Traditional funeral home marketing has its place. You catch it on TV, hear it on the radio, and see it on bus benches. But in a time when fewer Canadians are watching cable, radio stations are getting cut in droves, and people are wary of buses, it shouldn’t be the only way you market.
The funeral industry, like every industry, is changing rapidly in the 21st century. People want to learn how to pre-plan their funerals. In times of crisis, people are turning to Google. That’s why 2021 is the perfect time for your funeral home to make the move to search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is, quite simply, the best digital marketing strategy for funeral homes. Its sole focus is getting people to find your website on Google if they’re looking for almost anything funeral home-related. They’ll click on your site, and those clicks will convert to sales. Let’s go a bit deeper.
Why SEO is essential for funeral homes
Funeral homes are what we call a local niche. That’s pretty obvious – you’re not going to have someone with no connection to your city or neighbourhood flying their loved one’s corpse to your funeral home.
That means you need to get clients in your city or neighbourhood. And when people are looking for something nearby, they use Google. Even a search for “funeral home” will only bring up local results (test it right now if you like) – that’s because Google knows people aren’t looking for funeral homes in random places.
If people don’t know where to go or what to do, they use Google for answers. And you want to be the first answer they find.
Because if you’re not, your competition will be.
Playing offence and defence
SEO and marketing for funeral homes are uniquely well-suited to each other. The truth of the matter is that, unlike almost any other product or service, everyone will need a funeral home eventually. That means you’re not scrambling to acquire new clients in the same ways other businesses are (pre-planners aside) – you just need people to find you before your competitors.
When you show up in search results before your competitors do, you’re playing both offence and defence. You’re getting those clicks and that traffic, all of which can convert into paying clients. Your competitors aren’t getting those clicks – the first few results on Google get a disproportionate share of traffic.
Google My Business
Now that you know why SEO is so important, let’s talk a bit about strategy. The first thing you want to focus on is Google My Business (GMB). GMB is Google’s business directory, and your business is likely listed with them even if you haven’t taken any action.
The scary thing is, other people can edit your GMB if you don’t control and monitor it.
Obviously, you don’t want ignorant or nefarious actors messing around with your hours of operation. So the first thing you need to do is claim your GMB. From there, you can optimize it to try to make it onto the 3-Pack, a type of feature-rich search result that pulls in a lot of traffic.
Once that’s done, adding pictures, a brief description, and the category “funeral home” is your best bet. You can add subcategories later.
You can post brief updates to your GMB every week, and you should. These updates are particularly relevant in 2021 because of – you guessed it – COVID-19. Public health guidelines are constantly changing, and if your capacity changes or you’re able to offer more services, you want to let potential clients know through a GMB post.
Millennials are known to “kill industries” (as a Millennial, I balked when typing that), but no one can kill the death care industry. In fact, many Millennials are pre-planning their funerals. We’re a pretty internet savvy generation, and with how much our Zoomer friends like to joke about death, I imagine they’ll start pre-planning their funerals soon, too.
Obviously, very few of us are doing this after seeing a compelling commercial on our local news station. We read articles online and listen to podcasts, then we Google “funeral pre-planning”. You want to be the first result that comes up – pre-planned and pre-paid funerals can be big money.
Focus on content
But digitally savvy consumers don’t just buy the first thing they see – they do their research. You want to have content about funeral pre-planning that’s engaging and creative. You want to let your personality shine through, so that the people reading the article know they can trust you and do business with you.
Content, as it so happens, is also one of the key focuses of SEO. When you’ve got the best article in your city about funeral pre-planning the clicks are going to go to you. And with a well-placed CTA, those clicks can turn to sales.
The tip of the iceberg
This is really only the start of why SEO is important for funeral homes, and how you can use your search engine rankings strategically to outplay your competitors. Strategies will vary based on your city, your target market, and a whole lot more. So get in touch with us, and together, we’ll bury your competition.