Your website isn’t just a billboard that projects your company’s location and open hours. Instead, it can be a powerful part of your sales process — that is, if you use it correctly…
In order to function in this capacity, your website needs to have certain features in place that enable it to operate as effective as possible. That doesn’t include things like your company logo or pictures of your facility, as these types of basic information should be considered standard on every site (and if your site is missing them, give us a call right away!).
What you really need are the features that’ll turn website visitors into customers — features that’ll cause your brand name to stick out in their minds when it comes time to make final arrangements. And since an estimated 97% of online consumers browse websites to compare products and services before they buy, making sure the following features are in place on your site will help you to capture these potential customers before they navigate away to your competitors.
Feature #1 — Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
In marketing-speak, your USP is a concise statement that conveys — instantaneously — what separates your business from its competitors. Are you the oldest funeral home in your community? Do you offer the lowest-cost cremations? Do you create the most personalized funeral services in your area?
Now, unfortunately, just because you know what makes your funeral home great doesn’t mean that your customers are equally as familiar with your advantages. It’s up to you to tell them by crafting a solid USP statement!
Ideally, your USP should be no more than two sentences long. It should instantly convey the benefits that set your business apart so that any potential customer who reads them walks away knowing what makes you special. As an example, if your funeral home competes primarily on price, your USP might be something like: “Frazer Funeral Home offers the most affordable disposition options in the area. From our $1,295 cremation package to burial services that start at $2,495, we save you money while helping you to celebrate your loved one’s unique life.”
Play around with your USP’s phrasing until you find something that really resonates with you and your business model. Then, make sure your USP is located in a prominent position on your website. After all, it won’t be an effective marketing tool if your website visitors never find it in the first place!
Feature #2 — Your Follow-Up Mechanisms
Now, I know you’re hoping that your USP will be enough to convince website readers to pick up the phone and call you right away. This might happen in some cases, but not 100% of the time. Marketing researchers have found that it takes an average of seven “touches” before people remember and feel comfortable engaging with a new brand.
So if the first time people learn about your company is on a website visit, you’ve got to find a way to capture their information so that you can reach out again and again until this threshold is met. One way that funeral homes can do so is through email newsletters (preplanning forms also allow you to gather contact information, but these form submissions tend to come from people who are already sold on your brand).
An email newsletter can take many forms, but one of the most important things to remember about email marketing is that you need to get recipients’ permission before you begin sending them messages. For this reason, it’s a good idea to run your email newsletter through email marketing services that utilize permission-based opt-in forms to compile sign-ups.
In many industries, newsletters based around coupons, savings or “What’s New with the Business” articles are de rigeur. But since these types of messages don’t translate well to the funeral industry, we’ve found that one of the best ways to gather contact information for follow-ups is with a “365 Days of Grief” style email series.
Whenever we build a website for a customer, we include our “365 Days of Grief” module, which features exclusive content written for us by a world-renowned grief expert. Potential customers see the prompt to sign up for the series whenever they visit the customer’s website (for example, to leave a message on our online memorial walls or to find service information).
Signing up for the series adds value to their grieving processes, while also giving the customer a non-threatening way to get its name in front of potential clients. Down the road, when these clients need to arrange funeral services themselves, the funeral home’s name will be the one that pops to the front of their minds. Everybody wins!
Feature #3 — Your Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
If you add a well-written USP and a mechanism for collecting potential customer follow-up information to your website, you’ll already find yourself in a better sales and marketing position than 95% of the other funeral homes out there. But if you really want to make your site sizzle, you need to add effective calls-to-action (CTAs).
A CTA, as you might expect, prompts a user to take some type of action while on your website. For example, if you want the people who spend time on your preplanning page to go on and fill out your prearrangement form, you might end the page with a call-to-action that reads: “Don’t leave your family wondering what your last wishes might have been. Fill out our prearrangement form now to simplify the funeral planning process for them.”
It’s pretty simple — the CTA tells people what you want them to do and gives them a reason for doing so. Unfortunately, you can’t count on website visitors to intuitively understand the actions you want them to take. Spell everything out as clearly as possible by adding compelling calls-to-action to every page on your website.
Making sure that all three of these features can be found on your site might take some time, but the results will be worth it. Instead of thinking of your website as yet another burden on your resources, think of it as an effective member of your sales team. By giving your site the features it needs to be successful, you’ll spend less of your own time on sales while distinguishing yourself from your competitors in this crowded market.