As the funeral profession evolves, so must your efforts to meet the needs of families. Beyond upgrading their facilities and offering innovative memorial services, funeral homes must also consider the way in which they attract new business, that is, their marketing strategy.
Gone are the days of guaranteed loyalty from families in the community. With competition increasing throughout the country, you can no longer rely on the passive acquisition of clients. Instead, funeral homes must take an active approach to raise awareness of their services and compelling families to book.
Here are some frequently heard myths about funeral home marketing and how you can implement more effective approaches.
1. Word of Mouth Is Enough
When a person talks about a funeral home’s services to their friends, family, and acquaintances, this is what’s known as word of mouth marketing. And while this type of free advertising is incredibly effective––after all, people tend to trust their friends over media outlets––word of mouth is unpredictable.
Rather than wait for clients to organically rave about your funeral home, you should encourage them to do so. When thanking families for booking a service, politely ask them to share their experience on social media and tag your funeral home’s pages.
In addition to asking families to talk about your business online, you should also ask them to complete a survey discussing their experience. Surveying families is one of the most effective ways to understand how your funeral home currently meets their needs and learn how you can do better.
2. Reviews Manage Themselves
In many cases when a person runs a Google search for your funeral home, reviews from former families will be among the first things they see, making it important that they leave a good impression.
One study finds that 93% of people read online reviews before buying a product or service. With this in mind, you’ll want to make sure that your portfolio of online reviews accomplishes two goals.
- Accrue as many positive reviews as possible. Both the quantity and quality of these reviews will also help your SEO, making your funeral home appear near the top of Google searches.
- Respond to negative reviews. If a person is researching your funeral home’s reputation, their eye will undoubtedly be drawn to negative reviews. Because of this, you want to take time to mitigate their impact by responding to dissatisfied families in a thoughtful, apologetic tone. Remember, they are likely working with you during some of the most emotional moments of their life.
3. A Website Is Unnecessary
With social media pages and listings in online business directories, you might think that a standalone website is superfluous; however, a funeral home website is an essential component of your branding and outreach.
One study finds that a business’s website influences 97% of clients’ purchasing decisions. Think of your website as a digital first impression. When a person searches for your funeral home online, they’ll likely look to your website for authoritative information related to hours, phone numbers, services, and professionalism.
4. At Need Is the Most Important Audience
Increasing your preneed sales is one of the most effective ways to increase the value of your funeral home as well as ensure business in the future. To build a preneed sales program, you’ll want to address several family touchpoints: online, in-person, and through partnerships.
Many people are unaware that they can book a funeral service ahead of time, so your first step will be education. By letting people know that options are available ahead of time––and training your sales team in preneed practices––you can increase the likelihood of people booking these services and flesh out your preneed backlog.
Unless you have a proactive approach to reaching your current and prospective families, you’ll undoubtedly fall behind the competition. To ensure the best returns on your marketing efforts, it’s often helpful to call in consultants.
At Johnson Consulting Group, our team of funeral home consultants has helped funeral homes in all stages and sizes develop marketing strategies that deliver consistent results.
Armed with a knowledge of both funeral-specific outreach practices and marketplace trends, they can help your team build a strategy that enshrines continued business while bringing new families into the fold.
GROW YOUR FUNERAL HOME