Just a few years ago it was common for a funeral home’s biggest expense related to online marketing to be the development of their website. A new website was often custom development project and could cost $10,000 or more. I have met multiple owners who paid over $30,000 for a website that supported online arrangements (which families didn’t use).
Thankfully the cost of a new website has plummeted over the years. Funeral One started the trend with their library of templated designs at a low upfront cost and a creative revenue sharing plan for flower sales. They were able to offer these websites at a fraction of what people used to have to pay.
Lately, I’ve done a number of projects with Consolidated Funeral Services who use a similar model as Funeral One except that they charge zero for the site development and zero for hosting. The funeral home owner gets an excellent share of the flower sales with no expenses. That turns the website from an expense into a revenue source.
If the website is no longer the biggest expense, what is?
Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) can definitely be a large expense. But it is also an expense that an owner can control by deciding how “social” they really want to be and how much they want to do in house.
In my experience, the biggest expense today involves solving visibility problems. In other words, if someone goes to Google and searches on “funeral home <your town>” or “cremation service <your town>”, do they find your funeral home listed at the top of the Google results?
Google is the new YellowPages. Being found on page one of Google is now critically important to the success of your funeral home.
Fixing a Google visibility problem involves addressing three issues.
- Ranking your main website higher (also known as website Search Engine Optimization or SEO)
- Getting your Google My Business listing onto page one (must be in the top 3)
- Soliciting more (and higher) Google reviews so that you become the 5 star funeral home in town.
The expensive part of fixing Google visibility is that it takes a team of technical specialists. This is not something you can have your office manager take care of in between filing death certificates. It takes people who truly know the ins and outs of Google’s constantly changing processes.
A good rule of thumb is whatever you used to spend on Yellowpages ads is approximately what you can expect to spend on keeping your funeral home visible on Google. If you are in a small town fixing Google visibility will be relatively inexpensive. But if you are in a highly competitive market, Google visibility becomes an ongoing battle between you and every other funeral home in your market.
Interesting in learning how to win more calls? Pick up a copy of our new report “The Funeral Home Owner’s Guide to Winning More Calls”