CEMETERY MANAGEMENT & DIGITAL LEGACY SOFTWARE
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When most people think about funerals, they imagine a somber ceremony with flowers, prayers, and people dressed in black conversing quietly amongst themselves. While this is true in most cases, modern funerals do not always follow this format.
Funeral details are often rooted in tradition and beliefs. Nevertheless, heartfelt funerary rituals vary, which is why each one is beautifully unique.
The Reasons Behind Today’s Funeral Practices
If you have ever wondered why we place flowers on graves or if funerals can be boisterous occasions, read on!
Romans Inspired the Use of Gravestones
When Rome controlled Britain, Roman soldiers erected gravestones close to military forts and Romano-British settlements. This was done to mark the passing of women and children. Roman soldiers were not allowed to marry, so placing gravestones where they could be viewed often was their way of showing respect for the people they cared about. This practice also legitimized the relationship they were unable to have while the woman or child was alive.
During the fifth century, Rome lost control of Britain and the ritual of erecting gravestones ended until the modern era resurrected the tradition.
Burials Were a Family Affair—Literally
Throughout the Anglo-Saxon period, people who chose cremation were not buried immediately. The urn holding their ashes remained in the community until several members of the decedent’s family had died, then all the urns were buried together within a large mound of earth called a barrow.
Mourning for Money
Moirologists are professional mourners who are hired to attend a funeral. While this may seem odd, it is an ancient tradition that spans the globe and is even mentioned in the Old and New Testaments.
It is believed that the practice of hiring moirologists started in China and the Middle East, but this is difficult to pinpoint. There is also evidence of moirologists were employed throughout Egypt. Prior to the 20th century, European families would hire professional mourners to look sad and wail.
In Rome, there are accounts of professional mourners attending the funerals of wealthy individuals. Their presence signified that the decedent was part of high society. The moirologists would cry loudly during the burial as they pulled on their hair and clothing. They would even scratch at their face to make their act more dramatic.
Today, moirologists are still making a living; however, they are usually hired when the deceased has few living relatives, so their main job is to increase attendance. In South Africa, hired mourners behave similarly to how they acted 2,000 years ago and will even threaten to jump into the grave, but this level of drama comes with an additional fee.
Adorning Graves with Flowers
Placing flowers on graves is an old tradition. It is believed they bring goodwill to the deceased, and each type of flower carries its own meaning.
Roses are placed on a grave to symbolize love, hope, and beauty. Two roses joined together represent a strong bond and are usually placed on a couple’s gravesite. Meanwhile, rose buds are laid on the graves of children, and a rose that is partially open is set on the grave of teenagers to symbolize a life cut short. A rose in full bloom symbolizes that the grave belongs to someone who died in the prime of life.
Lilies are another popular gravesite flower as they represent innocence and purity. The Easter lily symbolizes resurrection and innocence of the soul. Lily of the Valley signifies innocence, humility, and renewal.
If you pass by an older cemetery in the springtime, you are sure to see daffodils springing from the graves. People planted these flower bulbs because they symbolize grace, beauty, and deep regard. Daisies are another common cemetery flower as they represent gentleness and innocence.
If you happen to find a grave covered in ivy, the person who planted it wanted to convey faithfulness, undying affection, and eternal life.
Waking the Dead
Irish wakes are anything but solemn. While wakes are more informal than funerals, Irish tradition involved playing loud music in the hopes it would ward off evil spirits. However, blasting tunes also served the purpose of ensuring that the person was indeed dead.
Ushering the Departed
Oftentimes, when a hearse arrives at the cemetery, the funeral director will walk in front of the hearse to guide the driver toward the gravesite. This long-standing tradition dates back to the days when horse drawn carriages delivered bodies to cemeteries.
Regardless of when the practice started, guiding the hearse will always be a funeral director’s way of showing respect for the decedent.
The Original Green Burial
During medieval times, the family of the deceased borrowed or leased a community coffin to transport the body of their loved one from the home to the churchyard. This was performed by the parish church. After arriving at the gravesite, the deceased was removed from the coffin and wrapped in a shroud before being placed into the grave.
Saying ‘Hello’ to a New Tradition of Bidding ‘Good-bye’
The timeless traditions of placing flowers on graves and playing music during the service will always be a way for the living to find comfort while honoring the dead. However, flowers wither and every song has a final note. With the advent of technology, people can create a digital legacy that will last forever.
A digital legacy is a collection of photos and videos of a deceased person that is uploaded to the internet. These virtual albums often include the person’s favorite music. Usually, the decedent’s loved ones will create the digital legacy to share with others, but it is sometimes featured at the funeral or wake as well. People are even fashioning their own digital legacy prior to their death, so they can be remembered in their own special way.
EverArk is the premier software that is making digital legacies the newest funerary tradition. Its user-friendly format allows loved ones to easily upload, view, and share cherished memories of deceased family members and friends. EverArk is even being used by people to create their own digital legacy prior to their death. They appreciate the peace of mind this state-of-the-art software provides as it assures them that their legacy will live on to show future generations what they were like when they were alive.
While older traditions will always remain, it is easy to see how digital legacies are blazing the trail for a new tradition. After all, everyone should be remembered in their best light and the internet is a surefire pathway to keeping a loved one’s spirit shining brightly.
If you are interested in being a trailblazer by creating a digital legacy for yourself or a loved one who has passed on, request a demo of EverArk today!
Funeral directors and managers have proven to be resilient by overcoming challenging obstacles associated with COVID-19 over the past couple of years without sacrificing their core values. Thanks to technology and creative measures, the pandemic has not stopped funeral homes from successfully marketing their products and services.
While end-of-life services will always be needed, it is imperative that funeral industry professionals use updated marketing techniques to increase their customer base, engage with tech-savvy younger generations and stay ahead of their competition.
Creative Marketing Strategies are Keeping Funeral Homes Alive
When funeral homes implement the following marketing techniques, they can increase their customer base by capturing the attention of a wide variety of prospects.
Digital and Hybrid Events – COVID-19 and government mandates put the brakes on in-person meetings and conferences. Virtual meetings have bridged the gap by making it possible for people to still have face-to-face meetings. For funeral directors and managers, this technology allows them to continue conducting business in a candid manner while ensuring the health and safety of their customers as well as themselves.
Many funeral homes are experiencing rapid growth in their loyal customer base by hosting free webinars. These events can be 100% digital or hybrid, a mixture of attendees both online and in-person and give customers an opportunity to learn more about funeral and burial options, ask questions and connect with the directors and managers who will be part of this personal process. There is a wide range of webinar topics that are attractive to people, and some of the most popular are ‘how to’ themes that discuss funeral pre-planning and creating a digital legacy.
Funeral directors and managers have seen positive results after holding virtual open houses. They have discovered that people are comfortable with live virtual tours of their funeral home, and these events often lead to further engagement. Funeral managers believe it is beneficial for everyone when the comment section is active during the livestreaming event, so they can answer questions in real time.
Also, when a company takes the time to educate people at no charge, their reputation as a trustworthy business is solidified.
Vehicle Wraps and Magnets – This type of marketing is passive, but impactful. By turning your company’s vehicles into traveling billboards, you can reach a greater number of people. Be sure your funeral home’s phone number is prominently displayed on the sides and rear of the vehicles. Some funeral homes include a short, heartfelt message on their vehicle wraps.
If your staff members take their company owned vehicle home at the end of the day, you may want to go with magnets instead of wraps because some homeowner associations prohibit vehicles with advertising to be parked overnight.
Media Outreach – There are several ways to reach the public without paying for advertising – though it does take a little time and strategy. Public Relations professionals use many tools to market their businesses, including press releases, media pitching and interviews. A press release is a great opportunity to introduce new staff members, publicize new products and services or promote special events. Sending the release to local or industry media in an effort to get publicity is a great way to reach a wide audience and raise awareness of your business.
While this type of marketing has traditionally been used to announce the grand opening of a business, many funeral homes are relying on press releases to introduce new staff members, publicize new products or services, and promote events such as free webinars.
Press releases reach a widespread audience, so you are bound to capture the interest of people who need your services but were previously unaware of your funeral home.
Digital Newsletters – Sending newsletters is an excellent way of staying top-of-mind with your email subscribers and local businesses. The frequency of the newsletters can be monthly or quarterly, and the content should be interesting and reflect the caring nature and professionalism of your funeral home.
Include brief articles about the latest trends in the death industry and write about updates happening within your funeral home. If you have hired a new staff member, this is a perfect way to introduce them.
Testimonials – Nothing sparks greater confidence in a business than a positive testimonial from legitimate customers. Do not be shy about sharing these outstanding compliments! Create a page on your website dedicated to testimonials and publish at least one in each of your newsletters.
Partner with Local Businesses – Get in touch with a florist or caterer in your area and propose a mutual marketing agreement. Offer to include an ad about their business in your newsletter or plug them on your social media platform and they can return the favor by doing the same for your company.
Your newfound partnership can include reciprocated interviews. Reach out to a local crematorium or green cemetery and request that they participate in a question/answer session that will be published in your blog, newsletter, or social media feed. They will appreciate the free publicity and will be happy to do the same for your funeral home.
When the opportunity presents itself, you should recommend the businesses you have partnered with to your customers, and they will most likely do the same for your company. Professional recommendations will do wonders to strengthen your company’s reputation.
Modernized Marketing is Helping Funeral Homes Thrive
Technology and creative innovation have helped funeral homes circumvent the barriers created by COVID-19 and government mandates. If your mortuary business has struggled with these challenges over the past couple of years, using updated marketing strategies will increase your loyal customer base and bolster your revenue.
After gaining greater exposure for your funeral home by employing the suggested marketing techniques, EverArk will take your business to the next level.
This state-of-the-art software is giving the death care industry the tools it needs to serve customers from a distance. Through EverArk, funeral directors and cemetery managers are providing an online shopping experience, so people can purchase products and arrange services from the safety and comfort of their home.
Death care professionals can even host a webinar using the EverArk software to demonstrate how easy it is to create a digital legacy.
If you are interested in finding out how EverArk can reinforce your up-to-date marketing techniques, request a demo today!
As awareness grows about sustainable practices many people are adopting greener lifestyles. In more and more cases, they are choosing to forgo a traditional burial because it is very taxing to the earth and its resources.
Green burials were originally known as natural burials because no formaldehyde-based embalming fluids were infused into the body prior to it being interred. Today, green burials are making a comeback for several reasons. However, it is important to know why natural burials
Breathing new life into your cemetery business is possible with EverArk. In a previous blog, we discussed how EverArk makes it easy to transition from a traditional cemetery business model into that of a digital one. However, the benefits extend beyond internal processes.
Whether we want to think about it or not, we are all destined to attend our own funeral, so it is smart to make plans for it now. After all, it is your sendoff party and details matter, which is why you need to make the arrangements in advance to be sure your final wishes are honored.
Those who practice Death Positive Movement hold the belief that death is not a morbid or taboo topic and should be discussed openly. People and groups who promote this viewpoint believe that the foundation of a healthy society must include honest conversations about death and dying.
Death may be an unpleasant idea for some people but planning for the end of your life not only makes your loved ones aware of your wishes, but also takes a significant weight from their shoulders during what will be a very difficult time.
As the holidays draw near, it is important to remember that this is not a time of joy for everyone. Many people are missing a loved one who has passed away while others are feeling nostalgic for simpler times. Regardless of why a person is feeling sorrowful, it is necessary to understand what grief is and how to comfort those who are experiencing this strong emotion.
Being a mortician is not always at the top of high school or college graduates’ career wish lists, but it is an interesting and necessary profession. Those that do choose this occupation consider it to be a higher calling.