By Welton Hong, Ring Ring Marketing
Mimicry is a biological phenomenon in nature. Organisms evolve to mimic each other for assorted reasons, including protection against predators, ability to attract a mate, or help in securing resources. For example, many insects mimic their more toxic brethren to reduce their risks of being eaten by birds.
Here’s how that relates to promoting your cemetery: Mimicry happens in online marketing too! It’s one reason the space can be so competitive. Everyone in your niche might be creating content to target the same keywords, connect with the same families, and answer the same questions.
But you’re not just competing with other cemeteries for attention online, and knowing exactly what makes digital marketing so competitive is the first step to securing better engagement from potential clientele.
SEO Can Feel Cutthroat
Showing up on search engine results pages (SERPs) can be harder than it sounds, and it takes an actual concerted effort to show up on the first page. The first page of Google results typically includes the top 10 organic results for each query as well as Google answer boxes, map results, GMB profiles, and paid search ads.
Unless you’re in an exceptionally large city or a highly competitive market, it’s true that ranking for “cemetery near me,” or another purely local search for the term “cemetery,” isn’t too tough.
However, it’s lot harder to be ranked well for “cremation,” “funeral services,” “funeral preplanning,” and other terms people often search—and for which you definitely want your cemetery to be ranked.
The links on the first page of Google get almost all of the clicks for any given search. The top organic link alone gets around 30 percent of the clicks on average.
A little over half of all website traffic in the world comes from Google organic search traffic. That means the pages showed up in Google search results and people clicked those results to arrive on the site.
And yet around 90 percent of pages on the internet never get any organic search traffic. Another 5 percent of pages only get around 10 clicks a month. That means 5 percent of pages are getting virtually all of the search traffic every month.
For cemeteries, the question is this: How do you compete well enough online that you’re getting a good portion of the clicks for searches relevant to your niche and/or location?
You Compete Against Other Content Online
First, you must understand what you’re competing against and how the competition works. Many people make the mistake of thinking once the click is won, the competition is over. It is not.
No one comes to your cemetery’s website from a vacuum. Anyone arriving there has been on other websites—and possibly other deathcare sites. That’s especially true for individuals interested in preneed services, as they may be conducting research and shopping around for options. After all, more than 90 percent of consumers say they sometimes start online to conduct research when making purchases, and more than half say they always do.
For deathcare content marketing, that means every visit to a page has tension. Part of that tension occurs when the consumer consciously or subconsciously compares the page with all other pages they’ve seen—or at least the most recent pages they’ve interacted with.
If your site doesn’t function well and include relevant, well-written content, it could lose out to sites cataloged in the person’s memory.
For example, imagine a consumer searching for information on the cost of a granite niche for a loved one’s remains. They’ve already seen a page that breaks the information down by category and item. Your page only gives an overall average and then invites the consumer to contact you for more information.
Which page is likely to win out in the consumer’s mind? In this case, your page might be made more competitive by breaking down costs in the same way other firms do and including something extra, such as tips for controlling costs or keeping plans within budget.
Your Pages Compete Against the Promise of Other Content
As if actual competition wasn’t enough, cemetery content can also compete with the idea of other content. Internet users have been trained to expect instant gratification, and if they don’t find what they want or need quickly on your pages, better answers may be just a click or swipe away.
This is one reason page speed is so important. Pages that take three seconds to load can experience 32 percent higher bounce rates (people leaving the page almost immediately) than pages that take only one second to load. It only takes those two extra seconds for consumers to get FOMO (fear of missing out) and think about clicking away to see what other cemeteries have to offer.
Consumer Attention Is in Demand Everywhere
Online marketing doesn’t just compete with online factors. Your messaging must rise above the day-to-day distractions in the consumer’s environment. The TV might be on in the background and capture the person’s attention. The kids, a spouse, or a coworker might call for attention. The oven bell might ding, the telephone ring, or a delivery driver knock on the door.
You obviously can’t control these factors any more than you can control what your competition posts online. Stick to what you can control: your own content.
Here are some tips for eclipsing the competition:
- Have (and clearly communicate) your unique value proposition. What makes your cemetery different from the others, and why should families pick you for preplanning or immediate needs?
- Use a journalistic approach. Don’t bury the lead on your pages. Use the title, first few paragraphs, and scannable subheadings to convey the most valuable information and quickly engage users.
- Pay attention to page performance. Ensure pages load quickly, work on screens of all sizes, and are immediately visually appealing.
- Create comprehensive cemetery-focused content that does more than mimic. SEO and content automation tools can do a lot when it comes to suggesting topics, keywords, and even outlines. But everyone else might be using those tools as well. Ensure you’re putting your own spin on content or adding your own unique information and thoughts. Otherwise, your page will look like a copycat of everything else—and that’s not competitive at all.
Welton Hong is the founder/CEO of Ring Ring Marketing, which specializes in marketing for cemeteries and other deathcare firms, and the author of Making Your Phone Ring with Internet Marketing for Cemeteries.