Meeting Consumer Expectations

tech_consumers

Mike Bryan, General Manager of Batesville Technology Solutions, sat down with the staff at The Director to answer reader’s questions about online trends and technology.  See the full article in the July “Asked and Answered” column.


How are online trends impacting the funeral industry and what should a funeral home do to prepare to meet these evolving needs?

Where you’ll find today’s consumers, more often than not, is online.

  • 85% of adults use the internet to connect to businesses and to each
  • 38% of traffic to funeral home websites comes from online searches
  • 91% of adults own a mobile phone and 34% own a tablet computer
  • 1 in 3 Americans are using Facebook to find and share information about a loved one who has passed

The internet has changed the ways that families research, evaluate, share and collaborate on plans for a loved one’s funeral.  If you don’t meet changing consumer expectations you risk alienating family and friends and potentially losing business.  Now is the time to embrace technology and social media, not dismiss it (even if you don’t fully understand it all).


What can the funeral industry learn from other industries as it relates to technology and the role it plays in their business every day?

As the digital front door, a funeral home’s website is increasingly likely to determine a customer’s first impression of their business.  Here are 7 ways to create an engaging online experience:

  1. Define your brand align it with everything you do. Your brand should be genuine and consistent online and offline.
  2. Engage consumers visually with bold interesting images and graphics.
  3. Make the site very easy to use through simple navigation and prominent calls to action.
  4. Speak in their language (not industry jargon)– this shows you care and want to help guide them through the process.
  5. Make sure your site has strong search engine optimization – it is the first step to getting found!
  6. Have your obituaries as a focal point on your home page – it is the #1 reason a person comes to your site.
  7. Optimize your site to meet the mobile trends to ensure you do not lose visitors and business (25% of traffic and growing).

There is a lot of talk about SEO.  What is it?  What should a funeral professional do to maximize their opportunity?

It is complex and changes continually but the good news is that there are some simple (and free) things you can do that never fall out of favor and have a BIG impact.

  • Post every service. Search engines look for frequently updated, relevant content with local (city, state) and decedent  information (name, city, state).  Optimize content even further by including references and links to schools, clubs, churches, and affiliations.
  • Leverage Your Content. Families are searching for obituaries and content that is connected to educating themselves on  their planning options and  costs.   Make sure your content is reflective of these themes.
  • Leverage industry and local memberships. List your  website in member directories for NFDA, State Associations, Google+, and Chambers of Commerce, and the BBB. Also, find opportunities to link to local organizations like community websites, churches, hospice, and cemeteries.

You have the advantage!  You are local and you are a leader in your community who has the authority and relevant content that your families want to find.  Make sure to utilize those strengths and put these steps in place to increase traffic to your site today!