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April 14, 2013

7 ways to use Facebook to market your notary services

Filed under: Social Media — Tags: , , , — admin @ 7:35 am

“The Dalai Lama likes Edna’s Notary Services.”

That would be an endorsement any businessperson would ki–errr…work very, very hard for. Though it is unlikely that His Holiness would indicate a preference for any one notary service over another, almost anything is possible when you use Facebook wisely.

1. Envision the Future. What do you want to get out of your online presence, and your Facebook presence in particular? Do you want more customers? Do you want to raise your status in the notary community? Do you want to promote certain causes related to your business? Your plan determines the cost and amount of resources needed to use Facebook as a marketing tool.

2. Do not rely on Facebook alone. Just as you would not rely on an attack cat as the sole component of your home security system, you should not rely on the world’s largest social media platform as your only means of promotion. Every business needs a website, and every business website should have its own domain name, for example: ednasnotarypublic.com, as opposed to www.bighugenotarysite.org/ednasnotarypublic. Domains cost in the low-to-
mid two digits annually, and you can just build a free blog site on WordPress or Blogger and point your domain to that. Your website should contain easily accessible contact information, directions, a list of services, and regularly updated News and/or Blog sections.

3. Create a Facebook page. It’s free, it’s easy, and Facebook walks you through the process with
pretty pictures. Start here.

4. Promote your site from your Facebook page. Unless your website features copious amounts of nudity, your Facebook page is likely to see the most traffic of your online endeavors. But as the primary means of Facebook communication are short status updates (which may include links) and image or video posts, your website is the place for blog posts, file downloads, and types of content that you are unable to offer via a Facebook page. Whenever you update your website, post a link to the new content on Facebook. Be sure to use images in your website content, as this creates a more compelling Facebook post.

5. Get “Like”d. There are few things as uplifting in this modern age as a Facebook “Like.” When someone Likes your page, it is posted on their wall (see paragraph one of this post) for all their friends to see, admire, and emulate. Begin your quest for Likes by Liking other pages–other notary services for sure, but mainly target people, businesses, and organizations that reflect the type of customers you desire and/or those that reflect or compliment the values and mission of your business. The more Likes you give, the more you are likely to receive, Grasshopper.

6. Update regularly. In the case of a small notary business, every two to three days is a good rule of thumb. Let’s be honest–most folks do not want five updates a day from their notary. Your updates can be links to your own site, links to sites of interest to your preferred customer base, an event your business is hosting, a quote from one of history’s great notaries, a photo of a particularly fetching seal, or anything that will catch someone’s eye. Remember to use images
whenever possible.

7. Use Facebook Ads. Up until now, you have not had to pay Facebook one thin dime. All that is about to change. Facebook Ads let you create ads that target customers according to your criteria.

Al Natanagara is a writer, journalist, and blogger whose career includes stints with ZDNet, CNet, CBS, LexisNexis, and Law Enforcement. http://www.findatitlecompany.com/

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October 3, 2012

The Pros and Cons of eNotarizations

The Pros and Cons of eNotarization

As the technological world continues to evolve on a regular basis, more and more industries are looking to go from the paper route to the electronic route, allowing them to save time and money while providing more convenience to their customers.

One such industry that is following the technological advancements is the notary industry, which is looking to utilize eNotarization on a more frequent scale.

For those who are not up to speed on exactly what an eNotary does, they are quite simply a Notary Public who notarizes documents electronically. One of the means to do this is through utilizing a digital signature and notary seal to notarize electronic documents and validate with a digital certificate.

With electronic notarization, a notary puts an electronic signature and notary seal in place using a secure public key to an electronic document (such examples would be a PDF or Word document). When the signature and seal are affixed, the piece is looked upon as being tamper evident, meaning that any unauthorized attempts to alter the
document would be noticeable to relying parties.

eNotarization Focuses in on Security

In taking a look at the short history of electronic notarization, the National Notary Association (NNA) saw the need to put rules and standards in place for a workable, accessible, and, most importantly, secure system of electronic notarization.

As a result, the NNA came up with Enjoa (the Electronic Notary Journal of Official Acts), which allows both electronic and paper-based notary acts to be recorded—and that record should be free from tampering in an electronic database.

With Enjoa, notaries can electronically gather both a holographic signature and a fingerprint of each document signer, also providing the added choice of capturing within its database the signer’s facial image via a Web camera. Whether it be recording eNotarizations or paper-based transactions, Enjoa offers proof of a signer’s personal
appearance, a detailed database of the notarial act, and a level of security that is not available in a paper-based recordkeeping system.

It was some six years ago that the NNA partnered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in unveiling the nation’s initial Electronic Notarization Initiative, a comprehensive eNotarization program. All Pennsylvania notaries participating in the initiative utilized a digital certificate to perform electronic acts that were subsequently
made available for recordation in the four original participating counties. Other counties throughout Pennsylvania were quick to enroll in the program.

So, what can be seen as some of the pros and cons of eNotarization?

On the plus side:

* Electronic versatility offers benefits for both the notary involved and the business and legal communities. One of the more notable benefits is the time in which documents can now be notarized via a computer. Such documents include power of attorney paperwork, affidavits, deeds, title loans, wills, and prenuptial agreements, among
others.

* eNotarization makes it easy for the notary to adapt to changes in the document in just
minutes.

* eNotarization allows notaries to stay on top of cutting-edge technology, meaning they can compete with others in their business who are also using this manner to notarize documents. For those who choose not to, it could mean losing potential or current customers who opt for the more technologically advanced means to notarize paperwork.

On the negative side:

* eNotarization is not available everywhere, meaning you may or may not have it as an option where you live.

* Some worry that security could be compromised when using eNotarization. If that happens, the notary could lose business from customers who fear their private information leaking out. Whether with traditional notary usage or eNotarization, both the notary and customer should make sure private data is as protected as possible.

* eNotarization is still evolving, meaning some parts of the process are not entirely up to speed. As the process evolves more, eNotarization will become commonplace for both notaries and customers.

With more and more processes going the electronic route, is eNotarization in your plans?

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/73736449@N02/6649009139/

About the author: With 23 years of experience as a writer, Dave Thomas covers a wide array of topics from office cubicles to starting a small business. http://www.arnoldsofficefurniture.com/

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October 2, 2012

Top 5 books every notary should own (and read)

In any career, being the best means that you have to participate in professional development and be aware of new developments in your field. This is even truer for notaries who can face fines, suspended licenses, lawsuits, and other consequences if they make a mistake. Whether you’re new to the notary industry or a seasoned professional, make sure that you stay on top of your game with the books listed below.

The U.S. Notary Law Primer

Published in June, this book by the National Notary Association provides up-to-date information that every notary, or aspiring notary, needs to know. For those interested in becoming a notary, it lists the necessary qualifications and gives contact information for notary regulating officials. For those new to the profession, this book includes a variety of basic information including signer identification, notary journal maintenance, and misconduct penalties.

2012 – 2013 U.S. Notary Reference Manual

In the 11th edition of this manual, Charles N. Faerber has compiled the most current notary regulations from all 50 American states and six U.S. jurisdictions. Faerber, the National Notary Association’s Editor-at-Large and Vice President of Notary Affairs, makes sure to include detailed information for each state as well as the overarching laws that govern all notaries. This information is especially useful for national companies that use notarized documents and notaries who practice in multiple states.

How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Notary Business

In this guide, Kristie Lorette and Mick Spillane not only review notary basics, but they also offer advice as to how to grow a notary business. This thorough book contains checklists, case studies, an appendix of state-specific information, and even comes with a companion CD-ROM of customizable professional forms. This how-to has invaluable information for notaries at any level in their careers.

101 Useful Notary Tips

Written and published by the National Notary Association, this handbook delivers the answers to frequently asked notary questions. Topics range from the basic (e.g., stamp expiration dates) to uncommon situations like notarizing a spouse’s document. Filled with practical advice, this book is a helpful reference for both new and experienced notaries.

Twelve Steps to a Flawless Notarization

As the title implies, the National Notary Association offers readers the twelve steps they should take each time they notarize a document. This book also includes helpful tips that notaries public should follow in order to guarantee that the notarization process is accurate as possible. The information provided will guide beginning notaries through their first notarizations and assure that practiced notaries don’t miss any steps.

These books are just a starting point in ensuring your success as a notary public. Since rules regulating notaries vary from state to state, always make sure that you are familiar with the exact laws within your jurisdiction and pay attention to any changes that may affect your notarizations. New developments in state-issued identification or the mortgage lending process affect how you do your job. Stay current by reviewing updated versions of your state notary handbook, talking with colleagues, and visiting industry websites such as this one.

Stephanie Marbukh is a freelance blogger who writes about a variety of topics including legal matters, education issues, and the importance of maintaining your home gutters. http://www.gutterhelmet.com/

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