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Revolutionize Your Notary Business Marketing Strategy

Marcus Sheridan Notary Business Marketing

(Originally published in the August 2014 issue of The National Notary magazine.)

At first blush, Marcus Sheridan, co-owner of River Pools and Spas in Warsaw, Virginia, might not seem to have a lot in common with Notaries. But it turns out he does. Like many Notary entrepreneurs, he had to find a way to survive the hard times. And what he found applies to mobile Notaries and other Notary entrepreneurs just as much as it does a pool guy.

Starting in 2001, he and his partners built River Pools and Spas into a prosperous business, but they were rocked by the stock market collapse in October 2008. Within a matter of months, the business was on the verge of bankruptcy and Sheridan faced the prospect of losing his home.

In that time of desperation, Sheridan had a moment of insight about how marketing should be done in the age of social media, and he embraced simple tactics that any entrepreneur should leverage.

Sheridan, who later founded the popular sales and marketing blog, The Sales Lion, became a digital marketing expert, shared those concepts and offered his vision for helping NNA members become “the first Notary contacted for a signing in their market.”

The New Rules Of Consumer Engagement

Whether it is a lender, title company or a member of the public, consumers are more impatient and demanding than they’ve ever been when it comes to searching for what they want. But with that impatience comes a beneficial side effect: They are also more loyal, repeat customers than they’ve ever been. “If they find that one website, that one vendor, that one source that gives them everything they’re looking for, they keep going back,” he said.

Having a good website and social media presence is crucial today because it’s where consumers research what they want and often make decisions to buy. Just think about how we all identify and patronize a basic luxury: restaurants.

“It used to be if you wanted to choose a new restaurant, you would either ask a friend or just simply go there and try the food,” he said. “Today, you go online. You go to Yelp and get reviews. And you go to the restaurant’s website to look at the menu. And we want to see prices. If you don’t see the prices, you leave. You don’t want to gamble your money or your time.”

Sheridan offered some valuable, simple advice on how Notaries should organize their websites:

• Make your homepage header about your customer, not about you. For example, don’t put “Scottsdale’s No. 1 Notary Public.” Instead, put something like, “Need a document or loan package notarized? Your solution is here.”

• Your homepage should list three primary service offerings, for example: “Loan Signings,” “Mobile Notary Services,” and “Your Questions Answered.”

• Make sure you provide a menu of all the services you offer and clearly list the prices for each product or service.

• Keep your homepage simple and clutter free with basic, easy to digest information. Your home page exists for one reason: to get customers to click to the second page. You can have more information on the second page that provides in-depth information and answers questions, all of which gets them closer to a purchase or hire.

Answer Customers’ Questions

When Sheridan’s business was on the brink of collapse, he turned things around after having a truly profound epiphany. As with most epiphanies, this was simple — so simple it was undeniable. He realized that his website received thousands of questions each year from potential customers, but he never ever answered them because he, like most entrepreneurs, initially felt like telling the truth would scare customers away. “I have seen this in every single industry I’ve ever worked with. You get hundreds if not thousands of questions. How many do you answer?”

In early 2009, Sheridan decided to answer every question one by one, transparently and honestly in a blog on River Pools’ website, starting with the most common question: How much does an inground fiberglass pool cost? For River Pools, the answer depends on the options the customer chooses, but “because we were willing to say, ‘It depends,’” that one article has generated more than $2 million in sales to date. The reason is simple: When people research the cost of a swimming pool, his article comes up, and they go to his website.

Sheridan suggested that Notaries publish blogs addressing “any subjects that will answer questions about notarizations, or how to get the best service in their local markets.” There are a number of subjects that would be of interest to potential clients, including:

How much does a notarization cost?

The different types of notarization
How to prepare for a notarization

Sheridan reiterated his golden rule: If they ask, you answer. If you don’t, someone else will. By answering questions honestly, openly and transparently, you engender trust. “If you want to be the first one called for a signing, you have to engender more trust than anyone else in your space,” he said.

‘Don’t Be The Exception’

Sheridan acknowledged that he often gets pushback from audiences who think he has a nice story to tell, but think his tactics don’t apply to them because they are “different,” they are the “exception.” Everyone plays by the same rules, he reminded, whether you’re a Notary signing agent, a member of the Innkeepers of America or a professional pet sitter (yes, Sheridan spoke to a conference of pet sitters).

“It doesn’t matter how it’s always been done. Ask yourself, ‘Is there a better way?’” Asking himself how he can do things differently has paid off not only financially but personally for Sheridan. During the early years of his career, he worked 60-, 70- and 80-hour weeks, leaving no time to spend with his wife and children. He missed lots of family events because he thought that’s what it took to be successful. Now, he has time to be the coach of his 13-year-old daughter’s softball team and has lots of time to spend with his family. “You want more time to do that which you value most,” Sheridan said.

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor of member publications for the National Notary Association.






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17 Jan 2018


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