How to Provide Value-Added Service & Generate Revenue
The professional goal of death-care is to provide comprehensive and compassionate customer service to those in your community who call upon you in the darkest moments of their lives; the business goal of death-care is to generate revenue. These two diverse goals are not mutually exclusive. You or someone on your staff may well remember the days when it was simply enough to provide ample parking, an air-conditioned facility and up-to-date livery equipment.
Many people think that being ‘successful’ in building an Internet presence for their funeral home is a difficult task to undertake, but regardless of your knowledge of technology and the Internet, I’m here to tell you that it’s not as hard as you think. In recent years, tech-based products that improve the quality of your service have been introduced to the death-care profession and have helped improve the way you serve your families and conduct your business. For instance, consider your capacity to print personalized service items like register books and prayer cards or to create multi-media DVDs to be featured at visitations or services. Think of the many tools at your fingertips that facilitate the tasteful presentation and personalization of revenue-generating merchandise like caskets, urns, vaults and related products. Technology in the funeral home is the undeniable link between providing exemplary service and running a successful business. Having technology at work for you through your website are crucial as your online image and reputation becomes equally as important as your direct relationship with the community you serve.
With the obituary section of the newspaper being the laggard classified section in the migration to the Internet, there is opportunity for you to begin to leverage the online obituaries that you place as a way to help further your reach and brand across the Internet. The inherent limitations of the print obituary in telling the full story of a person’s life has opened the doors wide for alternative online offerings that provide a better means of preserving someone’s memory and communicating obituary news to extended family and friends, while at the same time providing funeral homes with opportunities to generate new revenue streams and to develop new ways to market their businesses online.
Consider the enormous loss of revenue that newspapers have sustained as a direct result of the continued migration of paid print materials to the Internet. This is clearly evidenced in the growing number of classified job ads, personal ads and for sale ads that are being posted online. In addition, newspapers nationwide are in fast decline as subscriptions are dropping at an every-increasing rate as more and more people are turning to the Internet for news, entertainment and other information including obituaries. Due to this phenomenon and dwindling offline readership, newspapers have resorted to charging exorbitant and ever-increasing fees for the placement of the printed obituaries and/or death notices that they do publish. Undoubtedly you have witnessed this to at least some extent in your funeral home’s service area. Perhaps your clients are choosing to forgo spending their money on a brief print insertion that is available for only one-day.
With the trends in social networking showing that older demographics are now actively participating, with the 35+ age group experiencing triple digit growth each quarter on Facebook alone, it is easy to see how tech-services (blogs, memorial websites, and online obituaries) are changing the way people grieve and experience the death of their loved ones. These digital destinations are quickly becoming the hub for family and friends – especially distant and extended family – to be involved in the support and grieving process. Many have some form of a guestbook for online condolences, support photos and video, and allow for the online purchase of sympathy items.
It is critical, as these online trends continue to develop, that funeral homes are able to meet the growing demands of families for quality online products and that they retain a meaningful role in online memorialization. To ensure that the online obituary remains the digital hub where family and friends gather around the death of the loved one, the funeral home needs to be in position to provide and control that destination in a way that can also benefit their business; something that was never possible with the traditional print obituary. Enhanced online obituaries and tributes allow funeral homes to help families to create a special destination, which preserves the rich stories of their loved ones lives in full multi-media – with unlimited copy, photos, music and video. And by virtue of the funeral home providing the family with that destination that they will undoubtedly repeatedly visit for days, weeks, months – even years – to remember and celebrate the life of their loved one, the funeral home has created an opportunity to have a long-standing relationship with that family. At the same time, the funeral home can leverage the enhanced obituary offerings that the Internet affords and the inherent virality of obituaries in general, that is magnified by the ease of pass along online, to generate new streams of revenue, drive traffic to their websites, market their brands, and promote their product and service offerings.
As a funeral home provider in a service business you should truly take the time to explore the market trends occurring in both obituary classifieds and social networking and how these things are coming together to create opportunities for you to continue to enhance your offerings while growing your business. Also, without having to invest millions of dollars into your website, take advantage of what may already be out there like Tributes.com, a media company that helps distribute the obituary, locally and nationally, while providing state-of-the art online memorialization offerings that leverage the latest Internet and social networking technologies. Tributes.com is helping funeral homes harness the power of the Internet and the online obituary for their families and their businesses.
For a FREE one-hour consultation on the opportunity around the online obituary please send an email to, John Heald, a Licensed Funeral Director and Owner, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617.913.6122 to speak to him directly.