NYSFDA Group. Photo Cred: Mike Nicodemus
Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a cremation presentation at the New York State Funeral Directors Association Convention. The title of the presentation was “All Cremations DO NOT Have to be DIRECT” by Mike Nicodemus; VP of Cremation Services with the National Funeral Directors Association, and let me tell you it was just as educational for me as it was entertaining. For those of you who have sat in on a presentation with Mike, it’s hard not to have a good laugh in there at some point. Or, as one of my colleagues who was with me, Jules Green said, “even for a squirrel like me, that was very, very interesting and I stayed focused. Who would have thought?”
It’s always great being on the other end of these presentations. Usually, I am the one at the front of the room teaching funeral directors, but this time I was there to learn and it was so nice to take some time to just listen to some incredible stats and listen and watch funeral directors in the room share their insights on such a growing topic.
I always say that you can use the Internet to get a message out to the masses, instead of just 100 people in a room. So, what a perfect opportunity to write a blog post on some of the things that I heard during the session and chuckled about (as some of it was quite comical). Let’s do a little recap of some of the major points that I personally thought were pretty important:
Next month marks FrontRunner’s one-year anniversary in our brand new offices. It is hard to believe that we have already been at our new location for almost one year, but where it has come is truly unbelievable.When we first started looking to expand to a larger location, it was a task that seemed next to impossible. At the time, our team was split between two offices and it lost it’s “FrontRunner team” feel. We knew that we had to bring everyone back under one roof. So, we looked and looked and looked. Finally, a beautiful 6,500 square foot commercial condo right on Kingston’s waterfront came on the market and we saw the perfect opportunity to not only have the best office space, but also to build a Technology Center for clients and funeral professionals to be able to come and learn about using technology and marketing to truly grow their business. Continue reading
Facebook marketing for Funeral Homes is definitely one area of marketing that is being adopted more and more each and every day in our profession. While many Funeral Homes struggle to see the value in social media marketing, others are quickly realizing what a great tool social media has become for their business.
I spend many, probably too many, hours each week watching funeral homes on Facebook and I will tell you one thing that I see them doing all wrong: they are posting their obituaries to Facebook and only obituaries to Facebook. Don’t get me wrong – posting obituaries to Facebook is absolutely huge for getting more exposure, more revenue and staying top of mind with consumers, but every marketing strategy needs just that: a strategy, and just posting obituaries completely misses the boat on what Facebook is used for.
Where is one place you can escape the cold, meet funeral professionals from all over, put your feet up and relax and learn more in one week than you ever thought possible? Past funeral technology and marketing cruisers would tell you that the annual FrontRunner workshop cruise is exactly that.
I’ll admit – we took a year off from our annual workshop cruise this past year. A lot of work goes into planning this event and with our company growth, we just needed a small break from the cruise. We had more phone calls than ever last year from funeral professionals asking how they could book the cruise (isn’t that the way it always happens?). So, we were very happy to tell them that 2015 was a no-go for the cruise but to be ready for 2016 because it is back on!
Whether you’re an experienced cruiser or you’ve never been on a cruise ship, here’s the top 5 reasons why the 2016 Funeral Technology & Marketing cruise is a must-attend event:
Technology is often feared in our profession because it is unfamiliar territory. As a result, it is not implemented despite the absolutely incredible things it can for your business. It can provide newfound conveniences and services for your community to drive long-term loyalty. It can streamline your business with a single point of data entry for every call, eliminating hours of tedious work. It can give you the portability to work wherever your families need you to be. And, it can give you new ways to attract more families to your firm.
Unfortunately, it can also cost your company everything if not taken seriously. There are companies out there trying to access your valuable data, obituaries, visitor traffic, and online revenues. Putting your technology and data in the hands of the wrong company or simply
avoiding technology altogether can have serious repercussions.
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
October – the one month out of the year where many of our staff members board a plane to attend the largest funeral director convention in the world. A time where weeks before are about putting the final details on the booth, getting everything ready to ship and (me personally) praying it all arrives without a hiccup.
This year, we traveled to the one-of-a-kind Nashville, Tennessee. This is by far one of my favorite cities to travel to. Although the trip down and spending 17 hours in airports due to weather was not the most enjoyable for half of the team (while the other half was stuck in NY overnight), once we were there it was smooth sailing! The 4 days spent in Nashville have us now all looking back smiling, sometimes chuckling, but always thinking how great of a trip it really was. I will speak on behalf of the entire FrontRunner team and say that there were definitely some highlights to this year’s show:
If you’re making your final travel arrangements to visit Nashville next week for the 2014 National Funeral Directors Association International Convention & Expo; I’d say you’re one very lucky person. Consider the words of one such fortunate visitor who said, “There is such a cool vibe in Nashville. It has the excitement of a big city, but also has this amazing small town feel”; who then goes on to say, “…the real magic happens at night…The lights, the energy, the music, how could you not love this town?”
That quotation came from the Nashville Music City website, which features a collection of quotes from various visiting musicians and personalities (like Willie Geist, who simply said, “Nashville, man. That’s the place to be”). I’ve got to agree with him: Nashville is, hands down, one of my all-time favorite cities.
It’s definitely the place to be, and you’re going to be there soon. But what do I think you should do there? I’ve got a list of three things with some links to check out what one of our partners, ASD recommends you do as well. Regardless of what you decide to do – we can’t wait to see you!
As the technological demands on funeral professionals continue to evolve, FrontRunner Professional is creating an opportunity to jump ahead of the curve. Clients will have the opportunity to strategically position themselves to conquer new challenges and meet their communities’ expectations.
FrontRunner has acquired a new 6,500 square foot, $1.6-million dollar facility that will house the new Technology and Training Center. The center represents Frontrunner’s ongoing commitment to set a higher standard, and provides all the tools and resources to help clients truly excel in today’s market.
FrontRunner has given me the wonderful opportunity to write on the topics of grief and bereavement in the process of developing two, year-long email series and a library of related articles.
I am resolute in my belief that I don’t want to write fluff. Instead, it is my intention to provide readers with practical information they can really use. Yet, I know the inspiring and thoughtful insights of others are important so I’ve included words written by both modern and classical authors and philosophers. Their thoughts are an ideal springboard for topical discussion.