Why 2012 Will Be a Crucial Year for Many Funeral Homes
As 2012 began I started thinking about all the upcoming changes we have is store for ConnectingDirectors.com, changes that will continue to “lead” this profession and our readers in a direction that will keep them innovative and be instrumental in shaping their minds to step out of the box and provide the meaningful and personalized services consumers are requesting.
While laying the ground work for our strategy for 2012 I was back tracking in my mind how much, and how quickly, this profession has changed since the launch of ConnectingDirectors.com in October of 2004.
When we launched ConnectingDirectors.com there were no other Funeral Industry publications online, funeral directors with email addresses (that were active) was almost unheard of. I talked with many many readers, who were among the first to join our email list, who created email addresses just to be able to sign up and many who had an email address, that they were never using, who started to look forward to daily emails from ConnectingDirectors.com announcing new article postings.
Just like email addresses were not used very much by funeral professionals neither were funeral home websites. I talked with many funeral directors who could not “buy in” to this “internet” thing as a permanent and value asset to their business. I could have funded ConnectingDirectors.com without advertising if I had a dollar for every time I was told “people want to read obituaries in the newspaper, not online”. Amazing this was just four years ago!
The few funeral homes who did have functional websites did nothing with them. The websites focused solely on historical information about the funeral home and pictures of the directors. Now funeral homes have websites that generate pre-need leads, focus on what is possible with a funeral service; websites packed with online memorial pages, lifelong online obits, tribute videos, and even sympathy stores.
In just four short years “most” funeral professionals have become fluent with email and text messaging. I have even talked with funeral professions who comfortably “text” orders for products to sales reps and industry suppliers. Funeral home websites are better than ever and funeral directors are realizing that embracing the internet can only help their business flourish and they are beginning to profit from relationships that have been built online with client families.
Year over year our profession has started to progress and embrace change more openly. This year I expect the change to be more rapid; and this is where many funeral homes will be faced with “life or death” situations. Embrace the change or quickly fade away.
I believe that 2012 will be a year, when looked back upon, will show a defined line that separates those funeral homes who embraced change and those who didn’t.
So, as this year begins I encourage you to be open to change. Look at the demands from consumers and provide solutions. Take a new approach to your marketing, don’t just do what you have always done. Market to consumers on their turf, embrace the internet and social media marketing.
Don’t do social media just because the other firm down the street is, do it and do it better, set the bar high, create a social strategy that will position you to capture the online space and make it impossible for your competitors to infiltrate your presence, it is completely possible and this is the year to do. This is the year that will define the great progressive firms from the stubborn firms.
This is your year to shine. This is your year, make it epic and have no regrets.