Category: Marketing

Finding Your Niche

There is a saying that there is no such thing as bad publicity. When you try and find a niche for your business, should you consider popular sentiment when trying to find an edge?

We always advise finding a niche for your business, if possible. Even smaller ones can be profitable, as when you cater to a niche, word of mouth and positive press can both be force multipliers for the growth of your business.

While we definitely advise to go after a niche when it is hot, there are a couple of things you need to make sure of before you tackle the job.

For this article, we are going to assume there are two types of niches:

  • Mild, or politically neutral/safe.
  • Spicy, or controversial (even if you do not think it is).

So, a mild one would be opening a Cuban restaurant in an area with a lot of Cubans and no Cuban restaurants. A spicy one would be something that is currently in the news, or trending, that is surrounded by polarizing views.

Our Case Study

A new notary business has recently hit the news, over its niche. All the news we’ve seen has been positive and now they’ll get some from us, for whatever that is worth.

Momma B (Mobile) Notary opened recently in Wichita, Kansas, serving all, but focusing on the transgender market. Transgender rights have been expanding across the country, though it does remain a hot potato to many.

Does it Align with Your Core Values?

For a lot of small businesses, the conversation on finding a niche starts and ends here. And we agree that this is the first question you should ask. If your company does not sound comfortable and confident concerning your niche, you probably are not going to do it well.

So, let’s take a look at Momma B.

The owner, Brenda Way is a transexual who has been an activist in the community for years. She has raised money for things like clothing and body care supplies, as well as doctors and therapists visits.

Way said “one of my happiest moments” was when she helped about 25 people get their names legally changed along with the gender markers on their drivers’ licenses.

Wichita Eagle

In other words, this niche is right up her alley. It is something she believes in, and something her company can speak on comfortably, confidently and with a level of authority.

So, Momma B is looking like a winner here.

How Do You Market to Your Niche?

First, find a reason they need marketing to. Are they underserved? Has something recently changed? Is it an emerging or expanding market?

“Since (Gov. Laura Kelly helped) get the law changed in Kansas, trans people can now get their names and gender marker amended on their certificates of live birth. Part of that process is getting some papers notarized,” Way wrote.

Wichita Eagle

Momma B is capitalizing on a change in the law that leads to a new emerging market. And by getting out ahead of potential competitors, the business gains an advantage.

Beyond that, she found specific documents that can now be updated and notarized, and has positioned the business as the business you deal with in this niche.

But, Can She Expand Her Market?

Yes. Momma B plans to go mobile, performing signings across the area, many that seem to be for groups, so the business can perform multiple signings for the most people in the shortest amount of time.

Can She Spread the Word Without a Large Marketing Budget?

Yes, she can.

First of all, the publicity has helped to position Momma B as the groundbreaker in the niche. Solid press that reaches across the country is invaluable. So many small businesses never have this happen, so to have these types of stories out when you open provides the kick start most businesses only dream of.

Beyond that, like we said with niche businesses, they can spread considerably by word of mouth.

Momma B has this covered as well. For now, the company will offer half price discount for notarizations for transgenders, if the person agrees to tell someone else about the service.

From a marketing viewpoint, Momma B is top notch. She found/devised:

  • the right niche
  • an emerging and growing market
  • a plan to reach the niche
  • first class publicity
  • a way to spread word of mouth
  • a way to operate to bring the company into profitability
  • a way to separate her business from her competitors.

Any Drawbacks?

We all have to understand we live in a highly divisive time. One where people readily put their mouth where it does not need to be. Hopefully that will change in the future, but we live in the present.

While Momma B’s has seen good press, there have also been a couple of comments sections we’ve seen that had to be disabled. And all of us have seen too many businesses derided, protested and boycotted for what most would consider trivial reasons.

But Mamma B has an advantage here as well. The core values are their niche. Their niche is the embodiment of their core values.

In the past week, we’ve seen the NBA exposed for not really caring about their core values. And they have taken a beating for it.

Because when your core values are not something you truly believe in, eventually you will be exposed.

Every mobile notary that wants to see an excellent example of branding and marketing their business should study Momma B.

As of this writing, the Momma B website is not yet finished. We will provide a link when it is ready.

Low Tech Marketing and High Tech Digital Marketing

High tech marketing is all the rage nowadays, for a lot of good reason. But, does that mean we should abandon low tech marketing? Are things like Business Cards still worth the effort?

High Tech Marketing

Recent years have given us many new avenues to market our business. From websites to social media, to optimization and automated marketing, the choices before us are more diverse than ever before.

These digital techniques allow us to track customer response in ways companies never could before. And while the statistics you get from these advertising methods probably are not completely correct, they do give you an excellent starting point to understand what your customers want.

We, personally, utilize several of these methods, as well as a technique called split testing. It has helped us to obtain greater market share, and convert a higher percentage of our website visitors into customers.

We also use a method called “measured response”. Or, at least that is what our online marketer calls it. This method has helped us become the most popular notary blog in the world. It has involved a lot of testing, different writing styles, specific phrases in articles and more. We then measured and compared the response to each article, until we were able to write articles that are consistently appealing to our readers, while also gaining traction on social media and increasing engagement.

While none of this is easy, it can be very effective, if you have the right person or company for the job (and it is hard to find a good one).

Low Tech Marketing

So what is the role of low tech marketing? Is it even worth it in this new era, when we can get far more data from high tech marketing methods?

The short answer is: Yes.

The fact is there are so many online ads and high tech marketing funnels that people are becoming numb to them. Every year marketers have to come up with new tricks to get and keep people on their email lists.

It is a tough business, where you are competing against everyone else. If you run ads that are not effective, you get charged more. And if your ad is not effective most platforms will bury it.

It sounds weird, but makes sense, Each of these platforms, whether Google, Bing, Facebook or others, want to run the ads that:

  • Make them the most money
  • Have the best response from their audience.

So Back to Low Tech Marketing

We’ve all seen it, for every person out there who loves their smart phone, there is someone else cursing theirs. The fact is high tech marketing does not reach your entire audience, and someone berating their phone while opening your website is probably not going to help you much.

So we go back and take a look at low tech marketing.

Business cards are probably the oldest and best known way to market yourself or your business. While not as effective as they used to be, they are still a vital component.

But, people have seen business cards for decades, so you are going to have to reach outside the box to make a lasting impression. Be creative and be memorable. Don’t make the same business cards your parents used.

Photos can be effective. I saw one business card recently with the person’s photo on it. Not mind blowing by any means, until I turned over the card. There was a photo of the back of the person’s head on the back of the card. And now that person’s business will be stuck in my head for a long time.

You are only constrained by your imagination. I’ve seen cards that work as referral cards and said “The Most Flattering Way to Like Our Business is to Refer a Friend”. These were sent out with each order the company fulfilled.

Another great one was shaped and looked like a raffle ticket, even down to those raggedy edges you get when you take them apart.

Other Low Tech Marketing Techniques

There are other methods as well. While most mobile notaries are not going to buy expensive billboards, commercials or newspaper ads, there are other ways.

Direct Mail is used to great effect by many companies. But, it is also expensive, and ROI (return on investment) is often six to nine months, which is difficult for a small business to perform.

So where should you look?

Joining your local Chamber of Commerce is a great way to network with other businesses, make yourself known locally, and grow your business. And we all know cold calling can be an effective way to keep yourself in front of your clients

We talked about the high price of some newspaper ads, but what about the local papers that people can get for free at restaurants and stores around town? They are much more affordable, and the people who pick those papers up are usually the types that read them.

So, Low Tech Vs. High Tech Marketing

The answer is a bit of a mixture of both. High tech marketing helps you reach people you could not reach before, and in ways you could not achieve before.

But, don’t get down on low tech marketing.

The fact is, as more and more companies focus on high tech marketing, opportunities open for low tech techniques. And the right people can take advantage of it.

I’ve never seen a notary try it before, but I’ve even seen those little bandit signs on the side of the road used to great effect. Even though they are illegal in many cities, when used correctly, they do make the phone ring.

The key point is, don’t throw low tech marketing out with the bath water.

When everyone goes right, sometimes it is best to go left, and be creative about it.

Finding New Opportunities for Your Mobile Notary Business

As involved business owners we are always thinking of ways to both protect and expand our business. 

What too many of us learn the hard way, is that relying one specific revenue stream or one specific client, can come back to bite you in the rear.  A big client is a big score, but what happens if you lose their business, whatever the reason?

If you don’t have enough other clients, it definitely stings.


Traditional Methods

We’re not going to go over these in too much depth, as they have been discussed at length for years.  But, some are still effective.

You can always prepare by learning how to set yourself apart from other mobile notaries, that way you can capitalize on any marketing efforts.

Methods like cold calling still do work, if you have the confidence.  But, realize, you are always selling yourself, in any way, and cold calling is just another avenue you do so with.

Joining your local chamber of commerce can also be of help, especially with the boom in new small businesses we are now seeing across the country.  If your business is small, the fee to join the chamber is usually quite reasonable, especially if you are outside a major city.


Keep Track of Local News

Opportunities knock, if we keep an eye on the door.

Keeping track of your local market is a great way to do so.  You can sign up for news alerts via google, or you can be more actively involved in what is going on.

The fact is you need to be ready to jump.  There is no better time than when an issue is already in the news.  You can piggyback on that attention to great effect, if you are ready to act quickly and decisively.

Looking through recent news, we can see several opportunities.  You can read quite a bit of it in our mobile notary blog archive.  When there is an issue involving people having issues getting docs notarized, when a group of people is being taken advantage of, I think you get my drift.


Taking Advantage of the Opportunity

All of you should have a basic press release ready.  There are all kinds of templates you can download online, and you can check out other companies releases on a site like PRweb to see how they are.

Find the problem and come up with how you can solve it.  Send out your solution with your press release template.  Start with the writer who wrote the article, and add in your local officials, plus any other officials named in the news, who are involved with the process.

And then you jump on social media to further spread awareness.

Let’s give an example.

So there is a story in the news right now about property tax in a large city.  There are ways to become exempt, but it requires a notary signature, except for a select few who could not travel.

The biggest argument made was that this group of people had trouble getting access to proper notaries.  And that should set off all kinds of marketing bells in your head.

How do I help this group of people, as well as grow my business, and get positive press all at the same time?

Will you always have a perfect answer?

No.  But, other cases will give you the angle you need to market your business in a positive way.


So How Do I Execute the Plan?

If you don’t see the answer in your normal business plan, maybe it is time to think outside the box.

In this case, there are groups of people, mostly located near each other, in need of notarial services.  So how can I, as a mobile notary, take advantage of the situation?

Well, traveling expenses are often a sticking point.  And in this case, state laws regarding notary fees may also be a factor.

So, what if we took a few hours, or a day, helping all of these people get their affairs in order?  Maybe we can charge a distributed fee for travel and expenses, or maybe we realize that if we can generate media attention, that is worth far more than our traveling costs.

This is why we have to be ready to move.

So we come up with a plan, send out press releases to anyone involved who has an email we can find.  We then use social media to spread the news, and how you plan to help fix it.  And when we do so, we use popular tags.  So jump on tags for your posts like #notary #insertcityorstatehere, etc.  This way you will receive maximum visibility that you might not with your own term.

We are not saying to not create your own term.  If you do that and it becomes popular, it can take on a life of its own.  We recently ran into that ourselves with what we dubbed the #shastasigning.  It ended up gaining traction and bringing thousands of new eyes to our website and blog.

Continuing Education

Learning never ends.  We must constantly improve ourselves to stay at the front of the pack.  Now some people do online courses, others watch webinars or pay for very expensive coaching.

But, have you ever thought about your local community college?

The vast majority of our community  colleges offer a wide variety of continuing education, usually for a very reasonable price.  There are such a wide variety of skills you can acquire to help your business, and they are tax deductible as a business expense.

You have basic to advanced business classes.  Marketing, social media, the list goes on.   You might even find classes that fit you and might allow you to offer a wider array of services.

Heck, I learned how to drive a forklift because I thought it would be cool (it was).


Marketers are Brave

Yes, you are putting yourself out there as a marketer.  And some of us are more comfortable with that than others. 

But, it is an important part of any business.  If people don’t know who you are, how are you supposed to get business?

We’ve heard our fair share of tame ideas, as well as crazy ideas over the years.  But the best marketers we have found are brave.  They aren’t afraid to come up with a selection of tame and crazy strategies.

A lot of them get spoken about and tossed, but some of them have been used to great effect.

Sometimes you just need to stand out.


3 Ways Notaries Can Avoid a Dip in Business

While doing outreach and marketing yourself is vital for a notary when business gets slow, it’s simply not enough.

You can’t really wait until things slow down to decide it’s time to get started bringing in more clients. By that point, you’re already behind. Rather than let that happen, there are some specific ways you can market yourself on a consistent basis, so you keep your income as steady as possible.

By having a gameplan each and every month, and adjusting that plan as necessary when you see what works and what doesn’t, you notary business can achieve its highest level of success.

1) Reaching Out to Local Title Companies

Do the local title companies know about you? If not, why not? Make sure you have a good list, updated periodically, of the title companies in your local area. Decide how far you’re willing to travel to offer your notary services, and then get on the databases of all the companies in the area that could possibly use those services.

The more companies know about you and have your contact information, the higher the chances that you will have consistent work all the time. That can help you build your business, so you don’t see those dips in income during slower times of the year.

2) Touching Base with Companies That Haven’t Called You Recently

Full-time notaries can earn $36,000 per year or more, and part-time notaries often earn between $10,000 and $15,000 per year, on average.

With that in mind, it’s clear that you need to keep working and expanding your business if you want to be successful. Keep track of the companies you work with, and how often they contact you.

If you haven’t been contacted recently, you need to reach out before too much time passes. There could be a specific reason they haven’t contacted you. If there is, you’ll want to find out what you can do to get them reaching out to you more frequently.

3) Spend Time Regularly Updating and Improving Your Listings

There are directories for notaries, just as there are for many other types of professionals. You want to be in those directories, but make sure you’re listed the right way.

Think about what you would want if you were hiring a notary. What would you look for? When you know what your clients need, you can offer them the things that matter. Your listing needs to have that information, so people who are looking for a notary know that you’re the right one for them. Some databases allow you to input more information than others, so it’s a good idea to have several variations of your information.

Make sure that all of your information is up to date in all databases, and that includes the correct spelling of your name and any company name you might use, your address and phone number, your email address, and your website. The more ways people have to contact you, and the more consistent you keep your presence across all directories, the easier it will be for you to avoid business dips, slow seasons, and waning times in your notary service. Marketing yourself is a full-time job, and should be treated that way as a big part of your business. By contacting Sunshine Signing Connection today, you can get a notary that will give you prompt, courteous service and make sure your documents are correctly signed. That can give you peace of mind, as it’s important to use a notary you can trust. With the right notary and the ability for them to come to you, your individual or business needs can be met more easily, allowing you to get on with your day.

How to Set Yourself Apart as a Mobile Notary

Like banking and related fields, notarizing documents is generally a Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 type of job. If you are not at the bank during those hours, whatever you need notarized will simply have to wait.

That can be very problematic for people who need something notarized on the weekend or after hours on a weekday. Fortunately, there are options beginning to appear that will forever change the notary business. With a mobile notary signing service, for example, you can have documents notarized anytime, anywhere, on a 24/7/365 basis. But, most people do not know about mobile notaries, and getting the word out is important.

If you really want to succeed as a mobile notary, there are some specific things you can do to build your business.

Get Certified to Help People Recognize Your Skills

The National Notary Association offers certification options. These are not required for a notary, but they can set you apart from the pack.

Being certified may also help increase your business, because it indicates that you are actually able to do the job you are offering. You would not have the certification without passing requirements for a governing body, which can put people’s minds at ease when they are considering hiring you for their notary needs.

Make sure you prominently display your certification on your website, so people will notice you have attained it.

Reach Out to Title and Real Estate Companies

If you create relationships with title and real estate companies that have regular needs for signings, you can increase the level of business you do. Most of these signings will be on a 9 to 5, Monday through Friday basis, but that is not a bad thing. It simply gives you more business and frees up your weekends and evenings to work with other clients.

As a mobile notary, you can go anywhere at any time, so traveling to title companies and real estate companies around the area can be a great way to create consistent work.

Always Answer Your Phone, or Call Back Promptly

If you are not going to answer your phone or call people back quickly (for example, if you are in the middle of a signing and cannot answer at that moment), you may not get far as a mobile notary. People will be calling you because they need your services at that particular moment in time, or because they need information about your services quickly.

When they do not get a response, they may decide that they are just going to move on and look for someone else. While it is possible they will not find another mobile notary to help them, it is also possible that they will work something out that does not involve you. If you call back hours later, it could be far too late to get their business, so make a fast response a continued priority.

Be Ready for Those 3 a.m. Phone Calls

Providing service after hours and on the weekends is one of the main ways a mobile notary can be successful.  We know even the thought of being a 24 hour notary is rough, but even if you are not sure why someone would need anything notarized at 3 a.m. on a Saturday, you should still be available.

That can be difficult, and the on-call life can be stressful, but the odds are low that you will get many of these types of phone calls. Regular business hours, early evenings, and weekend afternoons will likely be much more typical.

Still, being prepared for any eventuality can make all the difference when it comes to success and setting yourself apart as a mobile notary.