5 Factors that Can Drastically Improve Your Funeral Home Website
Posted March 21, 2018
7 min read
What can help you shape what’s often the first interaction a family has with your funeral home? “Your website is often one of the first if not the first interaction a family may have with your firm,” says Peter Richardson, who leads the technical and design teams at Consolidated Funeral Services (also known as CFS).
Prior to CFS, Richardson served as the Vice President and General Manager at Rocket Software, a leading provider of business software to Fortune 500 companies. Richardson also served as the Director of Engineering at SystemSoft, where he co-invented a self-healing technology that was widely shipped by PC OEMs before its acquisition by Microsoft.
He co-founded CFS in 2008 after seeing the opportunity that existed in helping funeral directors to make a great first, digital impression with their families.
In this post, we explore 5 of the top ways your funeral home business can improve (and better differentiate itself) through your website.
1. Unique, intuitive design
To start, your website should incorporate a unique design, using brand colors and imagery that are tailored to the funeral home. After all, this is one of the leading ways you are sharing your brand story!
This is your place to show you are a reputable funeral home—and the design and the usability of your site is what’s going to communicate that…or take away from that brand perception.
Having a unique design is also what tells your website visitors how you are unique.
“A custom design not only looks more professional, but it also ensures that consumers will never confuse the website with a competitor,” says Richardson.
Here’s a quick checklist to evaluate how successful you are in this area:
- Distinguished and clear logo and/or branding elements
- Typography that is legible
- Text that is clear and up-to-date
- Site elements that work intuitively, including a sitemap
- A website “hierarchy” that is intuitive
- Color palette (or brand colors) for your firm
- Up-to-date photos of your team
- Brand story is told in some way (more on that below)
2. Relevant, high quality, and fresh content
“A successful website needs to provide significant value for both the funeral home and the users that visit it. This may seem obvious but so many websites fail to do this,” explains Richardson.
One of the most effective ways to do this: delivering the right content at the right time to your website’s visitors.
Take for example how more than four out of five visitors are looking for obituary information when they visit your site, says Richardson. “It’s important for funeral homes to post notices as soon as possible, followed up by obituary and service details as soon as they are known,” he explains.
If the community learns of a death and has a hard time finding that information on your website, or their experience on your site is not a great one, this can create a negative impression of your funeral home.
Looked at another way, you’re missing an opportunity when you could be giving them a favorable, positive and memorable impression of your firm.
Other content might include:
- Themed obituaries that pay tribute to the individual
- Directions to the services (including the ability to have them texted to their phone)
- Photo galleries
- Video sharing
- Social media sharing
- Family logins that allow close family members to directly post and manage content that memorializes their loved one.
“Again, each obituary visitor is an opportunity to present a favorable impression of the funeral home, so you want to capitalize on that with content that’s well-timed for those visitors.”
3. Easy access to critical information
Similar to the prior point, be sure the behavior you want from visitors is something you are supporting with your website. For example, do you want visitors to call your funeral home? Then be sure to have your contact information in a prominent place so it’s easy for them to find. It sounds obvious, but so many funeral websites are missing critical information throughout their site.
Similarly, if your website has information about pre-need, be sure you have a “call to action” that prompts users what the next step should be. Don’t assume that they will call or reach out; your website is what should encourage them to take next steps, whether that be writing a note, giving you feedback, or having them pick up the phone to call you.
If you don’t know where to start, be sure your site prominently displays several contact methods on the home page. “A clickable/hyperlinked phone number should appear toward the top, as at-need visitors are likely to use a smartphone in many cases. The website should also provide an ‘at-need’ contact form that alerts the funeral director via text message (or via email), when completed,” says Richardson.
This is also where a mobile-friendly website is important. As much as 50 percent, or more, of your visitors may be coming from a mobile device. Be sure your website experience is still high quality for these visitors, too.
4. A differentiated “About Us” section
While your website’s overall design—including the text, imagery, colors, and navigation—help to show how you are unique, your “About Us” page will also help you really share your firm’s story.
It may not be called an “About Us” page, but no matter what you call it, be sure you take the time to share your history, important information about your team and/or your leadership, and what makes you unique.
As funeral professionals know, planning a funeral is a very personal affair, and it’s important that individuals feel comfortable contacting you. This is your place to start to connect with families in this way, says Richardson. “An ‘About Us’ page can help a family make an informed decision. It’s equally important to cover both the history of the funeral home and the staff,” says Richardson.
“Professional qualifications and long service in the community establish credibility, too, but it is also important to include background details, such as where staff members grew up, where they live, family details, and more,” he says. Combined, all of this shows visitors that the funeral home is personable, approachable, and that you care.
5. Resources and education.
Adding high-quality resources to your website is one of the top ways you can continue to communicate how you are different. It also has SEO benefits, positions you as a true expert, and helps to establish your brand. Additionally, it’s just one more area you can help support your families before, during, and after a service.
Take the time to evaluate the resources you have on your website. See if you have relevant pieces for the following audiences:
- Visitors looking to learn more about your funeral home
- Visitors looking to learn more about grief
- Visitors looking to learn more about pre-planning
- Visitors looking for an obituary
- Visitors from out of town who will be attending a service who are looking for information about the area
- Visitors looking to learn more about the options available today
- Visitors looking to take the steps after a loved one has passed
…The list goes on and on, but the point is, to get ahead, you want to be sure you have education readily available for each audience “segment” that visits your site, says Richardson.
Enter Information About Your Families Once…And Use In Multiple Ways
Thanks to our integration with CFS, you can enter information about your families—such as a photo, obituary, or specific service information—and that information is then seamlessly pushed to your website. No matter what device you’re working from, you’ll be able to save time, reduce bottlenecks, and cut down on having to enter the same information multiple times.
We help funeral professionals save time, prevent duplicate work & reduce errors. Focus on the family, let us focus on helping you. Request a demo today!