Technology


Our friends at Connecting Directors have invested in some important changes that will make the site easier to read and more feature-filled for visitors.  Here’s a word from site founder, Ryan Thogmartin:

Pushing forward as the leader in funeral industry news and articles ConnectingDirectors.com has rebuilt their website to incorporate the most advanced forms of online publication and social networking features. Members will be impressed with the ease of navigation and high end graphics that make a visit to the site a truly enjoyable experience.
Just on the homepage itself, members will have access to over 24 different articles! ConnectingDirectors.com is providing the most up-to-date and relevant funeral industry news and information found anywhere on the web.

Updated multiple times a day, ConnectingDirectors.com has added more features to encourage members to interact with the site and each other. Since the site is update so frequently members will receive a “Daily Updates” email with a link to new articles that were published that day. With the addition of an online “Polling” system, CD.com is able to receive feed back from members regarding funeral industry topics.

With their new site ConnectingDirectors.com is bringing the first only source of social networking to the funeral industry. These social networking features include private messaging, extended profiles, the ability for members to create sub groups within the site, and also allowing members to “friend” each other just like the worlds largest social networking site Facebook. Also added to the mix of new features is a new and improved Discussion Board (Forum).

Because of the addition of these powerful social networking features current members of ConnectingDirectors.com will have to re-register on the site.

Thank you for reading and we look forward to seeing you at the new site!!

Ryan Thogmartin – Founder and CEO

Advertisements

I needed to spend a little cash before tax time rolls around so I decided to upgrade my computer. To make conventions easier, I bought a touchscreen by HP. It’s got a huge 22″ screen and a sleek flat design.

Here’s the one I bought:

Actually, I’m writing this post on the screen instead of typing it.

I can still type faster than I can write, but it’ s interesting to write this stuff out and see the software deduce what I mean the say. It’ s pretty accurate.

But how will it help me at conventions?  I plan to create a touchscreen version of our catalog that we can let our visitors use to discover all the great products we offer.  The touchscreen will help us when we are busy helping other customers and will give us a space to market other items to convention attendees.

I met Spencer and Ryan in person at the Kentucky Funeral Directors Association convention in June, but Spencer has been a long-time reader of the blog.

Now they’re not just our friends, but our newest sponsor.

Hilltop.net offers some pretty impressive funeral home website software.  In fact, if you can format a simple letter in Microsoft Word, you can use Hilltop’s software to create a beautiful website for your funeral home.

Spencer, Ryan and their staff will help you with the initial planning of your site, including decisions to do with colors, photos of your funeral home and ad copy for the pages you select.  They’ll also help you choose a template from their large collection, which they’ll then customize with your colors and photos.

After that, it’s easy for you or a member of your staff to customize the site and add obituaries.

That’s right:  you can add obituaries at anytime you like!  You don’t have to email the text and photo to someone else to enter for you and the photo can be uploaded at it’s current size.  No cropping or re-sizing required.

I tested their product at the Kentucky convention and was able to add an obituary and photo (start to finish) in less than 2 minutes.

The only thing that could make this a better deal is a low price, and boy, does Hilltop.net deliver.

Sign up for a year and you pay just $29.95 a month!

Want to know more?  Click on the sponsor link at the bottom of this post and others during the next few weeks.

In this day and age, I can’timagine a business not having at minimum a website, let alone an interactive site that engages clients or potential customers.

At Clock Life Story Funeral Home, we believe in technology so strongly that outside of our several bricks and mortar operations, we have created a separate business where the entire value proposition is 100% online.

Families & friends now come to our primary website www.lifestorynet.com to share a thought or a memory.  They also are invited to visit www.eCrematory.com or the www.Todaycenter.com, which are both websites where consumers can (and do!) drive down the cost of their funeral through actively completing some of the functions they are legally able to complete (a self directed funeral, if you will).

Our website engages thousands of consumers daily and millions throughout the year.

In my opinion, funeral service as a whole has barely scratched the surface embracing technology.  We’re doing a dis-service to families.

In closing, I’ll quote Todd Van Beck and with his infamous Mr. Heefy stories, “nothing has changed the face funeral service since the replacement of the gravity based embalming machine!”, when he was referencing the introduction of www.LifeFiles.com, just one of the pioneering funeral technology companies.  We can not ignore technology!

Lately, we’ve been discussing how funeral professionals can use the Internet to reach customers in their service area.

I’ve suggested a well-made website and, for the adventurous, a blog.

Today, I’m suggesting you comment on some blogs as a way to reach your customers.

Why?

First, committed blog readers are fiercely loyal.  A well-made and relevant comment about a specific topic will get you some respect from the blog writer and many of the blog’s readers.

Second, search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.) like blogs, because they’re constantly updated, unlike websites that can remain unchanged for years.  The first page of most Google searches now return both website and blog results for the topic queried.

So if you comment on a blog, and remember to mention that you “run a funeral home in Billings, Montana” you will see your comment returned in the results for a search of “funeral homes in billings montana” after a few days or weeks.

Want to get started?  I found a post on the site, Young Widows and Widowers, that could use a funeral director’s touch.  The writer, Lisa Iannucci, shares a letter received from a recent widow, who wants to find ways to memorialize her cremated husband without scattering his remains.

Here’s the link:  What to Do With the Ashes?


Flickr user, Sighthound posted “Delete Marilyn?”

FROM FOXNEWS.com:

IRVINGTON, N.Y. —  An 80-year-old man who thought he’d lost the only recording of his dead wife’s voice can hear her again, any time he wants. When Verizon upgraded Charles Whiting’s telephone service, his wife’s voice, saying, “Catherine Whiting,” disappeared from his voicemail system.

She had died in 2005 and Whiting said he listened to her voice every day for comfort. He blamed Verizon for the loss, saying, “Now they took her voice away.”

But Verizon had archived all the old greetings and messages. Company spokesman John Bonomo said Tuesday that a contractor found the recording and restored it to the new voicemail system.

“I’m glad they rescued it,” Whiting said. “I’m very happy.”

Russell, from MobHappy.com, read this story and posted Dead Happy, in which he decides it’s kinda creepy to listen to the voice of a dead person.  In fact, he even refers to his previous post, Dead Man’s Cellphone, about a new play that deals with a similar issue.

Since Russell runs a site about mobile technology, I can see how he would not have expected the strong reaction he got from his readers.  Here’s a few examples of the comments left about this story:

I can actually comment from a personal experience. About 2 years ago my father passed away (at 63 years old) suddenly. My sister had been living abroad for 6 month prior and luckily had returned only a week before we lost him. As such she didn’t have a US cell phone, so she started using his. For about 2 weeks after the funeral, every time I called her, she picked up. But then, I called and got the voicemail – which was his voice. It literally floored me. It was my Dad’s voice, the one I never expected to hear again.  ANDREW SEIGEL

My mother died suddenly just before Christmas in 2004. I have her last voice mail message to me still on my cell and every 30 days the system will offer to delete it for me. I never do even though it’s not particularly sentimental (and she never says “I love you” which sometimes I wish she had). Still, it comes up as a surprise sometimes when I seem to need it most. I suspect many more people have done this than we hear of in the news.  TORI

My father died of cancer in 1998 and I never really got to know him, although we tried to become friends during his final months. My (then) stepmother stopped answering the phone after his death and I would call the house just to listen to his voice on the answering machine. I completely understand how the guy feels, even with the difference in relation to our dearly departed.  AARON

I received an invitation from my friend, Robin Heppell, to register for an online demonstration today at 12:00 noon, Eastern Time.  That’s just 2 hours from now.

If you’d like to learn how to “Get Preneed Leads” from Robin, click here to register.  It’s free and you just might learn a few things.

Robin has also created the site, Preneed Referrals, to help funeral directors with their preneed lead generation.

Even if you don’t register for today’s demonstration, make sure you check out Rob’s great ideas at Preneed Referrals.

Next Page »