Picture this scenario: Just as you go to register your firms Internet address—or “domain name”—you quickly realize it’s gone! It’s been taken by another firm with the same name, a disgruntled former employee, or your competitor down the street!
Those who had the foresight and were proactive enough to properly register their firms Internet address some 7-8 years ago, know what a sound investment it has been for their firms future. For others who “thought” they did everything right in purchasing their firms domain, often they quickly find out that the domain is registered owner of the website developer they hired, the large vendor they trusted or in the legal name of the website hosting firm they chose.
Many companies simply do this to apply pressure tactics on the client in an effort to force them to stay as a client. Sadly, the companies which commonly practice this unethical strategy, are often the ones that have low-quality solutions that do nothing to help firms position themselves for the future. And finding out that your domain name is being held hostage because you are no longer a loyal customer can be devastating.
In the worst case scenarios, many funeral homes have reported that their website provider not only registered the domain name in their name, but threaten to delete all the funeral homes emails attached with the domain, if they decide to leave.
It is imperative that you keep ownership of your domain name’s registration. You will soon learn that it is destined to become your most valuable asset in the future.
The Internet gives funeral homes a newly found way to better serve their families. It provides funeral firms with a convenient “information portal,” where they can educate their community about funerals, disposition options and related costs. And let’s not forget the Internet gives a funeral home the tremendous opportunity for new online profits.
The rewards of a secure Internet presence are numerous; with surveys indicating that the public now has a greater sense of trust in those firms which choose to provide quality information and products online. And with the advent of new, integrated Web systems that offer complete self-administration, as well as complete scalability, at very affordable prices; the barrier of entry for any size firm has been removed. But, here’s the unfortunate truth: even the best website solution can fail without the right domain name strategy.
Make every effort to purchase the domain that matches your firms name, brand, or “the way you answer your phone”. This is intuitively what people will expect your domain name to be. Any other name can lead to an expensive uphill battle to try and educate the public differently.
Always try to acquire the “ .com” extension because of its global universality. It really is the extended families and friends from around the world, who will be looking to offer words of sympathy and support to the family you are serving at a time they need it most, not two to three weeks later when a letter arrives. Also, having the .com extension after your domain name is often perceived with professionalism and having been forward thinking enough to probably having acquired it years ago.
Most importantly, make sure you check the registration record of your domain name to ensure that you are, or your firm is, the legally registered owner of the domain. Two great sites which you can use are Internic or WhoIs. The first step is to enter your domain name in the search box. Within just seconds, you will see the record of the legal registrant’s name, when the domain was first registered, and when it is set to renew. Click here to learn, step-by-step, how to look up who registered your domain name.
If you are not listed as the registered owner, it’s best to take action immediately. However, it is not recommend that you engage the registrant yourself. Contact your lawyer or a reputable third party firm who specializes in Internet matters and allow them to act on your behalf to attempt to get the records changed. Many reputable website development companies can provide you with a legally-binding letter that places the company on notice that you do not wish to be contacted, pressured or harassed, and assigns them to handle the transfer process for you.
Once you own your firm’s domain and have a professional, functional website ready to “go live”, make sure that your domain name is advertised on every piece of newly-printed stationary, as well as any online or print ads you run. Here’s why.
Don’t think you can “sit back and relax”, just because you’ve got a funeral firm website and a protected domain name. Instead, you must help to educate your public as to your firm’s website address is, and make sure to provide them with real information, services and conveniences when they get “there”. Once you’ve established that connection, there is an endless number of new services you can launch on the Web to help increase business potential.
With the powerful promotional benefits, not to mention the incredible service you offer your grieving families through an efficient online Tribute feature; you need to make sure your firm’s domain name is listed at the bottom of every death notice.
It is no longer a luxury to have a professional and interactive online service, but it has become an integral component of funeral “service”; expected by the general public and the families you serve. The phrase, “controlling your domain name” has never had more importance than today.
If you haven’t already purchased your firm’s domain name, it is wise to do so immediately. It’s a wise investment, at a relatively low cost; and secures the future of your firm on the Internet.
For step-by-step instructions on how you can see confirm your funeral firm’s domain name registration and ownership details, please click here. Also, feel free to contact a FrontRunner Business Solutions Specialist, at 1-866-748-3625 or online at www.FrontrunnerProfessional.com, for assistance.
Kevin Montroy, CEO & Founder of FrontRunner Professional, is a 34-year licensed funeral director and former owner operator. He has spent the past 20 years looking out for funeral professionals by helping them avoid the pitfalls of technology and understand the importance of choosing their technology partner wisely.