If you’re considering investing in digital assets such as virtual tours, digitized burial records, or the Remember My Journey online memorial platform, you may be wondering what comes next. How do you encourage families to engage with these tools – and how does your cemetery benefit if they do?
Your webCemeteries account manager will meet with you to create a strategic plan to launch these platforms and gain traction among the families you serve. They’ll also provide a marketing kit packed with resources and best practices. In the meanwhile, here are a few ideas to consider.
Send a Press Release
Your account manager will provide a press release template to announce your new services to the community and generate additional media coverage. Publishing your cemetery’s burial records on your website enables you to launch a community wide history project, enabling visitors to share stories and photos of those who have lived in your community. This is exciting to those who have family at your cemetery, and for those interested in genealogy or local history. Every life has a story to tell. When your cemetery implements Remember My Journey online memorials, everyone in the community is welcomed to share those stories about anyone buried there. You can also use a press release to promote virtual tours showcasing historic figures or local celebrities to draw visitors to your cemetery.
Make Digital Assets Part of Your Everyday Vocabulary
For your digital assets to succeed, it’s important that you and your staff get comfortable talking about them during every customer interaction. Make sure that anyone who interacts with families understands the digital assets you offer, how they benefit families, and the value they add to your cemetery. You may face some resistance, but stick with it. It’s important for family services counselors to understand that by publishing burial records or digital maps you aren’t losing sales opportunities, you’re gaining sales opportunities. By interacting with more of the community online through these tools, you are exposing people to your cemetery that might not otherwise make the effort to call or stop by. As visitors are searching to locate loved ones or exploring your virtual tours you can also showcase your available property or share your flower or decorations options with them. You’re also showing them that you are customer-centric, easy to work with, and adapting to the times. When they need burial services, you’ll be at the top of their minds.
Be sure to promote Remember My Journey in your aftercare followup. This online tribute platform is a perfect service to offer when some time has passed and families are ready to start sharing memories about their loved one. Remember My Journey helps to preserve those memories and make them available to anyone who knew or is interested in that person, no matter where they live. Your webCemeteries account manager has many tools that you can easily integrate into your existing aftercare followup process, including call scripts, email templates, and videos that you can share. If your families are willing to provide contact information for others who are connected to the deceased, you can send personalized invitations to view or contribute to the online memorial.
Make Use of Digital and Traditional Marketing
webCemeteries makes it easy to spread the word about your digital assets by providing a toolkit filled with marketing materials. We’ve done the work to clearly and respectfully convey the value of these programs and how to use them so that you don’t have to. There are postcards you can hand out to families explaining how and why to use Remember My Journey, and graphics and videos for your social media pages to reach a wider audience. If your burial records are available online that is a great service to promote on social media, as it has a wide appeal beyond those who have recently lost a loved one.
Include Signage at your Cemetery
One of the best places to promote your digital assets is at your cemetery itself. This allows visitors to access important information like directions to gravesites even when your office is closed, and makes your cemetery more accessible to those who may only be able to visit on evenings or weekends. Signs at your gate and by your office with a link or QR code directing those looking for loved ones will reach those who most need this assistance. You can also use signage to promote your virtual tours and available property options to visitors.
Hold Community Events
If you’re already holding events at your cemetery, don’t miss the opportunity to tell guests about your digital assets. Ask your account manager for tools to incorporate Remember My Journey into any existing remembrance events, such as Memorial Day or other holiday services.
You can also create new events that drive guests to your cemeteries. You might host a Family History Day, where families are invited to bring photos to be scanned and uploaded to their loved one’s memorial page. Having your staff on hand to help may attract those who aren’t comfortable with the technology, while others will leave motivated to add more on their own or share the page with others who didn’t attend. You might partner with your local historical society to build pages for notable or famous residents, which can be used as examples while promoting your event.
Finally, consider hosting events centered around the virtual tour feature. While tours can be constantly available, you can also create seasonal or “limited time only” tours to drive interest. If your cemetery has a lot of trees, you might promote a Fall Foliage or Spring Blooms tour. You might create tours for particular heritage months or holidays. Announce each tour on your website and social media and send out a press release. Some cemeteries have even partnered with local schools to create digital tours that include a scavenger hunt. All these events draw visitors to your cemetery and offer a glimpse of the beauty and history it has to offer.
Why Digital Engagement Matters
Digital assets provide a level of service to families in your care and the general public that has come to be expected and sets you apart from other cemeteries. Remember My Journey allows families to tell far more about their loved one than what can fit on a physical memorial. That digital record will remain, becoming part of your community’s history.
We’ve seen that when Remember My Journey pages are promoted well, many families will participate. This gives you a chance to engage not just with the family members who arranged the burial, but with other friends and relatives as well.
Most cemeteries receive numerous requests to look up gravesite locations. For those still relying on paper records, it can take a lot of valuable staff time to investigate and answer. Once burial records are digitized, people can search for the answers themselves, relieving the burden on your staff while maintaining the opportunity to engage with interested visitors in available property, decoration options, or other services that you offer. If available, the burial record search is often the most popular page on a cemetery’s website, connecting you with many visitors who would never have taken the time to call your office.
By interacting with more of the community online through these tools, you are exposing people to your cemetery that might not otherwise make the effort to call or stop by.
Digital assets are an investment that will not only serve your current families. If promoted properly, they can help you reach new customers as well. By positioning your cemetery as the center of a community history project you will broaden your audience as you invite others to get involved. Take advantage of the tools your webCemeteries account manager provides, make sure your digital assets are part of your conversations with families, and think creatively to host events that draw in the community. You’ll be able to engage the public at a broader and deeper level by providing access to the history and beauty of your cemetery.
Meet our Chief Executive Officer
Nick Timpe is the CEO of webCemeteries where since 2006 he has built exceptional teams and processes for helping cemeteries computerize records and leverage technology. Nick is the Dean of the ICCFA University College of Technology, a member of the Catholic Cemetery Conference Committee of Information and Technology, and is a frequent industry speaker and article contributor. Nick is a Certified Crematory Operator, has a degree in Government, and is an elder at his local church.
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What are cemeterians saying about webCemeteries?
This [website] project was quite an odyssey with plenty of twists and turns. The webCemeteries website design team weathered the storm. I think it’s more than fair to say that without their efforts, we would not have gotten this over the finish line…and with such an excellent outcome.
Mark J. DePalma
Forest Lawn Buffalo