The days of families needing or wanting to walk into a funeral home for the entire funeral planning process are coming to a close. Just as the days of brick & mortar shopping begins to meet a similar end. Everything nowadays is about convenience. Who can get it to me the quickest? Who allows me to do everything online, from the comfort of home? Who offers the most flexible payment options? These are the questions that shape the decisions of modern consumers. Sure, older generations still maintain loyalty to businesses who have been reliable in the past. However, young people hold much fewer allegiances, if any – opting to instead buy from companies that offer the most convenient buying experience above any other factor. For funeral homes, the new challenge is catering to these consumer habits and continually finding ways to create convenient experiences.
For funeral homes, email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach consumers. Despite all of the attention (and budget) paid to ‘newer’ platforms like social media, automation and search engine marketing – sending an email is still the most direct way to get in touch with families in your community. The only problem is getting their contact information in the first place. You see, lots of local firms struggle with creating and maintaining email lists that truly help their business. Some suffer from not being able to get enough addresses and others are burdened with too many addresses that will never result in new customers. There is some good news, though. It isn’t actually that hard to build a perfect list for your funeral home email marketing. Here are 6 helpful tips to help that will actually help you grow.
Although reviews matter to all business types, it is a far more serious affair for funeral homes. Families will always want to provide their departed loved ones with the best service they can afford, and will therefore turn to the experiences of others to make their decisions. Findings show that 59% of consumers look at two or three review sites before making a big purchase. Given that a funeral is one of the biggest financial considerations made by a family, reviews are a key part of their decisions making process.
Recently I completed my first long distance Ironman event in Cambridge, Maryland. For those of you who have heard of Ironman but do not really understand what all is involved I will briefly explain – an Ironman 140.6 mile triathlon is broken into three different sports (Swim, Bike, Run) with the swim being 2.4 miles long and often the most feared because you are alone and in a large lake or ocean. The bike is 112 miles followed by a 26.2 mile run or jog or walk or crawl. Needless to say it is a long day that starts will the swim.
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.
It was just a little over two years ago when we first introduced our funeral home social media marketing program to the death care industry. Since then, we have worked with over 100 funeral homes around North America to help them establish more meaningful relationships with the communities they serve, connect with younger demographics and showcase the more relatable side of their business.
The results have been nothing short of fantastic, with our clients growing unprecedented audiences and becoming more visible online. And as much as I would like to dedicate a post to revelling in the successes our program has had, it may be more fun to look at where the world of funeral home social media marketing is headed two years from now.
The prep room is central to every funeral business with every case being prepared for burial, cremation or transit within its walls. Business owners and managers are tasked with balancing prep room budgets to properly service the needs of the families they serve, while still maintaining high standards and profitability. Did I say profitability? Yes, I believe the prep room can be a source of profitability as the work that is performed there often plays a role in the decision to view or not to view. Often an unpleasant viewing experience will determine future decisions on if the family opts for viewing.
Let’s take a break from the business world to talk about something a little different. At FrontRunner, we normally strive to help you harness the latest technology, grow your business or market like a rock star. Today, however, we want to help you look further into one of life’s most valuable relationships. In this industry it is all too easy for us to forget about the little things in life and with Father’s Day around the corner we figured it was a great opportunity to cover a more personal topic.
Today, things change fast. The information age created a world where more has been available to us than ever before. Never before have consumers been able to access such a breadth of information and use it to their advantage. Everywhere you look, people are using multiple devices to find out what they want to know and are making increasingly stringent purchasing decisions. What does this mean for your funeral home?
As a funeral director, your first priority is to serve families and help them in their time of need. For many funeral directors though, this trait doesn’t go away when you leave the funeral home.
Many family members of funeral directors often share stories about how they’re always going out of the way to help others whenever the opportunity arises. They’re walking through a restaurant and see a rug is bunched up, they stop to fix it. An elderly woman is struggling to load her groceries in the car, they put them in the trunk for her.