Using Google for Your Business

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Google is more than just a search engine. It offers many tools that you can use in your day-to-day real estate business. Many of these tools are similar to programs you use everyday on your computer, but Google provides additional benefits to help you stay on top of your business.

What are these benefits? Well, the primary benefit is access. If you save something to your computer only, you can only access it from that computer. Even if you save a file to your flash drive, you still run the risk of not being able to access it. Perhaps the computer does not recognize the file or the flash drive crashes. However, with Google you can log on from any computer with an Internet connection and access any of your files at once. All you need is a Google account. If you don’t have an account, create one today.

Here are a few tools provided by Google and some tips on how to use them in your real estate business:

  • Gmail: Chances are you have heard of Gmail, know at least one person with it and maybe even have an account yourself. What you may not know is some of the benefits of Gmail beyond just being an email client. Gmail has the ability to create email filters, which allows emails to be flagged by sender, receiver, subjects, and words within the email. You can also elect to tag emails or even move them to a separate folder, including incoming emails. This feature is useful to separate clients or events into different folders so they are easily accessible and organized. Gmail also utilizes a chat feature, which is easy to use, and can be customized to different themes, just for fun. When you are logged into your Gmail account, you can chat directly with others who are logged in.

  • Google Maps: I’m sure you’ve used Google Maps to find a local business, address or get directions to a specific location. But, there are a few other features that Google Maps has to benefit your business, including using Google Maps at street and satellite views to give clients and potential clients an idea of the area the listing is in. You can also search nearby a specific location to find restaurants, schools, churches, and more. Performing simple searches before a listing presentation can make you prepared to answer any question thrown your way.

  • Google Docs: Google also offers a documents platform called “Google Docs,” which can create and store documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms and drawings. The best part of Google Docs is that the platform is built around applications that you may already have on your computer, including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and so on. Google Docs allows you to simply upload these files into the platform and share the files with anyone who has a Google account. Additionally, you can manage the level of access that each of those viewers have. Some may be able to view and others (other agents, the homeowner, etc) you can set to have the ability to edit the document. Another really helpful tool is your ability to set an email alert for these documents to let you know when a document has been edited.

  • Google Profile: When you sign up for a Google account, a basic account profile is created for you. Editing you profile to include more information about yourself will make it easier for people to find your presence on the Internet and thus visit your web page or find your listings. It’s also a friendly way to let people know a little more about you. Additionally you can upload some pictures through Google’s Picasa, a picture managing platform, to include an unique profile picture.

These are just a few tools Google has that can help you in your business. In addition, Google Labs is often coming up with new and fun add-ons that may only help in killing a little time before an appointment, but are still cool additions to your Google account. Plus, if you’re a smart phone user, such as iPhone, Blackberry, or Android, you can also access all of these applications through the Google mobile application. This way, you can access all your files from any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection.

Do you know of any other web tools that can help your business? What are your favorites?

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