First Impression

Everyone in business knows that first impressions are
very important.

When a family walks in your door you want them to feel
like they have entered a safe haven.

Everything they see, smell, hear, and touch helps them
to form their first impression of your funeral home.
It’s rarely a conscious decision but rather a
subconscious impression that will influence their
lasting opinion of you and your business.

Think of it as a seed that you plant in their
emotional garden. With proper nurturing your first
impression seeds will grow into positive lasting
memories. That means more satisfied customers,
more referrals, and more pre arrangements; all growing
from your first impression seeds.

Most funeral home owners put an enormous amount of
effort into making sure that their facility is
meticulously furnished, the grounds are well kept, and
their staff is well dressed; trying to
proactively manage the first impression.

However, in today’s society the first impression is
not formed when they walk in your door. It is
formed at your website.

More and more people are going to your website to
check you out before coming to your funeral
home. This is especially true if they don’t have a
strong loyalty to any specific funeral home.
They will go to each of the sites, check them out, and
form their first impression.

The restaurant industry is going through the same
transition right now. A good friend of mine has
built a very successful business building first class
websites for high end restaurants.

The bed and breakfast industry has already gone
through the transition. Ten years ago most B&B’s
built their first websites. Today they’re on their
second or third generation of website. They
know that if they want their phone to ring they have
to have a website that makes a great first
impression with their prospective guest.

The bottom line for funeral home owners is…you
absolutely MUST have a website.

But that’s not enough…(sorry)

You must have a GREAT website!

Remember one of the basic rules of marketing…if all
things are equal the deciding criteria is price.

I was working with a new client this past week and was
comparing his website to his biggest competitor’s.
They were almost identical; same layout, same basic
text, same obit program, same link for the web firm at
the bottom of the page.

Consider the first impression this makes on a family
that visits the websites. The sites are the same,
therefore the businesses are the same…if all things
are equal the deciding criteria is price.

Over and over again I’ve seen funeral home owners
spend a small fortune renovating their facility
yet they still have a website that was built in 1999
with only a few updated pictures.

This is a huge marketing mistake!

The goal of marketing is to carefully lead people down
a path. At the beginning of the path they have no
allegiance to you but they may need the services of a
funeral home. At the end of the path they have become
a loyal customer of your firm.

The path used to begin in the yellow pages but those
days are over.

Today’s path begins at your website. Compared to a
building renovation project, a website project
is dirt cheap. That’s where people form their first
impression so that’s where you need to put your
attention first.

But I have to warn you…a website project is not
easy. In fact, it can be an extremely frustrating
project to work on.

First there is the issue of knowledge. You are a
funeral director and a business owner not a
website expert. You have to trust that the web firm
you choose to work with is going to take you
down the right path.

Next, there is the issue of time. Unless you are
willing to accept a cookie cutter website you
have to be prepared to manage the web firm very

And finally, there’s the issue of cost. Frankly, I
believe that some of the funeral home website
companies charge way too much for a website that looks
out of date the day they launch it.

If you are considering a website project within the
next year, I highly recommend that you watch a web
presentation that Rob Heppell from is putting on next Friday
October 23rd.

The title of the presentation is “Seven Costly
Mistakes Other Funeral Home Owners Make When
Hiring a Web Development Firm”.

I have reviewed the mistakes with Rob and I could not
agree with him more. Here’s the link to register for
the event.

If you register for the event Rob will send you a
special audio recording that I did for him
called “The 6 Golden Rules of Website Content”. It’s
about 25 minutes of really good information
and you get it at no charge just for registering.

Rob is also going to record the web seminar so even if
it does not fit in your schedule you should register
and he will send you the replay link so that you can
watch it later.

The first impression your families get of your funeral
home is at your website. You might argue and say that
this doesn’t happen in my town. To which I would is only a matter of time.

In today’s internet driven world you need a great
website…but there’s no reason to over pay!

Here’s the link again to register for the event.

PS: I am going to be presenting at the Funeral
Director Services Association of Greater Chicago
event on November 4th. If you are in the Chicago area
be sure to attend.

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