There are few email solutions more valuable than Gmail. With the labels, filters and generous storage limit, I can handle all of my email and find archived email with ease. With "canned responses," I can send automated replies to frequently asked questions. Gmail can also link to numerous other Google tools and services to perform so many different tasks besides email. It's essential for any realtor, particularly since it's free.
Gmail is not a CRM solution:
CRM, Customer Relationships Management, is known by a lot of names, including contact management, prospect management, and client management. There's not much ability in that respect with Gmail, though there is a nice "contacts" interface to send mass emails and work with groups of contacts. But, short of doing searches on their email addresses, or checking the "recent conversations" link in the contact record, there isn't much power for marketing to and follow up with your prospects in Gmail.
Zoho's CRM is great, but their email is so-so:
You can learn about the Zoho CRM module here. It's great, because you not only manage your contacts and prospects in all of the ways we need and expect in a CRM system, but you can also create Web forms that drop new contacts and prospects right into the system from forms on your website.
And, the Zoho mail system, also free, has labels, filters and a lot of Gmail's features. You can integrate it with the CRM, and emails in and out will file themselves with the contact or prospect. But, it's a bit clunky, and Gmail is much easier to use.
Zoho is smart, allowing you to integrate Gmail:
The best of both worlds is available, because Zoho had the foresight to allow you to use Gmail and integrate your emails with the Zoho CRM system. Once you've set it up, you use Gmail the way you've always used it. I get to continue using all of the things I love about Gmail. But, every email, in or out of Gmail, attaches itself to the appropriate contact in the Zoho CRM system.
When I send or receive an email in Gmail that is to or from one of my Zoho contacts or leads, the email automatically is picked up by Zoho and becomes a part of that contact/prospect's record, even though I never opened Zoho.
If you've wondered about backing up Gmail, let Zoho do it:
A bonus benefit in using Zoho mail is that you can set it up to receive all of your Gmail, sent and received, as well. It's a ready-made backup for your Gmail. So, if CRM isn't something you want to do with Zoho, at least set up the free email to copy all of your Gmail. And, if you're still using Outlook...why?
The Internet is Improving Our Business at a Lower Cost:
Here we have two free email systems that give you amazing flexibility and backup. Then the Zoho CRM system, with the email module installed, is only $15/month. You can do mass marketing emails, auto-responders, and take in new contacts and prospects with Web forms.
Once you tie Gmail and Zoho together, your email and CRM will be top-notch, at a very low cost. Though you may wish for one, there isn't a reasonably priced "does it all" solution out there. This is an easy and very cost effective solution that just about "does it all."