs of sent email.
Finally, if you’re not someone who can keep your email organized on a regular basis, and you’d like that feature automatically built in, as well as provide a timeline for each transaction and easy access to the documents associated with the deal, you’ll want to at least consider Amitree’s Folio.
Personalizing your Gmail account to best suit your ideal email inbox will help make your email communications faster and more straightforward, and allow you to create a more tailored experience for all your clients. If you have questions about technology, we have people on staff who are here to help. Just drop us a line!