From the moment a death occurs, communication between friends and loved ones begins. And that communication, even with those you love, can be painful when grief is so fresh, especially if the phone doesn’t seem to stop ringing. Whoever they are, when they first hear of the passing, generally they ask themselves, or Google, three questions:
- When is the service?
- Where is the service?
- Where should I stay? (If they are coming from out of town)
A part of your role as a funeral director is getting the news out. It is so important to post the service information as soon as possible onto your funeral home’s website. For the most part, funeral directors first think about sending the obituary to the newspaper, and leave the posting of that obituary and service information on their website as an afterthought. As you read above, some of the first questions that come to a persons mind when they hear about the death is asking when and where the service is being held. If they turn to Google and find the obituary and service information on a newspapers website, rather than your website – you are missing out on thousands of dollars in revenues, branding and so much more.
In the age of the internet, an online presence can make or break a business. Having an engaging and user-friendly funeral home website is the right place to start, but these days just having a website isn’t good enough. You need to think a step ahead in the process and ask yourself “how are people finding my website in the first place?” One of the most common answers will undoubtedly be “search engines”. If someone is searching for a business within their area (chances are this is the case with funeral homes) then the results will likely come up as a “local listings” or Google Places page, such as the one below.
At the Funeral Directors Association of Kentucky Mid-Winter Conference I recently attended, one of the speakers talked about obituaries as part of a presentation on funeral websites and social media as they relate to funeral homes. One point that was made numerous times in the presentation was the importance of obituaries as a link to your funeral home’s website, and the profit potential they represent. The presenter (Ashley Montroy, of FrontRunner Professional) pointed out that often times the obituary that you write in conjunction with the family you are serving, can end up on another company’s website.
So what’s the big deal, you ask? Well, if someone from out of town (or even someone from your town) Google’s the deceased person’s name looking for his or her obituary and ends up on a website that has taken the obituary from your funeral home, a few things can happen:
Most funeral homes don’t have a PR department, or even a dedicated person to handle their communications. Therefore, it is not always as easy for funeral directors to build relationships with the local media because a funeral home owner must wear so many different hats.
That doesn’t make connecting with writers and reporters any less important. In fact, in some cases, effective media relations can help funeral homes generate publicity and be a complement to advertising campaigns, so your relationship with your local newspapers and radio stations deserve some attention.
Here are ten excellent suggestions for funeral homes that want to build strong media relationships, but don’t have the dedicated personnel to spend a great deal of time on it. Continue reading
If there’s one thing that’s certain in the funeral profession, it’s the fact that funeral directors don’t have 9-5 workdays. When they finally have time to sit down at their desks to add records, make changes to their funeral home’s website, or find some additional marketing resources to grow their business, chances are good that they are doing so long before or after ‘normal’ business hours. And, when they have questions about the technology, they need to find the answers quickly.
Registration is now open for this year’s Cremation Strategies Conference , which takes place November 12th in St. Pete Beach, Florida. The one-day event is packed with experienced and knowledgeable speakers who will focus their talks on catering to all cremation families and earn you up to 5 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits.