Preneed is obviously a great way to generate new revenue for your funeral home, but how do you begin? Where do the leads come from? Still copying pages of the registry book? Contract with a preened company? Stalk your Facebook guests? Buy expensive mailing lists? There’s a far better way, and these are people who have already been to your funeral home, who know what you have to offer, at the time arrangements are on the top of their minds. The answer is digital registry!

What is digital Registry? Digital registry offers funeral homes and their clients an opportunity to digitally capture, store, organize guest information. This not only includes names and addresses, but it can also capture phone numbers and email addresses. This information is critical for improving your preneed program. These are individuals who have been to your funeral home and are most likely thinking about making their own arrangements. The guest information can be used in conjunction with your preneed insurance companies. In addition to gathering the information, there is a secondary benefit to the family.

This newer, innovative technology allows you or the company you work with, to address the envelopes, print custom acknowledgement cards and print a custom guestbook. This is a difficult and daunting task, which now allows you to help the families, while helping to boost preneed at the same time. This can also allow you to offer more guest book options for your funeral home and reduce your inventory at the same time.

How does it work? There are a few companies, with slightly different systems that basically all do the same thing. The digital registry would take the place of a traditional guest book at your funeral home. This can be an app on an iPad, or program on a computer or tablet. Instead of trying to decipher illegible handwriting or getting incomplete information, guests easily type in their information on a simple keyboard. Simple and easy! Some systems are portable, others are larger and more of a permanent fixture or kiosk. But all will capture the important information you need. Some of the companies now offer a QR code accessed by a mobile camera phone to move things along even faster!

Am I legally allowed to use the names captured? The simple answer is yes! Make sure the company you use for your digital registry offers an opt in feature as the guests type in their information. Laws vary by state, which is why the opt in language on the system should be customizable. Current trends show about 6% of the people opt in to receive more information after signing into the guest book. Utilizing a wake attendant at the registry book can help explain to the guests how the registry works and explain the need for preneed.

How will elderly guests react to digital registry? This is one of the most commonly asked questions. According to Statista.com, 85.5% of those 65+ use email on a regular basis. The fastest growing segment on Facebook, which was originally created to communicate with other college students, is 55+. This means a majority of the elderly population in the US access the internet and email on a regular basis. Almost everywhere you look, young and old these days have some type of smart phone. Using a keyboard to sign in with a digital registry is very simple.

The bottom line is the time to start offering digital registry in your funeral home as a new shot in the arm for your preneed program is now. This will set your funeral home apart from the competition and boost your revenue at the same time. This is nothing new; some of the companies have been offering digital registry for almost 10 years! The technology is always evolving and getting better and it’s easier to adapt now more than ever. Take a look at the companies who offer digital registry and get started boosting your preneed in the new year! As a leading funeral home operator said at a national convention; “digital registry is probably the most innovative system I’ve seen in the industry!” Get on board and don’t let the competition leave you behind! FBA


John Parkhurst is V.P. and a founding member of A Simple Thank You (ASTY) which provides digital registry, custom acknowledgment cards and custom guest books. John oversees the marketing aspect of ASTY and has done so since their launch in 2012. He has over 30 years of nationwide sales and marketing experience. Email him at [email protected] or call (800) 483-0671.