Technology has fundamentally altered the way we search for products and services. In turn, this has challenged the traditional business models we use.
Similarly, consumer behaviour is changing at a dramatic rate. Customers are now used to having a vast amount of information available at the touch of a button, 24/7. This increase in convenience and choice has led to customer expectations being higher than ever, putting increasing pressure on businesses to adapt accordingly.
When people are looking for a funeral directors today, they aren’t scouring directories, flicking through newspapers or relying on word of mouth, they’re searching online – and over half the time, they are searching using a mobile device. Currently, Google has 92% of the world’s search engine market share, with a staggering 3.5 billion searches conducted every day. Of these, 60% of all Google searches are carried out via a mobile device – and data experts expect this figure to continue rising.
Looking specifically at the funeral industry, Google data shows that there are 22,200 searches per month in the UK for the search term ‘funerals’. This search volume has grown by 12% in the past year. This shows just how many people are using the internet to search for businesses within your sector. 58% of Google searches related to funerals and bereavement come from a mobile phone, with just 28% of searches taking place from a computer, and a further 14% being conducted via a tablet.
Prioritise responsive web design
As an increasing number of people are using a mobile phone to start their search, it is more important than ever for businesses to invest in website design that functions seamlessly across all devices.
Responsive web design is the perfect solution, and one both Google and Adtrak recommend. A responsive website will recognise the device it is being used on and then adjust accordingly. Not only does this deliver a better user experience but, in turn, it will help to increase the number of leads a website generates.
It is also important to remember that different devices and browsers will react differently. For example, your website might look great on an iPhone using Safari, but on a Samsung using Chrome there may be issues, such as the ‘touch to call’ button not working. It’s crucial to test across a variety of devices and browsers, to ensure optimum usability and performance across each one.
Page speed is another important factor. The speed at which a website loads is vital to both user experience and the number of leads it will generate. In fact, Google research shows that if a website takes longer than three seconds to load, 53% of people will abandon it completely.
Invest in digital marketing
It’s vital that a website is supported with strategic digital marketing. It’s all very well having a fantastic website, but if nobody can find it, the investment is futile. Marketing your business online – and making sure it has an effective and competitive digital presence – is a primary way to generate leads in today’s market.
Research has shown that the top three adverts on a Google listing receive 41% of clicks and that 75% of people wouldn’t look past the first page of the search results. This means it’s crucial that a website is visible and prominent amongst its competitors. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is vital to secure a high spot within the search results. A longer game for many, it brings together a host of techniques – both traditional and innovative – to ensure your website climbs steadily through the results pages and establish your business online.
Another important consideration is the importance of local listings. Your Google My Business listing, for example, is a great and simple way to be seen within a local search and will cater to people looking for a ‘funeral directors near me’. Paid marketing methods are a much more immediate method of generating leads online. Google advertising, for example Google’s Pay Per Click product, is an easy and cost-effective way to achieve maximum exposure. A successful paid marketing strategy will be focused and results-driven, specifically targeting people looking for funeral directors and making sure your business is one of the first to be seen in the search results pages.
What you need to succeed
It’s clear that the customer has gone digital and it’s now more important than ever for funeral directors to invest in digital marketing. The starting point for most potential customers will be your website. But how are they meant to find it? The search engine results pages are an incredibly competitive space and it’s vital to have an online presence. If you don’t, your business will quickly get left behind.
My biggest tip for the funeral industry would be to prioritise digital marketing. If you’re already doing it, great, but could it be done better? If you’re not doing it, invest in it – and quickly.