7 Reasons Having One Full-Service Provider Can Benefit Your Funeral Business

Posted by Ashley Montroy

full-service technology providerThere is an interesting trend developing in the funeral industry. With a growing number of businesses vying to offer essential services such as website development, memorialization and  marketing services, all while trying to grow their business, it has become quite common to find funeral homes with several different service providers, all running with mixed messaging and heaps of wasted time.

We’ve learned this: while funeral homes have the ability to pick and choose where to get the best deal, saving a few bucks a month is often doing more harm than good in the long run. Though saving money here and there by using one company for your website, one for your marketing and another for your stationery, DVD and other business solutions needs may seem like a good idea, it takes away from the overall brand and success of your funeral home, not to mention the time it takes to get the job done.

Think about how many times you enter the same family and deceased information. You probably enter into your website, then type it into all of your needed forms, then populate your stationery pieces and the list goes on and on and before you know it you’ve spent hours doing redundant data entry. Now add on the marketing side of your business, where in all honesty, most funeral homes simply don’t know how to keep their website fresh, market themselves using social media and because of this, they struggle with all that is in front of them.

So, What is the Solution?

Funeral homes need a complete full-service offering so they could spend less time doing paperwork and trying to figure out today’s marketing and spend more time doing what they do best, helping families who are in need. Says who? Our roots as a technology, website and marketing provider have given us over 20 years of experience in understanding exactly what helps funeral homes become the FrontRunner in their service area.

A full-service solution offers funeral homes one complete website and management solution and a fully integrated marketing and business growth strategy to give them one point of data entry and one single, integrated message across the board. Sounds smart, right?

It is important to understand what may be costing you in both time, money, and success if you are using many different providers to get the job done.

Full-service website provider

1. You’ll Save Time and Money By Eliminating Redundant Data Entry

Having your website and business system completely integrated will not only save you time, but it will save you a ton of money. Money that could be spent on things like social media advertising and Google AdWords campaigns to actually generate you more business. Even without getting into the nerdy tech mumbo jumbo, a full-service system will take care of the time consuming tasks needed to get the job done. It’s time to start working smarter instead of harder.

2. Your Website Will Become The Center of Attention

In this day and age there is nothing more important than having an informative, attractive and useful website that generates you results. Families need to be able to answer questions at any time, day or night, and most turn to Google. But is your website being found? While your website may have great information, it is important to have marketing and web development on the same page so that website shines. Your website is the most important asset your business has in this day and age and as a result it should be the center of your marketing strategy, but it definitely can’t just stop there.

3. Your Families Will Receive One Message

By having a technology and marketing partner in control of your website and marketing content, you will be able to ensure that families receive a consistent message from your firm across all channels. It is important, especially in the funeral industry, to build trust and establish meaningful relationships with consumers. The best thing you can do for families is be straightforward, consistent and direct in your messaging. It will go a long way. Having one company manage your website, another manage your social media marketing and another manage your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is like having three key executives in your business trying to build a business together without ever having a conversation with each other. It just doesn’t work and we’ve seen it first hand!

4. You’ll Know How Families Found You and What’s Working

Data is a tricky thing even if you are not pulling from several different sources. If you have different website and marketing providers, it is difficult to develop a complete and accurate picture of how everything is going and what is working vs. not working. Knowing how families find your firm and understanding what specifically brought them to contact you is a key component of improving your business. Making sense of several different reports that don’t speak to each other will never be clear enough to plan for the future, let alone positively impact your call volume.

5. All of Your Channels Work Together

Consistent messaging and reporting is only the tip of the full-service iceberg. Imagine having the ability to target specific audiences, with specific messages and show people exactly what they want to see. Instead of putting stuff out there and hoping for the best, you can take consumers on the exact journey that will bring them to pick up the phone or walk through the door, with one integrated message everywhere they see you.

Full-service integrated marketing

6. Your Integrated Marketing Will Go Further

It is impossible to fully optimize a website unless you have access to the back-end or the ability to edit it. If your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and website provider are different, you will likely face an uphill battle to be a top result on Google – also known as the 21st century measure of success. In addition, your social media should reflect the message you want being broadcast, which is hard to do if it’s not in line with your core messaging. Why have different people controlling your digital assets? In my mind, it just doesn’t make sense to do. Maybe you haven’t experienced any problems per say, but there is plenty to be said for fully integrated marketing working seamlessly with your website. This is your online brand and should be treated as one.

7. You’ll have A Team of Experts Working On Your Behalf

This is the main reason a full-service provider with one complete system is the best decision for the future of your firm. The fact is most funeral homes do not have a web development, marketing or business system department in-house. So these assets are handled one of two ways: outsourcing the work to various businesses or having your staff working around the clock to get the job done (and even sometimes they put it on the back-burner because their just too busy which doesn’t help grow or sustain your business). Having specialized experts working on your website, another team of experts working on your social media and SEO is like having a much larger in-house team, for a lot less than you’d think.

Is it time for an All-in-One Provider?

We hear time and time again from funeral directors that having one solution for all of their business needs has allowed their firms to navigate the digital age without sacrificing what matters most, the quality of service provided to grieving families. You may have heard rumblings about our Exclusive Client Program aimed at answering this call from the industry. Want to know more about what we’re doing? Check out how the FrontRunner Difference is going to change the game.

4 Ways We’re Helping Funeral Homes Improve Obituary Searches For Consumers

Posted by Brandon Meawasige

obituary

After years as FrontRunner’s obituary information hub, Obitsforlife.com will be discontinued this week and all existing traffic will be directed to a new and improved platform, ObitTree.com and we’re pretty excited about the change! With every part of our space shifting towards user-friendly navigation, ObitTree.com presents a better experience when families and friends are searching for obituary information. The move aims to update the functionality and organization of the database, all while producing an interactive website consumers can enjoy. At FrontRunner, we are committed to providing our clients with the best possible experience online.

What was Obitsforlife.com?

Obitsforlife.com is (and as of tomorrow was) a website that serves as the central source for newspapers, funeral homes and consumers to find obituary records from across North America. Users are able to navigate through a large database to search for exactly the obituary they are looking for. News outlets formerly offered death notices exclusively, as they served the largest public audience, and sites such as Obitsforlife.com have carried the practice into the digital age. All FrontRunner clients currently have their obituaries pushed to this site, but we realized there was a much better way to serve consumers!

What is going to be improved with the new ObitTree.com?

Well for starters, there will be a more seamless connection between funeral homes, newspapers and consumers so expect more details on all of this. In the meantime, here are four ways that the ObitTree.com switch will positively impact users:

1. Fresher Looking Obituary Site

Function is an extremely important part of a website’s user experience. That being noted, a well-designed web page can leave a lasting impression with a user. ObitTree.com is both functional and beautifully laid out. The modern look shortens the trip between the home page and the information consumers are searching for. The site represents a new, clean, attractive and easy-to-navigate resource for the death care industry in North America.

2. Mobile Responsiveness

Another important upgrade to the obituary site is mobile responsiveness. Now, users can access the entire obituary database wherever, whenever and on any device at their convenience. In this day and age it is important to remove any barriers between consumers and the information or services that they are looking for. ObitTree.com is very much our answer to this issue. The truth is, people love using their mobile devices to access the information they want and we needed to offer an obituary site which reflected that shift.

3. New Search Engine Optimization Tools

With an astronomical amount of inquiries being made on search engines like Google each day, it has never been more important to make every obituary easier to find. Perhaps the best feature of ObitTree.com is the new and improved search engine optimization tools that help to ensure obituaries are easily accessible to anyone who is looking for them. The point of online obituaries is to continue the tradition of publicly announcing a person’s death so that people from all over can be made aware of their passing. The new features of ObitTree.com will improve the availability of this information. Plain and simple.

4. Better Performance For Users

The switch to ObitTree.com is all about providing our clients and their consumers with an improved user experience. Far too often, database websites prove more difficult to navigate than they should be. No such issue will be had with this platform. Simplified navigation and a clean layout make it easy to find exactly what you are looking for. Let’s face it, no one wants to spend their time reading and sifting through endless amounts of info just to begin the process of searching for a friend or loved one’s obituary. We decided to make this transition to put the user first.

We’re Excited About The Change

With every platform change there is some adjustment, however, ObitTree.com is the necessary next step to completely digitizing the traditional obituary. With information now readily and instantly available at the click of a button, it was time to update the user experience of searching for obituaries.

To all funeral home’s that posted their obituaries to Obitsforlife.com, whether a FrontRunner client or not, please know that no existing data will be lost in the migration process. And with the new ObitTree.com, we have some pretty cool things up our sleeve. It’s time to truly change how funeral homes maintain control of their obituaries. Stay tuned for more updates!

10 Must-Do Tips to Make Your Funeral Home Stand Out On Social Media

Posted by Brandon Meawasige

Social Media Marketing

Social media has changed the way we communicate, the way we do business and it has completely reshaped interpersonal relationships. We are now able to access more than just information; we are able to understand the human experience of others through profiles, insights, engagement and constant digital conversation. For the last seven years, Social Media Day has been celebrated globally to recognize the significant innovations brought forth by social networks and to mark this year’s occasion we have some tips and tricks for establishing a great social media presence. Continue reading

6 Steps To Marketing Better Than The Other Guys

Posted by Brandon Meawasige

Marketing better and stand out from the crowdFrontRunner’s head of marketing Ashley Montroy was recently featured in the National Funeral Director’s Association’s “The Director”, a leading magazine for funeral industry professionals. Her article, entitled “Raise Your Firm Above The Pack”, offers tips for dealing with the many challenges of marketing a business in the 21st century and navigating through the clutter. While modern technology has made it easier than ever to communicate, connect and broadcast information, consumers have been pushed to a point of desensitization. Each day we are bombarded by thousands of marketing messages, advertisements and pieces of multimedia content. The unapologetic volume of it all can be overwhelming and tiresome which leads to a large portion being tuned out. Continue reading

Do You Own Your Funeral Home Domain?
If Not, You Need to & Here’s Why

Posted by Brandon Meawasige

Learn about who owns your funeral home domainIn this day and digital age, you would be hard-pressed to find a successful business that does not have a functional and attractive website. For funeral homes (or any business for that matter), a website makes it easier to educate your target audience about who you are, what you do and the services you offer.

While carving out your space on the Internet comes with countless advantages, there are also a variety of risks associated with taking your business online and it’s something we see funeral homes go through each and every day. The good news is, these risks can be avoided with a little bit of knowledge. Let’s cover just one of the most common risks that companies turn a blind eye to: domain ownership.

Take a minute and ask yourself, who owns your funeral home domain? The answer may not be as simple as you think. Continue reading

How to Create Unique Touchpoints with Families Long After the Funeral Service

Posted by Ashley Montroy

We hear it time and time again – funeral directors want to find better ways to connect with families months, days and even years after the service. But how do they do that when time is limited, tasks are never-ending, and consumers are changing faster than you can keep up?

Honoring a Life PackageAt FrontRunner, we’re always keeping our eyes peeled for things that may help funeral homes with this. You didn’t think we were called FrontRunner for no reason did you? We work with thousands of funeral homes across North America so it’s our job to always be watching for new, innovative ways to keep funeral homes ahead of the rest.

For many, introducing our partnership with Honoring a Life – a memorial tree program, was seen as a fit, especially with the tie-in to the Book of Memories tribute program. Others asked us why we, as a technology and marketing company, got into the memorial tree planting business. What a great question! Continue reading

Want to Catch Up with FrontRunner on the Road?
Here’s Where We’ll Be in May

Posted by Ashley Montroy

As we welcome the beautiful spring weather, FrontRunner Professional is also kicking off a very busy month on the road with funeral director’s all over the United States and Canada. As the Marketing Director of FrontRunner Professional, I will be kicking off the busy month at the American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service (AAMI) conference in New York City this upcoming weekend (April 30th). There will be 4 CEU’s up for grabs and attendees will learn  the benefits of an integrated marketing strategy. It doesn’t stop there. The FrontRunner team will then host a two-day session at FrontRunner’s own Technology Center in Kingston from May 5-6 and more. We hope to see you  somewhere on the road!

AAMI Annual Bootcamp (April 30, 2016)
New York City, NY

April 30, 2016 _ New York City(8) Continue reading

How to Put Your Funeral Firm Out There with a Local Marketing Plan (Part 5 of 5: Funeral Home Marketing Series)

Posted by Ashley Montroy

Photo cred: http://fitsmallbusiness.com

Photo cred: http://fitsmallbusiness.com

Over the past several weeks, our Funeral Home Marketing Series has looked at ways to better understand your customers, build an effective funeral home website, delve into the world of funeral home social media, and develop a well-structured funeral home marketing plan. Essentially, this is the background stuff; all the aspects that your funeral home needs to build and promote your brand. The next step can be daunting for many, but it’s a critical element for any business. You need to put (and keep) yourself out there.

Put a Face to the Name Continue reading

How to Build a Well-Structured and Successful Funeral Home Marketing Plan (Part 4 of 5: Funeral Home Marketing Series)

Posted by Ashley Montroy

If you’re coming from Part 3 of the Funeral Home Marketing Mega-Tip Series: How to Master Your Funeral Home Social Media Marketing Plan, welcome back! At this point of the series you likely have a pretty good handle on today’s consumers, how to build a funeral home website to generate results, and how to use both of these pieces to build a well-thought out funeral home social media strategy.

Where do we go from here? We’ve covered some great topics to date, but part 4 of the series is all about building a solid funeral home marketing base. You’re now excited about the possibilities a great funeral home website and social media plan for your funeral business can bring you, but for any of those things to happen, and happen well, you must have a solid funeral home marketing plan. Here’s how:

  1. Don’t Just Act… Develop a Funeral Home Marketing Plan

This is probably one of the most common areas funeral homes fail at when it comes to marketing their business. They spend so much time running around with so much to do, they just do what they can for marketing and hope what they are doing is working – without any real tracking in place to see if what they are spending their money on is actually doing what they’d hoped.

goalHere’s a few questions to answer to see where you’re at with your funeral home marketing: Continue reading

How to Master Your Funeral Home Social Media Marketing Plan (Part 3 of 5: Funeral Home Marketing Mega-Tips Series)

Posted by Ashley Montroy

It’s time to develop a plan to master your funeral home social media plan. If you are coming from Part 2 of the Funeral Home Marketing Mega-Tip Series: How to Build One Incredible Funeral Home Website, welcome back! We hope you learned some great tips and have a slew of new ways to make your firm’s funeral home website stand out among the rest.

In part 3 of the funeral home marketing series, we’re diving into the world of funeral home social media. So far, we’ve built a great base with your funeral home website and now it’s time to use it (combined with other posting tips which you’ll learn about) to grow your firm’s fans and followers. You want more fans and followers, don’t you?

Funeral Home Social Media

Image Source: http://www.kreativeeyedesign.com/social-media-2/

Here are some funeral home social media tips to get you started:

Continue reading