The other day, something groundbreaking happened. My friend and I decided to catch a movie (since our Michigan weather hasn’t exactly been ideal lately). We wanted to look up movie times, so I immediately went to grab his old, clunky laptop. I took one look at this outdated thing and asked him “you’re going to get a new laptop soon… right?” His response: “New laptop? Who needs those these days? I’m getting the mini iPad instead. Much cheaper, easier and faster.”

If you were surprised by his response, here’s a reality check for you: everyday, more and more people are trading in their laptop or desktop computers for tablets and mobile phones. That means if your funeral home website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, it could be bad news for your business.

This mobile phenomenon we’re experiencing is what Forrester Research calls the “Great Mobile Mind Shift”, characterized by “the expectation that any desired information or service is available, on any appropriate device, in context, at your moment of need.”

Chris Horton, author of The Small Business Field Guide to SoLoMo explains this phenomenon when he says “

[consumers of today] are roaming the streets clutching smartphones and tablets, looking for things to do or to buy.”

And he’s right – consumers are using mobile devices for product research on everything, yet 45% of businesses still don’t have a mobile site. That’s a big mistake – and in the long run it could be catastrophic for any business. With that said, here are five compelling reasons why your funeral home should get a mobile website… or else.

1. Mobile web browsing will soon surpass desktop.
In 2011, consumers started spending more time on mobile devices than PCs, and mobile web browsing is soon to follow. That’s a huge change your funeral home needs to be ready for. This shouldn’t come to you as big news. Chances are you, yourself have your smartphone or tablet within arm’s reach 24/7 (Hubspot reports that 91% of U.S. adults do).

A recent report by Google says “90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal, whether it’s on smartphones, PCs, tablets or TV”. That means when client families are looking for information on your funeral home’s website, there’s a good chance they’ll be using a tablet or smartphone to do it.

2. Users prefer mobile optimized websites.
Sure, families can visit your existing website via the web browsers on their mobile devices, but most websites are not designed for mobile users. Tiny text, poor navigation and other issues can send consumers away at the time you want them to stay on your website the most.

According to Google research, 72% of consumers want mobile friendly sites – that means it’s up to you to make sure your funeral home website delivers. Otherwise, you could miss interacting with the 25% of consumers who only use mobile devices to access the Internet (and that figure’s likely to grow).

3. Mobile users are more likely to buy.
Let’s get to the bottom line – your bottom line. Mobile friendly sites encourage consumers to buy. If your mobile website helps them find what they want, then they are likely to act on it pretty much immediately.

Don’t believe me? That same Hubspot research I mentioned earlier reveals that 90% of mobile searches lead to action. Even more, most of these actions occur within just one hour! Compare that to desktop searchers who can take up to a month to make a buying decision, and you can see why mobile is a must for your funeral home.

So what kinds of actions do these users take? Hubspot’s research shows that 59% of mobile users who research and find your business online will visit it, and 61% of them will call. That means more people coming through your door and more client families choosing your funeral home over one with a website that’s not mobile optimized.

4. Reach on-the-go users.
The increased use of mobile devices has created a new consumer segment: the on-the-go user. These are people who search for information as they move around at the time when they need it most. According to Icebreaker Consulting, 45% of those aged 18-29 use mobile search every day, while Microsoft says that half of all local searches are carried out on-the-go. With figures like these, your funeral home can’t afford to leave this segment of consumers out of your marketing strategy.

Our research shows that those who are searching on mobile funeral home websites are looking to do 3 things:

1) Lookup service information

2) Share a condolence on the loved one’s social memorial website

3) Send flowers or gifts to show the family they care

Does your site make it easy to do those things? Because if your site isn’t optimized so people can easily find the information they need (those phone screens are small), then you won’t get their attention. And you need their attention so they choose your funeral home over your competitors.

5. If you don’t, you’ll lose business.
All that adds up to the fifth reason your funeral home needs to go mobile: if your website isn’t mobile optimized, you may be losing business. Recent data from Google shows that 48% of Internet users get frustrated by sites that aren’t mobile optimized. The same percentage feel that companies who don’t have mobile friendly sites don’t care about their business. Add to the fact that 50% of people will use a business less frequently if they don’t have a mobile friendly website, and our case is closed.

When a loved one passes away – which can happen at any time – most people feel the need to respond immediately in some way, wherever they happen to be. That means funeral homes need to make it easy for potential client families to find the information they need, fast.

6 Tips For Going Mobile with Your Funeral Home Website

Now that you know how important mobile is for your business, it’s time to put a plan into action. Here are some best practices for going mobile:

1. Move beyond mobile-friendly. While making your website mobile-friendly is a good first step, mobile-friendly sites often leave mobile users unhappy because they can’t access the functionality of the full website, and the sites are still optimized for desktop users.

To solve this problem, you need a site that’s mobile optimized. That means creating a site that:
● Uses swipes, taps and “presses” for accessing navigation and functionality instead of expecting users to replicate a click.

● Has no complicated forms – any more than two fields (for name and email) is asking a lot, especially for people without tiny fingers (which is most of us).

● Allows users to complete any action with 2-3 swipes, taps or clicks.

2. Do your homework. Use website analytics tools such as Qlikview, KISSmetrics, or Google Analytics to figure out the top actions people take on your website. These actions are what your mobile website should be focused around, making it as easy as possible for people to take those actions.

3. Keep your mobile website simple. The beauty of a mobile website lies in what it isn’t. Mobile users are on the go and don’t have much time to find that they’re looking for, so be sure to remove all clutter and noise from your website when optimizing it for mobile. That means cutting out any content, photos, or navigation options that don’t help users accomplish their goals.

4. Focus on usability, not design. Design is less important than usability, or the ability for users to successfully complete their desired actions on a site. That means looking after areas like padding around buttons, including pre-filled forms, easy navigation, click to call functionality and easy access to business and social media contact information.

5. Consider using video on your funeral home website. Don’t forget about mobile video. Research published on Clickz suggests that this year there will be more than 73 million viewers of mobile video. And 92 percent of mobile video viewers share what they have watched with others, making it a huge potential benefit for your funeral home.

6. Finally, don’t be fooled into thinking you need a mobile app. You don’t. Most people who use your services will only do so once or twice, so concentrate on making your site work well for those users instead.
Is your website mobile optimized?
To find out if it is, grab a smartphone or tablet and type in your funeral home’s website address. Does it look like your normal website, just smaller? If so, that means your website isn’t optimized for mobile.

Remember, without a mobile optimized website, you could be missing out on a huge traffic resource and lead generator for your funeral home! Since most websites aren’t mobile optimized right out of the gates, you’ll need to find a website provider who offers a mobile website solution. The way I see it, you’re going to have to go mobile eventually… the only question is when and how. FBA


Joe Joachim Headshot (Hi-Res)Joe Joachim is the CEO and Founder of funeralOne, a technology company transforming the way the world honors life and deals with loss. For the past 11 years, he’s developed game-changing solutions that help funeral professionals increase the value of their services, connect with the families of today, and become more profitable. funeralOne’s solutions include: website design (complete with mobile optimization) aftercare, funeral eCommerce, and personalization software.