In a recent post, titled Do Funeral Homes REALLY Need the Internet?, we mentioned the funeral blog of director Brian Hanner of Geib Funeral Homes in Ohio.  Brian read the story and agreed to share his thoughts with us.

He wrote:

Imagine the surprise I got while surfing through the Final Embrace blog to find… my blog referenced. (Gulp)

I thought that a little context would be helpful for those of you debating the “blog or website” topic.

I believe that every business needs a website. It is the modern phone directory for Americans of all ages who have a computer squarely plopped in their kitchen, or bedroom.

For consumers, selecting a funeral director is about relationships. I think for those in funeral service who want to be positioned online and in their community as a provider of responsive, knowledgeable and a nurturing brand of funeral service, that a blog is a perfect compliment to an existing website.

We know that much of the traffic generated on a funeral home’s website is destined for online memorials and obituaries. My hope was that the blog would capture the interest of visitors to the site.

Knowing as well that the visitor to our site has most likely come from another funeral home website, or newspaper obituary listing, that we have to make an excellent impression, or we will be toast in the mind of the consumer.

For the record, we receive about 460 unique visits to our website daily. The top destinations from our tracking software:

1: online obituaries

2: contact us (yes – it is the link in the
top left of the page for EASY/QUICK location)

3: blog

4: Why Choose Geib

5: What to do when death occurs

6: Employment with Geib (note that we are not always seeking applicants, but this does give shoppers another place to peek behind the curtain, and gain an understanding of the culture that we endeavor to maintain.

7: Geib Pet Crematory

8: Geib In Touch (Our community outreach and aftercare calendar of events)

While I can’t point to many additional calls that the blog has secured, it’s early… and like most advertising, will never be cited by consumers as the reason for choosing their funeral care provider.

The blog gets its highest traffic on Monday’s – when all of the working folks return to the office and catch up on the web surfing they didn’t care to do on their own personal time.

Content is posted on about any day that ends in a 2 or a 7 – to ensure a fresh topic with regularity.

Don’t expect readers to get involved on such a public blog. The questions I receive are often personal, and not the type of thing that writers would want to sign their name to on the internet.

Do expect to promote your site – and the blog as part of the site.

Finally, Remember thy audience. These are future/potential customers. It is not the space for blowing off steam, or compromising the integrity of funeral service. I usually resist the temptation to post on personal topics, but made an exception when my daughter was born in October… we reside in a small enough community that news of that nature is welcome – and humanizing. If you visit the blog, click on the “It’s a Girl” thread to see me in scrubs, holding a precious little gal, and beaming… Watch out Rob Heppell

Good Luck Future Bloggers!

You can access all the pages that Brian refers to in his letter by visiting the Geib Funeral Homes website.