During this busy time of year, calendars are quickly filling with community events. Getting your firm involved in those events can have a significant impact on your funeral home marketing, providing opportunities to interact with local influencers who may recommend your services to an even larger audience. Sticking with the same event routine every year – or opting out entirely – isn’t likely to help you earn referrals and new business.
So how do you decide which events to get involved with – and when you do get involved, how do you help ensure that your efforts are successful? These tips can help you plan your event sponsorship or participation and engage with your community during and after the event.
When to Get Involved
Deciding which community events to get involved with – especially if you’re fortunate enough to have a very active community – isn’t always as straightforward as it seems. When you have to make tough choices to stay within your budget and accommodate schedule constraints, consider these questions:
- Does the event provide an opportunity to educate the community about what your firm does (such as offering exhibit space or a guest presentation)?
- Does the event provide a chance to build stronger relationships with other businesses and organizations in the community?
- Does the event support a cause or organization that’s relevant to your funeral home’s mission and values?
When people are passionate and knowledgeable about a cause, it shows – which is something to keep in mind as you consider which staff members to involve with the event. Matching your community involvement activities with your staff members’ interests can also create a more rewarding funeral home workplace environment.
Before the Event
Establishing good communication with the event’s organizers is vital, especially if this is your first year participating in or sponsoring an annual event. Get clear guidance on who is responsible for each of the tasks associated with your part of the event. If you’ll have a table display at an informational fair, for example, find out what will be provided for you and what you’ll be expected to set up on your own. For sponsorship opportunities, ask what logos, graphics and messaging will be needed and the deadlines for submitting that content.
Take an active role in promoting the event through your funeral home social media, on your website and through your other ongoing marketing activities. Encourage the event’s organizers to create a Facebook event if they haven’t already, and ask if they will add your funeral home’s Facebook Page as a co-host.
During the Event
Create opportunities for as much interaction with your staff and your funeral home brand as possible. If the event involves an exhibit space, for example, give attendees a reason to stop by that will lead to a positive experience. You might consider giving away inexpensive items branded with your logo or setting up a drawing to win a larger prize. Your firm could also collaborate with event staff and other community businesses that are participating in the event to create a scavenger hunt with items located throughout the exhibit space.
Also consider how you can establish an ongoing relationship with people who attend the event. Does your firm offer a grief support newsletter? Provide a way for people to easily sign up at the event. Do you host your own events throughout the year? Print out calendars to distribute for easy reference. Want to share the benefits of advance funeral planning with more families? Make it simple for them to request more information or set up a meeting during the event.
After the Event
When the chaos of the event is over, it can be easy to forget one of the most important parts: the follow-up. To stay top of mind, you need to act on those positive interactions you had with people who were interested in what they learned about your services.
It’s also important to monitor the effects of the event and attribute any new business you may have earned as a result of the event. You might find it worthwhile to apply a retrospective process to evaluate how your event went and what you could do differently in the future.
What lessons have you learned from participating in community events? Share your thoughts in the comments below.