We all know it, funeral home marketing is tricky. Everyday at FrontRunner we hear from industry professionals that want to improve their marketing efforts and increase engagement with families. Some firms struggle with using social media and others are simply unsure how to market their services without being in “sales” mode. While it may seem important to spread the word about funeral home offerings, families do not always want to hear, talk or even think about death. Regardless, they will eventually need your services. So how do you connect with them in the meantime?
Consumers like what is familiar and nothing is more powerful than a great reputation. Instead of trying to attract business to your funeral home, establish long lasting relationships, become a more active member of your community and most importantly, treat everyone that comes through your door as if they were a family you serve. In order to help you get started, here are 5 easy ways to improve your funeral home marketing, drive more organic engagement with families and build a reputable local brand.
Don’t stress, most businesses have no idea how to engage with their target audience through social media. Something about “having” to act naturally causes people to do exactly the opposite. Instead of going out of your way to create social content, just be yourself. All the selfies, funny quotes and links to interesting articles you post to your personal page, may also belong on your funeral home social media pages. These types of posts allow people to see the person behind the suit. It is important to remember that most people have no idea what it is like to plan a funeral, celebration of life or memorial service, so relating to a funeral director is difficult but they relate to “humans” every single day. Give people in your community a chance to get to know you and relate with the content you are putting out there.
If you need an example of how this works, think about your personal life. In today’s world, you have what seems like 200 things to do in any given day. As a result, you see your friends a little less often than you used to. But in the connected world, do you really feel like you miss a beat on what’s happening in their lives? Thanks to social media, you see what they do all of the time. You can go a full year without seeing them, meet up for coffee and pick up right where you left off. THAT is the power of social media. And you need to do this for your brand – make them know you and trust you, before even getting the chance to meet you. If this is done right, who do you think they will call when they need your services?
I am by no means suggesting that the local baseball team needs to be sponsored by your funeral home, but hey, it could. However, keep your ear to the ground about important community events. For a great example, check out what Neil Bardal Inc. is doing in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Maybe there is a way for you to participate or donate money to a great cause. This is very much an old fashioned method of getting your business out there as a firm that cares about the community and its people. Take every opportunity to get involved. More importantly, tell people about it. Remember, there are thousands of people online watching you and there might be only 100 in a room. Show everyone that you are part of your community, not just the people in attendance.
Much like sponsoring events, it is important to always put your best foot forward. Whether you are making a trip to the grocery store or going out for dinner, always talk with people and really get to know the people in your service area. While I don’t suggest bringing up pre-arrangement in the check out line at Costco, don’t be afraid to shake every hand you can. If people have a good impression of you, again, they will be more likely to call you when they are in need. This is funeral home marketing without spending a dime.
Whether it be online or at the community fair, make sure you know (and talk) about the issues that really matter to the people in your community. It is important to care about what they find interesting and by making a point of knowing these things, you equip yourself with the ability to relate with them every chance you get. Instead of exchanging passing pleasantries, talk about the hottest news stories or the local election. This will give you even more opportunity to leave people with great impressions about you, and by extension, your funeral home.
Last but not least, do not be so serious all of the time. It should come as no surprise that people have plenty of misconceptions about funeral directors. This may be the result of pop culture, stereotyping or distorted childhood experiences. None of that is within your control. What you can control is how people see YOU. Smile, bring your sense of humour everywhere you go and don’t be afraid to lighten the mood when it comes to the subject of your industry. Make people feel good and this too will do wonders for your business. Make them focus on the years spent living, not just on that one single day a family member passes. Celebrate all that happens in life…with them!
Are you noticing a pattern here? All of the suggestions I have made involve getting your personal visibility up as a way to keep your funeral home brand top of mind. Your personal reputation can be a positive asset to your business and it is a way to be successful with your funeral home marketing without spending any money. The more people get to know you, like you and remember you, the more likely they are to eventually choose your funeral home. It is that simple. What are you currently doing to stand out in a crowded world? Leave your comments below to let everyone know how you make your brand personal.
Brandon is the Marketing Communications Manager at FrontRunner Professional. He holds a Social Sciences degree from McMaster University and a Graduate Certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications from St. Lawrence College. His creative writing and innovative ideas bring new life to the company, FrontRunner’s clients and funeral directors world-wide.