Archive for the ‘Administrative and Business’ Category

Thinking outside of your box

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Boxes. We all have at least one. Normally we aren’t aware that we have a box that surrounds us every minute of the day but it is there. What is this box? It is formed from our preconceived notions of what we will and won’t do in the world. Our personal box is composed of thoughts and actions with which we are comfortable as well as the ones that give us night sweats. Our box is generally our comfort zone.

We become aware of this personal box when we are asked to step outside of it and try something new. Most of us dig in our heels and say, ‘Nope, not going to happen today”. I recently had the opportunity to step out of my box in a big way. It came on a trip to Asia for my honeymoon. (more…)

Death of a business

Monday, April 29th, 2013

A friend of mine was over recently for brunch. It was good to touch base with him to see how he was faring because he has just suffered a loss. Not a loss of a loved one or friend but the loss of his business. Death is not just about the loss of someone you have loved. Death is a transition and occurs in many places in our lives. Many times we experience these types of deaths and don’t even realize that we are walking through a grief journey over this loss.

As I sat there listening to my friend I could tell he was going through many of the same emotions as if a family member had died. He was experiencing:

  1. The loss of the future where his hopes and dreams had been invested. No longer would he be able to watch this creation, this entity grow. (more…)

Moving on After the Loss of a Spouse

Friday, March 8th, 2013

How to expand your horizons after a loss but still integrate the memory of our loved one is a common theme. Your question is an excellent one. A normal process through our grief journey is how to integrate the loss into our lives. One of the symbols of your past is yours and your spouse’s wedding rings. Changing how you display them is one way to help you transition to the future. The key is to pick something that feels “right” to you. There are many options and I suggest you be creative! I have outlined some suggestions below that might “fit” you.

  1. Change where you wear the rings. A simple solution would be to move the rings from the hand that symbolizes marriage to the other hand. Some people have also chosen to place the rings on a necklace and wear them around his/her neck.
  1. Transform your wedding rings. If you chose to transform your wedding rings this is where you can be especially creative. Many people have taken the stones out of the rings and placed them in new settings or made them into a new pair of earrings for example. Another option is to add more gems to your settings.                                                        For example one woman said: “My husband died this year, and I had a nice gold chain, took the diamond that was in his Masonic ring, and suspended it in the center of his wedding ring, all held together in the suspension with small diamonds encrusted in a slide. It is lovely, and I wear it all the time. Sometimes I find myself even bringing it to my mouth, and unconsciously kissing it. But, my left hand ring finger is empty.”
  1. Position the rings in a place of respect. If you choose not to wear the rings, you could make a place of honor for them. An idea might be to make a shadow box that you hang on the wall that will hold the rings. The shadow box then can be placed in the house somewhere that will bring comfort to you as you view your creation. This is also a nice way to pass a keepsake onto children.
  1. Some people choose to wear their wedding ring for the rest of their lives on their left hand, especially those that are older, and have made up their mind that they will not ever want to marry again. Feel comfortable to do that, if this is your choice.  There are no rules about what you “must” do.
  1. We have been told by those that want to take off their wedding rings as a symbol of “moving on” that they have chosen to give them to their children now, rather than wait for their own passing. If you have no children, perhaps a niece or nephew might be the perfect recipient.
  1. If you want, you can put your wedding rings in your jewelry box, and keep them there until you decide what you do want to do with them. There is no need to rush to a decision.
  1. Give yourself permission to take your rings off, if that is what you feel like doing. Sometimes, it is a simple as listening to your intuition to know what is the thing to do that “feels” like the perfect solution for moving to a new emotional plateau.

If you have come to a place in your grief journey where you are truly ready to move forward, keep in mind to choose something that is right for you and that also symbolizes you are moving on from your loss. Symbols, such as wedding rings, are powerful. Potential mates will respect that you are honoring the past while being ready to accept new people and new love into your life.

But above all else, be creative, and do what pleases you!

An Inexpensive Offering

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Question: What would be the one thing I could do to help a family while they are grieving that isn’t expensive?

Answer:

An inexpensive, yet valuable offering is the ability to truly listen. You might say, “I know that!”  Listening can actually be harder to do than it sounds. We are living in a society today where we are conditioned to the 10-second sound bite. We focus for a moment, then turn our attention elsewhere.

People who come to Beyond Indigo often tell me that no one will listen to them. They do not feel heard. Quickly they learn to say “I’m fine” because “I’m fine” doesn’t make the listener uncomfortable. Grieving people want to tell their story. They need to be heard.

How does one become an effective listener? (more…)

NFDA 2011 Chicago

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Another year has passed as the annual NFDA convention occurs this week in Chicago. Our great staff, Jeanne and Scott, will be there to meet our current clients and also to meet new ones!
Stop by and learn some of the latest technoogical items and how to earn more money for your funeral home.
Beyond Funerals offers a complete solution for online marketing for your funeral home without all the hype and hyperbole.

Funeral Customs

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

I was reading an article online recently about funeral customs. These weren’t the normal customs that we all know today, but some of the oldest known and some not so well known customs.
Neanderthol man was found to have some customs including being buried with antlers and flowers.
Some tribes in Tibet and Africa leave the body to rot in the woods for other animals to devour. Other tribes have been known to ground up the bones of the dead and include those in future meals.
Now, this may all seem very unusual to us. However, the point is that all of us have unique customs and rituals that help us grieve.
When you use your funeral website or funeral marketing program to potential families, this might be an opportunity for you to capitalize.

Marketing to non-native English Speakers

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Some progressive funeral directors have embraced the idea of marketing to non-native English speakers. Many of these groups haven’t been given priority in the past, but the funeral directors that have gone this route have done well.

How do you reach this potential market? First, you need to study the population trends in your area. What is your most populated ethnicity? What is the second most populated ethnicity?
As you begin to realize, you may have an entirely overlooked market segment! What’s the best way to reach this market? You can try several methods including speaking to local groups, sponsoring at local events and letting them know that they are welcome at your business. Lastly, you will want to add a page or two to your website in the language of the ethnic group that you want to market. For example, you could have a page in Spanish with information about your services and any special accomodations. Keep in mind that many ethnic groups are very loyal. This means that once you provide an outstanding service to one member, you have the remaining members knocking down your door!
Beyond Indigo can build the web pages in just about any language as long as you provide the content. No other website provider offers this type of service. Contact Scott@beyondindigo.com for more information.

Help with Yelp: How Online Reviews (And Filters) Can Affect Your Business

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

 

Help with Yelp: How Online Reviews (and Filters) Can Affect Funeral Home Business August 7, 2011 by Trice Atkinson
When it comes to online reputation management for your funeral home business, Yelp is one of the major players the realm of online reviews that you should be monitoring closely. Founded in 2004 as a website devoted to helping online users connect with local businesses, Yelp has grown into one of the most popular review sites on the web. According to information provided on the Yelp site, on average more than 50 million people visit Yelp every month in search of services, and to read and post reviews. While there are a number of other websites that also offer consumers this option, what separates Yelp from the rest of pack is that it employs a fairly stringent review filter. The result is that some reviews that may seem benign and credible will not be displayed and will get filtered out. If a new-to-Yelp business is striving to establish credibility, they may of course get frustrated with reviews that they know are submitted by legitimate customers, but are still being filtered. Fortunately, in these cases consumers can still read filtered reviews by clicking on the gray link indicating the number of filtered reviews (“X Filtered”) at the bottom left of any Yelp business listing. In the event you cannot not see this link, then the business listing does not have any filtered reviews.

How Credible Reviews Make It Through the Yelp FilterLet’s take a closer look at how the filtering process works. As quoted from their site:
“Yelp’s review filter is designed to help protect against fake reviews, including those that might be written by a competitor or a disgruntled former employee. Since it’s not always easy to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys, the system sometimes affects perfectly legitimate reviews, especially those that are written by less established users. Some businesses might fear that they are being singled out among the millions of businesses on Yelp. Rest assured, the review filter is automated to reduce human bias. It affects both positive and negative reviews, and doesn’t have anything to do with whether a business is an advertiser or not.”

Note the word “established” in the above explanation: For those reviewers who have only posted one review on Yelp, and have not been active otherwise on the site (such as those who do not have a profile, photo, or have not “friended” others), they are much more likely to have their reviews filtered. This “filtered” status will usually change once the reviewer becomes more involved and “established” on the site — meaning more credible in the eyes of Yelp. When it comes to making it through the Yelp filter as a reviewer, it’s really just about making efforts to be active on the website, and regularly posting helpful reviews.

If you find your business is receiving negative reviews on Yelp it is important to remember that reviews can change from negative to positive over time. One of the ways to help this happen is to reach out to those reviewers who were unhappy with the services you provided. An unsatisfied customer might reconsider changing their low rating to a higher one if they feel acknowledged and that the issues they mentioned in their review have been addressed. Yelp reviews are not static, and can morph in status over time. To help overcome the Yelp Review Filter, strategies can include: voting the review useful or funny, sending the reviewer a compliment, letting them know their review is being filtered and encouraging them to fill out their profile, or asking to be added as a friend on Yelp. Making efforts such as these to engage the review and the reviewer will help in getting those filtered reviews to show up on your Yelp business page.

Why Yelp is Important to Your Funeral Business, and Your Families A large percentage of consumers check online reviews when seeking a specific product or service, and often rely on web-based feedback early in their decision-making. However, a much smaller percentage actually post online feedback, and as such, a more vocal minority may have a greater impact on the decisions that your potential customers make. Becoming involved and proactive at online review sites such as Yelp is a crucial part of online reputation management for your funeral business and will pay off in the long run if you are willing to stay on top of it!

Takeaway IdeasCreate or claim the business listing for your funeral business on Yelp (and other online directories/review sites), fill out all applicable fields, and engage with consumer feedback regularly.
Encourage satisfied families to write and post reviews by offering great customer service.
Reach out to your reviewers (that includes both positive and negative).
Check out Yelp (and other online directories/review sites) to see what consumers are saying about your business!

Knowing what to do is the first part of battle. Creating a funeral home marketing plan and engaging your families will provide further positive results.  Take some time now and look online for your funeral home business and see what families are saying about you.

Looks Do Matter

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Creating a visible website can be one of the most important components of your marketing strategy, giving your funeral home an opportunity to utilize the web to branch out to potential families. However, some funeral homes find that their websites still are failing to bring in a noticeable amount of new clients, even when their web traffic is good. What causes this lack of conversion? A recent survey found that your design might be the culprit.

According to the survey conducted earlier this year by OnePoll, 70% of respondents stated that they simply do not trust a poorly designed website. Such data highlights the importance of establishing a presence for your funeral home on the web, but making sure that your website is serving all of the functions that it should.

So what separates the good websites from the bad? Well, its all about looks, functionality, and navigation.

The Look: You might not be able to judge a book by its cover, but you can certainly judge a website by a similar standard. It is important that you ensure your website has a look that the aesthetic expectations of potential clients, and comes off as professional, clean cut, and tasteful.

The Functionality: On of the biggest parts of making your website successful is making sure that all of the “behind-the-scenes” work is functioning correctly. This means your website should not crash, show error messages, or limit the browsing abilities of your client with broken code.

The Navigation: The final part of what makes a good website is making sure you have fully organized all of the content, and helping to direct your potential clients to the places that they would like to go. If your clients do not know where to look, you cannot expect them to stay on your website.

In a perfect business world, it would be great to expect that high-quality service would be enough to keep potential customers interested. In reality, however, it all comes down to how well you are able to sell your funeral home, and making a substantial impact on the client every opportunity you get.

Finally, remember that you are building relationships with people and their families. You are not selling real estate. What this means is that a photo of your funeral home on your front page is bad form. Families don’t care about how your funeral home looks or whether the grass is mowed. They want to know how you can help them.

Our funeral home websites and funeral home marketing programs help our clients reach more families effectively and efficiently.

Memorialization changes?

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

I was reading an article in the latest issue of Funeral Business Advisor and the author was discussing the new changes in the future for memorialization, specifically DVD memorials. She indicated that the younger generations will not want to have a disc to keep track of their loved one. They will want something that is mobile and can be accessed from a phone, Ipad and away from home. This method of memorialization would change years of creating keepsakes for families, but would it increase time to create and still generate sufficient revenue? You certainly wouldn’t have to keep an inventory of blank DVD’s on hand, but you may have to be more tech savvy. There are some companies already offering this solution where the product is created by the FD or family member and can be changed, updated and even sent to other friends and family members. As families become younger and demand increases, this may be an inevitable change.