iMortuary.com Finds a Way to Link Positive Media and the Funeral Industry
October 22, 2010 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology NewsOnline funeral home directory company iMortuary.com knew they were on to something good when their infographic, a quirky array of facts and trivia related to the death-care industry, went viral on popular blogging and social media websites late last month. That success reached even higher levels last week when the company was highlighted by the Seattle Times for their innovative approach to the funeral home industry.
Funeral homes have the notorious reputation of only appearing in the news when something bad or scandalous happens. Most of the time, they make a polite showing on the Obituary page, offering a place for family and friends to mourn. Other times, they may be part of a scandal attached to re-using caskets or taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers. Either way, funeral homes are the last thing people care to read about.
iMortuary.com is one of the first companies to take a different approach to the media and funeral homes, offering a place where information, resources, and yes, even a little humor, is welcome.
"Social media is about finding the things that bond us all and building a community around it," says Minda Brusse, co-owner of iMortuary.com. "What is shared by the entire world more than death?"
This point of view, which might be called macabre by critics, is fairly common on the Internet. Websites that dissect unsolved historic murders or provide the location of celebrity graves can be found with just a few clicks in a web browser, and even Facebook has seen an increase in the number of funeral directors plugging their business through the popular social media site. Death, whatever we may think of it, is very much on the web and in people's lives, and iMortuary.com intends to to use social media to share this fascination.
One thing iMortuary.com stresses, however, is that reverence is their number one priority. "We're not trying to make light of death or make anyone feel that their loved ones are less cherished," says Brusse. "What we're trying to do is make lasting human connections."
iMortuary.com isn't alone in this mindset. Baue Funeral Homes, a Missouri-based company, has also adopted an online strategy based on building relationships with the individuals and families facing the realities of death. According to Rhonda Shrum, the company's web director, the majority of the interest they've gleaned from social media comes from those issues that focus on people.
"Our fans respond well to any news bit that allows them to rally around a person, whether that is an employee or a story about a family," says Shrum. "We know that Facebook doesn't reach the same people who read our ads in the newspapers, or even the people who use our services at the moment." What Shrum and the owners of iMortuary.com know, however, is that the technologically-inclined younger crowd is going to remember them. And both companies are banking on that happening in a big way.
Adds Matt Pressnall, another co-owner of iMortuary.com, "Like the media, information is what iMortuary.com offers. There are so many people who don't know that funeral homes are required by law to accept third-party caskets, which can save families thousands of dollars. Even more people don't have a way to connect with bereavement resources or even organizations that can help cover funeral costs."
For iMortuary.com, the way to spread that information is to reach out to the population through whatever means are available: traditional media, social media, and even their infographics. Their website, which sees over 110,000 visitors each month, offers a great start, and the company intends to keep a raised profile in the public eye as a means to increase funeral education and help people locate resources.
And as their success this month has proven, there might just be a place for funeral homes in popular culture in the near future.
The article posted by the Seattle Times can be viewed here: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/reweb/2013134814_death_and_social_networking_a_match_made_in_heaven.html
iMortuary.com is one of the most visited funeral home and cemetery directories on the Internet with over 110,000 consumers each month; the company is based in Seattle, WA, and is one of the forerunners in bringing Internet opportunities and social media to the death-care industry. Founded in 2007, the company is a proud member of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA). The company provides everything from directory information to funeral planning resources for consumers. Funeral homes and cemeteries can partner with iMortuary.com for enhanced directory listings, online pre-need leads, and social media and SEO consulting services
Minda Brusse will be presenting at the ICCFA's Sales Management and Marketing conference in January 2011 on the topic of "Getting Results with Online Leads." For more information, you can visit their site at www.imortuary.com.