Two women looking at a laptop

 

Written by Jacob Terranova

 

We’re living in the age of innovation, and even the funeral profession isn’t exempt from this new era of trends and change. Just look at some of the biggest changes of the past year.

 

Because innovation in small business is happening quicker than ever, it’s important for your funeral home to stay up-to-date on trends to come. For many small businesses, the rapid pace of innovation often means it’s either evolution or extinction.

 

Let’s see what 2017 has in store to make sure your funeral home is ready to embrace the change.

 

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Local and Personal Search Results

The big tech companies, like Google and Facebook, are customizing search results to show users more relevant and local information. For your funeral home, this is a good thing. But only if you’re correctly optimizing your digital assets, like your website and its content.

 

A good optimization strategy is the difference between your funeral home and a rival showing up first in the search results. Two easy steps to make sure your search results are optimized for local searching are to list and verify your business on Google and to make sure that your site is mobile-friendly (Google penalizes sites in search results that aren’t adapted to mobile, which leads us to our next point).

 

Everything Mobile

Mobile continues to be more of a priority. As we mentioned above, mobile matters for search engine rankings, but there are other reasons more people are adopting mobile platforms. As an article in Small Business Trends puts it, “there was a big push in 2016 for small businesses to ensure that their web pages were optimized for mobile browsing. This mobile friendly attitude was the first step towards being mobile-centric, but that journey is not over.”

 

A big trend in mobile will be mobile payment options. Whether paying for flowers, ordering a memorial gift, or even making a payment for funeral services, more families will want to do so from a smartphone or tablet. Small Business Trends states that “From a marketing standpoint, you not only want to offer this service (or risk missing out on possible revenue), but also advertise that it is a viable payment option.”

 

In addition to letting families pay from their mobile devices, there is so much more that can be possible for them on mobile, like planning a funeral.

 

More Millennial Appeal

In the past, many businesses — maybe even your funeral home — have neglected to appeal to millennials. And it made sense — probably very few Millennials were interested in preplanning funeral arrangements. But 2017 will mark the year that Millennials need to be embraced, not ignored.

 

Millennials now make up the largest generation and many are entering their mid to early 30s. In the coming years, it’ll be Millennials who could end up planning arrangements for their older family members. That means funeral homes will have to adapt in ways that are appealing to Millennials. Things like social media engagement, online storefronts, and mobile-friendly technology are all things Millennials have come to expect from dealing with a business, and they will expect it from your funeral home too.

 

Modern Marketing

Modern marketing tactics will continue to be an important goal to shoot for in 2017. Unlike traditional advertising methods — such as ads in the newspaper or on TV — modern marketing is based on engaging with families, earning their trust, and building a relationship with them.

 

That means focusing more on engagement through social media, creating compelling content on your website’s blog, and using video marketing — especially video, as some experts note. A HubSpot customer service survey found that 55% of consumers pay more attention and engage with videos more than any other form of advertising.

 

But don’t just put an ad on YouTube and call it a day — Ian Altman, an author and business developer, wrote an article saying “Using video to run ads today is a waste of effort. However, providing video as a source of valuable content to address issues or answer questions helps the consumer to feel like they know you better than if they had just read an article.” Check out some ideas to start creating your own successful marketing videos.

 

Cyber-Security and Data Privacy

2017 will be an important year for cyber-security for small business. A growing trend of the past year was a switch in focus by hackers, as they stopped targeting large corporations such as Target and Home Depot, and began focusing on smaller businesses — many of which remain vulnerable. Is your website safe?

 

Going Green

And no, we’re not talking about 2017’s color of the year. Becoming more eco-friendly is on the top list of goals for many small businesses in 2017. For funeral homes, going green can mean quite a few things. It could mean making efforts to ensure your facility reduces its carbon footprint in the community. Or it could mean offering families green burial options.

 

Gail Rubin, a certified funeral celebrant and personal trainer for funeral planning, said that in 2017, as more Baby Boomers have an interest in green and natural burials, that this will be “a trend to embrace.” Learn more about getting green burial certified by visiting the Green Burial Council.

 

See what funeral directors had to say themselves about trends coming in 2017.