New technologies are constantly emerging and improving upon previous ones. As we enter the new year, it’s time to look at some of the funeral industry trends to keep in mind this year.
2020 just has a different ring to it. It almost sounds too futuristic in some ways. I remember way back in 2010 thinking about 2020 and imaging some of the technologies we might have in place. Back then, it still seemed very far off, but here we are 10 years later (that went by quick). While we still don’t have flying cars like the Jetsons or people visiting Mars as Elon Musk predicted, we have made big moves forward with technology.
In the funeral space, technology does not advance as fast as other industries. When new technology becomes available, it needs to molded to meet the delicate nature of death care and serving families in need. Even so, funeral home technology is important to the success of every funeral business. While every business is unique, these are some common trends that funeral homes should watch and implement this year.
While reading through this year’s list, think about “how could I use this for my firm?” Or “how could this help me better serve families in the community?
With the release of IBM’s Watson in 2010 and Apple’s Siri in 2011, the road was paved for voice search and voice assistants. Over the past decade, this type of technology has continued to grow in use and popularity. Over the past 12 months alone, 60% of adults completed at least one voice search. In 2018, the Amazon Echo smart speaker was Amazon’s most sold product that holiday season.
Moving forward, voice search is only going to continue to grow and become more important. As you think about your marketing strategy for the year, voice search should be near the top of the list. Standard website SEO is just not enough anymore. The main reason being, people type and speak quite differently. We don’t just use keywords for voice search. Instead, they ask questions, or make statements.
With that in mind, it’s important to make sure your website is optimized to meet these needs. The biggest difference between voice search and stand text search is the results. If you search for “low cost cremation services” on Google, you’ll get pages of results. Even if you don’t show up number 1, people can still browse the results and find you. With voice search though, only the first result will be communicated. That means it’s very important to ensure search engines like Google can understand the information on your website and that it is relevant to the keywords and phrase you want to rank for. If you need any help with this, our search engine optimization experts are here to assist you.
Social media companies are constantly growing and changing. When one network launches a new feature, you can bet that others will soon have it available for their users as well. The “Story” feature is one of the best examples of this. After first being introduced by SnapChat as a way to post a quick video for followers that disappears after 24 hours, the “story” feature has become standard on all the major platforms.
In fact, stories are growing 15 times faster than news feeds. As we’ve already seen great engagement with live videos on Facebook, stories continue to generate more and more engagement. Their becoming a primary way for companies to connect with their audience and share their message.
Today’s families are digital. For many, your website will be one of the first interactions they have with your funeral business. While some people still want to come into the funeral home for the funeral arrangement process, others enjoy the benefits of eCommerce. Nothing can replace the value of meeting with funeral home staff face to face. However, there are tools available to create an experience online and get the arrangement process started before ever stepping foot in the funeral home.
In late 2019, FrontRunner released two great tools to accomplish this. First, our Quote Builder lets families select the details they want for their service and compare costs. Once complete, they can print out a quote or move forward with the arrangement.
We also released a tool called Arrangement Aide. This makes it possible for families to collaborate together on arrangements. Working from anywhere on any device, Arrangement Aide lets you manage records and work with families to complete paperwork and arrangement decisions. Families can even complete a payment online to help streamline the process. By using these tools, your firm can turn a standard ecommerce transaction into an experience that lets the family work together, regardless of physical location.
A big change that is going to impact much more that just funeral home technology trends is the release of 5G networks. As these are launched in 2020, networks are about to become more powerful. 5G networks are expected to have download speeds of 1 Gbps which is lightning fast.
So what does this mean for funeral homes?
Well, first it means interactions will happen faster than ever before. It also means that have information readily available to download will be important. If you haven’t already, make sure that your website has content and resources available at the click of a button. Seriously, we’re going to be able to access information faster than ever before so making sure you have resources like brochures or planning guides readily available will be important.
The addition of 5G networks will also benefit video greatly. As mentioned in years past, video content has surpassed traditional written content. In fact, experts predict that over 80% of content on the internet will be in video form by 2022. 5G networks are just going to continue to support this trend by making videos load faster and being higher quality. So, make sure that video is a big part of your marketing strategy moving forward. Of course, if you need help with making that video content, our video marketing services are available.
Technology will only continue to grow and improve. As a leading funeral home technology and marketing company, we make a point to stay on top of the latest trends and understand the challenges facing the death care businesses of today. We’re here to help and invite you to reach out to us for any, and all, of your technology or marketing needs.
What are some of your business goals for 2020?
If you want to learn more some of the tools mentioned above, don’t hesitate to contact us. Right now we’re offering four special new year bundles to help you start the year off right. Many of the tools and services mentioned above are available with these special bundles.
To learn more, you can visit https://www.frontrunnerpro.com/new-years to see what’s available and set yourself up for success this year. Don’t wait though, these deals are only available until January 31st, 2020.
Tommy holds a Communications degree from Laurentian University and an Integrated Marketing Communications Graduate Certificate from St. Lawrence College. He is a Content Marketing Specialist at FrontRunner and focuses on producing engaging content that funeral homes can use to connect with families. In addition, Tommy crafts SEO content for clients and specializes in helping the general public connect with the death care industry as a whole.