Recently I completed my first long distance Ironman event in Cambridge, Maryland. For those of you who have heard of Ironman but do not really understand what all is involved I will briefly explain – an Ironman 140.6 mile triathlon is broken into three different sports (Swim, Bike, Run) with the swim being 2.4 miles long and often the most feared because you are alone and in a large lake or ocean. The bike is 112 miles followed by a 26.2 mile run or jog or walk or crawl. Needless to say it is a long day that starts will the swim.
The prep room is central to every funeral business with every case being prepared for burial, cremation or transit within its walls. Business owners and managers are tasked with balancing prep room budgets to properly service the needs of the families they serve, while still maintaining high standards and profitability. Did I say profitability? Yes, I believe the prep room can be a source of profitability as the work that is performed there often plays a role in the decision to view or not to view. Often an unpleasant viewing experience will determine future decisions on if the family opts for viewing.
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:
Quick; what’s another word for credible? Most people will respond with just one word: “believable”. But I like to argue that to say something or someone is credible implies “worthiness of confidence and trust”. Did you know the credibility of online content has been an issue for scholars for a very long time? Consider Stanford University’s Web Credibility Project, undertaken by their Persuasive Technology Lab. They’re not the only folks interested in the subject; there are dozens of universities and non-profit agencies engaged in the study of online source credibility. And in all honesty, as a professional web content writer; lately web content credibility has also become a really big issue for me.
That’s because, during the past year, I’ve changed the way I write website content. In reality, what I’ve done is to apply the same standards I learned when writing research papers during my years as a graduate student. “Cite all sources” was the rule, and we followed it religiously.
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of speaking with Aaron Forgey, manager of Palm Downtown Mortuary and Cemetery in Las Vegas, Nevada, in preparation for writing an article for Mortuary Management which was intended to explore the dynamics and potential of cause marketing for funeral homes. At the time, he was the only person to have responded to a social media “shout out” for interview candidates; and I consider myself really fortunate he took the time to send me an email. We had a delightful conversation, the article got written, and a related blog post published. It was a very good week indeed.
Just days later, another act of good fortune occurred: Syd Waldman, of Waldman Funeral Care, LLC, in Houston, Texas, left an inviting comment on A Casual Conversation about Cause Marketing and Funeral Homes; and you can bet I was quick to contact him. (Like I said in that original post–I’ve got the best job in the world. After all, “every single day has presented me with remarkable opportunities to get better acquainted with funeral directors from around North America…I get to listen, ask questions, and share my best thinking with some really amazing men and women.” Yes, indeed; I am one lucky woman.)
More times than I can count, I find myself thinking “I have the best job in the world.” Hey, I’ve always enjoyed the work of being a content and copywriter for funeral service professionals. Who wouldn’t? For the past 11 years, every single day has presented me with remarkable opportunities to get better acquainted with funeral directors from around North America. Today, in the work I do for Frontrunner Professional; I get to listen, ask questions, and share my best thinking with some really amazing men and women. Without doubt, I’m blessed; and must say a resounding “thank you” to all I’ve had the pleasure of working with; you make me fall in love with my career each and every day. (And–of course– a big thank you to Frontrunner for making it all possible in the first place.)
My thesis argument is a simple one. Innovations in funeral service have created a wealth of potential for business and personal success. So much so that funeral professionals simply cannot afford to be disconnected from the awareness of their positive personal and professional potential. That awareness is central to the pursuit of bigger and better things; if you don’t have it, you can slip quietly into apathy and a victim mentality. If you find the assertion credible, read on; if not, turn the page. (It’s okay; I’ll never know.)
There’s a lot happening in funeral service today. You have the really big (and big ticket) technological innovations like water resomation, the advent of online marketing tools, custom funeral home software products, ancillary sales opportunities, and web-based memorialization (interactive funeral home websites with built-in e-commerce features), and the continued growth of the pet loss services profession. Let’s not forget the elephant in the room: cremation. The rise in cremation arrangements was long seen as tolling the death knell for our profession yet, when you see it through the eyes of someone confident in their potential for success, cremation becomes a not-to-be-missed opportunity.
If I allow myself enough time to ponder the concept of innovation, I’m almost overwhelmed by its significance in both human history and our day-to-day life here in the 21st century. I ask you; where would we be right now without innovators? Then, there’s my fascination with a word’s meaning and origins; exactly what is innovation, and when did the word become part of everyday language? More on those questions later; right now I want to share some really big news.
I’ve always loved the HBO series, Six Feet Under, so I jumped at the chance to see it again when Amazon Prime recently made all five seasons available to subscribers. The long Fourth of July weekend gave me ample time to dive in with both feet.
Without doubt, the second time around watching Alan Ball’s landmark series has not only been fun, it’s been insightful. It has led me to more deeply understand and appreciate the real value of funeral service software for those of us who work day-to-day on the front lines of funeral service. Sometimes, true learning happens when we least expect it.
Your funeral home website sits at the hub of your online marketing efforts; you simply can’t afford not to truly understand the importance of SEO copywriting. It’s what makes your families land on your website instead of your competitor’s.
It was way back in 2008 when Mortuary Management published an article I wrote titled, “Are You the Best Writer for Your Business?” Now, six years later, I’m returning to that same question but the years in between have not changed my perspective one whit. I still believe that most business owners shouldn’t write their own website content or sales copy. Most of the time, they can’t see the features and benefits of their business offerings as clearly as a seasoned copywriter can (one who asks all the right questions) and nine times out of ten, they don’t enjoy the writing process enough to excel at copy or content writing.