In the funeral industry, providing excellent service and care for families and their loved ones comes above everything else. However, this can often mean focusing less on operations that are important to running your business. As a funeral home, marketing can play a key role in bringing in new business.
For funeral homes, understanding marketing strategies and practices can significantly improve your ability to make your funeral home a preferred place for families during their time of need. When you’re able to understand best practices and implement marketing strategies, you’ll see the difference in how families perceive your funeral homes before they even walk through the door.
Funeral home marketing operations do not have to be robust or span several channels. Simply putting in a small amount of effort can make the difference in showing how your funeral home can offer more value than your local competitors. Here’s what funeral homes need to know about different aspects of marketing operations and how they can help your funeral home stand out:
- Understanding Your Audience
- What Sets You Apart
- Business Information
- Social Media Strategies
- Website Design
- Email Marketing
- Online Advertising
- Reviews & Testimonials
- Content Marketing
Understanding Your Audience
Before you begin implementing any marketing strategies for your funeral home, you have to start by identifying and understanding your audience. For funeral directors who interact with people in the community often, you may know more about your local community and target audience than you think.
To start, think about the common questions or requests that you receive from families. Depending on your local community, certain elements of funeral services may be more popular. For example, traditional burials are more popular in the South, as opposed to growing cremation trends elsewhere in the country.
If you’re unsure of what families in your local community want in a funeral service or the demographics of who is most likely to need your services, consider conducting a survey to gather more information before you begin strategizing.
Once you know who you’re looking to serve in your community, be sure that you understand what these families want in funeral services. Then, ask yourself: Does your funeral home offer the services that your target audience wants?
What Sets You Apart
In the funeral industry, local competition can be a challenge. With so many funeral home options in an area, families can find exactly what they want—and perhaps even get a competitor to lower their prices to win their business. When you’re seeking to win families over, it’s important to know what sets you apart from other funeral homes in the area.
To understand this, start by asking families why they chose to work with your funeral home. When you ask several families, you may start to see patterns in what they saw in your funeral home. It could be that you have lower prices, an ideal location, or superior services.
As you learn why families come to you, ensure that those reasons are included in your marketing moving forward. It should be information that is easily accessible on your website, and you should be sure to mention it when families are inquiring about your services.
As a brick and mortar business, it is critical that families searching for you online can find your business information, including your phone number and address, in a simple search. The easiest way to do this is to set up a Google My Business profile.
In a few simple steps, you can register your business listing with Google Search and Google Maps, allowing customers to easily see your location, contact information, and reviews within a matter of seconds. When you make your funeral home more accessible with tools like Google and Yelp, you’ll find that families appreciate the added layer of trust and credibility that comes with simply setting up these profiles.
Additionally, keep in mind that funeral resource sites like Funeralocity can help families find what they’re looking for. Be sure that your business information is available on sites like this to give more visibility to your funeral home.
Social Media Strategies
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are some of the easiest—and free—channels to get your message across to your audience. As a funeral home, a simple strategy is usually best.
Keep in mind that social media is primarily a tool for discovery and communication. As a result, you should have active profiles on popular sites so that families can find you easily. With a couple of profiles on the popular sites, you can implement a strategy that is easy to keep up with. Here’s what to keep in mind:
- Post consistently: While you don’t need to post every day, you should make an effort to post regularly. Consider a schedule that work best for you, and stick to it. Perhaps, once per week is an ideal frequency to post.
- Interact with followers: Remember, families looking for information may visit your social media pages. Whether they have a simple question or complaint, answering these queries quickly and courteously can help your funeral home differentiate itself as families are gathering information.
- Show the experience: Social media channels should not be used to simply sell your services to families. Instead, use this as a tool to show your authenticity. By showing the actual experience families are having in your funeral home, you can give families an inside peek into what they can expect from you.
When it comes to website design, it can be overwhelming to look at templates and try to create a compelling look for your site. While there is a lot to get distracted by, there are two things to keep in mind:
- Families are price-shopping: Keep in mind that families are looking online for a funeral home before they pick up the phone or visit in-person. In addition, they are looking for concrete information to help them make the best decision for them. This includes looking for pricing information. In fact, according to the eCommerce Foundation, 88% of consumers research their buys online before making a purchase either online or in-store.
- What sets you apart: Once you’ve established what sets you apart from other funeral homes in your area, now is the time to use that information. Whether that’s lower prices, higher quality, or better service, your website is the place to highlight this.
With this is mind, here’s what you should highlight on your website:
- Transparent pricing information: Offer families pricing information upfront online, if possible. When you make this information accessible, it shows that your funeral home values transparency.
- Payment options: Just as you would show pricing information, families may want to know what payment options are available, including the option for monthly payments. For example, LendingUSA’s merchants can embed banners on their site so that families know that they have flexible payment options.
- Family experiences and testimonials: Keep in mind that families will trust the word of other families before they trust you. By collecting testimonials from families, you can display their satisfaction on your website for others to see.
- FAQs: For many people researching funeral services, they may have no idea where to start. Providing FAQs or other resources on your website can help guide families toward making the right decisions for them.
While email marketing is not as flashy as other forms of marketing, it is still one of the most effective tools you have to communicate with your audience. For example, the average email campaign open rate is 20%. While this may sound low, compare that to an average of 1-2% of social media followers that will interact with your posts.
Email is a direct line straight to the inbox, and as a result, you can get the most engagement from this tool. To start, you can engage one of many email marketing tools like Mailchimp that are low-cost and effective platforms to help you build your email list and send emails to your audience.
When building your email list, consider having a signup form in the funeral home so families may sign up as they visit. Additionally, include a signup form on your website. Once you’ve started building your list, keep your subscribers engaged by sending consistent updates and encouraging calls to action.
Advertising online can be one of the most daunting aspects of digital marketing. For funeral homes, online advertising may not be completely necessary, but if you have the budget, it can significantly increase your chances of being found by families conducting research online.
Because of the depth of online advertising, you may want to engage a marketer or developer to help navigate and manage advertising channels. Before you begin spending money, be sure that you’ve assessed your local advertising market, your competitors, and your budget.
Local advertising in Google search can be very competitive for businesses like funeral homes. For example, many families may start searching for a funeral home by searching for “funeral homes near me,” and any funeral home nearby wants to be shown at the top of that search results page. Advertising through Google Ads with a local strategy can help you beat out competitors, but it can get expensive.
Additionally, advertising through social media channels can help bring families to your website for more information. Through strategies like “remarketing” or “custom audience marketing” you can re-engage people who have already interacted with your funeral home.
Reviews & Testimonials
Keep in mind that families are far more likely to trust other families before they trust you. As a result, funeral homes should be sure to include testimonials on their website. Plus, you should be aware of 3rd party review sites and actively respond to comments that are made.
To collect testimonials for your website and other marketing materials, you can simply ask a family who has had a positive experience with you if they would be willing to give you a quote. When you do, it’s a good idea to have them sign a basic consent form to allow you to use their quote.
In addition to monitoring 3rd party review sites, you can make an impact by asking families to give a review after they’ve had a positive experience. You might include information in your funeral home, or you could send an email with a link for them to easily leave a review at your own convenience.
An often overlooked marketing strategy, known as “content marketing,” can help you add value and build trust with families. Keep in mind that families who are researching funeral homes online are looking for answers to their questions. This could be anything from how to start planning for funeral services to detailed pricing information.
Through content marketing, you can identify common questions your families are asking and give them the answers in different forms of content. This could be a webpage, a blog post, or even a video. When you engage families in this way and offer value outside of the transaction, they may be more likely to trust you and see your funeral home as a credible resource.
When it comes time for the family to make a buying decision, strong online content can give you an edge on your competitors.