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Using E-Mail to Obtain & Serve Consumers. Created and Instructed by Craig Grant of EasyRealtySites – Provider #0004486. Course Objective. Objective To gain a better understanding of how to properly use & utilize e-mail in your business & daily life. What’s On Deck.

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using e mail to obtain serve consumers

Using E-Mail to Obtain & Serve Consumers

Created and Instructed by Craig Grant of EasyRealtySites – Provider #0004486

course objective

Course Objective

ObjectiveTo gain a better understanding of how to properly use & utilize e-mail in your business & daily life.

chapter 1 benefits of e mail

Chapter 1Benefits of E-mail

Objective

To gain an understanding of the importance and benefits of using e-mail in your personal and business transactions.

e mail
E-Mail

A system for transferring electronic messages from one computer to another, usually via an Internet connection.

e mail6
E-Mail

E-mail is the most important Internet feature to real estate agents as it allows instant communication with your contacts and an automatic logging of all messages thus a digital diary of all communications.

Remember, the ability to log information and agreements in order to avoid misunderstandings is a requirement of Article 9 of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice℠ of the National Association of Realtors™.

some benefits of e mail include
Some benefits of E-mail include:
  • Ease
  • Immediate
  • Pervasive
  • Pictures/Attachments
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Versatile
some cautions of e mail include
Some cautions of E-mail include:
  • Permanent Record
  • Distribution
  • Tone
slide9

Chapter 2What Do You Need?

ObjectiveTo gain a better understanding of what hardware & software products you need to be able to function properly to fit your technical needs

equipment computer
Equipment - Computer

Portability is KingBeing able to access the MLS, customer information, leads, files & more while on the move allows you to be more efficient & provide optimal customer service

  • Options these days include Laptops, Tablet PC’s/Netbooks, Web-Enabled Cell Phones, etc.
  • You can utilize Wi-Fi, Bluetooth & Air Cards for the Internet Connection
  • The main negatives are:
  • They are typically proprietary or sealed, so enhancing the product with more memory, RAM, etc. is typically harder & more expensive to do.
  • They tend to be a bit more expensive (especially if you need a higher end unit) & have shorter life-spans.
  • May not be able to operate everywhere (poor service or networks)
kinds of portable computers
Kinds of Portable Computers
  • Notebooks: Biggest & most powerful portable, due to strong processors often produce a good deal of heat & thus are uncomfortable to use in a lap.
  • All purpose laptops – can be used for personal or business usage, slightly smaller than a lap or notebook
  • Ultra portables: Under 5lbs., offer more networking options, longer battery life and faster processors
  • Tablets: Slate-shaped mobile computer equipped with a touch-screen or graphics tablet/screen hybrid to operate the computer with a stylus or digital pen, or a fingertip, instead of a keyboard or mouse.
  • Netbooks: Similar to ultraportable, are typically very small and intended for personal usage like Internet and basic office functionality. Minimal expansion ability.
equipment computer12
Equipment - Computer

Desktop Computers

  • Goes beyond the capabilities of a portable computer as they typically have better processors (RAM) so are able to do more functions at the same time
  • Better fit for an agent who does more high end functions like graphic design, programming &/or likes to multi-task functions while on the computer.
  • Can be easily integrated into networks to do additional functions
  • Tend to be a bit less expensive & have better life-spans
  • The main negatives are:
    • Not portable, tied to one location
computer buying checklist
Computer Buying Checklist
  • When developing requirements select the most important features necessary for your needs.
  • Consider compatibility with an existing piece of equipment, describe the equipment, connectors, interfaces, brand and model of the existing equipment.
  • Consider support, maintenance &/or potential labor costs, including if you need assistance with initial installation or on-going on-site assistance.
  • Assess all upgradable components/options and determine if they are necessary and how much value they will add.
internet service providers isp
Internet Service Providers (ISP)

ISP – Internet Service Provider is the company you pay to have access to the Internet. Options include dial up, broadband (cable, DSL or satellite), WiFi or Air Card

  • The speed of your upload & download connection will depend on the bandwidth allocation provided to you by your ISP.
  • ISPs have a wide range of prices & packages to choose from, choose the package with the bandwidth allotment that meets your online needs & usage.
internet service providers isp15
Internet Service Providers (ISP)
  • You should ask around and find out what are best ISP options in your market as the options and performance typically differ from place to place much like cell phone reception.
  • Keep in mind when selecting an ISP that this is for business, not social, so a strong consistent connection is important.
group discussion

Name advantages & disadvantages of using a portable & desktop computers, which one do you use and why?

Group Discussion
slide17

Chapter 3Setting Up Your E-Mail Account

ObjectiveTo gain a better understanding of the basics of e-mail so you can determine how you want to set up your e-mail presence

types of e mail accounts
Types of E-Mail Accounts

Alias – Does not store any e-mails, any incoming e-mails are forwarded to another account. (ex. [email protected] forwards to [email protected])

POP3 – Can send & receive e-mails using POP server protocol & e-mail data is transferred from one server to another, so if you check e-mail from one location it doesn’t update other locations.

IMAP – Can send & receive e-mails using IMAP server protocol & due to information being pulled from the server (nothing is transferred), it automatically updates all locations simultaneously. Recommended for on the go users.

picking an e mail address
Picking an E-mail Address

Your contact info to the world!

The domain of your website or your e-mail address has no impact on where you are going to show up on a search engine, so pick it based on marketing and what is easy to spell and remember.

  • Some recommendations:
  • Get an e-mail address that ties into the domain so they work together & it looks more professional
  • Set up multiple spellings (example the name Terry, Terri, etc.)

19

e mail packages
E-mail Packages
  • Microsoft’s Outlook & Outlook Express are still the most popularly used e-mail systems. Outlook Express is a basic version that is bundled with most versions of the Windows Operating System where as the full version is a paid upgrade.
  • Other stand-alone e-mail programs such as Lotus Notes & Eudora are also available. In addition, most Personal Information Managers (PIM) include an e-mail feature. They typically offer spell check and address book capability.
e mail packages21
E-mail Packages
  • Most e-mail programs try to replicate services traditionally found in Microsoft Outlook including: calendar, contacts, documents, and tasks.
  • Current e-mail programs have the ability to send attachments, photographs, virtual reality displays, video or audio home pages, signatures and other embellishments.

E-Mail:InboxOutboxSentArchiveFoldersDrafts/Auto Responses

e mail packages22
E-mail Packages
  • Free e-mail accounts should be avoided for use as your business e-mail address. Professionalism requires each agent to have his/her own domain name. Free e-mail accounts imply that the agent cannot afford an e-mail host. However, free accounts can be great for use when an e-mail address is requested for information, services, or for internet purchases.
  • An exception to this rule is that now some of the free accounts such as Google’s Gmail or Mozilla’s Thunderbird support external MX-Record control so that you can still use your domain derived e-mail address but still get all the advantages that the free vendors bring to the table.
spam filters and cookie removers
Spam Filters and Cookie Removers
  • The majority of e-mail is junk, also called Spam. E-mail packages often contain a filtering program but it may be insufficient. An add-on program to intercept and erase these messages may be necessary. Spam blockers compare incoming messages with a list of known spammers. Unwelcome messages are removed immediately.
  • Cookies are hidden files placed on the computer by the website visited. They must be periodically removed. Experts recommend running the cookie removal for every three hours spent on the internet. At the very least this should be done weekly.
slide24

Chapter 4E-mail Features

ObjectiveTo gain a better understanding of different tools available to maximize your e-mail experience

typical features of e mail programs
Typical Features of E-Mail Programs

E-Mail

In Box

Out Box

Sent

Archive

Folders

Drafts or Auto Responses

Also, most e-mail programs now are trying to replicate all the services traditionally found in Microsoft Outlook including:

- Calendar - Contacts - Documents - Tasks

tips on how to optimize using e mail
Tips on How to Optimize Using E-mail

Typically just click on column headers or pull down tab

Sorts

Instantly re-organize e-mails to quickly find what you are looking for (ex. By sender name to see all e-mails sent by each person)

tips on how to optimize using e mail27
Tips on How to Optimize Using E-mail

Flags or CategoriesFlags (check the flag icon for any e-mail) or Category Colors (click category column) – to group e-mails for quick reference & visual enhancement.

tips on how to optimize using e mail28
Tips on How to Optimize Using E-mail

Reminders or Follow Up From inside the body of an e-mail or from the tab in the window you can click on the Follow Up option and specify a date & time you want to be notified to follow up with a contact

By using this feature you can make any e-mail be tied into the Calendar program

tips on how to optimize using e mail29
Tips on How to Optimize Using E-mail

Folders

You can create folders & organize/move related e-mail files into it for quick access. To add e-mails to a folder you can just drag & drop, highlight & copy or set up a rule/filter.

tips on how to optimize using e mail30
Tips on How to Optimize Using E-mail

Filters or Rules

You can define what automatically happens if any e-mails in your account match the parameters you set.

tips on how to optimize using e mail31
Tips on How to Optimize Using E-mail

Filters or Rules

ex. I have set a rule that says any e-mail received from [email protected] the label “Customer Sign Ups” which also puts it into a folder called “Customer Sign Ups”

tips on how to optimize using e mail32
Tips on How to Optimize Using E-mail

Archive

Your e-mail system will periodically ask you permission to moves older e-mails to a history file to minimize the amount of data in the e-mail program & make it run faster.Note: Archive data is still searchable even though it may not be viewable in your e-mail program at that time.

tips on how to optimize using e mail33
Tips on How to Optimize Using E-mail

Drafts or Auto Responses

While creating an e-mail you can click on the Save or Auto Response icon to save it as a draft so you can easily access it at a later date. I recommend using this feature to create stock responses for typical e-mails you have to handle, that way you can just copy (or slightly tweak) one of these e-mails versus writing each e-mail as it comes in…can be a huge time saver.

tips on how to optimize using e mail34
Tips on How to Optimize Using E-mail

Adding Attachments or Files

Typically its as easy as clicking on the attachment (paperclip) icon or using a Browse Upload Field & then browse, find & upload the desired file(s).

  • To imbed an image into an e-mail, you can simply add the image if the program supports it, or you can post it to a web server & then copy that web hosted image into the e-mail.
  • If you are having problems sending a large file to a recipient, a better option is to post that file to a web server & then provide the link to that file in your e-mail, then the user downloads the file from the server & the file is never e-mailed!
tips on how to optimize using e mail35
Tips on How to Optimize Using E-mail

While offline programs like Microsoft’s Outlook are still the standard, consider using a web based e-mail provider like AOL, Gmail, Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, Road Runner, etc because they typically:

  • Are Free
  • Provide more file storage space
  • Have the most advanced SPAM & Virus filtering tools
  • Use cloud computing to give portable access to files & programs
  • Often integrate programs like Instant Messaging (IM) & Video Chat
  • Are open source which means they have labs with tons of apps & tweaks you can use to make the experience better
slide36

Advanced E-mail Features

Mail Merge

If you have a spreadsheet or a data base of contacts, you can use Mail Merge tools like the ones built into Microsoft Word to auto generate letters, envelopes and even e-mails with the merge to e-mail options.

slide38

Chapter 5 Basics of Writing Proper E-Mail Etiquette

ObjectiveTo gain a better understanding proper etiquette so you can better communicate with your contacts using e-mail

slide39

When You Check E-mail

All forms of communication should be treated the same, with prompt & professional response

slide40

Using the Header Fields

  • Be descriptive in the subject line.
  • Only put one recipient in the To: line and additional contacts in the CC (Carbon Copy) field
  • If you wish to have a contact private so that it can’t be seen by the other recipients, use the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy Field)
  • Don’t send an e-mail to more than 10 recipients from the same ISP or you can be blacklisted & flagged as a SPAMMER
slide41

Writing E-mails (the body)

  • Have a friendly opening & closing to each e-mail & always invite the recipient to contact you again.
  • Keep your e-mails short & digestible
  • Try to be organized in your thought process, use bullets & numbers when applicable
slide42

Other E-mail Tips

  • If possible embed a graphic rather than attaching it to a message (Some programs like Outlook allow you to add an image, others may require you to upload that file to a server & pull it in from there)
  • When possible, place URLs on a single line
  • Make sure your computer’s date & time is correct so that the time stamps on e-mails are right
slide43

Before Hitting Send

  • Make sure the content is pertinent to each recipient
  • Use correct punctuation, grammar & Spell Check
  • Always read things over twice (if possible out loud) before sending & look for any negative tone
slide44

Avoid E-mail Disagreements

  • Be careful of your tone, avoid confrontation
  • Use Drama (all capital letters, large font sizes, over using color or bolds) IT IS SEEN AS AGGRESSION!!!
  • Use overly aggressive verbs, can be intimidating or can make you look desperate
  • Respond to an e-mail while emotional
  • Partake in an argument over e-mail especially when multiple recipients are involved
slide45

When Replying to E-Mails

Include the original message for quick reference

  • If you are only providing feedback on a few small items, copy the question and provide your answer in versus copying the entire e-mail.

for example:>do you agree with the proposal to hire Ms. Ross to handle our services?Yes. Please make the necessary arrangements.

  • If e-mail conversation is going back & forth with comments or changes, you can use multiple >> or color fonts to identify sequence
  • Be careful of the Reply To All button, only do so if you intend for everyone to read your response & never do so when your comments are directed at one recipient
slide46

E-mail Don’ts

  • Use background (stationary) colors or images, make it easy to read.
  • Use emoticons (ex. ) in business e-mails
  • Criticize others e-mail etiquette & grammar
  • If sending to a person on dial up, file attachments should be <1MB, if broadband <5MB
  • Forward Chain E-Mails
  • Send e-mails (especially business solicitations) if you don’t have a relationship with that recipient or they may deem it SPAM
slide47

E-Mail Etiquette 101

Remember, e-mail is permanent, so always be careful what you say to an individual or group and realize that e-mails are legal documents that are admissible in the court of law.

group discussion48
Group Discussion

Discuss some traits of writing good e-mails & what items to avoid & how it has affected your business

chapter 6 improving customer service

Chapter 6Improving Customer Service

Objective

To understand how to best utilize the Internet to build and improve your customer service, attainment and retention.

Presented by

slide50

The Less Chance You Have of Securing the Business

The Longer You Wait

=

E-Communication

A: Your Response Time!

Q: What is the #1 Factor That Determines Your Online Success?

1 hour =

84%

12 hours =

41%

24 hours =

11%

Presented by

50

slide51

Lead Routing

  • All cell phones these days support SMS/Text messaging which is just an e-mail to a cell phone. So, you can at least receive a notification you have a lead.
  • Any Smartphone will also allow you to read and act on an e-mail right from your cell phone making you completely mobile.
slide52

Lead Routing

  • There are also many tools now that will even notify you by phone & there are tools companies can use to help distribute leads amongst the agents in their office and then track and re-route leads to another agent if they are not acted on in a timely manner.
slide53

Lead Follow Up

  • If a client gives you a phone number, that is your first option. If its bogus, don’t be discouraged, its common.
  • If an accurate phone number is not provided, e-mail is your next best option. The more personalized it is, the better reaction you will get.
slide54

Auto Reply Messages

  • Auto-Reply messages are good as it gives a contact an instant validation that you will be getting back to them eventually, but are not sufficient for good customer service.
  • Note: If you are going to be away set up a vacation reminder so people sending you e-mails are notified that you will not be responding to them promptly. Otherwise a current or potential customer may assume you are ignoring them.
customer management software
Customer Management Software
  • Contact or Lead Management (LM) - the process a client uses to track, organize & distribute the contacts or leads they receive from its current & prospective customers.
  • E-Marketing(EM) - utilize e-mail tools to keep communication with their contacts either via Mail Blast (1-time) &/or Drip Campaigns (on-going).
customer relationship management
Customer Relationship Management

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) - a cost effective process used to track & organize its prior, current and future customers &/or contacts (& all of their contact information & communications) to improve customer service, leads management & on-going communication with contacts with minimal effort or maintenance .

other internet tools
Other Internet Tools
  • Smart Phones
  • GPS &/or Mapping
  • Online Video &/or Virtual Tours
  • E-Fax
  • VOIP Phone, Fax, Voicemail Trunk Systems
  • FAR Software (Forms Gold, Transaction Desk, etc.)
  • Software for presentations, promotional materials, etc.
  • And More!
group discussion58
Group Discussion

Discuss how you can use Internet tools to improve your customer service.

chapter 7 legal guidelines of e mail

Chapter 7Legal Guidelines of E-mail

Objective

To understand legal guidelines so you can properly operate as a consumer & business owner.

florida e mail requirements
Florida E-Mail Requirements

Florida Law - 61J2-10.025

States you have to put your name, brokerage & REALTOR® status on any advertisement, on your website & in each e-mail.

setting up your e mail signature
Setting up your E-mail Signature

You can very easily set up a Signature in any e-mail program which will automatically insert all of your contact information into any future e-mail.

Other than being a big time saver by not having to retype it each time, it is also a good branding opportunity to put your website address & all contact info in all e-mails to help improve communication flow with your contacts

can spam act of 2003 http www ftc gov bcp conline pubs buspubs canspam shtm
Can-spam Act of 2003http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/canspam.shtm
  • The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) establishes requirements for those who send commercial e-mail, spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask e-mailers to stop spamming them & the ability to opt out of future communications.

The law, which became effective January 1, 2004, gives DOJ & FTC ability to enforce criminal sanctions & $11,000 fine per instance. Can not harvest, buy or sell e-mail addresses, have misleading header info, use others’ computers or e-mail accounts without consent, dictionary attack, etc. for the purpose of sending advertising SPAM e-mails.

junk fax prevention act
Junk Fax Prevention Act
  • Be aware that the exemption does not apply in Florida. The do-not-fax laws are stricter here, and therefore aren’t superseded by federal law. Florida Statute 365.1657 prohibits anyone from sending unsolicited advertisements via fax for property, goods or services. For more information, call the FAR Legal Hotline at (407) 438-1409. Please have your license number available.
electronic signatures
Electronic Signatures
  • The “Uniform Electronic Transaction Act” provides legal status to paperless online transactions. Electronic signatures have the same legal authority as written signatures in pen and ink on paper.
  • There are some exceptions including some landlord tenant laws, Uniform Commercial Code, transactions overseen by the Uniform Computer Transaction Act, and rules relating to judicial procedure
  • FS § 475.5018: When any act performed under this part must be performed in writing or acknowledged with a signature, the provision of an instrument of writing by electronic means or facsimile, including a signature transmitted by electronic means or facsimile, is binding and sufficient.
national association of realtors code of ethics article 9
National Association of Realtors: Code of Ethics, Article 9
  • The ability to log information and agreements in order to avoid misunderstandings is a requirement of license law, and Article Nine of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact databases, word processing, and e-mail programs document all contact, including a personal meeting with any principal or customer. This is your digital paper trail.
  • Realtors®, for the protection of all parties, shall assure whenever possible that all agreements related to real estate transactions including, but not limited to listing and representation agreements, purchase contracts, and leases, are in writing in clear and understandable language expressing the specific terms, conditions, obligations and commitments of the parties. A copy of agreements shall be furnished to each party to such agreements upon their signing or initialing.
risk management on the internet
Risk Management on the Internet
  • When advertising on the web remember FTC advertising requirements regarding mortgage rates, terms, proper and full disclosure.
  • Be careful not to “frame” content from other web sites without the permission of the copyright holder. Links are generally acceptable.
  • Copyright & trademark infringement incurs heavy penalties.
have a company computer internet usage policy
Have a Company Computer & Internet Usage Policy

A company internet policy statement is essential. If conduct is not defined, any conduct is acceptable. Some examples of items you might want to include in your policy are:

  • What kind (if any) software can be installed on any company workstation.
  • What company files may not be downloaded to an associate’s computer.
  • Define what kind of websites are allowed to be visited & always restrict the downloading or viewing of any illegal, pornographic or hateful material which can be deemed as Criminal Conduct.
have a company computer internet usage policy68
Have a Company Computer & Internet Usage Policy
  • Whether an associates website usage history files will be monitored by company IT/management team or tracking software.
  • Whether any advertising campaign must be approved prior to submission to the public.
  • What kind of content may be posted on any other website (ex. blogs, social networks, etc.).
  • What kind of changes can be made to an existing website & if they need prior approval.
group discussion69
Group Discussion

Discuss what the Can-SPAM act protects & how it affects your business.

chapter 8 computer e mail safety

Chapter 8Computer & E-mail Safety

Objective

To understand legal guidelines so you can properly operate as a consumer & business owner.

safe online surfing
Safe Online Surfing
  • Get the best Anti-Virus Software Suite possible & set to update virus definitions daily (minimum)
  • Most Anti-Virus Programs now include a tool that visually identifies non reputable sites, take advantage of this feature
  • Only use & especially register at trusted sites
  • Avoid any untrusted site that asks your permission to install any software or plug-in unless necessary
  • Be careful when downloading files, especially executables as they can contain viruses.
  • Make sure your anti-virus suite scans file downloads.
safe online shopping tips
Safe Online Shopping Tips
  • You should only do so if the site has a Secured Socket Layer (SSL) certificate which you can identify 2 ways:
    • The domain will start with https:// instead of http://
    • There will be a yellow lock icon in the bottom status bar of the browser on the page you are supposed to enter any private data.
  • Only buy from reputable sites or in cases like EBAY from sellers with a good reputation/history score.
safe online shopping tips73
Safe Online Shopping Tips
  • If the seller does not deliver the product properly be sure to follow up & give them a negative rating to the site &/or credit card company to hurt their reputation score & help other future potential buyers
  • Always check product and seller reviews if available
  • Always shop around to make sure it is the best deal or that there aren’t any coupon codes you could apply
  • Most Anti-Virus Programs now include a tool that visually identifies non reputable sites, take advantage of this feature
safe e mail browsing tips
Safe E-Mail Browsing Tips
  • Make sure the anti-virus suite you get also scans e-mails
  • Only open mail from trusted sources
  • Do not click on any links in e-mails including unsubscribe links from untrusted sources, if you really want to go to the site, copy the URL into your browser instead
  • Never click on any link in an e-mail from any financial institution, they are not allowed to include links in e-mails
  • Never provide any personal data to an untrusted source
  • Be careful signing up for things online, if done at an improper site it will lead to an increase in SPAM mail.
safe computer usage
Safe Computer Usage
  • Make sure the anti-virus suite you get scans files
  • Make sure you back up your computer often (daily is recommended) using an external hard drive &/or an off-site storage facility.
  • Be careful when opening files and avoid anything illegal online (pornographic material, bootleg software, pirated music/movies, etc.), anything illegal or free often comes with a price (virus)
  • Be careful & use your common sense in everything you do on your computer, if it looks questionable, it usually is
anti virus software suite
Anti-Virus Software Suite
  • The sole purpose for creating a computer virus is to damage someone else’s computer. That being noted, anti-virus software is a necessity in order to protect the data of principals/customers.
  • Once an anti-virus software program is purchased it should be updated on a nightly basis as viruses are continuously being created.
  • There are free anti-virus programs available but they aren’t always as good as the paid options and this is an area you don’t want to skimp on. Top anti-virus software is available for about $30.
  • It can be run in the background (and will drain system resources) or run as a stand-alone program.
group discussion77
Group Discussion

Discuss things you can do to make your computer/internet/e-mail usage safer

summary

Summary

Questions & Answers

Thank you for your time!

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