Think about the last time a company’s marketing message caught your attention and inspired you to take action to purchase a product or service. Chances are good that the company piqued your interest by communicating to you not about what it does, but about how what it does can help you.An organization that can do this effectively – reach the right people with a compelling message about a service they really want – will earn new clients and provide high satisfaction to those who do business with them. But in order to communicate with potential clients, organizations must first understand what motivators are most likely to inspire action.
To help us identify which factors are most important in the decision to prearrange, we conducted a survey of more than 1,200 Homesteaders policy owners in 2015. They provided us with valuable information about how funeral service professionals can communicate the value of advance funeral planning.
One of the survey questions was particularly helpful in understanding the calls to action for policy owners. We asked them to tell us:
“What is the main reason you decided to make these plans now, instead of last year or next year?”
Their top responses (provided below) can help funeral professionals serve more families by reaching them with the appropriate messages about the benefits of advance funeral planning.
1. A family member or friend died recently.
People may not consider advance funeral planning a priority until prompted by the experience of a loss. In our survey of policy owners, 23% of respondents indicated they decided to make advance funeral plans because a friend or family member had recently died. This underscores the importance of ensuring that people who have an experience at your funeral home know about the benefits of your preneed services.
2. They finally knew what arrangements they wanted.
For some respondents (17%), the call to action to prearrange was that they had decided on their arrangement preferences. Be sure that client families who express interest in prearranging understand they may change their plans at a later date if desired.
3. They finally had the money to do it.
Other respondents (13%) indicated that their finances played a role in deciding when to prearrange. Ensure families understand all of their funding and payment plan options so they have the information they need to make decisions about the financial component of the process.
4. Their spouse wanted to prearrange.
Many people choose to make advance funeral plans at the same time as their spouses. Ten percent of survey respondents indicated that they decided to prearrange because their spouse was ready to finalize his or her plans. When working with couples, ensure that both clients are engaged in the process and walk away from the experience satisfied.
5. They have a serious/terminal illness.
Like the recent death of a friend or a family member, a serious/terminal illness is a significant event that causes people to consider their end-of-life plans. Six percent of our survey respondents cited this as the main reason for prearranging when they did.
6. They received a call/mail about prearranging.
Some people who are interested in advance funeral planning may just need a well-timed reminder to put their plans in place. A call or mailing about prearranging was the key factor in the decision to prearrange for 5% of our survey respondents. Keep in mind that, although marketing messages were the main factor for a relatively small percentage of respondents, these efforts may have also been contributing factors to other respondents’ decisions to prearrange when they did.
Understanding what motivates people to make advance funeral plans isn’t just important when crafting marketing messages – it’s also part of providing exceptional service throughout the prearrangement process. By demonstrating that you know what matters to your client families, you’ll earn loyal advocates who will be more likely to recommend your services to others.