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June 27, 2017

# of loans vs. # of years or using “since”

Filed under: Your Notes Section — admin @ 8:57 am

We crunched some numbers to help find out which types of notes sections attract the most clicks and we have some answers.

Years vs. # of Loans
When I create a notes section for someone, I prefer to stress number of loans verses number of years. Since many Notaries do signings on the side, the number of years doesn’t give you an accurate idea of how experienced you really are. I signed more loans in one month than many people do in several years. If you were full-time, then number of years is a more informative statistic about you. But, number of loans (assuming you are not fibbing or off by a large margin) is a very accurate way to know how experienced you are. It doesn’t tell us if you are smart about signing loans, but at least we know you have done a few. But, what do the stats say?

After crunching some numbers for an hour, I came up with some stats for our top placed people on the site. Those who mentioned number of loans got roughly 40% more clicks than those who mentioned years, although those who mentioned years did fairly well compared to the average Notary as readers do identify with that statistic. Additionally, the top of your notes section shows up in the search results, and you can fit the number of loans signed using fewer characters leaving room for more critical information (selling points) about yourself. So, the number of loans is a better statistic to use (by far).

Since (year)
If you want to let people know how long you have been doing signings, if you use the word since, you don’t have to keep changing the number of years every 12 months. You can say three years of experience or doing signings since 2014. Since also does well in the stats.

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June 21, 2017

I am a Notary in good standing with the NNA

Filed under: Your Notes Section — admin @ 9:02 am

I see so many Notaries (really lame ones) who don’t know what to put in their notes section. Many write that they are an NNA member. That is basically as valuable as saying that you buy bananas at Albertson’s. Anyone can buy a banana, but does that make you a good Notary? Then there are other Notaries who boast that they are in good standing with the NNA.

The NNA is not a regulating authority for Notaries. They offer training, courses, supplies, insurance, and more. The only way to be in bad standing with the NNA is to fail to pay your renewal bill. It is your state government that you have to be in good standing with. They are the ones who can suspend, revoke or terminate your commission!

Yes, background screening is good. But, without the dates that the screening is valid, it is useless info in your notes section as it could be outdated. NNA Certification is a bit more valuable on your listing though as it proves that you passed a test or claim that you did.

So, put something of value in your notes such as what types of loans or documents you are familiar with. What is your professional background?

Having one professional membership such as NNA membership is better than zero. But, to look professional (rather than claiming to be professional with no basis) it is better to have a list of companies you are associated with.

A notes section should have all types of sections, each containing good information. Here is what your memberships section could look like.

(1) Professional Looking
Memberships:
NNA, 123notary, Notary Cafe, Notary Rotary, Association of South Carolina Realtors, Charleston Notary Association, and The Southern Entrepreneur Society.

(2) Looks like a new Notary who hasn’t a clue
I am an NNA Member in good standing.

It is good to be a NNA member. They have a lot to offer — and I stress the word THEY have a lot to offer. Being a member of theirs doesn’t prove that YOU have a lot to offer. So — what’s in your wallet (or notary bag?)

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June 20, 2017

The debate over what goes at the top of your notes section.

Filed under: Your Notes Section — admin @ 8:56 am

We have so many different types of notes sections out there, it is hard to know what is best. Some people emphasize their certifications, title companies they are on the approved list for, or types of loans they know how to sign. All of this is good information, but how do you win the game as far as creating a winning notes section. I compared high placed listings and also compared stats for Notaries in the same geographical areas and learned something. So, we have some answers!

As a general rule, what I found to be true is that my semicolon system of punchy sales points is the best way to format the top of your notes section if you want to get clicked on. Just put your most salient features at the top like this:

“Fluent Spanish; 123notary & Notary2Pro Certified; Apostilles; Last Minute Okay; Experienced with REO, Reverse, Construction, Investment Loans, Buyer & Sellers, Debt Consolidations…”

Notice how concise my points were. They have to fit in a small space because the top of your notes shows up on the search results page, and a goot top of your notes section will entice lots of clicks! here are some other points about what info could go near the top of your notes.

Adjectives & Fluffy Information
Telling the world what a great person you are and making lists of adjectives such as reliable, responsible, experienced, professional doesn’t get you anywhere. That is NOT information — it is unverifiable fluff. Being friendly, or people oriented are better self-descriptions as not all people claim to be friendly. Having a background profession such as customer service or elder-care can help you verify how patient and caring and good with people you really are. Prove it — don’t claim it! Rambling in your notes section about how you go everywhere and do any type of signing once again is not information. Stick to specifics and helpful information.

Any Type of Signing
I compared a metro where there were many types of notes sections. The one that says they do “any type of signing” did the worst. Tell us a list of at least six types of financial packages you know how to sign, i.e. Refinances, Purchases, REO, Reverse Mortgages, Helocs, Construction, Time-Shares, etc.

Lists of types of loans
In one particular metro I compared the top eight notes sections. The one who had a long and specific list of types of loans signed got the most clicks. The one who mentioned how many years they were a signing agent and then listed specifics was the next best.

Unrelated Experience
We had a guy who was a fireman. He mentioned this at the top of his notes section. That is better than leaving it blank, but his click average was far down the list.

Taking Paypal and Credit Cards
Here is something unusual to add to your notes section. I like it. But, the stats found this listing to be average in terms of clicks.

Full-Time
In another area where we compared notes, a Notary claiming to be full-time did above average.

Radius
A Notary listing who mentioned his radius did much better in terms of clicks than other Notaries right above or below him on the list. Radius is a specific piece of information that people can put their finger on.

Approved List
If you are on a white glove list or approved list of a Title company, that is a very good piece of information to add. We compared a few approved Notaries who mentioned it at the top of their notes who did substantially better than the others in similar positions in the same area.

Guarantee
We have very few Notaries making guarantees. However, the one who I analyzed who does have a money-back guarantee does better than the others in his area.

Repeating your Name or Hours
People can see your name and your 24 hour icon already and don’t need to see it again in your notes. You are taking up space at the top of your notes section where you could write something else. Dont’ waste space. Put your selling spots up top.

Certifications & E&O
It is good to mention this in your notes section, but not at the top of your notes section unless you can make it concise.

Prompt & Courteous
These adjectives do not get you clicks. Anyone can claim to be prompt and courteous. Let your work prove it, but let your notes inform people about something more substantial.

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June 13, 2017

Putting jails & hospitals in your notes section

Filed under: Your Notes Section — admin @ 8:55 am

Analyzing notes sections is hard. If I compare clicks from various listings one has to consider their notes, reviews, placement, certifications, hours, and more. I am not comparing apples to apples which is why I have to look at a lot of profiles and make a lot of comparisons. But, here is what I found out about mentioning jails and hospitals in your notes section.

Jail
Adding information that specifies that you travel to jails can get your listing roughly 35% more clicks. Very few Notaries have experience going to jails and even fewer mention it at the top of their notes section. This was based on averaging 12 stats of Notaries who serviced jails and several dozen notaries in the same metros with similar listings who did not.

Hospitals
Adding information about how you travel to hospitals can get you about 37% more clicks.

Hospitals & Jails
If you do both hospitals and jails it still gets you about 35% more clicks on average.

What else matters?
I noticed that in listings with well written notes sections that were chock full of useful information, mentioning hospitals and jails got them 40% or more clicks than other Notaries with similar listings in the same area. However, Notaries with stripped down notes sections with limited information that mentioned hospitals and/or jails got only about 10% more clicks than those that didn’t. So, you need to consider how good the TOP of your notes section is as a whole. If you look on the search results page for your area, you will see how much of your notes section shows up and how informative it is. If you ramble about inconsequential details or leave your notes blank or with a one liner you will lose clicks. But, if you cram in as much information in a space efficient way as possible, you might be surprised at how well you do.

And by the way, not putting jails & hospitals in your notes section might end your notes section up in jail… or in the hospital due to low click ratios.

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June 6, 2017

Don’t claim to be a Mortgage Broker in your notes

Filed under: Your Notes Section — admin @ 8:45 am

Carmen told me how badly people do who claim to be Mortgage Brokers in their notes. Nobody wants to hire them. It is better to be in the Mortgage Industry or an Originator, or something else. I scoured our directory to find someone claiming to be a Mortgage Broker. I looked through 15 major areas and only found one — and his click average was the worst in town. So, you can be a murderer, backdater, or a molester — but, don’t be a Mortgage Broker, if you know what’s good for you.

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May 30, 2017

Is it better to be “Bilingual” or speak Spanish?

Filed under: Your Notes Section — admin @ 8:52 am

Carmen and I both agreed on this. We both think that being “bilingual” is like being “certified.” Certified by whom? NNA certification? The standards are completely different from Notary2Pro or 123notary.com, so without knowing the agency who certified you it is meaningless to us. But, bilingual? Bilingual in what language? And how bilingual are you? Are you someone who took high school Spanish and can barely ask where the bathroom is or are you like Hector, a smooth Latino from Miami who is “single, bilingual, and ready to mingle?” Carmen and I were both WRONG — as hell.

I compared stats on 123notary.com. Overall, those who were “bilingual” got more clicks than those who were not, especially if they put that at the top of their notes section. But, in Southern Florida, being bilingual counts a lot more as the majority speaks Spanish. You can get by without English in Miami, but you won’t survive without daily Spanish. In most parts of the country you might get 10-20% more clicks by speaking Spanish, but in Southern Florida it can be up to double in many cases. But, how do the stats compare?

Those with 4 or more reviews who were bilingual in Southern Florida got 3.2 clicks per day while those who spoke Spanish and had 5 or more reviews only got 2.2. Of course the rest of their profiles and notes sections were not equal, so we are comparing apples to oranges, but the stats are very different.

Those with 2 or less reviews who were bilingual in Southern Florida got 2 clicks per day while those who spoke Spanish got 1.5 clicks per day.

So, what’s the deal with this buzz-word “Bilingual?” Why do people like it so much? It is vague, indescript, and leaves a lot to the imagination. So, Carmen and I agreed that we would test a lot more listings with the word Bilingual by putting the word at the top of their notes section and measure their stats over a month or two. Finally — Carmen and I agree on something!

My writer thinks that “Bilingual” has a more three-dimensional meaning and portrays the Notary as being multi-cultural, sophisticated, having international skills. So, maybe there is something to this bilingual thing.

Oh, and by the way — Hablamos Ingles!

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April 17, 2017

Being unique and factual in your notes section

Filed under: Your Notes Section — admin @ 7:17 am

I always tell Notaries that one of the keys to success in the Notary business is to be unique and factual in the way you advertise yourself. Please keep in mind that those who hire Notaries frequent Notary directories only to find thousands of Notaries whose notes section look like the same person wrote it.

Example of generic notes section:
NNA Certified, Professional E&O Insured, Experienced, I have the know how to get the job done. I sign refinances. Call ahead of time. I cover the Birmingham area.

Notice how most other Notaries are certified, professional have E&O, etc. This is content that goes at the bottom perhaps in a bullet format.

Example of a unique notes section
100 mile radius; Mobile Printing Capable; Money back or Re-Do if there is even one mistake; Specializing in Reverse Mortgages, Apostilles, Purchases, Refinances of all kinds, and have a wide experience with legal and medical documents.

I worked in a hospital with the dying, so hand-holding is something that doesn’t come new to me. If your borrower feels like dying on page 193 of a 200 page loan, I’ll know exactly what to do! I’ll get them through it. And if not, I carry body bags in my trunk as a precaution (just kidding.)

NNA Certified
NNA Background Screened
100K E&O

Call me for all of your last minute or scheduled requests. I cover Sumter, Leonoke, Essex, Sussex, and Wessex Counties.

Notice how the generic points are in a bullet format (sorry, we dont’ have official bullets on 123notary yet.) They are easy to read and BELOW the good stuff which is experience. Next, a note about the Notary’s personal style is written and in a very unique and morbidly comical way. You should probably shy away from morbid humor, but I wanted you to see the uniqueness. Then, at the bottom, coverage areas and final notes are made.

You might also like:

How to write a notes section if you are a beginner
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16698

Everything you need to know about writing a great notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16074

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April 10, 2017

Documenting your Experience & Personal Style in your notes

Filed under: Your Notes Section — admin @ 7:18 am

A good notes section on a notary profile should cover many aspects. But, the first several paragraphs should talk about experience and personal style.

You can mention:
1. How many loans you have signed. You can mention how many years you have signed loans, but a # of loans is better.

2. Make a list of types of loans or financial products you have signed
Annuities, Applications, Cash Sales & Purchases, Debt Consolidations, Debt Settlements, eSignings, Helocs, Modifications, Purchases, Refinances (1sts, 2nds, Piggy Backs, FHA, VA, Conventional, Commercial, Residential), Reverse Mortgages, Seller’s Documents, Time Shares, and more…

3. Make a list of documents you have signed
Affidavits, Auto Titles, Boat Titles, Contracts, I-9’s, Living Wills, Permission for Minors to Travel, Powers of Attorney, Wills, and more.

4. Signing Agent since 1995.
Mentioning the year you started is better than counting how many years you have been doing this, otherwise you have to update your notes every year which you won’t remember and change it from nine years to ten years as a signing agent to eleven to I lost count or forgot!

5. Related Experience
If you are a Mortgage Broker, Originator, Escrow Officer, this is related experience and should come directly below your Notary Signing experience. It goes in the top part of your notes, but below the relevant experience. In short, put it in the bottom of the top of your notes if that makes sense (like anything else I say.)

6. Unrelated Experience
If you were a Realtor, Paralegal, Teacher, Programmer, or something unrelated, do not put this at the top of your notes. This is more of background information and goes somewhere in the bottom of your notes section. Realtors feel their experience makes them a better Notary and they feel they are “familiar with the docs,” but, they are not that familiar with I quiz them — not familiar at all. The Mortgage folks have relevant experience, the others do not.

7. Experience dealing with stressful situations
A few people who were police, military, or in customer service dealing with the most difficult of people can claim that they can diffuse stressful situations. This is a valuable skill that you can learn from unrelated professions. Dealing with people in general is very useful in the Notary world. The Notaries who get ahead have good people and business skills which are actually more important than your clerical Notary skills (but, don’t tell anyone I said that.)

8. Your personal style
Rather than use a bunch of baseless adjectives with commas between them to describe yourself, paint a picture of how you do your work and what sets you apart from the rest. Anything unique you can say about yourself will gain points. Do you triple check your work? Do you introduce yourself at the door? Will you stay until midnight if necessary? These are helpful things to know. Don’t just be professional, reliable and modest as all of our other notaries make the same claim.

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March 13, 2017

Buzzwords to avoid in your notes section

Filed under: Your Notes Section — admin @ 7:19 am

Some Notaries have mastered the art of writing an amazing notes section while others resort to cheap imitations. Using the wrong buzz words can backfire on you and I have seen this happen many times. A good notes section is about being unique and informative and not about making baseless claims.

Responsible
Don’t be reponsible — whatever you do. Show that you are responsible, but don’t claim it. Make them say how responsible you are in your review page. You will get less clicks to your listing if you claim to be responsible.

Dependable
Claiming to be dependable is as bad as claiming to be responsible. Just don’t!

Error-Free
It sounds too good to be true if you have signed 2000 error-free signings. Even if you claim 99.5% accuracy, nobody will believe it. Save it for the birds. You can’t prove it.

Detail-Oriented
The most sloppy people write that they are detail-oriented in their notes. This claim almost works against you.

Punctual
Prove it to your customers, but don’t claim it in your notes. This word just takes up space.

Professional
It is not bad to claim to be professional, but it doesn’t make it true either. This is more of a neutral non-buzz word. It won’t help you.

Modest
We use the word modest in our tutorial. But, don’t boast of being modest. Just be modest — or don’t just be modes.

Experienced
This is a neutral word, but it takes up space. It is better to say how experienced. Number of years is not as useful as number of loans and what types of loans. Be specific about your experience.

Personable
It is good to be friendly, but you need to back this up with some professional experience as a waitress or customer service experience. Make it sound believable and something people can put their finger on.

Flexible Schedule
Tell us your hours instead of saying flexible. Be specific.

I have a mentor
If you have not signed any loans, but your mentor is an expert, tell us how we can contact your mentor to hire them instead of you. Please keep the notes section about you and what you do, will do or have done.

You might also like:

Clarifying vague claims in your notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4675

How to write a notes section if you are a beginner
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16698

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February 27, 2017

What NOT to put at the top of your notes section

Filed under: Your Notes Section — admin @ 7:20 am

The battle to get our Notaries to fill in their notes section is huge. But, the next hurdle is to get people to put the right stuff. Smart Notaries read our blog articles on how to write a great notes section or see what other Notaries in high places are doing. But, most Notaries write very generic and poorly organized notes. Here are some things you should not put in your notes section, or at least not at the top.

I have been a Real Estate Agent for ten years.
People are hiring you as a Notary, and not a Realtor. If you want to mention low in your notes additional things about yourself as a “by the way” type of thing, then fine. But, don’t put this at the top of your notes or you won’t get clicks.

NNA Certified
Certifications are good, but NNA certification doesn’t help so much on 123notary. Our certification helps on our site. You can mention NNA certification near the bottom of your notes where you talk about your E&O, and other background information.

Background Screened
Once again, this goes in your additional info section lower in your notes section.

I am dependable and responsible
The worst Notaries start their notes section with these meaningless adjectives. All Notaries consider themselves to be responsible, but when people hire them, it’s a different story. Responsible Notaries describe themselves and their skillsets WITHOUT using the word responsible.

I will keep your information confidential
That is as useful as to promise not to kill the borrower’s dog. People take for granted you won’t share their information with others as that could be considered criminal or grossly inconsiderate.

I’m flexible
How flexible? People who are open 9-5 claim to be flexible. The word means nothing. Give hours, not vagueness.

Repeating your name
The top of your notes section shows up on the search results page. People already know your name. They need to know your skills.

I am an experienced Notary Signing Agent
How much experience? Give specifics not wishy-washy statements.

Areas Covered
Put this near the bottom of your notes, not at the top. People want to know what you can do before they know where you can do it.

I understand I am representing you and your reputation
If you want to ramble on and on about wishy-washy understandings, do this low in your notes section in the section where you talk about your personal style.

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