July 2010 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
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July 24, 2010

Everything you need to know about advertising

Advertising for mobile notaries.

As a mobile notary, its hard to know what the best way to market your business is. There are so many ways to advertise, many of which are very expensive. So, how do you make sense of this mess? To make it simple, lets divide advertising into several types. Notary directories, yellow pages, and direct marketing.

Notary directories are the best way to market a mobile notary business in 2010. There is not as much work as there was a few years ago, but the work that does exist, is generally assigned from mobile notary directories. 123notary.com, notaryrotary, notarycafe, and signingagent.com are the four most popular notary directories in 2010. It makes sense to get listed on these first, and then consider getting a free listing on a few of the many other notary directories that are out there.

Just being on a notary directory is not enough. You have to have an attractive profile, and good placement. A notary profile with several contact methods, a great notes section, and lots of information on it is ideal. Additionally, notary listings that are certified by the website that is providing the advertising will get significantly more business from their listing than those who are not. Certification requires a certain amount of studying. NNA’s certification is good for two years, while 123notary’s is good for the life of your listing with us. Being listed in multiple county pages is another way to get your listing good exposure. Placement is a big issue at 123notary.com. There is a waiting list for notaries who want to be higher on their local county’s search results. The higher the notary is listed, the more visits to their listing (clicks) and jobs they get. So, it pays to be high on the totem pole, certified, and have a thorough and nicely written notes section.

Yellow pages are another way to market your business. Yellow pages are hit and miss, particularly miss, however, many notaries who have figured out which yellow pages are good, get good business from that source. Start off with free listings, or small ads in several yellow pages, and then see what happens. Online yellow pages will try to sell you expensive banner ads and profiles. Just get a free listing to start out with and track your calls. Many notaries will pay bundles for an ad and not even get one call for it. Yellow page ads will get you more hospital, jail, immigration oriented, last minute travel documents, and office signings, while directories are mostly for loan signings at someone’s home.

Direct marketing is popular among the more agressive notaries. Knocking on doors of attorneys, bailbondsmen, realtors, convelescent homes, neighbors, and local businesses can sometimes turn into some good business. Cold calling nationwide signing companies and local title companies can also turn into some business. Some notaries hang around at jails and airports making themselves available for last minute emergencies and handing out cards to passers by. The most effective direct marketing technique is to give everyone you work for a business card. Make sure you have a nice business card stating you are a mobile notary. Give cards to the others in the office wherever you go. Friends and co-workers of clients will quickly become your loyal client, since they have seen your face and know you are reliable based on the work you did for their co-worker — even if its only based on one visit. This is called warm-market marketing and its powerful. If people know you from even one exposure, they are ten times as likely to use you since they will feel comfortable with you, especially if you introduced yourself to them and gave them a card. Passing out cards at convelescent homes is a proven winner. The patients are immobile and their families will need them to sign powers of attorneys and grant deeds. They can’t make it to a notary office, and will desperately need a mobile notary.

Need more help with marketing?
Try our marketing combo by visiting http://www.123notary.com/loansign.html
Or ask the experts at info@123notary.com

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July 22, 2010

Getting paid – the ins and outs

Many notaries complain to us that they don’t always get paid for their work.

We are very sympathetic. However,  sympathy alone will not help. There are some
simple methods we teach that can save you a lot of grief in the long run. Just follow our steps and you will stay out of trouble.

Accepting jobs from new companies.
When offered a job from an unknown company, ask for references. If they don’t want to give references, that is an easy way to screen them out. If they seem legitimate, you can accept the job. However, immediately after accepting the job, you should do a background check. Background checks can be done on the net in minutes and are easy.

Background check companies that call you
Look companies up on the BBB, 123notary’s list of signing companies, 123notary’s forum, and Notaryrotary’s forum. If you are on the road, use 123notary.com/S where you can look up signing companies on your mobile phone in less than one minute. If a company has more than 10% of reviews posted about them that are serious complaints, think twice about working for them. You are likely to get cheated or have a bad experience.

Track how long it takes particular companies to pay you.
If you regularly work for a particular company, keep track of when jobs got done, and how soon you got paid. You can create statistics on the average amount of days it takes for each company to pay you. If they take more than 60 days, that is seriously delinquent, and you should not work for a company that is regularly delinquent.

Keep good records.
You need to have a separate file for each company that uses you. Its best to use a computer database. Always backup your work and perhaps printout paper records regularly. You need to know who assigned what job on what date, and then check off that job once it gets paid. Write down the date you received payment and the check number. Keep the check stub too.

Have a line of credit for each company.
If signing company “X” owes you $600 and wants you to do more jobs for them, I suggest having them pay you what they owe you before you do any more work for them. Give each company a maximum amount that they can owe you and don’t do any jobs if you are over that number. I suggest starting companies out with a limit of $200 total, and don’t work for them if they owe you anything for more than 45 days. If you have gotten three paychecks from them, you can raise the limit to $300. If you have gotten ten timely paychecks from them, raise the limit to $500. But, the minute a single job goes more than 45 days without pay, stop work for them ASAP, or you could get cheated out of everything. Many notaries get strung along by companies and get cheated out of thousands.

Bill regularly
If you work for a company, they will not always automatically pay you. You have to send weekly invoices for whatever jobs they haven’t paid you for. Make sure you mark off which job they paid for and what the CHECK NUMBER was. If you don’t keep this information and keep check stubs, you will get cheated. If they owe you money more than 30 days, start calling them weekly about what they owe. If they owe you for a single job for more than 45 days, stop working for them until you get paid.

Low pay?
Many notaries complain about companies that don’t pay much. Its better to get low pay than no pay. Times are hard and many people are out of work. Take what you can get. If you are a fancy notary with great connections, you can pick and choose what work you take. If you are desperate for cash, you should take low paying jobs from reputable companies. However, don’t take work from companies with a track record of non-payment, or you will be working for free.

What if companies still don’t pay?
Use our template of a demand letter on http://www.123notary.com/howto-get-paid-signing-agent.htm
This letter works 90% of the time. The times it doesn’t work is when the company is basically no longer in business, or insolvent.

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July 18, 2010

Confirming the signing

Introduction
As a notary, there is a lot to know. There are notary laws from your state, navigating your area, business and interaction skills, and much much more. Most notaries take some sort of a loan signing course to get into the mobile notary business. But, loan signing courses don’t tell you everything you need to know! There are always things they don’t tell you because the author either doesn’t know, forgot to put in the book, or didn’t think was important. Other situations don’t hae a set way of being handled and can only be dealt with using a personal approach. This blog entry will deal with some select hot tips on how to handle a signing.

Confirming appointments
As a notary, signing companies will offer you jobs, fedex you a package, and expect you to show up on time to the appointment. How often have you gotten to an appointment only to find that the borrower is surprized by the numbers, or didn’t realize that their cousin Sam needed to be there for the signing, since Sam was on Title? The lending profession is filled with tricky characters who promise one thing, and then when the borrowers see the paperwork with the notary sitting there, they feel pressured to sign, even when they don’t like the fact that they have been hoodwinked. The notary often has to sit through long conversations with the lender that should have taken place BEFORE the signing, not during. Lenders are often sloppy, and don’t fully inform the borrower about all of the numbers on the loan. So, what does the notary need to do to avoid this type of drama? A thorough confirmation call solves the problem.

Going over the numbers
Once the notary has the loan package in their hand, they should call the borrower and go over the Rate, APR, and payoff amounts listed in the Settlement Statement. The notary should go over all Escrow payments, and what the monthly payments are, prepayment penalty, and if its an Adjustable Rate Loan, what the cap is, etc. Additionally, the notary should have the borrower read their ID to the notary, and what the NAME is on their ID, and confirm what individuals will be at the loan signing. Thats a lot to go over. However, it only takes three or four minutes, and will save you hours during those times when there are suprizes — which seems to be 25% of the time. If the borrower is not happy with any of the numbers, cancel the appointment. Don’t waste your time getting into someone else’e drama.

How much time is needed?
Another aspect is discussing how much time the borrower would like to have signing the loan. Its not the notary’s job to sit for six hours while the borrower reads every word in the whole package, and then rereads certain important documents. The notary and borrower should agree ahead of time how much time the borrower needs to that the notary can plan their evening and other appointments. The notary should explain that the borrower has three days not including Sundays and Federal holidays to cancel their loan, so they can skim through it and read their borrower’s copies after the fact. The borrower can cancel in writing and the loan is off, if they cancel before the deadline.

Scheduling and venues
Explain to the borrower when you will be coming, and let them know if you might be slightly early or late… and how late. Some borrowers have issues with their homes. Some have family over or rambunctious children. Others have pets. I always offered to take pawprints just in case Fluffy ever got lost. I’m not convinced that cat pawprints are as unique as human fingerprints though. Its the thought that counts. If a borrower can’t sign at their home for any reason, its good to find a good cafe or restaurant where you can sign. Don’t forget to read in the forum about drinks at signings. Thats a very popular and critical topic. You don’t want your “tall latte” all of the right to cancel, otherwise you will have a very “short signing”.

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July 14, 2010

Social media – what we are doing!

Filed under: Social Media — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 6:51 am

Facebook and Twitter — what we are doing on these mediums.

Marketing introduction
The trends in internet marketing change so fast these days its hard to keep up without a good mentor. New avenues for marketing and socializing online keep popping up, and its difficult to know which ones will last, and which ones will work for us. Twelve years ago when I started as a mobile notary, yellow pages were the optimal way to advertise. Then, I learned how to advertise on the internet. That changed my whole life. To market 123notary.com, I then had to study how to effectively use pay-per-click advertising. The next step was to understand optimization. At that point, I spent close to a year investing and participating in reconfiguring our site to be optimized for better placement on google. As time went on, our webmaster recommeneded social media. We started a forum. The forum accumulated a lot of content, much of it very valuable as it included commentary about signing companies — who paid, and who cheated their notaries. This information is shared and is a means for survival for mobile notaries nationwide. Now, the popular forms of socializing online are Facebook and Twitter. Other popular sites are fading out, but these two seem to keep growing.

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/123notary  our experience
Facebook is a wonderful way to intereact with others. You can have discussions, contests, polls, and offer daily tips to your followers. I have learned that it is quite an endeavor to create good material for our Facebook profile on a daily basis. Tens of hours of painstaking work go into it. But, the rewards are that thousands can benefit from our daily tips and discussions, and we get a regular stream of new customers from this medium who are a lively bunch to work with. We know what are doing now with Facebook, but it is such a versatile medium, that in the future, we might innovate some new ways to use facebook. One idea I had is a competition for who can be a guest blogger. This competition could be in September. Whomever writes the best blog article could be selected to win a prize, and have their work published on our blog! That sounds really exciting.

Twitter – http://twitter.com/123notary – what we did, and what we plan on doing.
We used Twitter as a way to send out daily tips to notaries. We have many followers, and they really seem to like certain tips. Twitter is a great way to find out which types of tips notaries like the most, and which are not worth posting. We keep notes and files on which exact tweets and topics attract the most favorable attention. What we are doing in July 2010 is Tweeting only about topics that were found to be the most popular. We are hoping that will help us attract new followers. Additionally, we will be tweeting about our blogs, and hoping that helps drive enthusiasm.

What works and what doesn’t.
We found that social topics relating to the notary business are hits with our customers. They like folksy chatty types of topics the most. But, the notary career is filled with technicalities too? But, not all technical topics worked well. We learned that technical issues that are important on a daily basis were popular, and business issues relating to notaries not getting cheated were equally popular. However, more obscure technical issues that I feel notaries should know about, did not get the positive attention that I felt they should get. So, we will be shying away from oscure topics for the most part and focusing on what people like.

FORUM – http://www.123notary.com/forum
Visit our forum where we have many interesting sections.  We have a tips section where there are over 100 practical notary tips.  Read commentaries about over 400 signing companies.  Also, you can ask the experts your notary questions and get professional answers.  The forum is a great place to exchange ideas with other notaries.

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