Local and regional funeral home operators who take the time to properly prepare their online presence will be better positioned to tap this regular traffic, steer potential customers to their website, and, in turn, more successfully serve their needs.
With 80% of US consumers turning to the Internet first to research products and services, a funeral home should consider what impression its website is giving. An extremely formal website that hasn’t been updated in a decade can be off-putting to consumers eager to make a connection.
Funeral home providers, which contribute to the $16 billion US funeral services industry, should ensure that their websites assist grieving families in finding resources, exploring options, and locating a trustworthy partner.
Standing out among the industry’s 20,000 establishments nationwide is imperative. Some of the biggest stakeholders in funeral services include Houston-based Service Corporation International, a longtime leviathan in death care with nearly $3 billion in 2014 revenue, and Pennsylvania’s StoneMor Partners.
Rather than resorting to touting the home’s impressive history, which is what many funeral home websites tend to do, some industry consultants advise against it. Instead, one of the primary purposes of the website should be to detail services that are provided to help memorialize the life of a loved one.
The site itself should comfort consumers visually by incorporating soothing colors, inspirational messages, and light-hearted photos. Sharing photos and stories of unique personalization ideas and successful memorial events is an additional way for potential customers to connect with one funeral home over another.
Savvy funeral-home websites also offer fairly extensive and necessary grief resources. They include interactive videos and provide customers with contact information for grief support groups and counseling. Some even offer a way to sign up for daily affirmation emails.
With obituaries providing the largest source of new visitors to funeral home websites, hosting obituaries, rather than using a service to do this, keeps potential customers from wandering unknowingly to other sites.
Also, funeral homes can generate ample traffic to their websites by hosting social memorial pages, where families can share memories and stories and upload photos, and by providing the functionality to allow customers to share the memorial page on Facebook and send flowers.
Industry Impact — Funeral home operators with carefully crafted websites will likely earn the business of potential customers as they research products and services online.
Tracking the moves of consumer products makers since 2003, Catherine Colbert is an industry writer and blogger. Before covering industries and companies, she spent ample time in magazine publishing, technical writing, ad copywriting, medical writing, and marketing. Follow her on Twitter.