With all of the responsibilities that funeral directors must navigate every day, it’s not surprising that marketing activities aren’t always a top priority. This may be especially true in communities that don’t have many funeral home options – it can be tempting to think that families will continue to use your firm if they always have in the past.
But it’s important for funeral professionals to pay close attention to the marketing efforts, especially as consumers become more likely to research their options before making a decision. You stand to gain more than you probably think by focusing on funeral home marketing, and here are a few of the reasons why:
You offer important services.
When it comes to marketing, funeral directors face a challenge that many other service providers don’t: you’re offering services that most people don’t want to think about. Unless a person has recently experienced the death of a loved one, or is suffering from a serious illness, funeral planning probably isn’t top of mind.
Even if most people don’t want to think about funeral planning, it’s something that everyone should consider – because it will eventually affect all of us. As a funeral professional, you’re providing important services that your community needs. You’re uniquely qualified to spread the word about what options are available to families – and by doing so, you can demonstrate your firm’s unique value offering.
Consumers want information before they decide.
As the demand for personalization and technology integration in funeral services increases, you’ve probably already experienced changes in your client families’ needs. Have you considered how these changes also impact how consumers get information about your funeral home?
You can provide an excellent experience for your client families while they’re gathering information about funeral service providers – which, more and more often, starts with an online search instead of a phone call. It’s worth evaluating how you are presenting your firm online and how you can customize your efforts to satisfy your customers’ needs. As a starting point, take some time to look at your website and social media accounts through your customers’ eyes and consider the following:
- What are some of the most common questions you receive from your client families, and would it be easy for a person to find the answers to these questions on your website?
- Do you clearly explain your pre-need and at-need services on your website, or will client families be forced to call you to find out what you offer?
- What are other people saying about your funeral home online (through review sites and on your social media pages)?
- After comparing your website and social media pages to those of your competition, which funeral home do you think a family will feel more comfortable calling?
Serving families in the future isn’t guaranteed.
Although having more information available is a great opportunity for your firm, it also makes it easier for consumers to consider your competitors. This is yet another reason why it’s so important to establish ongoing relationships with the families in your community through marketing activities.
In a 2015 survey of Homesteaders policy owners, we asked respondents to tell us how many funeral homes they considered making arrangements with. The results showed that the amount of consumers who considered only one funeral home has declined significantly since our previous survey in 2013. If you’re not taking your marketing efforts seriously, you may risk losing market share to your competitors.
You can make the best use of your resources.
You may already have funeral home marketing activities in progress, but do you know if those actions are delivering the results you want? You can’t be sure if a marketing effort (whether it’s a direct mail piece, advertisement, community event or online campaign) is really effective unless you measure how it has affected your business. Be sure to set goals for each marketing activity before you begin – even if it has been successful in the past.
It can be eye-opening to discover which of your marketing activities deliver the highest return on your investment, and this may shift more quickly than you expect. By keeping tabs on the results, you’ll be able to channel your resources into the marketing activities that benefit your funeral home the most.