In every city and town, whether the population is larger or smaller, there are certain local businesses that are always top of mind. Now, I’m not talking about national chains like McDonalds or Apple. Don’t kid yourself, brands like that are successful for a reason. If you’re traveling for instance, you know what to expect when you visit a McDonalds. They’re essentially wash, rinse, repeat. You can expect the same quality of service and products at every location.
I’m referring to locally-owned businesses, not unlike a funeral home for example.
Looking back at my childhood, I can still hear the radio jingle for a local waterpark or the funny television ads a pawn shop always had running on the local stations.
There’s a reason that even though I moved away from my hometown nearly a decade ago that I still remember them. They built brands that stayed top of mind.
Sometimes, I see or hear something that triggers a memory and I find myself wondering how they’re doing. When I go home for holidays or to visit and hear those ads played, it’s very nostalgic. Even though I may not need their services, I’m never going to forget those businesses – and I’d be lying if I said that their advertising and branding didn’t work.
Your funeral home advertising and branding
So how do you do that exactly?
You need to develop a marketing strategy that brands your funeral home to stand out. You need to set goals that:
Sounds easy enough right? Here are some tips for how you can accomplish these goals with your funeral home marketing strategy.
Your audience is ultimately who you’re trying to sell your services to. They’re the most important factor in your success. That’s why it’s important to make them the primary focus of your marketing strategy.
Who are these people? What do they want from you? Are they more concerned about finding a firm that’s been in business for 75 years? Or are they more concerned about how they’re going to handle the different relatives coming to stay at their home, settling the estate, and managing their grief? All on top of completing the funeral arrangements.
Chances are it’s the latter. If this is the case, messaging like “we help you celebrate life” or “we take care of the details for you” is probably going to do better than “family owned for 75 years”.
Now promoting your years of experience isn’t something you shouldn’t do. It just shouldn’t be your main selling point. Experience can help establish trust.
You just need to think about your customers and what their needs are. How can you help them solve those problems and what does that messaging need to include? Answer that, and you’re well on your way to building a great brand.
Once you’ve taken a good hard look a who your customers are, take a look at yourself. What’s your competitive advantage? What does your firm do better than every other funeral home in
To do this, sit down and try to answer the following questions honestly and openly.
Once you answer these questions, try to find a few traits that you think will most resonate most with your target audience. Maybe your funeral home does cost a little more, but you cater to wealthier families that are looking for high-end services. If so, let the other guys promote offering “low cost” and “affordable services”. That’s not what your target audience is looking for.
Whatever the case is, find your unique selling point and build a marketing plan around that. Your competitive advantages are what set you apart. Be proud of that and make sure to let people know.
Once you understand your audience and competitive advantage, it’s time to establish your messaging. You want your brand to be memorable. That start’s by being consistent. As you deliver your message across different channels through print or digital, consistency is key for funeral home marketing success.
How do you stay consistent across you funeral home marketing and advertising?
Research has shown that creating an emotional connection is a proven way to sway a buyer’s decision. Look at Apple, they’re the perfect example of a company that uses emotion to influence their customers and build trust. Their branding is clean, simple, and creates a desire to become part of a movement of lifestyle.
Understandably, funeral home marketing is a little different than what Apple does, but the point remains the same. If you can create an emotional connection with a consumer, you can start to form trust and eventually loyalty.
Consider this ad from P&G. It’s one of the most shared ads of all time and the perfect example of emotional marketing and branding.
The ad doesn’t really talk about their products at all. Instead, it creates an emotional connection showing moms supporting their children. In the end, they connect it to their business by implying that moms help children and they help moms.
Now doing something like this as a locally owned funeral home might be hard. But there are plenty of other ways to establish an emotional connection with families in your community.
One such way is to include local landmarks and scenery on your website and in images you share. Another way is to showcase your staff and the people that will serve the family. When people can see that your business is a part of the community and not just a business operating in the community, they begin to build trust. One study by the Better Business Bureau found that 84% of consumers surveyed said they’re more likely to trust a local or small business.
Here are a few examples of some of our clients whose funeral home websites do a great job of using local imagery.
Imagery isn’t the only way to create an emotional connection with people. Think back to that start of this blog post about understanding your audience. Remember the example of a person thinking about everything they need to do before the service.
In that example, the person needs someone who can help them handle the arrangements because they have so many other things to worry about as well. In this instance, you could create an emotional connection by showing you understand what they’re experiencing and how you can help personalize the service for them.
A great way for locally owned businesses to build a strong brand is to show off the people behind it. People buy from those they can trust. You can start to establish that trust by including your staff in your marketing efforts.
This can be done by including them in social media posts showing what goes on behind the scenes. Have your staff included in advertisements and get involved with community events. Hold local events and give people a chance to meet your staff. By doing so, you can start to build positive relationships between your team and the community.
One thing to keep in mind is that each member of your team needs to understand the messaging and branding you want to convey. Make sure to spend some time training them on messaging about your competitive advantage. Ensure they understand the unique voice of your brand and what the goals of your firm are.
If you have any questions about building a brand for your funeral home, make sure to reach out and schedule a strategy session. Whether it’s helping you plan a funeral home marketing strategy or keeping your branding consistent across different channels, we’d love to help you reach your goals. Contact us today to get started!
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Tommy holds a Communications degree from Laurentian University and an Integrated Marketing Communications Graduate Certificate from St. Lawrence College. He is a Content Marketing Specialist at FrontRunner and focuses on producing engaging content that funeral homes can use to connect with families. In addition, Tommy crafts SEO content for clients and specializes in helping the general public connect with the death care industry as a whole.