If you are coming from Part 1 of this series: How to Communicate with & Sell to Your Consumers (Part 1 of 6: Funeral Home Marketing Mega-Tips), welcome back! This time, it’s all about how to reach those important, changing consumers using the channels so many of them want to be reached: online. And your funeral home website is the center point to it all.
If there is one thing we know about today’s consumers as learned in part 1, it’s that they expect businesses to be online and give them choices. Is there any point to having a funeral website if it is buried deep in the search engines? Sure, you’d get some traction from offline marketing efforts like your business card with your website listed, but you probably want to have the absolute best plan to use what your researching families are looking for to get more business, right?
There are literally 100 things I could talk about in this blog post to position your firm front and center with families, but for the sake of keeping things clean and organized – let’s focus on how to use your funeral home website to make you the best you can be. You want to be the best don’t you?
Let’s get started!
Tip #1: Be Mobile Friendly with Your Funeral Home Website or Expect Less Website Traffic
I didn’t write that line to be harsh in any way, but it is true. Google released another algorithm just last year that warned those with a website: if they didn’t have a mobile-friendly website then they can expect to see a decline in website traffic, simply because they were less likely to send mobile searchers to non-mobile friendly websites. If you think about Google’s job, it is to take what the searcher is looking for and give them the best result they possibly can. Happy searcher = Happy Google. And if someone is searching for something using their smartphone there is nothing worse than having to zoom in and out to try to get the information they are looking for. You’ve been there right? It’s awful.
Go ahead and grab your smartphone and pull up your funeral home website. There’s a difference between a website appearing on a phone and displaying properly on a phone. Did you have your navigation or “buttons” as many people call them showing at the top like the picture on the left? Or did it have a little menu button with your navigation optimized for a smartphone like the picture on the right? If you’re looking more like the right, GREAT job! If you’re seeing something more along the lines of the picture on the left – well, it’s time to step it up.
Want to test your website to see if it passes the mobile-friendly test? Simply insert your website URL here: https://www.google.ca/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
Tip #2: Treat Your Funeral Home Website as More Than a Website. Make it the Resource it Should Be
This is probably the biggest piece of advice I can give you as a business today. At FrontRunner, we work with A LOT of funeral homes from all over. We try to encourage them to treat their website as more than just an item on a checklist that they need to get done. If this sounds like you when it comes to your funeral home website or if you haven’t written a piece of content for your website or updated it in months (or even years) it’s time to use your website as all that it should be – a business generator.
How do you use your funeral home website to truly generate business? You’ve got to know exactly what your consumers are searching for and simply be there for them. As the Marketing Director for FrontRunner, I am pretty involved in preparing the website content for our clients’ websites. I’m not going to lie to you – it takes time to know exactly what your consumers are looking for. But, if you can appear front and center when your consumers type those questions into Google – and if done right, I’m talking hundreds, maybe even thousands more visitors to your funeral website each month – how can that not be worth the time?
Here’s what you need to do:
Read the blog written a few months back about using the free Google Keyword tool: 4 Steps to Knowing What Your Community Types into Google and find out exactly what your families are typing into Google to find you and your services. Once you have this information, make sure it is on your funeral home website either as a webpage or a funeral home blog post. It is pretty impossible for Google to bring your funeral firm’s website first in their results if the keyword or key phrase they typed in doesn’t even exist on your website, right?
Here are some more FrontRunner blog posts that may help:
4 Simple Ways to Use Your Funeral Home Website as Your Marketing Base & Generate Results!
Stop Guessing & Start Seeing Results: Bring More Visitors to Your Funeral Home Website by Using the Words They Google
Tip #3: Submit Your Obituaries to Your Funeral Home Website BEFORE You Send Them to the Newspaper
You don’t know how many times I have this conversation with funeral directors and they have their aha-moment. For many funeral homes, they send their obits to the newspaper the second the family approves it and put it on their own funeral home website “when they can get to it”.
If you do this, I’m going to challenge you to change this process. When you submit the obituary to the newspaper first, there is a good chance they put it on their website first. If this happens, your chances of appearing ahead of them in the search engines become slim-to-none when someone searches “Mary Smith Obituary”. When you publish it first on your funeral home website and send it to the newspaper second, you have now published this content first in Google’s eyes. While this does not guarantee that you’ll always appear ahead of the newspaper, at least it gives you a better shot and with this shot means you have more condolences left, flowers ordered, email addresses left and traffic etc. on your website.
Here’s another FrontRunner blog that may help:
How Posting Your Obituaries to Your Website Without Delay Helps Increase Traffic, Service Attendance & Revenue
Tip #4: Make Sure Your Funeral Home Website is an Aftercare Tool for Families
For me, 2015 was a year filled with many trade shows, presentations and of course, chats with funeral directors. One thing I heard more this year than ever before was concern over when they would speak to a family again after the service, if at all. It may be hard to believe for some, but many firms out there are running without an aftercare plan.
If you are one of these firms or are looking to step up your aftercare services to keep that relationship strong days, months and even years after the service – look no further. I encourage you to think about how you can use your funeral website as a 24/7 portal for your families and your community. You should have aftercare content on your website, first and foremost. You can also include a list of aftercare programs in your community, downloadable resources, and so much more. But you should also have interactive aftercare tools like 365 Days of Healing that automatically send an email from your firm each morning for one year, or 52 Weekly Tips to assist a friend through grief. These are tools that we are so proud to offer our clients to help them take care of their families. Is it time to be the go-to resource for aftercare in your community? Your funeral home website will do wonders to help those grieving in the comfort of their own home, with your name attached at all times.
Tip #5: Develop PDF resources for your website and encourage people to download them
Think about the offline resources that you give to a family when they walk into your funeral home. Are these available on your website? I know you offer great tools in the funeral home, as I have seen it in so many, but remember not all consumers want to walk into a funeral home. I am going to encourage you to take those offline pieces and put them on your website. Incorporate them into your social media strategy and encourage your fans and followers to download them on your funeral home website. Whether it is a pre-planning guide, memorial service idea guide or grief journal – if it can be online, make sure it gets there. Remember, consumers want to find answers online and by providing them the tools they need at their fingertips, you’re giving them options and putting them in control of their experience.
Are You Feeling Inspired?
I hope these 5 tips leave you with a few action items to better position your firm with today’s families. Being top of mind and front and center with consumers is 100% achievable. But you must focus your efforts where consumers are looking – and we all know they just “Google it” for the answers they need. If you don’t appear where they are looking and your competitor does, did you just lose a call? Maybe! But not for long after you implement tips from the FrontRunner Marketing Series.
FrontRunner can help you develop the best online strategy with a great funeral home website complete with optimized content and a successful funeral home marketing plan simply visit us online to first see what we can do for you or give us a call at 1-866-748-3625. Our goal is simple: to make your firm the FrontRunner in your community.
Cheers to making this year your best year yet. Stay tuned for Part 3 of the FrontRunner Marketing Series next week!
Ashley Montroy, Marketing Director at FrontRunner Professional, has committed herself to helping funeral professionals understand and excel in today’s digital age. With a long-standing history in the funeral business and her father being a licensed funeral director for over 30 years; she grew up learning the family funeral business. Ashley holds a bachelor’s degree from Carleton University and diploma from Algonquin College. Today, she continues to speak to over 15 state and provincial funeral association groups each year on funeral marketing in the digital age and protecting funeral firms online using experiences and examples from working with thousands of funeral homes in North America through FrontRunner Professional.