“In the new e-marketplace of ideas, organizations highlight their expertise in online media that focus on buyers’ needs. The web allows organizations to deliver the right information to buyers, right at the point when they are most receptive to the information.”
- David Meerman Scott, The New Rules of Marketing & PR
In Part 1 of this article, I shared some reasons why your funeral home website might not be meeting your firm’s needs. If you aren't providing meaningful online resources that allow potential client families to learn more about the value of your funeral services, your website can’t be an effective tool to help you earn future business.
Here are some additional signs it might be time to update your website:
The site doesn’t demonstrate your expertise.
More and more often, marketers are called upon to think like publishers. You and your staff members are content experts in the area of funeral service. Your website should reflect this through the compelling text found on its pages. As bestselling marketing and public relations author David Meerman Scott explained in the quote at the beginning of this post, organizations have opportunities to elevate themselves on the web through the content they provide.
Visitors to your website won’t trust your firm simply because you tell them you are experienced, however. When crafting website content, keep the following user sentiment in mind: “What’s in it for me? Why should I take the time to look through the content on your site?” Instead of simply writing about your firm’s long history in funeral service, demonstrate your expertise by providing a wealth of information that potential client families will find valuable. You can also show evidence of your firm's exceptional service by incorporating testimonials from your satisfied clients.
The content is impersonal.
The trend toward creative, personalized memorial services isn’t an isolated demand: your website visitors also expect messages that speak directly to their needs. Establish a “voice” for your written content that is consistent throughout the site and relatable for members of your community who are interested in your services. You should also provide clear paths through this information that match the stages that your client families go through when they are researching and making decisions about funeral services.
This leads back to the concept of buyer personas introduced in Part 1 of this article. Content that is relevant to one person’s experience may not be meaningful to a person in another situation. A website must effectively address the needs of multiple audiences at the same time.
It doesn’t encourage interaction.
You’ve updated your website to provide relevant, thoughtfully compiled information to help members of your community learn about funeral service. But what’s next? If your website visitors have reached a decision point, they need a way to quickly take action. By providing “contact us” forms and contact information in key locations on your website, you’ll help ensure potential clients take the next steps before they become distracted or lose interest.
Your firm’s online presence should also be continuously evolving and provide frequently updated opportunities for conversation with members of your community. This is one reason why a funeral home blog can become an important part of your firm’s online marketing efforts. Your website should also encourage members of your community to visit and interact with your funeral home social media channels.
The design is cluttered and/or outdated.
Your firm invests a lot of resources in creating an environment in which families feel comfortable. You offer immaculately maintained facilities that provide a welcoming environment for visitors and interact with every guest as if he or she were a member of your own family. But does your website offer a similarly exceptional experience? If your online presence has an unappealing design that doesn’t match the level of excellence you provide at your funeral home, you may be discouraging members of your community from stepping through your doors in the first place.
A word of caution: When redesigning a website, it’s tempting to focus most of your attention on aesthetics, ensuring that the site “looks modern.” While the visual appearance of your site is certainly important, remember that a website redesign is also an opportunity to rethink the site’s content and structure to make sure it is meeting the needs of your audiences.
Without the right messaging, even the most visually appealing websites won’t provide memorable experiences for the people who visit them. Visitors also need to be provided with a clear path through the information to help them reach a decision to take the next step: contacting you to request your services.