Hospital Marketing Strategies for Mobile NotariesBrenda Stone
On April 17, I found myself driving from home to a community hospital 150 miles away. I had to be there to help my 86-year-old mother stay near the bedside of the love of her life, a gentle and kind man named Warren who, at age 84, suffered a massive heart attack. For a couple of days, I fretted about Warren’s health, the impact it was having on my mother, and about not being at home and able to work or write this article, and I had not decided on a topic before I left my house. However, on the third day, while prowling around the hospital campus, I could not stop thinking about ways to market notary services effectively in a hospital.
It began when I entered the hospital cafeteria to have a minute to myself. Tired of reading Facebook and typing words on a tiny phone screen, I picked up a free community newspaper to look over while I ate my yogurt. Stacked beside the free newspaper, there were two more free publications–an attractive glossy magazine and a classified ads publication about community bargains, swaps, etc. I grabbed all three and began to peruse them. That’s when I was reminded that in areas where people are forced to kill time (lots of time), they will eventually stop looking only at cellphones and devices and look at printed media. And, guess what! There were zero notary advertisements in any of the three free publications. That’s when I wondered about placing $25 or $50 worth of ads in such publications, or even $100 in ads spread over a few weeks. Would they be read? The distribution was already in place. Most people in the cafeteria seemed to be eating alone and many of them were flipping through the pages of the magazine or one of the newsprint publications. The other positive aspect is that the publications were not dailies. Two were weeklies and one was a monthly magazine.
Also, what would those ads bring to the only notary who advertised in them?
After I left the cafeteria to go back to Warren’s room (who is continuing to improve and remains optimistic), I saw that the free publications were readily available throughout the hospital in every possible space where people sat and waited like I had been. That’s when I made the first note in my phone for this article. As the next two days unfolded, I looked for every possible opportunity to market notary services. Those hours of observations reinforced what I already knew, but I was able to add a few new strategies to my list. By the time I got home to my own familiar desk and keyboard on the afternoon of April 23, the following strategies had emerged.
Strategy 1 – Check out publications with advertisements distributed in hospitals. Identify free publications that are distributed in hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices and other venues where people sit and wait. Find out their rates for advertising; do a test run of ads. One of the newsprint publications mentioned above offer an amazing $5 rate for line ads and start with a $6.50 rate for display ads if you agree to advertise weekly for a year or $7 for one spot. To get on the front page, you would have to pay $15. That’s quite reasonable if you can capture a niche.
Strategy 2 – Give your information to the Information Desk. Locate the information desk in the hospital lobby. If the desk is manned by senior citizen volunteers, that’s even better. They are always more helpful because they truly want to give quality information and answers to all questions. Provide a few business cards and hand each of them a pen.
Strategy 3 – Schmooze the shopkeepers. If you have pens with your notary service information on them, donate a dozen to the hospital gift shop. Many gift shops in hospitals are run by volunteers and depend largely on donated items to profit; their gift shop profits are used for worthy causes. Many hospital gift shops sell branded items like plastic cups, handmade gift baskets, eyeglasses repair kits, nail clippers, and other useful tools or items that are branded with local businesses’ names and phone numbers.
The key is to make friends with the volunteers behind the cash register. They will help you get the word out about your notary business.
Strategy 4 – Visit ALL waiting rooms and sitting areas. The main hospital lobby is only one of many places that family members of patients sit and wait. If you can access other floors or departments in your local hospital, go from floor to floor seeking the places where families congregate–leave a few business cards. For instance, these rooms could be the ones where family members wait for surgery patients or where loved ones wait to visit ICU patients. You should also look for the imaging department and drop off cards and pens at the receptionist’s desk on that floor or wing of the hospital.
Look for labs and lab techs to share your cards with. Labs have waiting areas, too.
Are there nooks tucked away in halls with chairs and tables? Is there a library with books and magazines? Are there desks where internet-ready computers sit intended for use by hospital visitors?
Don’t litter the hospital with your cards but, after asking a hospital employee if you may leave your cards, try dropping one or two off at some of these places.
Strategy 5 – Try a Goody Drop in the E.R. The emergency room staff could use a treat. Swing by there with a box of fresh donuts for the staff — make sure they have your mobile notary card or promotional items. The emergency room also has a waiting area – ask if you can drop a few cards throughout the place where people sit and wait or if there is a designated area for them.
Strategy 6 – Are there coffee machine stations? Tables near the elevators? Is there room for business cards or other promo materials near the free coffee station or by the elevator? Ask the nearest person in authority if you can place your notary public business cards nearby.
Strategy 7 – Nurses need love, too. Drop by the nurse’s stations if the upper level floors are easily accessed. Treat them with donuts, cards, and pens. They might not be able to refer you directly, but they may be able to direct targeted clients to a mobile notary business advertisement in a publication lying about in the waiting area.
Strategy 8 – Meet the Chaplain. The chaplain’s office may be one of the best stops for notaries. This is a tidbit I gleaned recently from two brothers whose father sought to donate his body to medical students after he passed. It was quite difficult to find a notary or witnesses to complete the form requirements that the fatally ill father needed to sign. The chaplain and staff helped when nurses and other employees could not because of hospital policy.
Strategy 9 – Try the worst idea for marketing that works. Bathrooms and bathroom stalls have proven to be an excellent place to drop off promotional materials. I have seen an Avon salesperson do this weekly for years in a bathroom near my office. (If it didn’t work, the Avon rep would continue to do it weekly for so many years.)
Frankly, I would not want to pick up a business card on a public bathroom surface, but if the card said “Snap an image and add to your contacts,” or if the card had a QR code on it and instructed the reader to “Scan to Reach Out to a Notary,” it would remind interested bathroom visitors that they could grab the card information without touching the card itself.
Strategy 10 – Repeat some or all of the above every few weeks! Except for the donuts, don’t provide too many items at one time. That way, you will need to go back and visit again in a few weeks to replenish supplies and reacquaint yourself with the staff.
Challenge for you
Next time you are stuck in a location with others who are sitting and waiting, make a list of all the ways you could possibly reach a captive audience like those around you! While you are at it, share your notary business card!