Funeral Homes and the Internet?

Our business – www.thefuneralsite.com– is based solely on the Internet.  We don’t sell any physical products or provide in-person services – we simply provide content and resources about funeral and end-of-life celebrations.  So it was with this bias that I read Tim Totten’s blog post Do Funeral Homes REALLY Need the Interent?   Tim’s blog Final Embrace  is a great blog covering the funeral industry’s perspective.

 Tim answers his question “maybe/maybe not.”  For the maybe notters Tim’s concern is that many funeral homes cannot create something as simple as an effective brochure so how will they create a successful website that doesn’t scare away potential customers.  Tim finishes by stating that if funeral homes want to succeed in the future they need to have a web site but that for now many funeral homes will be spectacular failures if they go online.

I think Tim is setting the bar too low for what funeral homes need to do online.  All funeral homes should be online today with a web site.  If they should also be blogging is another recent post at Final Embrace and I will leave that issue for another time :).

Putting up a decent web site is not all that difficult or expensive these days.  If no one at the funeral home is technically inclined there are numerous companies who will put up “small” sites for a couple hundred dollars.  True, the site won’t have all the latest widgets and features – but that is just fine.  It will still have a basic presence for anyone “googling” them or “funeral homes” in their city.  The absence of a web site is a huge turnoff for many Internet users who simply won’t use a business if they don’t have a site.

 You see, its amazing how many people today use the Internet to research a potential purchase.  Flights, hotels, restaurants, electronics and many more all have sites that provide resources and advice on what to buy.  I bet virtually anyone who reads this post does this kind of research.  While not every 80 year old is online you might be surprised at how many are.  And for those that aren’t online their funerals might very well be planned by a younger generation that is.

The numbers are simply amazing.  Look at these cities and the number of  Google searches that are done in a month for “funeral homes” in that city:

New York City            49,126

Chicago                        17,640

Los Angeles                   7,631

These are generic searches for “funeral homes in New York City” not for specific funeral homes or generic terms like “funerals.”  These searchers are doing some form of research on multiple funeral homes in a specific city.  How can a funeral home not have an online presence so that they show up in at least a percentage of the search results? 

OK, I hear you saying “These are big cities.  My funeral home is in a small town and there are only a few funeral homes here.  Surely I don’t need an online presence?”  Well check out these monthly “funeral homes” Google search numbers:

Le Mars, Iowa (population 9,237)        117

Dothan, Alabama (57,737)                   200

Maumee, Ohio (14,149)                         55

If you own a funeral home in any of these cities do you want your competitors showing up in these searches but not you because you don’t have a web site?  I sure wouldn’t.

There are lots of angles to consider when putting together a marketing strategy and the Internet is not a panacea.  My point is that funeral homes today must have an online presence with a decent web site.  It doesn’t have to be flashy or expensive, but the lack of a web site means potential customers may never include you in their mix of possible vendors to do business with.

DJ

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