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Source of Title Blog

Tips For Developing Your Business Through Source of Title
by Robert Franco | 2009/04/15 |

We have greatly expanded our services over the past few years and there are several ways that our members can use Source of Title to further develop their business.  Business has slowed down significantly for most of us. It is a great time to start thinking creatively and using some of our free services to stand out from your competition.  I'm going to share with you all some tips to do just that.  Many of you are probably already aware of some of these ideas, but I'm sure everyone will learn a thing or two from this special blog.

Source of Title Blog ::

1.  Show off your special knowledge with your own Blog.

We all have a certain expertise, but many potential clients may fail to realize just how experienced and knowledgeable you are.  The blogs on Source of Title are free for everyone - all of our registered users can create a blog for free and read those posted by others.  Good blogs can get read well over 1,000 times.  In our niche market, that is pretty good exposure to highlight your insights and depth of understanding of your profession.  It is a great opportunity to get noticed by potential clients.  Try blogging regularly, at least once a month, and give it some time to develop.

How to start a blog:

Just click on "New blog entry" in the left hand column under the heading "My Blog."  Read the right sidebar for some tips to get started.

2. Take an active role in forum discussions.

The forums on our site are free to all of our registered users.  Our forums are viewed more than 1 million times each year.  Well thought-out posts and replies can also get you noticed as someone who is actively involved in the industry.  Consider bringing up points that highlight your knowledge of substantive title issues.  Meaningful discussions benefit us all - we can all learn something about the industry that we might not have otherwise known.

3. Develop your personal profile.

This is a relatively new aspect of Source of Title that we incorporated into our last redesign of the site.  Whenever you publish a blog or post in the forums, your name appears as a link to your personal profile.  Previously, this link was used to send an email to the author, however that feature has been replaced by an 'envelope' icon next to the author's name.

The personal profile is intended to provide information about you, rather than the company information in your listing.  You can highlight your personal goals and achievements in your profile.  (click here to see my personal profile.)

How to create your personal profile:

Click on "My Profile" under the "My Account" heading in the left column.  Then click on "Edit my user profile," and add anything you want to share in the text-box at the bottom.  When you are finished, click the "Submit" button.

4. Update your directory listing regularly.

Even if there have been no changes, we highly recommend that you occasionally review the listing and go through the steps to update it.  There are a couple of good reasons for this.  First, we display the "date of last update" in each directory listing.  Clients can get a sense of comfort that the information is current if it shows a recent date.  It indicates that you are keeping the information current and the information is more likely to be reliable.  Second, the free listings are sorted by the date they are last updated.  The most recently updated listings appear higher on the search results.

How to update your listing:

Click on "My Company" under the "My Account" heading in the left column.  Then, click on "Edit my Directory Listing."  Verify all of the information is still accurate and click the "Submit" button at the bottom of the form.

5. Encourage your clients to give you a positive review.

Source of Title members can review the companies in our directory.  As of the date of this post, there are 855 reviews and 759 are positive.  The "feedback" score is displayed next to each company in the directory in parenthesis.  Each positive review ads 1-point, each negative review subtracts 1-point.  Asking your clients to leave feedback about their experiences with your business can drive that number up, making you much more attractive to potential clients.  It also demonstrates that you are concerned with providing outstanding customer service.

How to leave feedback:

You can get to the review form by clicking on a company's feedback score in the business directory (the number in parentheses after the business name) and then clicking on the link "leave review for this company", or you can enter the SOT company ID # in the box provided in the "Directory" sidebar in the right column and click "go".  The SOT company ID number is indicated on a company's business listing page.

6. Keep your clients informed with the Bulletin Service.

The most recent addition to our services is the Bulletin Service.  Every Source of Title member with a company listing can create bulletins - short announcements about their company, their services, or the counties they cover.  We display the most recent company bulletins in each directory listing. (see my listing for an example.)  On an enhanced listing, they appear in the left column under the heading "Bulletins from this company."  On a free listing, they appear at the bottom.

We have also created a way for your clients to subscribe to your bulletins, and those of their other vendors.  By subscribing to companies' bulletins, they will be able to view all of the latest bulletins of those companies by clicking the "Bulletins" heading in the left column.  Once a user subscribes to certain companies' bulletins, they will also receive an email early each morning with any new announcements posted the previous day. 

Bulletins are a great way to keep your clients informed and, as a free service you can offer them, it can set you apart from your competition.  We highly encourage you to use the Bulletin Service and encourage your clients to subscribe.

How to use the Bulletin Service:

Click on "My Bulletins" under the "Bulletins" header in the left column.  For more information on the Bulletin Service, including instructions you can give your clients for subscribing to them, visit our Bulletin Service information page.

7.  Limit your coverage area.

Okay, this may seem counter-intuitive, but I would actually encourage you to limit your coverage area to those counties you regularly provide service in.  We graciously allow companies to list their business in up to 300 counties with a free listing.  However, we also display the number of counties covered in the directory list.  A fewer number of counties indicates that it is more likely that you actually perform the services in those counties, rather than sub-contracting the work out to third-parties.  Many clients prefer to deal with those who do their own searching, rather than intermediaries.  Thus, a listing with fewer counties in its coverage area may actually see better results from a narrower list.  I've talked to a few clients who specifically look for the handful of vendors that cover the fewest number of counties.

To edit your counties:

Click on "My Company" under the "My Account" heading in the left column.  Then, click on "Edit my Directory Listing."  Hold down the Control Key while selecting, or deselecting, counties to leave your other counties unaffected.

8.  Join NALTEA

Companies that are members of NALTEA are designated with an "N" in our directory to let potential customers know of their involvement with a professional association.  Membership indicates to clients that you are an active participant in the title industry.  I would also suggest that you inquire with NALTEA about becoming certified by the association.  We also designate in our directory those companies with a certification from NALTEA.

NALTEA members can get a 50% discount on a subscription to Source of Title, and a 10% discount on an enhanced listing.  This may cover the cost of membership alone.

9. Upgrade to an enhanced listing.

This one, of course, is not free.  However, we believe that we do offer a tremendous bang-for-the-buck with enhanced listings that start at only $99.00 per year.  There are a few huge advantages to upgrading your listing:

  1. Free listings are only available to our subscribers (about 270) - enhanced listings are available to all of our registered users (nearly 16,000).
  2. The enhanced listings appear above the free listings in the directory search results.
  3. The enhanced listings are in bold with a tinted background to help them stand out.
    AND,
  4. The enhanced listings are a full page, opposed to the small pop-up included with the free listings.  They can be customized to add much more information about your company and you can make them look much nicer. (See my listing for an example.)

A large percentage of businesses with enhanced listings renew them each year.  It only takes one new client to more than pay for the annual fee.  The added exposure may just help you land your next big client.

How to upgrade to an enhanced listing:

Visit our enhanced listings page for more information including a price list.

Conclusion:

Source of Title offers a wide range of services that can help you develop your business.  Understanding how best to take advantage of them can help set you apart from the thousands of other companies in our directory.  Year after year, we are the most used directory for title professionals because we offer results.

We consistently have more than 2 million page views each year.  There is simply no better way to get noticed by potential clients.  And, most of it can be done for free.  Of course, we have bills to pay too, so we appreciate those who support us through purchasing subscriptions and enhanced listings.  We depend on you and your success, so we do everything we can to help you with your business endeavors.  Try some of the tips I have mentioned and see what it can do for you.

We are always open to comments and suggestions.  If you have thoughts you want to share, please comment.

Robert A. Franco
SOURCE OF TITLE




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Categories: Abstractors, Source of Title Services

2457 words | 3216 views | 4 comments | log in or register to post a comment


Bulletins

Robert, is there a way I can post a bulletin from a document I have scanned rather than typing it in?  I am speaking of bulletins I copy & scan from county courthouses for instance.  I'd like to post the county's recording fees also because so many clients send the wrong fees.  But I'd rather copy than type them all in.  I'm not the most tech savvy so this may seem to be a stupid question.  Thanks!

 
by Helene Gonzalez | 2009/04/15 | log in or register to post a reply

Good Question, Helene.

There is no way to place a scanned document directly in to a bulletin.  However, what you can do... is use a service like Scribd.com.  You can get a free account and upload your documents.  Then you can write a short bulletin and provide the link to the document on Scribd.  Scribd makes it very easy to copy the link to the document and you can just paste the full URL into the bulletin.  When the bulletin is viewed, the URL will be converted to a hyperlink automatically.

Of course, if the document is already available on the Internet somewhere, you could provide that link in your bulletin.  You wouldn't need to use Scribd services for that.

I used Scribd for my my latest bulletin.  You can see what I have done if you look at my bulletins on my listing page.

 
by Robert Franco | 2009/04/16 | log in or register to post a reply

Scribd

Thanks....I'll check it out.

 
by Helene Gonzalez | 2009/04/16 | log in or register to post a reply

Great information

Robert,

Thanks for taking the time to post this information.

It was very informative and helpful.

Sincerely,

John

 
by John Brown | 2009/05/22 | log in or register to post a reply
Source of Title Blog

Robert A. FrancoThe focus of this blog will be on sharing my thoughts and concerns related to the small title agents and abstractors. The industry has changed dramatically over the past ten years and I believe that we are just seeing the beginning. As the evolution continues, what will become of the many small independent title professionals who have long been the cornerstone of the industry?

Robert A. Franco
SOURCE OF TITLE

 

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