Are new competition and the diversity of digital marketing leaving your funeral home business behind? Here are some marketing tips and strategies that will get you back on track.
The funeral home and memorial service industry is in a unique position when it comes to marketing. It’s a service that everyone eventually needs while also being one many assiduously avoid.
That leaves you with a range of potential clients. Some may be relatively young but wanting to pre-plan their services. Others are family members dealing with an unexpected event, scrambling as they deal with funeral details, family arrangements, and grief.
Memorial services have become a far more varied product, with more desire for personalized services that often fall well outside the traditional.
A funeral home website plays many roles, from salesperson to consultant to obituary publication. Social media adds to the mix, leaving most funeral businesses with more communication channels than they can handle.
Here is a guide that will help you gain some perspective on funeral home marketing in the digital era, with strategies and tactics that will earn you more clients.
Funeral Home Marketing Idea #1: Develop a Superior Website
Funeral home websites play an important role in both winning new business and providing services to existing clients.
One of the biggest changes from the past is that most funeral homes publish obituaries on their websites. Since print newspapers are all but extinct, this service is best provided by the funeral home.
Obituary pages also become part of the memorial, where family and friends post images and share memories.
New, prospective clients gain a first impression of you on your website as they get information and view images of your facilities.
Bottom line is that you need an elegant, modern, functional website for your funeral home. Here is an example mockup from Websites 360:
Today’s website designs must be mobile responsive; you can expect more than half your traffic to be on mobile phones.
Since funeral homes provide a local service, make sure your address and contact information are easy to find. Include your phone number in your header, and embed a Google map of your location on your contact page.
A clean, functional design goes a long way towards persuading visitors you’re the best choice for them. Make sure your website is making an outstanding first impression.
Funeral Home Marketing Idea #2: Content Marketing
Funeral arrangements are something most of us remain ignorant about until a need either looms on the horizon or is suddenly thrust upon us. As new clients approach memorial service businesses, many need guidance on their options.
You can earn trust, fill information gaps, and start the sales process for your funeral home all while providing information people need as they make their arrangements.
This is called content marketing. You can use your website blog, website articles, email newsletters, videos, and downloads to inform and nurture prospective clients.
For example, many funeral homes offer a report on funeral pre-planning. This is usually a download that requires people to leave an email. From there, you can send a newsletter with advice, updates, and links to your latest blog articles.
The challenge with content marketing is creating the content. For mainstay content like a PDF on pre-planning, you might want to hire a professional writer. For tidbits you share on your blog, social media, and email, you can write it yourself.
Think of this content as an ongoing FAQ. The more you can provide answers to people, the more you’ll encourage them to work with you.
Pro Tip: Create An Infographic
For visual learners, infographics work well. For example:
Funeral Home Marketing Idea #3: Offer Personalized Funeral Home Services
One of the strongest areas to market funeral services today is with personalization, where the memorial service is more a reflection of the life and personality of the loved ones than a traditional, religious ceremony.
Today, this is not a surprising trend. The digital world we live in allows for much more personalized content in our lifestyles. Social media lets people publish, in many respects, the story of their lives. We expect more personalization from our online experiences, shopping, entertainment, tools, and spirituality. No wonder people want to see this more in memorial services.
Likewise, there are increasing trends towards secular services. There are many families who seek the power of a spiritually focused memorial service but do not have a religious affiliation – and do not desire a religiously focused service. They want a memorial that fits their loved one’s life and is comfortable as well as touching for those in attendance.
All of this points to a strong marketing and branding opportunity for today’s funeral homes. Many funeral homes have not moved from the more traditional presentation of their services. They remain rooted in a conservative, serious tone, and only offer personalized services as a sideline.
However, the opportunity to differentiate your funeral home as one that specializes in unique, personalized services that help people celebrate life is an open market. It’s the type of offering that lends itself to many of today’s more useful marketing strategies, such as social media.
For example, a few years ago a drive-through funeral home would have been considered unseemly. Today it’s growing in popularity.
You can imagine how personalized the services of coming generations will be, as their Facebook friends, selfies, online writing and videos are used as a collage of their lives. Many services will likely move away from churches as people consider what they want to do for a memorial outside of religious traditions.
Funeral are somber occasions framed by our grief, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t many ways to properly remember our loved ones in a spirit they would have appreciated.
Personalized funeral services tap into this need, and open a considerable marketing opportunity for an intrepid funeral home.
Funeral Home Marketing Idea #4: Create an Introductory Video
You can get a lot of mileage out of a video commercial that introduces your services and gives a visual tour of your facilities. For example:
Embed this video on your homepage and optimize it for search on YouTube. Also, use it on your Facebook page.
In less than a minute, you can get your most important point across.
Funeral Home Marketing Idea #5: Master Search Marketing
Many people looking for funeral services will start out by getting on their phone and asking Google.
The two mainstays of Google and Bing for paid and organic search are still vital to your online funeral home marketing.
PPC advertising tends to work better as direct-response with short, to the point copy. Because you’re bidding on position, these ads will rank at the very top of search results. And because you’re paying for each click, you want to try to target people who are more likely to convert right away.
For SEO, consider content meant to connect with the online researcher trying to figure out their funeral and memorial service options. Use blog articles to rank for longer, research-based keyword phrases. Showcase your expertise and use this content to develop a sense of trust. The more content you create, the better your website (including your Google local listing) will rank.
Set up and optimize your Google My Business page. This is a free listing that connects to Google Maps. It’s the primary way that Google knows where your service area is so you come up for local searches. Optimize your descriptions with keywords and try to get customer reviews to increase your ranking.
Funeral Home Marketing Idea #6: Manage Your Reputation and Reviews
Today, consumers are more inclined than ever to base their decisions on what they hear from previous customers of a business.
This “word of mouth” is expanded online by reviews. People publish reviews of business on sites like Top Rated Local, Yelp, Google and even Facebook.
In many ways, this review content is your most influential marketing material. A positive profile is helpful, and a negative one just as harmful.
A look at Google Places listings shows just how prominent this content is:
Most funeral homes don’t have a lot of trouble getting clients to leave reviews. People are appreciative and relieved after the service is over, so if all went well you can follow up and ask for a review.
Also, use testimonials on your website so people see positive, real comments from clients right away.
The best way to ensure a positive review profile is to exceed people’s expectations. Today, your service levels are themselves a part of your marketing.
Funeral Home Marketing Idea #7: Use Facebook
Many funeral homes are finding that Facebook is useful for their marketing.
First, because so many people are on Facebook today, posts work well as obituary notices. They are an easy way for family and friends to share the link to your page so people can add memories.
Funeral homes can also post on events (like Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day) to offer positive messages to their followers.
As we mentioned, Facebook is a good place to put reviews, your video, and other business details. An increasing number of consumers check business Facebook pages before websites, and many of them will use messenger to contact the business.
All of this is free, so it’s worth it to set-up and maintain your Facebook page.
Funeral Home Marketing Idea #8: Get the Right Digital Marketing Support
As you mull these ideas over, you may come to the conclusion that online marketing is too involved to manage on your own.
You’re right. With all these channels and evolving technology, it’s difficult to run a business and keep up.
But you can put technology to work for you as well. Marketing 360® software takes all these platforms, tools and data and puts them onto one software interface. Here’s an overview:
We also have marketing executives that will dial in your strategy and execute the daily tactics so you know you’re getting the content creation and marketing exposure you need to grow your business.
Contact us today for a free demo and website mockup. With the right marketing in place, you can become the most successful funeral home service in your area.