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February 28, 2011

What do you do to advertise your notary business?

Filed under: Advertising — Tags: , — admin @ 2:59 am

There are the “traditional” ways of marketing your notary business which have mostly remained unchanged for generations such as online advertising on directories and online yellow pages, and even using Google. When I say unchanged for generations, it is because grandma and grandpa are now also using online technology and have been for years!

There are more low-tech ways such as handing out your card to those you have worked for and their office-mates, attorney offices, convalescent homes, etc. Getting on the list of as many signing & title companies as you can think of in a systematic way helps too. But, besides these ways, what other things can you do? I have been reading discussions on the various forums and have some new tips to add to my old bag of tricks.

Google Adwords
Use caution. This method of advertising is probably new to you, and the costs can rack up. It is hard to know what to bid on keywords, or even which keywords you should use. I recommend a combination of notary terms and geographic keywords such as: notary public los angeles, or san jose mobile notary. Google adwords just pulled a fast one on me and started advertising my terms in their “Display Network” which cost me an extra $1000 last month. So, login regularly to make sure your costs are not skyrocketing. On a brighter note, if used moderately and effectively, adwords can make your business. 123notary would not have made it without adwords (by the way.)

Join your local chamber of commerce
I’m not sure who queries the chamber of commerce when looking for a notary, but some people might, and it doesn’t hurt to have your name out there.

B2B Networking and Social Events
Going to social events is time consuming, so make sure you actually like being there! Yes, you can make new and potentially valuable contacts, but think of the hours you spent in acquiring them. So go, hand out your card, make a few notary jokes, and have fun. Tell them the joke about how your last client asked if he could sign with invisible ink, and you said, sure, if I can notarize it with my invisible notary seal. Then, tell them the story about how you notarized at an asylum for someone who claimed to be Abraham Lincoln! They will get a laugh out of your stories If you go to social events, you need a repetoire of crazy notary stories that will keep them laughing. Then, they will definitely remember you when they need a notary.

Social Media
Craigslist is the most practical way to advertise or find common services. But, some notaries use Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and others. The problem with social media is that your followers might be in Uganda, and if they need a notary job, it might be a little too far for you. Craigslist on the other hand segments their advertising to your metro, or your part of your metro which makes it very usable.

Notaries have been creating websites for years. But, hosting is expensive and so is promotion. I don’t recommend a website unless you are going to really invest some time and money to learn to do it right. You can get a lot of mileage out of our website at very little cost if you create a highly optimized profile which is not that hard!

Newsletters for senior communities
Seniors need mobile notaries. You can call hospitals and convalescent homes directly, or let them find you in the yellow pages, or newsletters. Targetting this specific age group is a very smart idea for a mobile notary, since they are not always that mobile themselves.

Web directories
123notary, notaryrotary, notarycafe, and are traditional choices for those who want to do online advertising for their notary work. I also want to note that 123notary has been getting record breaking traffic recently, and we anticipate that this trend will continue!


January 7, 2011

Long term Notary marketing plans

Do you have a long term marketing plan? Many Notaries don’t really have a plan. They just haphazardly go from one Notary related decision to the next. If enough people demand background screening they get it. If they like a particular type of advertising, they get more of it. If they need more work, the lower their rates. The element of calculation is generally missing from how they conduct their business.

Have a long term plan
My point is that you need to have some loose long term plans for your Notary marketing. Figure out what you hope to earn. Decide how much you wish to invest in items such as advertising, background screening, certifications, E&O insurance, etc. Then, try to figure out which type of advertising & other items to get, and from whom. All of these decisions should be based on calculations, and not on how you feel. But, putting most notaries failure to calculate the value of their investments aside, most Notaries base their long term needs on current conditions which is suicide as conditions can change overnight in our business.

Current conditions don’t matter
If a Notary is getting “enough” business now, they don’t want to invest in more advertising. If a Notary is not getting “enough” business, they also don’t want to invest in more advertising because — why bet on a losing horse? Both attitudes are wrong. Other Notaries want to spend too much on advertising without analyzing what type of advertising makes sense. A good ad on 123notary needs six reviews, 123notary certification, and a beautifully written notes section to do well. If you give us $2000 and don’t do the needful preparations, you will not get the full value of the investment which is your fault as we normally cram our unwanted free help down the unwilling throats of Notaries who don’t understand the value in it. Get enough advertising and other items to be able to survive slow times in business.

Base your Notary marketing strategy on being prepared for bad times.
I’ve been in the Notary business since 1997. I’ve seen booms and busts and all types of up and down cycles. It doesn’t matter how much business you get when times are good. Base your marketing to prepare for when times are bad. If you develop a solid customer base and have solid advertising, certifications and all of the other bells & whistles, you will be a lot more prepared for bad times. Notaries with solid customer bases survive the bad times — a few even flourish. I talk to close to a thousand Notaries per month and have talked to all types. If you have too many clients when times are good, that is not a problem. That way you get to pick and choose which ones you will service, and tell the others you are too busy. Most companies are unpleasant to work for, so having the luxury of picking and choosing can completely change your quality of life and is worth an additional amount of advertising.

What do you invest in first? Training
There are various things you can invest in to make your Notary business better. Training should be the first. You can purchase thousands of dollars of advertising, but without the training, you won’t know what you are doing even if you think you do. We have many Mortgage brokers who think they know it all since they have 30 years in the industry. They do not know what it is like on the Notary’s side of the table and cannot answer my easy over the phone questions. All Notaries need to constantly brush up on their signing agent knowledge no matter what their professional background is. Some training is free while others cost. There is no substitute for solid business skills, and training cannot teach you that. The Notaries that do well often have a solid business background as a manager, Real Estate Broker, or some field that involves coordinating schedules, paperwork and dealing with people. However, you can learn a lot from reading all of our blogs and take courses from various agencies. When I was a Notary I passed certifications from five agencies, so you don’t have to stop with just one.

What comes after training? Advertising
After you have educated yourself to your satisfaction, what should the next step be? Advertising or background screening? If you don’t get background screened, you might lose 30% of your business. But, if you don’t advertise, you won’t get any business to begin with. E&O is the icing on the cake. But, properly maintaining your Notary profiles on the various directories needs to be a priority. Your profile needs to constantly be brushed up.

What comes after Advertising?
Background Screening, E&O, company name registrations, fancy equipment, etc. How far you go should depend on how serious you are.

How much should I invest?
Being in the Notary business is a real business. Most businesses require hundreds of thousands in expenses. Being a Notary is easy and only requires a few hundred. If you are serious about this business, take a gamble on yourself and invest at least a $1000 on everything. I would get three or more certifications, advertise on all the major directories, get background screened, and at least 100K in E&O as well. If you want a high spot on 123notary, do yourself a favor and get the bells & whistles on your listing before you spend big money. That way you’ll get much more mileage out of your investment!

What is the real preparation?
My guru always says that the real preparation for the end of the world is not a physical preparation, but a spiritual preparation. The real preparation for good times and bad as a Notary has to do with solid relationships you’ve built up over years. All of the suggestions we make are not ends in themselves. They build up a foundation to help you create those winning relationships — the rest is up to you!

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