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Person making a Google search on a laptop

By David Ortega

A funeral home’s website can hinder its efforts to lessen the blow grief deals to a family. Beyond aesthetics, unintentional design mistakes might create more complexity for a grieving family to traverse. Consequently, it could affect the bottom line as well.

Websites are an essential tool for any inbound marketing strategy. It just so happens that they are useful for many other things as well: Obituaries, lists of services, social media integration, blog posts, community building, etc. Adding more functions and information might feel like a good use of the essentially free digital real estate; however, a website’s versatility is a well-paved road to self-sabotage.

Consider that it takes someone only about 20 seconds to decide whether or not they will follow up with a particular funeral home via a basic web search. Here’s what that decision process might look like.

00:20   Sarah goes to Google and begins her search.

00:19   Tic

00:18   Tock

00:17   The search results appear and Sarah begins scanning for what she’s looking for.

00:16   Tic

00:15   Tock

00:14   Tic

00:13   If something doesn’t appear on the first page of search results, she won’t click on the second page. Instead, she’ll begin a new search. She will most likely make a decision to click on a result in the next 3 seconds.

00:12   Tic

00:11   Tock

00:10   Sarah has clicked on a funeral home’s website. She now moves into a mental process where she tries to confirm if this site offers what she’s looking for. Am I at the right place? Is this the site I thought I was clicking on? Does this site actually offer what I’m looking for? This is typically determined solely from the home page. She’s willing to scroll a little to find her subject matter, but not much. Ok, I see they have what I’m looking for; how do I figure out what to do first? Hopefully I won’t have to spend a lot of time trying to find out.

00:00   Decision Time. Whether she’s correct or not, Sarah believes she has ascertained the information she needs to decide if this company has what she’s looking for.

Any trouble she has had finding information creates a negative feeling that she will attach to the funeral home. From a user experience perspective, the website with the fewest hoops to jump through will win. Since the website is not about the funeral home but an extension of it, Sarah will make a snap judgement about the company’s ability to ease her grief solely by the experience she has in those first few seconds on the website.

A well-designed, customer-centered user experience can result in a website that not only converts visitors into clients, but actually eases their grief. It just takes discipline to get there. The first place to start is to determine the website’s primary and overriding objective, without which it will easily fall victim to scope creep and feature overload.

As with helping a family through the grieving process, sometimes what you don’t say is as important as what you do. Good websites, like good funeral directors, practice restraint.

David Ortega

Creativity can be defined as the radical disruption of convention. When Dave walked through our doors, that’s exactly what he did.

How disrupted are you?

For over a decade, McKee Wallwork and Company has been a leader and innovator in death care. The firm’s groundbreaking national market research is to this day the definitive consumer segmentation study on funeral care. On the creative front, MW+C was behind breakthrough work including the inception of Passare, “Scatter Day,” YODO, and the documentary The Empty Chair. MW+C has served as the agency of record for leading funeral homes, cemeteries, and death care brands from coast to coast. In addition, the firm’s robust research arm is responsible for developing the Death Care Disruption Index in partnership with Selected Independent Funeral Homes, and the Death Care Genogram in partnership with Passare. MW+C’s decade of experience with national leaders in the funeral service category led to our first industry-specific guidebook, The Right Way of Death, authored by partner Eric Layer.



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