Developing a comprehensive funeral home marketing plan begins with understanding the people in your community, which, in the marketing world, means conducting a market analysis. Without getting a deep sense of who these people are, you risk throwing your marketing dollars in the metaphorical fire.
By completing a market analysis, you can uncover valuable insights about the people in your community and build a marketing plan that aligns with consumers’ needs. Before diving into how to conduct a market analysis, it’s crucial to review the basics. If you’re new to marketing or need a refresher course, keep reading; otherwise, jump ahead to the sections you wish to read:
- What Is a Funeral Home Marketing Plan?
- Why a Marketing Plan Is Necessary
- Next Steps to Creating a Marketing Plan That Works
What Is a Funeral Home Marketing Plan?
Put simply, a funeral home marketing plan is your go-to-market strategy for connecting with preneed and at-need families in your community. You can connect with consumers through both digital and physical marketing channels, but in order to do so, you must find the right marketing mix for your target market.
Components of a Funeral Home Marketing Plan
Regardless of industry, a marketing plan typically consists of both digital and physical marketing channels – the ways through which you communicate with consumers. However, when you bring the industry into the conversation, the marketing channels, or touchpoints, become more specific.
For example, an e-commerce bookstore would market differently to consumers than a brick-and-mortar bookstore. The e-commerce store might rely heavily on digital touchpoints such as online display ads, social media, website and email. In comparison, the brick-and-mortar store might use a mix of digital and physical touchpoints such as word-of-mouth marketing, direct mail and customer loyalty programs.
Several examples of physical touchpoints in the funeral profession include print advertising, direct mail, sales representatives (i.e., agents) and call centers. However, as consumers have become more digitally inclined, successful funeral professionals have adapted their marketing plans to include digital touchpoints like email, websites, social media, chat and more.
Creating the right mix of digital and physical touchpoints in your funeral home marketing plan will position your funeral home business for growth and make a lasting impact on your community.
Why A Funeral Home Marketing Plan Is Necessary for Your Firm
A funeral home marketing plan backed by a thorough market analysis will give you much greater insight into your customer journey and help you establish lifetime customer value with the families you serve.
Understand Your Customer Journey
A customer journey is the path a consumer takes to become your customer. In marketing, the customer journey traditionally follows the funnel model – a model in which the consumer starts at the top, and your firm’s marketing, sales and customer service efforts funnel them to the bottom.
The first and second phases of the funnel – awareness and consideration – are the phases in which you need to nurture your consumers about the benefits of prearranging and make them aware of your funeral home. In the third stage, you need to guide your consumers to purchase, and in the final stage, you need to inspire customer loyalty.
In doing so, you can create a steady stream of potential preneed and at-need business because the bottom of the funnel feeds the top; your loyal customers will recommend your funeral home to their friends and family, and these individuals will follow the same path. If you’re successful, this cycle will continue to repeat itself.
But to create this steady stream of new opportunities, you need to understand who is in your target market and which marketing tactics – or touchpoints – will resonate most with them throughout each phase of their customer journey. Your job is to guide consumers through the funnel while positioning your funeral home as the go-to provider in your community. Becoming the go-to provider starts with recognizing the different life stages of your community and identifying the right digital and physical touchpoints to align with where a consumer is within their customer journey.
While consumers move through the phases of the funnel, how long they remain in each differs based on their personal experiences and life stages. A consumer’s personal experience and life stage influence how they shop and purchase. Similarly, their experience with your firm’s marketing, sales and customer service efforts through each phase of the funnel model impacts their purchase decision. By understanding how consumers make purchase decisions, you can best align your funeral home marketing plan to each phase of the funnel.
Using the figure below, for example, you would implement awareness-level marketing tactics (i.e., top of the funnel) for each life stage or age band – Evolving (consumers in their 30s or 40s) through the Final Stage (consumers age 85+) – but you would focus on loyalty-level tactics (i.e., bottom of the funnel) for only the Middle Stage (those ages 65-72) through the Final Stage. Why? Because consumers in the Evolving life stage are not typically ready to preplan and prearrange. However, you can – and should – market to these individuals because they could influence their parents or grandparents to prearrange.
Once you understand the purchasing behaviors of each life stage in your community, you can identify which digital and physical touchpoints to use throughout each of their customer journeys.
Digital and Physical Touchpoints
Having the right mix of digital and physical touchpoints in your funeral home marketing plan plays an important role. However, aligning them to your customer journey is more crucial because the relevancy of the message you send and the time you send it could mean the difference between gaining a new preneed customer or losing them to the funeral home down the street.
Using the results of your market analysis, you can identify the demographic and psychometric breakdown of consumers in your community, their purchasing behaviors and the digital and physical touchpoints that will resonate with them most. At Homesteaders, we equip our account executives to conduct a market analysis on your behalf and help you lay the foundation for an effective marketing plan.
Establish Lifetime Customer Value
A funeral home marketing plan built from a market analysis can help you understand your customer journey and establish lifetime customer value (LCV) – the amount of revenue an individual consumer will generate throughout every stage of life.
For one 30-year-old consumer, for example, this includes everything from helping their 65-year-old parent plan ahead to finalizing their own final expense and funeral service plans. And it’s not just the amount this consumer pays that contributes to their LCV; it’s also the referrals they generate and the positive word-of-mouth marketing they share with their friends and family members that results in additional business for your funeral home.
As more firms place a greater emphasis on LCV, also referred to as customer lifetime value (CLV), you will find it more critical to track the success of your program with an effective customer relationship management (CRM) system. The most effective CRM systems will integrate with all aspects of your funeral home operations, from your preneed carrier and case management software to your aftercare and lead generation efforts. The wealth of data you can get from an effective CRM system helps you understand the value of each consumer throughout every life stage and develop more effective, targeted messaging for each phase of the customer journey.
Next Steps: Conduct a Market Analysis
Now that we’ve laid the foundation, you’re ready to conduct a market analysis! A market analysis allows you to uncover more than the standard demographic data in your community. The insights you gain will enable you to build more meaningful connections with your families and consumers. If you're unsure how to begin, find a Homesteaders account executive who can help you determine the next steps for conducting a market analysis and developing your funeral home marketing plan.
This blog post is part of a three-part series: How to Build a Funeral Home Marketing Plan That Works. Check out the second post in the series: How to Lock Down Market Share in Your Community. Subscribe to the Homesteaders blog below to receive updates regarding new posts!