Archive for April, 2008

Certified “Green” Funerals

Green Funeral = no embalming & biodegradable casketThe Green Burial Council has just come out with a green certification program for funeral homes. A certified green funeral is a funeral that in which the body is not embalmed and a biodegradable casket or burial shroud is used. The Green Burial Council just launced their certification program and already 50 funeral homes have been certified. If your considering a green funeral, look for one of these certified providers.

 

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Protraits “Life Before Death”

I’m not death obcessed, but these portraits taken of people very close to death and then following their death are very interesting.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/gallery/2008/mar/31/lifebeforedeath?picture=333325401

Currently on display at London’s “Wellcome Collection”.

24 sets of photographs taken before and after death

Nothing teaches us more about life than death itself. Journalist Beate Lakotta and photographer Walter Schels asked 24 terminally ill people if they could accompany them during their last weeks and days. From these vigils came a series of insightful descriptions and photographic portraits taken before and after death.

Far from being gloomy, these intimate concerns of the dying reveal the preciousness and transience of life, and make us question what we often take for granted. – Wellcome Collection’s introduction to the gallery

-AC

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“Pre-bits” Joining Obits

Humor columnist Art Buchwald died in early 2007.  Prior to his death he created a video obituary with the New York Times that would be available to the public following his death.  It was wildly popular – hearing from the humorist in his own words after his death.

The concept struck the obituary writer at the Miami Herald as a great idea.  He is now asking for pre-bit candidates to contact him for possible stardom following death.  One needn’t be famous – just have lived an interesting life.

This is an interesting twist on personalization of one’s death.  Certainly the pre-bit could play at the funeral or memorial service. 

Anyone out there interested in creating their own pre-bit?

 

DJ

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Funeral Home Reviews Finally Hit the Internet

TheFuneralSite.com last night released our newest feature:  funeral home reviews.  Just as hotels, restaurants, and a myriad of other products and services have had consumers rate their experience, we have added reviews to our US Funeral Home directory.

We expect the vast majority of reviews will be very positive and supportive of the great services most funeral homes provide day in and day out to their clients.  Those funeral homes that fail to provide great service may find that frustrated customers will relate their tales.

If you have recently used a funeral home leave an honest review of their service. 

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Funeral Invitations are Coming

I just ran into a new blog called www.funeralsonline.info.  

The writer discusses the proper form for funeral invitations. I love it. www.TheFuneralSite.com is all about funeral planning  and as people use our site to make their funerals and end of life celebrations more and more personal and unique, why not send out invitations and be selective about who’s attending the event? We invite people to every other social event why not a funeral? Especially when funerals are becoming more and more personal. Can you imagine a wedding in which the bride and groom posted an annoucement in the newpaper and implied that anyone who wanted to could come to the wedding? – AC

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How Green is Your Green?

The green funeral/burial movement is gaining more and more attention these days.  Check out www.greenburialcouncil.org  or http://thefuneralsite.com/intro_GoGreen.html if you are interested in more information.

One of the interesting side discussions going on in this movement is how green does something need to be to truly be “green.”   I have recently heard these phrases used to described the respective ends of the green spectrum: light green or pale green, bright green or brilliant green.

There was a very interesting comment by Cynthia Beal, a seller of green funeral products, on Mark Harris’s blog Grave Matters regarding some issues of “greenness” that she faces.  Well worth reading.

So how green is your green?

DJ

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Funeral Homes and the Internet?

Our business – www.thefuneralsite.com– is based solely on the Internet.  We don’t sell any physical products or provide in-person services – we simply provide content and resources about funeral and end-of-life celebrations.  So it was with this bias that I read Tim Totten’s blog post Do Funeral Homes REALLY Need the Interent?   Tim’s blog Final Embrace  is a great blog covering the funeral industry’s perspective.

 Tim answers his question “maybe/maybe not.”  For the maybe notters Tim’s concern is that many funeral homes cannot create something as simple as an effective brochure so how will they create a successful website that doesn’t scare away potential customers.  Tim finishes by stating that if funeral homes want to succeed in the future they need to have a web site but that for now many funeral homes will be spectacular failures if they go online.

I think Tim is setting the bar too low for what funeral homes need to do online.  All funeral homes should be online today with a web site.  If they should also be blogging is another recent post at Final Embrace and I will leave that issue for another time :).

Putting up a decent web site is not all that difficult or expensive these days.  If no one at the funeral home is technically inclined there are numerous companies who will put up “small” sites for a couple hundred dollars.  True, the site won’t have all the latest widgets and features – but that is just fine.  It will still have a basic presence for anyone “googling” them or “funeral homes” in their city.  The absence of a web site is a huge turnoff for many Internet users who simply won’t use a business if they don’t have a site.

 You see, its amazing how many people today use the Internet to research a potential purchase.  Flights, hotels, restaurants, electronics and many more all have sites that provide resources and advice on what to buy.  I bet virtually anyone who reads this post does this kind of research.  While not every 80 year old is online you might be surprised at how many are.  And for those that aren’t online their funerals might very well be planned by a younger generation that is.

The numbers are simply amazing.  Look at these cities and the number of  Google searches that are done in a month for “funeral homes” in that city:

New York City            49,126

Chicago                        17,640

Los Angeles                   7,631

These are generic searches for “funeral homes in New York City” not for specific funeral homes or generic terms like “funerals.”  These searchers are doing some form of research on multiple funeral homes in a specific city.  How can a funeral home not have an online presence so that they show up in at least a percentage of the search results? 

OK, I hear you saying “These are big cities.  My funeral home is in a small town and there are only a few funeral homes here.  Surely I don’t need an online presence?”  Well check out these monthly “funeral homes” Google search numbers:

Le Mars, Iowa (population 9,237)        117

Dothan, Alabama (57,737)                   200

Maumee, Ohio (14,149)                         55

If you own a funeral home in any of these cities do you want your competitors showing up in these searches but not you because you don’t have a web site?  I sure wouldn’t.

There are lots of angles to consider when putting together a marketing strategy and the Internet is not a panacea.  My point is that funeral homes today must have an online presence with a decent web site.  It doesn’t have to be flashy or expensive, but the lack of a web site means potential customers may never include you in their mix of possible vendors to do business with.

DJ

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