How To Build Trust With Your Families Online


Can you guess how most of your families find your funeral home?

If you guessed the Internet, you’re right. In fact, 93% of consumers start their search for products and services on Google… and that number is only growing. So when families are searching for you online, what will they find out about your funeral home? Do you have reviews on Yelp, Angies List, Google or any other review website? Will they find your funeral home on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, or are you nowhere to be seen?

If you’re not sure what you’d find when researching your funeral home, it’s time to do some inventory. Here’s how:


Google your funeral home

You can do this by typing in your funeral home’s name into the search bar. I did some research on one of my favorite funeral homes of all time, O’Connor Mortuary, and here’s what I found:

 Funeral Home Social Proof

The first thing I see when I Googled O’Connor Mortuary is that nine different people reviewed them on two different review websites, which brings me to my point… people ARE searching for and talking about your funeral home online… the question is, do they like what they’re finding?

The best way to make sure your funeral home’s online presence displays signs of trust, authenticity and great service is through the use of social proof. Now you might be asking “what the heck is social proof?” And luckily we’re here to tell you, and also show you some ways you can use social proof to gain the trust of your families online.


What is social proof?

Social proof is defined as “a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.” In simple terms, it’s the idea that if other people are doing something, and you trust those people, then you’re more likely to do that “thing” too. All kinds of industries and businesses use social proof to sell their products and services.

Take Smart Water, for example. You may have seen one of their recent commercials featuring Jennifer Aniston. Jen is smart, sexy and idolized by women everywhere. And if SHE is drinking Smart Water, this particular ad agency wants you to think that you’ll look just like Jen if you drink Smart Water, too.

Social proof is a simple concept, really. And it’s been used since the beginning of time. And now, many companies are using social proof to build trust and influence purchasing decisions online. The great news is, your funeral home can too.


6 Ways Your Firm Can Use Social Proof to Build Trust Online


1. Online reviews

Since 70% of Americans say they look at reviews before making a purchase, it’s safe to say reviews are the most important form of social proof on the web today. You might think it’s silly, but chances are someone has written a review on your funeral home before – whether it was on Google Reviews, Yelp, Bing, Yahoo Local, City Search, Angies List, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and the list goes on and on.

While you can’t necessarily control what people write about your funeral home, you can keep track of (and manage) your online reputation in these simple steps:

– Take inventory

Type in “[YOUR FUNERAL HOME NAME] reviews” on Google, as well as the review websites we listed above to see how you’re being rated online. Did you receive positive reviews or negative reviews? Either way, you’ll have to respond to both of them appropriately.

– If you received negative reviews…

Be sure to respond to them immediately, even if they’re years old! Why? Because statistics show that if a company responds to a negative review, 18% of people will become loyal customers as a result, and even roughly 33% of them will turn around a post a positive review ( the same percentage will delete the original negative review).  This shows that responding to negative reviews is ALWAYS a good thing… and can even increase your business.

– If you received positive reviews…

You should also respond to these in a timely manner. Think about it… your positive reviewers are vocal customers who are helping others decide why they should choose your funeral home. They are your biggest opportunity for growing your business – especially since 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family more than all forms of marketing.

– Come up with a game plan

After you’ve taken inventory, come up with a plan to maintain your online presence. First, you’ll want to come up with a gameplan that will encourage those who have had a positive experience with you to write a review about it. Next, you’ll want to come up with a process for monitoring and responding to both positive and negative reviews – who will be responsible for responding to them? Who will keep monitor your reviews? It’s important to lay out processes that will help you create an authentic and persuasive online presence.


According to Harvard Business Review research, a 1-star increase in Yelp leads to 5-9% growth in sales.

As you can see, reviews are incredibly important to your funeral home’s online presence. They’re one of the only ways potential families can learn more about your level of service without physically asking someone about their individual experience. So why not invest time in making sure that your online reputation is top-notch? You’ll be glad you did when a family walks into your doors and says “I read about how amazing the services you offer online”.


2. Use social sharing buttons on your website

One of the easiest ways to use social proof on your website is through social sharing tools. You can put these tools on your regular website, your blog, your social memorial websites, etc. Social sharing tools offer a way for your fans to like and share your content around the web. And the easier you make it for people to like and share your content, the easier (and faster) it will go viral on the web.

My favorite example that shows the power of social sharing is the infamous Harry Stamps obituary that went viral earlier last year. Bradford O’Keefe Funeral Home posted Harry’s obituary on his f1Connect social memorial website (below):

Harry’s social memorial website featured a Facebook sharing button on it, and more than 16,000 people shared it through Facebook, expanding the reach of Harry’s obituary and gaining him and his family national news attention. Thanks to Harry, we know how powerful putting social sharing on your website can truly be! Need help getting started with social sharing buttons? Here’s a great guide on how to add them to your website.


3. Highlight positive Twitter mentions on your website

If you’re on Twitter, I’m sure someone has tweeted something positive about your funeral home. And thanks to Twitter’s new embeddable tweets feature, you now have the ability to embed those tweets on your website. For example, ASD Answering Services gave us a shout out when we won the NFDA Innovation Award for our f1Connect Mobile Websites. If we were to create a landing page or website for our mobile websites, we could showcase this tweet on it to show our potential customers that others are a) talking about our products and b) loving them.

Here’s what an embedded tweet would look like on your website:

If you haven’t been keeping track of your brand mentions on Twitter, follow this simple guide for tracking, saving and embedding tweets on to your website. Within no time, you’ll have a handful of tweets to showcase to the world!

4. Place testimonials and quotes on your website

Testimonials are one of the most powerful ways you can show potential families that they’re in good hands. After all, these testimonials are coming from families who have turned to your funeral home during their time of need, and enjoyed their experience. By displaying testimonials or quotes on your website, you have the ability to quickly and easily gain the trust of your website visitors.

So if your funeral home didn’t just open your doors for the first time yesterday, there’s a good chance you’ve had a customer or two. Why not ask families for their feedback on their experience with you? You can ask them in-person, send them an email, or create a questionnaire that families can fill out. Once you get an awesome quote or testimonial, you can display it on your website. Just make sure to ask your families if they’re okay with you showcasing them on your website… the last thing you need is to make a happy family an angry one!


5. Incorporate statistics into your website content

Another way to provide social proof is to provide statistics that show families why they can trust you. You could provide a stat about how long you’ve been around, how many families you’ve served, how many personalized funerals you’ve offered, etc. Schoedinger Funeral Home & Cremation’s website offers a great example of this (below).

Right when you land on their website, you’ll see that Schoedinger’s has been around since 1855. That shows potential families that people in their community have trusted Schoedinger for a very, very long time. And if families have trusted Schoedinger for more than 150 years, then they must be trustworthy… and offering an experience amazing enough to keep them around for that long.


6. Highlight awards and media mentions

Has your funeral home recently received an award in your community? Did someone in the press give your funeral home an honorable mention? Then show it off on your website! The best place to do this is on your homepage, since it’s the one page you know every user who lands on your site will see. Here are a couple of examples:

You could have a section on your website that shows off your awards like Squarespace (below).

Or, you could simply display the logos of media publications who have featured you in stories:

Any way you decide to display your honorable mentions will be useful. In the end, it’s all about showing potential families that other people are recognizing you for your service.


Leverage your social proof everywhere!

Now that you know some creative ways to show families they can trust you, leverage them! Share all of those awesome testimonials, tweet about an amazing review you got from a family, or write press releases showcasing the awards you win… just try to leverage your social proof in every marketing material you send out into the world. And once your social proof starts to gain visibility, potential families will trust you before they walk in your doors. How great is that?

And don’t forget… gaining the trust of your families all starts with the right website. Click here or give us a call at 800-798-2575, ext. 5 to learn more about funeralOne’s all-in-one f1Connect Website Platform.


How are you leveraging social proof to gain trust online? Tell us in the comments below!


Skip Willoughby


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