How To Create A Lasting Impression For Your Funeral Business By Engaging Online

The longer I live the more convinced I become that one of the greatest honours we can confer on other people is to see them as they are, to recognise not only that they exist, but that they exist in specific ways and have specific realities.
— V. S. Naipaul

I shall never forget the day one of my managers walked into the regional sales office of the largest Insurance Company in England … without his trousers!

The lift doors on the 10th floor swished open, and a sharp dressed man walked confidently out. The soft burgundy tie, woven of the finest silk, coordinated perfectly with his pale blue shirt. The horn waistcoat buttons on his expensive 3 piece suit were as black as coal. It was a quality suit. 

The only problem was one piece of the three was missing. Where were his trousers?

He certainly got my attention!

I was fully engaged in what was going on.

However, he didn't leave me with an excellent impression!

Engagement online is more about making an impression than getting attention. 

This post continues in the short series, 7 Steps To Pass On A Successful Digital Funeral Business Tomorrow. Many funeral businesses are a second, third or even fourth generation business. Digital disruption has changed the funeral marketplace considerably. To pass on a thriving business to the next generation it now needs a "digital" mindset.

In this post, I want to show how engaging with customer and potential customers online can set your firm head and shoulders above others. To move from an EOL or funeral business with an "analogue" mindset to a "digital" mindset, you need to engage online.

In the previous posts, I explained what the difference between an "analogue" and "digital" mindset. 

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Step one - Allocate Resources.
Step two - Develop A "Home Base" Website.  
Step three - Digitise Your Customer Experience.
Step four - Create Consumer Focused Platforms.
Step five - Create Content.
Step six - Engage With Consumers

Do you want to get attention or make an impression? First impressions count, yes? And, importantly, we want for that first impression to be memorable for the right reasons!

What Does It Mean To 'Engage Online?'

I enjoy reading blogs, listening to podcasts and surveying the stream of tweets from people I follow. What I am interested to see is how much monologue and how little dialogue takes place in these “social” spaces. Lots of people are shouting in the crowd for attention “Look at our Facebook page.” “Look at our website.” “Here is a quote.” “Look at me.” What stands out, however, what makes a lasting positive impression is when people engage and communicate and not just seek attention.

To engage online means taking the time to create a lasting impression. 

Dr Edmond Locard, the “Sherlock Holmes” of France, formulated the basic principle of forensic science known as Locard’s exchange principle; “every contact leaves a trace.” Nothing could be truer of this than on the internet. We leave a trace of being a “unique visitor” or “video view” or “follower” and those traces create attention as we come up on google analytics, but not an impression. 

Why do so few people online take a moment to mention something positive by leaving a comment? We can leave a trace by leaving our IP address, or we can take a moment to make an impression that lasts, take a moment to make an impression that lasts.  

How To Engage Online 

To be different, to get noticed as a funeral business in your area, start engaging online with businesses and people locally. Search Facebook and 'like' local firms. Follow people on Twitter. Don't be the same as everyone else just shouting 'look at me,' highlight and promote others instead.

Here are three ways that you can make your funeral or end of life planning business stand out by engaging online

Engage By Commenting

Taking a few moments to type a couple of phrases after reading a post or viewing a video takes a little time from our lives. Simple, short sentences take seconds to write. They acknowledge the author, which makes their day (we all like to be noticed, don’t we) and leaves a lasting positive impression on the recipient. But significantly, it leaves traces across the web associated with our name. Commenting creates influence.

Engage Specifically 

Feedback loses its value when its general. “Good post” “Thanks” and “Interesting” as one-word answers are maybe better than nothing. Yet, one short phrase linked to something specific in the content of how it impacted, challenged, provoked or encouraged you is much better. How did the quote inspire you, what did you see in the video that prompted a question? Even the follow back on Twitter, what can you see on their bio or web link that is interesting?

Can you repost their comments? Can you share the post? Can you add more and let others know about another business in your area? It's like life online, if we do nothing but just talk about ourselves then we become a bore.

Engage Kindly

Anonymity on the web causes some people to say things in a way that they would never say if they were face to face or could be found out. Story after story comes to the surface of how people get sent home from the Olympics, lose their jobs, get sued for the wicked words and even get banned from the doctors as they spit out in anger, frustration or just plain cruelness on the web. 

Thin carefully about your comments when writing from your business. While you may hold certain political views, for instance, caution should always be the watchword when posting. Once it is online, you can't delete it. (Even if you hit delete)

It reminds me of the ancient Hebrew wisdom – “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” If we want to make a lasting positive impression, then we should choose our words wisely.

Conclusion

Is wanting to leave a mark on the world something built into the DNA of a human being? Is the desire to leave a legacy part of the makeup of each of us? Is it an inclination of yours to want to make a positive impression. I believe is is in all of us. I believe if we are totally honest, we all want to be noticed. Perhaps, then, one of the greatest gifts that you can give today, is to notice another person. In doing so, not only can we breathe life, acknowledgement and recognition into others, we in turn will leave traces of a positive impression in our footsteps.

So if you want to make an impression rather than gain attention on the internet you can do this with a few chosen words and still keep your trousers on!