There are likely many parallels in the process of a funeral home owner deciding when and how to more actively promote pre-need, to how and when a consumer decides they wish to prearrange. In a May 2015 Homesteaders Life Company study of its policy owners, 34% of the participants reported waiting a year or more to prearrange after they first considered it.
The three most prominent triggers to prearrange include: “the death of a friend or family member” (23%), “finally knew the arrangements I wanted” (17%) and “finally had the money to do it (13%). These facts are important to consider in understanding how to market pre-need, but a funeral home owner or manager must first consider if he or she has the resources and skills to effectively meet the growing demand for advance funeral planning in the community. Here are three signs that you might need help from a pre-need marketing organization.
1. You are unable to meet immediately with families who walk in or call to prearrange.
For under-resourced funeral homes, this is a chronic problem. Successful funeral home owners know that every family’s need to plan a funeral must be treated as a priority, regardless of when the funeral might take place. Working with a pre-need marketing partner allows funeral directors to focus on day-to-day operations and casework while being confident that families who need to prearrange are getting the attention they demand and deserve.
2. You are doing some marketing, but cannot promptly follow up when people respond.
When a consumer “raises a hand” in response to an effective marketing message, the first opportunity to demonstrate quality service is a prompt response. Marketing responses should be treated like first calls — here is someone who is interested in planning a funeral and has called upon you! Working with a pre-need marketing partner helps ensure your firm appears responsive and willing to help people who wish to plan a funeral under any circumstance.
3. You are noticing other area funeral homes are serving families who traditionally have chosen your firm.
This can be a combination of factors, not the least of which is failing to remain connected to families you have served — even prearrangement families whose services may not be delivered for some time. From memorial events to grief support and helping with “next steps” after planning in advance, you have plenty of relevant and helpful things to communicate. Call it “aftercare for everyone.” Marketing partners offer robust programs that can help turn your client families into advocates who recommend your firm because you help them in ways that transcend the time you spend helping them plan a funeral.
Even if you feel you are not under-resourced, a marketing partner can help create strategies and plans that achieve long-term success. If your goal is to be the top consumer choice and most recommended funeral home in your community, this might be the answer for you. Contact your account executive to learn more about Homesteaders-affiliated marketing partners.
Dean Lambert is the Senior VP - Marketing & Communications for Homesteaders Life Company. He is a frequent presenter at funeral association events and has published numerous articles on funeral home marketing and PR. Click here to learn more about the leadership team at Homesteaders.