Since being founded in 2004, Facebook has become the world’s single largest community. What started as a Harvard student vanity project in a Cambridge, Massachusetts dormitory has become a platform actively used by over 2 billion people. The social media network is an integral source for news, communication and has also become a large online marketplace for which businesses of all shapes and sizes can advertise to the public. In many ways, the influence Facebook has on consumers is the social giant’s most significant innovation. You see, Facebook advertising allows businesses to target consumers based on who they are, what they care about and their tendencies, creating a venue for which businesses can share content with an audience that is already interested. When it comes to death care, Facebook has become one of the fastest growing components of a solid funeral home marketing strategy. Firms can connect with the community and stay top of mind long before their services are needed. But everything has just changed.
Although last year was touted as our best ever, 2017 was truly special for our company and raised the bar even higher. We added more experienced professionals to our team, welcomed many new clients to our family and developed new technology to help funeral homes not only grow their businesses but better serve families as well. In short, the past 365 days were spent redefining what it means to be a FrontRunner. As the death care industry changes, it has never been more important for firms to keep up with consistently evolving consumer demands and adapt to the needs of younger generations. Enter our goals for 2018: to push the limits of what is possible even further. But before we go there, let’s first take a look back at some of what made the last 12 months simply unforgettable.
Funeral home website design changed forever in 2017. With the release of our new DIY website platform, our clients now have unprecedented control over the look, feel and function of their websites. This has helped them offer families a more convenient, informative and simple online experience. For us at FrontRunner, it has been a pleasure to work with firms around North America to get them excited about the many new possibilities available with their funeral home website and, as a result, their digital marketing strategy.
The days of families needing or wanting to walk into a funeral home for the entire funeral planning process are coming to a close. Just as the days of brick & mortar shopping begins to meet a similar end. Everything nowadays is about convenience. Who can get it to me the quickest? Who allows me to do everything online, from the comfort of home? Who offers the most flexible payment options? These are the questions that shape the decisions of modern consumers. Sure, older generations still maintain loyalty to businesses who have been reliable in the past. However, young people hold much fewer allegiances, if any – opting to instead buy from companies that offer the most convenient buying experience above any other factor. For funeral homes, the new challenge is catering to these consumer habits and continually finding ways to create convenient experiences.
A new year always brings new resolutions to improve, whether in personal or professional areas. There’s always something that we might do better and this can apply to new embalmers as well as veteran embalmers. As Rod Serling of The Twilight Zone might have said, “submitted for your approval” are ten resolutions for 2018:
It has been quite a month around the FrontRunner office. Since getting home from a crazy trade show season, we’ve been working hard to catch up with all of the new faces we met on the road. In addition, we are in the midst of developing an exciting software that is set to drop in early December. However, now that we have had a little bit of time to sit back and think about all of the progress that we saw at NFDA 2017, I want to share with you a few things we noticed at the show and what they mean for the industry moving forward. Safe to say we’ve been inspired by talking with so many funeral directors and hearing what they had to say about their technology needs.
This weekend millions of people across the country will gather with family to share a meal, watch the football game and reflect on the things for which they are thankful. Additionally, it will be an opportunity to remember the people who have come before us and acknowledge those who will be missing the festivities this year. While some such people have been gone for years now, there will undoubtedly be many seats that were not supposed to be empty this Thanksgiving. For the families sitting at these tables, things may prove to be more difficult than they are joyous. Grief is a funny thing that way, seeming to always be magnified by moments that are supposed to be otherwise special.
Unfortunately there is no universal suggestion that can be made for holiday grief of this kind. Every family is different, with a unique set of traditions and a special dynamic. So instead of trying to pretend that my advice will work for everyone, I will tell you how, in my life, I have overcome the grief of missing a loved one at the Thanksgiving table.
There was no better way to open the Steve Jobs Theatre at Apple’s new complex in Cupertino, California on September 12, than with one of the company’s signature launch events. As millions watched on, the show started with a recording of the late CEO and luminary echoing throughout a dark room. It was a posthumous reminder of what has made the tech giant into one of the world’s most recognizable brands; their commitment to improving the human experience. When Tim Cook took over the spotlight from his predecessor, he continued with a tribute to Jobs, setting the stage for a monumental day. And monumental it was.
Breaking away from the usual model, the event did not release the standard line of expected products. Instead, not one but three phones were announced, including the iPhone X – to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the smartphone’s first edition. Additionally, viewers were privy to a new Apple Watch, a 4K version of Apple TV and a revamped operating system.
What does this mean for your funeral home? Well, with the new phones hitting the market just last week, we have created a list of 6 things your firm can learn from the latest release. These will help you get the most out of the technology, understand the devices families will be using and make your funeral home more appealing to the community on and offline.
With the 2017 NFDA International Convention & Expo fast approaching, the FrontRunner team could not be more excited to be headed down to Boston. We had such a wonderful time with all of you in Philadelphia in 2016 and can’t wait to share what has been the biggest and most innovative year in our company’s history. We released several new technology solutions for funeral homes like our DIY website platform and video condolences feature. We also became the first in the death care industry to partner with GoFundMe to release A Helping Hand compassionate funding. It sure has been busy around here and it’ now time to celebrate. In addition, it would not be the NFDA convention without a look to the future, that is why we are bringing a special 2018 sneak preview (among other surprises) to the trade show floor. To see it all first-hand visit us in booth 2811, you wont be able to miss it (trust me). We also have a thing or two to share with you that will help your funeral home make the most of the convention experience and enjoy your time in Boston.
As yet another summer comes to a close we are gearing up for our favourite (and busiest) seasons here at FrontRunner Professional. Over the next couple of months, our team will be travelling around North America to attend some very exciting funeral industry trade shows and national events. We will be kicking things off at the 2017 New York State Funeral Directors Association Annual Convention in beautiful Saratoga Springs. There will be 11 CEU’s up for grabs during breakout sessions, where attendees will learn about key trends impacting today’s industry. It doesn’t stop there, either. The FrontRunner team will then spread out to various locations North and South of the border, making for an extremely busy month. If you are planning on attending one of the following events, we would love to hear from you. If not, we hope to see you somewhere along the road!