Funeral home websites have come a long way since the simple, “brochureware” sites that most funeral homes started with more than a decade ago.
Today’s websites offer more than just directions, staff photos, and service information. Obituaries are super-charged with bells and whistles designed to engage visitors and offer true online tributes to a life well-lived.
Many sites feature informative video content, links to popular social networks, blogs, community calendars and more. All of these features help create interest, traffic, and ultimately serve families and guests within the community and beyond.
So where does your website go from there?
What will it look like in 2015?
I believe the next generation funeral home websites will become truly transactional.
Some of you are probably saying, “Visitors can order flowers or other gifts on my site? My site is already transactional.”
Perhaps others of you are concerned, “What, and take the funeral director out of the equation? Families want to work with us, not with a computer.”
I’m speaking about a different level of transaction. Selling flowers and gifts is a terrific service, but it’s the low-hanging fruit when it comes to conducting business with families and guests online.
So what are we talking about?
There are funeral service providers that are currently creating engagement with potential customers through their website – providers that have created transactional capabilities on their website. But interestingly, the providers leading this change have been in the direct disposal or cremation society business.
Yes, some providers allow consumers to go through the entire process arranging for a cremation, paying the bill, arranging the pick-up of remains without visiting with a funeral professional. All from the comfort of the computer or tablet.
The need to move to a more transactional online engagement is not about making funeral planning or arrangement “convenient.” Death isn’t convenient. Our human need to heal from loss is not met by picking out a casket or urn through a website, or filling out death certificate details online.
But funeral professionals can make it more convenient to help consumers discover the possibilities for end of life services. The key to this is guiding consumers and engaging them with the right questions.
Take a look at your current website. Go to the Preplanning or Pre-Need page. You probably have some information about the value of pre-arranging, and you probably have an empty form that visitors can fill out to get more information. Take a look at the questions on that form.
Are the questions for the VISITOR or for YOU?
Are the questions about the logistics of end of life services (burial vs. cremation, do you want a visitation, do you have cemetery property)?
Or are the questions about creating a unique, personalized goodbye that will be meaningful to the planner, their family and guests?
How many people submit this form each month?
Are the questions on your form different the form on your competitor’s site?
Start the transformation to a more transactional website by examining how you engage families who take the step to arrange funeral details. FBA
Marty Strohofer is Vice President of Marketing and Product Development at Aurora. He has worked with hundreds of funeral professionals to implement merchandising, packaging, and technology solutions. Learn more about Aurora solutions by visiting their website at www.auroraadvantage.com.