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How the Funeral websites are driving business away from Funeral Directors

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Published on Jan 24, 2012

Paul Tomes, co-founder of http://Tributes.To, describes how he discovered the internet, funeral websites and online obituaries were driving client families away from his Father's Funeral Business. And found the same situation for other Funeral Directors. Paul shares what he did to fix the problem and provides an easy to follow 6 step plan that you can start today: http://youtu.be/14W_oDoXAFQ

Start of Transcript:
Hi I am Paul Tomes, founder of http://Tributes.To and I help Funeral Directors master big business thinking and technology to help improve the experience of their clients families and staff, increase their income and importantly protect their legacy.

Today I am going to talk about how I discovered that the internet was driving customers away from my Dad's funeral business. I am going to show you how misaligned his business was portrayed online versus the professional, caring, established image that he holds on the highstreet.
Now you'd probably think these would be the same.

I thought the internet would project the same trust, the same care and attention, and the same pride that my Dad's client families experienced over decades. Growing up, I always remember my Dad's shiny and spotless vehicle fleet, the welcoming funeral home and the warm and approachable staff for whom no details was to small.Whilst it's taken months to repair some of the damage done to my Dad's business, we finally turned the corner and now I want to share my experience with you. What I learnt and what I did and so you can start to take the same steps. If I am successful, you will realise, like my Dad that you can no longer afford to be passive about the internet. Even with a traditional business like Funeral Directing you cannot ignore the massive social and technological trends we've all experienced over the last 10-15 years.

My one hope is that you do something and I am going to make it easy for you. I am going to tell you what you can do today.

This realisation, this fire inside me and my comitment to help you, all started to ignite when my Dad gave me a call. My Dad's basically been a funeral director since the day he was born. My Grandad, Harry, originally founded the business soon after he returned from the war. My Dad grew up in the Funeral Home, he was born in the Funeral Home he started to work for him when he was just 12 years old and then full time from 15. Sadly my Grandad passed away when my Dad was just 22 and along with his brothers he has built on my Grandad's legacy to make it the company it is today. I am sure my Grandad would be very proud.

Anyway.. my Dad gives me a call and says
"Paul. I've just been called by an internet company to see if we are interested in developing our Harry Tomes Funeral Directors website.
He wants 2000 pounds for it. What do you think?" Now at the time I was working in a big bank; basically helping people to make products, processes and technology more efficient and customer focused. One of the things I did was help design and implement internet banking for HSBC. And over the last 20 years I have had the pleasure of working for big companies, with big technology teams all over the world so i guess my Dad felt he was very well placed to ask my opinion More recently I'd even set up a number of websites myself, including one for my consulting business. So I said 'let me take a look into it Dad'.

So I started by checking out what my Dad's business had online already. I basically went into Google, as most people do, and typed in Harry Tomes Limited. And I'll be honest. I found a complete mess. The image didn't marry up with the how caring I knew my Dad and his staff were. The collection of sites didn't project the professionalism I know my Dad's company has. The results did not show a cohesive trustworthy company.
For example I found half a dozen mini sites for Harry Tomes Ltd. Some of them my Dad had paid for, some were for free supposedly offering a value added service. Value add? Well you tell me if this is value add! The front page said "Get Funeral Directors here" in a horrible 'disco light' kind of background. Completely inappropriate and distasteful for a Funeral Director. There was some short blurb, taking from a traditional ad, about my Dad's company and a phone number I didn't even recognise. I tried the telephone number and didn't go anywhere.
As you can imagine I was pretty shocked. I immediately called them up and asked them to take that page down and they said they didn't even know it existed they said they those were just an automatic site They would try their best to remove it and then they'd call me back.
Try their best? What? I think it ended up taking 5 weeks to get it removed.

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