If you’re still using Windows XP on your computer, you’re not alone. Despite the fact that Microsoft stopped supporting the operating system earlier this month, it’s estimated that it’s still running on 300-million or approximately 20 percent of all PCs worldwide. While change is difficult for many, there is little doubt that upgrading will be the easiest way to protect your system from security threats.
Most everyone by now has heard of Heartbleed and we all recognize that’s it’s not a good thing. But for many of us, we don’t have a clue about what it is and what we should be doing about it. Even when Heartbleed became the top news story, there were conflicting reports on what the average person should do to protect their personal information that is stored online.
It doesn’t help that when you ask a more technically-inclined person to explain this worldwide phenomenon, they tend to roll their eyes at you when you stare blankly at their answer. And, if you look at all the tech websites and blogs out there, their cartoon depictions that were created to explain everything to us ‘dummies’, make me feel even dumber!
So, I’ve gone to the programmers at FrontRunner and asked them to explain this so everyone understands. Thankfully, they are patient and keep the eye-rolling to a minimum or they at least wait until I’ve left the room.
You have undoubtedly been hit up at one time or another by the hype of promised profits through the use of sympathy stores and other online selling tools. Before you put your firm’s reputation on the line, there are a few things that you need to know.
Once upon a time, just for fun, all of us would search our own names in Google just to see how we ranked. The act of ego-surfing was done on the sly so we didn’t come across as caring whether we could find anything about ourselves in the first few pages of the rankings.
Today, not taking the time to Google ourselves and our companies is simply irresponsible. Controlling what searchers find and claiming your business name on the major search engines is part of an effective online reputation management (ORM) plan and makes perfect business sense.
So where should you begin? The first step is actually knowing how your firm looks online when families are searching for you. This is the initial stage of your ORM Plan. Yes, this takes more than a few minutes and can be quite extensive but the following steps can help get you started to assess your current online reputation and determine what needs to be done to improve your funeral home’s online presence.
A recent study suggested that the typical funeral home in North America receives an average of 19 unsolicited sales contacts per day. Being in the technology space, I am saddened to say that in today’s market, most of these contacts involve someone trying to sell some form of technology.
We live in a new world of digital phone service with unlimited calling, email blasts, digital fax machines, and social media. Many technology companies use these techniques because they require little to no investment in advertising and no personal contact. Most don’t know anything about the funeral profession because their sales ‘experience’ has focused on everything from vacuum cleaners and photocopiers to used cars. The noise they generate can be relentless and deafening.
Ashley Montroy, FrontRunner Professional’s Marketing and Social Media Manager spoke with Lauren Moore for her article Be Smart about Social Media. The article is published in the March 2014 issue of American Funeral Director Magazine.
The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, which has been studying online adults’ social networking site use since 2005, found that last year, 73 percent of adults that are online are using social networking sites. Like it or not, your customers – and your employees – are using social media, probably on a daily basis. It’s crucial, then, that you consider implementing a social media policy for your funeral home.
As the CEO of a technology company, this latest fad serves to remind me that when it comes to technology, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. And, as more and more funeral homes seek to be the ‘leading’ funeral home in their communities, being on the front line gives them a greater chance of being shot.
Since the release of last week’s blog post Why Would Anyone Commit Obituary Piracy?, there has been an overwhelming response from FrontRunner clients who 1. had no idea that this was actually happening and 2. didn’t think they could do anything to prevent obituaries from falling in the hands of third party marketers that are out to profit off the copyrighted notices.
Obituary theft occurs when a company (third party marketer, rival funeral home, newspaper) copies an obituary off of your funeral home website and places it on their website. This practice not only takes revenue away from your funeral firm, it undermines your credibility with the families you serve in your community. Every obituary posted within the Book of Memories includes a link to a the ObitSafe.com disclaimer. It states the following:
The business models of these companies (who shall remain nameless; I’ll simply call them third-party marketers) are simple. They strive to make easy money off of unsuspecting families using an unethical practice that is more common than most people think.
I’m sad to report that most funeral homes aren’t even aware this is happening. What you don’t know can hurt you – badly. Obituary piracy can not only take revenue out of your funeral firm, it can undermine your credibility with the families you serve in your community.
If your funeral home is on Facebook, it’s crucial to make sure you aren’t making any mistakes that could hurt your firm’s social presence. You might not even be aware that what you are doing is wrong. If you’re unsure of what you should or shouldn’t be doing on social media then take a look at these 7 Deadly Mistakes Funeral Homes Make On Social Media.