Funeral service has changed more in the last 3 years than in the rest of its history, combined. Consumer’s expectations and habits are changing at lightning-fast speed. Years ago, Families chose your firm because a family member before them did, they read newspapers with your obituaries in them and they actually spoke to each other – not just via text message.
Now, their entire world fits in their hand through a connected, little device known as a smartphone. They use it to Google the answers they’re looking for, they fast-forward through TV commercials, stream music and only use the Yellow Pages book to start a campfire – not to get in touch with local businesses. They keep up with the world around them through Facebook and other social media networks. As a funeral professional, your head is left spinning and you’re left wondering how to keep up and stay in their forefront.
To date, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching close to 10,000 funeral professionals at 40+ funeral conventions. I’ve been asked questions that are actually quite common across the audiences, and at FrontRunner, I’ve built a team that now manages more than 100 firms social media marketing strategies. So, I really should have called this post ‘Lessons from Experience’ because getting funeral home marketing right isn’t going to happen on day one. It takes trial and error. And plenty of it. However, some mistakes are more common than others – one in particular that doesn’t take much to fix.
What Is The Biggest Funeral Home Marketing Mistake?
Running Facebook marketing without a well thought out strategy. It’s happens on Facebook and many small businesses (not just funeral businesses), make the same mistake, but they don’t have to.
It’s no secret that small business owners and employees tend to wear 15 different hats. In fact, funeral home marketing, in general, is rarely done by a trained marketer, instead it’s done by the same person taking care of families, the deceased and the building. As a result, the biggest opportunity to grow the business, gets pushed to the back burner for when they have time, and often when that time comes, there’s really no strategy.
Think about it. Home builders don’t start building a home without detailed blueprints. Apple doesn’t release it’s next iPhone without planning for months in advance. So why do your funeral home marketing on Facebook without a plan?
You’ve heard of the saying ‘if you fail to plan then you plan to fail’. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to marketing. The biggest mistake funeral homes make when it comes to Facebook marketing is jumping in without a plan, which usually leads to only posting obituaries, sharing inspirational quotes or posting once every 3-6 months.
Knowing which strategies to use and what content to publish can be a struggle for the average funeral home. After all, you’re trained to take care of families, not market your business on the Internet. The number one rule when it comes to Facebook, and social media marketing in general, is that you must be relatable and authentic. So build a strategy founded on making your funeral home a source for content that is relatable, authentic and approachable. It will go a long way towards ensuring that you see tons of engagement and traction on Facebook.
Very few people can relate to a funeral director in a suit. Why? Because funerals, and more specifically death, are historically a taboo topic. However, the man or woman who is from the same town, who coaches his or her sons baseball team, eats at the same local restaurants and knows the same people in the community is very relatable. Use social media to break down the walls. Use it as a tool to educate and inspire your community and always remember that they might not need funeral services today, but if you do your job right and show up over and over again where they spend their time (on Facebook), they’ll know exactly who to turn to when they do need funeral services.
Step one, have a strategy based on good, relatable content. Step two, enjoy connecting with more people online and building relationships with families before they ever need to call you. It is really that easy.
Luckily, there are free tools available so your business knows exactly how many people you can reach on Facebook (or any on social media network) and how much it will cost. With Facebook advertising you can send one message to a male who is under 45 years old, and a different message to a female that is over 60 at the exact same time, something you can’t do with traditional forms of advertising. Reaching thousands of people through Facebook doesn’t cost thousands of dollars, it costs pennies. That is powerful, and affordable funeral home marketing.
Need Some Help building Your Funeral Home Facebook Strategy?
FrontRunner manages social media for over 100 firms – everything from developing the strategies and creating the content to monitoring everything on their behalf. So we’ve seen just about everything. If you want to have some guidance when building your funeral home Facebook strategy, or building your social media presence across multiple channels, we would love to help. Even further, maybe you have realized that you will never have the time to do it yourself – don’t worry, we can do it for you.
Either way, no one will ever know your business better than you. So you will be the most important piece to mapping out a social media strategy for your firm. All it takes is a little planning and getting help in the right places.
Ashley Montroy, Marketing Director at FrontRunner Professional, has committed herself to helping funeral professionals understand and excel in today’s digital age. With a long-standing history in the funeral business and her father being a licensed funeral director for over 30 years; she grew up learning the family funeral business. Ashley holds a bachelor’s degree from Carleton University and diploma from Algonquin College. Today, she continues to speak to over 15 state and provincial funeral association groups each year on funeral marketing in the digital age and protecting funeral firms online using experiences and examples from working with thousands of funeral homes in North America through FrontRunner Professional.