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Helping Families Say Thank You While Generating Leads

Funeral professionals are the ultimate “caring” professionals. Many funeral professionals have even agreed that they are better at “caring” then they are at “business” (disclaimer: I am not making any accusations, I have been told this by many funeral professionals). This characteristic sometimes leads to funeral professionals not doing the best job generating or capturing leads/data from the people that fill their funeral homes daily.

I get multiple emails weekly from companies wanting me to review their new products or services. Companies that want to give me the opportunity to interview them to produce a video to use on ConnectingDirectors.com. I try to research all of the products that get emailed to me and some times I find one that catches my attention or addresses a problem that is present in funeral homes today.

Leading up to the ICCFA convention in March I was contacted by A Simple Thank You. They wanted me to demo their iPad app in my booth and use it to capture information from funeral directors who passed through the booth, I could use the data collected to follow up with the funeral director and send a personalized thank you note after the convention ended. I was initially intrigued by the idea. I looked up their website to review the product. I wasn’t overly excited with their website and I thought their product was cool but nothing that seemed like something we haven’t seen before (think digital guest book in iPad form). Needless to say I got lost in the craziness of preparing for a convention and the email got buried in my inbox.

In April I was preparing for the Ohio Funeral Directors Convention I got another email from A Simple Thank You. I let it sit for a few days (not for any specific reason) and then I got another (“relentless” is what I think I muttered). I opened the email and replied back agreeing to stop by their both at the Ohio convention.

So here is the simple low down on what the app does:

A Simple Thank You is: a iPad app that digitally captures visitor information during a visitation. Basically the iPad replaces the tradition guest book but also captures the visitors mailing address (required) and email address (email is optional).

What Happens with the data collected?: The data captured in the iPad app is then submitted through the app to A Simple Thank You after the calling hours have ended. The funeral home instantly receives an excel file containing the information.

Why would this help the family?: The family receives already printed thank you cards (family selects what is printed in the Thank You card during the app setup), along with pre-addressed envelopes (to and from address is already printed on the envelopes for the family). The addresses are captured during the visitation when a vistor signs in thought the guest book. All the family has to do is sign the cards and mail.

Of course there are other benefits of the app but I think the two biggest are listed above. I could get into the nitty gritty of the app and make this a 5 page review but no one is going to read that! So I ‘m going to hit you straight with what I think and why I was glad I met with these guys in Ohio (Now wish I would have met with them a month earlier at the ICCFA).

So, straight up, no BS, here is why I like this app and think it does a great job at addressing a current void in the funeral home:

1. Using this app allows the funeral home to capture marketing information from ALL calling hour visitors. Doesn’t sound real sexy and I know funeral directors hate to talk about “sales”, but lets face it, unless you start stepping up your marketing game you are going to get crushed by your competition because someday they are going to wise up. When the funeral home submits the captured info and receives back the excel spreadsheet from A Simple Thank You, the file contains the Name, Address, and email (if provided) of all service visitors/attendees. This data can be directly uploaded to an email marketing program (hopefully your funeral home already uses one, if not we recommend: MailChimp.com). Now you are able to start sending Grief Resources and other useful information directly to individuals who have had contact with your funeral home.

Think of all the money you are currently spending on generating pre-need sales, this app is free. I hope you see how useful this app could be.

2. This app also addresses many needs of the family but the most obvious is now the family can easily send thank you cards without having to spend hours trying to decode great aunt Mary’s handwriting. The family will receive printed thank you cards and already addressed envelopes. Personally, I think this is a huge help for the family and can help ease the grieving process. Bonus: they are now able to send a thank you card to everyone who attended the visitation and service, not just hose who sent flowers or other gifts.

Disclaimer: I did discover in some areas of the country it is normal for the family to send thank you cards to all visitation attendees. I did not know this. In Ohio it isn’t that way.

So those are just two of the many benefits from an the free iPad app from A Simple Thank You. How about two cons:

1. Many people are not going to be uncomfortable typing on an iPad.

2. You already have a huge inventory of “Thank You” cards and guest books.

Both of these concerns have easy solutions and they can be explain better through a conversation with A Simple Thank You. You can contact them here: info@digitalregistry.com or 800-483-0671 or through there website - http://www.digitalregistry.com/index.htm

My experience:

I have been using a demo version of the app for the past 2 months. When I give presentations I pass my iPad around the room and let attendees register. Within a few days of attending my talk those who registered get a personal thank you card in the mail from me and a email packed full of free goodies. The app is easy to use and the uploading process takes only seconds.

The app itself is nothing revolutionary, but I think there is huge value for the family and the funeral home in collecting the data digitally.

Here is a Youtube video I recorded at the Ohio convention with the guys from A Simple Thank You explaining what there app is and how it functions:

 

Ryan Thogmartin

Ryan Thogmartin is founder and CEO of two innovative companies. Connecting Directors LLC (www.connectingdirectors.com) and Disrupt Media Group, LLC (www.disruptmg.com). ConnectingDirectors.com is the premier progressive online publication for funeral professionals. ConnectingDirectors.com is a thriving global publication with a reader base of over 15,000 of the most elite and forward-thinking professionals in the industry.

Disrupt Media Group, LLC is a social media marketing solutions firm. Disrupt MG focuses on proficiently assisting small businesses in creating engaging social media marketing strategies. Without a social media marketing strategy companies and brands are just aimlessly posting without any coherent direction. Social media marketing is more than just having a Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube page; businesses have to have a strategy to telling their story, one that opens the door and starts the conversation.

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  • Robert Mayer

    Well finally someone has the strength to say funeral directors are better care givers than business people – oh, by the way almost all of my firms have been in business for near or over 100 years! So perhaps careing and business do go together. Bob Mayer, Pittsburgh

  • Anon

    If you plan to use this device (or any other method) to capture email addresses for sending emails to them from the funeral home, you need to have an “opt-in” process where the visitor agrees to receive email from the funeral home about the type of content you intend to send.  It’s a smart idea to keep copies of these records, too, in case there is any question.  Also, any email you send must include your physical address and an easy unsubscribe option.  You will also need to keep a list of those who have “unsubscribed” and make sure that you do not email them again.

    Not only is this good business, but it’s part of being compliant with email spam laws. 

    • Jparkhurst

      We do have an opt in available on the application…..

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