While proper knowledge and experience are key to running a successful mobile Notary or other Notary-related business, it's also essential to sell yourself to your target clientele in ways that differentiate your from your competitors. 'Business promotion includes everything that your prospects and customers see and hear from you,' says NNA 2010 Notary of the Year Daniel Lewis, Managing Partner of nationwide signing company Lewis Notary Services, Inc. 'This includes everyone you meet, every vendor contact, every sign, every point of contact and every communication.' Lewis, who frequently wears shirts bearing his company name and logo, offers the following advice on how to effectively promote your services. Maximize Your Assets, Limit Your Liabilities 'You need to know the difference between assets and liabilities and manage assets carefully,' says Lewis. Lewis uses the NNA's Annual Conference, or a similar professional event, as an example. While some Notaries may consider the expense and time involved to be a liability, Lewis says that the ability to 'attend the professional development workshops, network with the best Notaries in the country and discuss Notary concerns with industry experts and colleagues gives one a unique perspective on the business' — a definite asset. Develop And Execute A Well-Targeted Marketing Campaign Target Your Clientele: Finding a niche market that would find value in your particular brand of service can help ensure repeat business. Pinpoint what makes your service exceptional and who most benefits from your specialty. Do you offer prompt turnaround or unusually late or holiday hours? Are you willing to travel to the outskirts of town or specialize in discretion? Once you know your 'angle,' use it to target a specific clientele, such as those in a particular zip code, or perhaps a health care facility or legal firm. Brand Your Service: Use your 'specialty' as a branding message. For example, create a tagline stating that you 'serve all counties' or that you are 'available whenever you need us'. Lewis hands out customized pens featuring his business name, website and phone number. 'I give them away to everyone I can each day,' says Lewis. 'Just this week, I received assignments from an interior decorator, a post office worker and a librarian. They had all kept pens I had given them, in some cases years earlier.' Optimize Your Social Media Presence Lewis suggests using social media platforms to seek out and post industry-related articles as a starting point to develop dialogues with colleagues and potential clients. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can — and should — be used to promote your business, target new clients and create innovative ways to interact with customers. 'Check to see what your potential customers are posting,' says Lewis. This will give you a feel for their needs and offer an advantage in making initial contact. Online professional groups, such as the NNA's NSA LinkedIn Group offer Notaries the opportunity to network with like-minded business colleagues and industry experts to get advice, share experiences and provide mentoring. Create Strong Business Alliances 'Forming business alliances is critical to the success of your business,' says Lewis, who believes that even in a fiercely competitive market it makes good business sense to create alliances with other reputable Notaries in your vicinity. That way, if you are unable to accept an assignment, you can refer the business. In return, they will refer business to you. Kelle Clarke is a Contributing Editor with the National Notary Association.