Funeral homes that have a marketing plan are better equipped to promote external communication, create a brand image, attract new customers and outperform the competition. Without a doubt, the most convenient (and expensive) thing to do is to hire a communications company to manage the advertising strategy. But if this is not your case, in this article we will explain the simplest tricks and the most effective techniques of marketing for funeral homes. We will also recommend some of the best free tools to create your own marketing plan.
How to attract customers to a funeral home
Marketing for funeral homes has a lot in common with marketing for other industries, but it also has some unique characteristics. The first thing to consider when making a marketing plan for a funeral home (and any other business) has a lot to do with The Art of War. “If you know others and know yourself, you’ll never be in danger in a hundred battles,” says Sun Tzu, so in your battle to attract customers to a funeral home, it’s best to start by gathering all the information about your own business and your competitors.
Get a pen and paper and write down all the strengths and weaknesses of your funeral services. Do you have the best rooms in the area? Are your prices lower than the rest? Do you offer a flexible payment plan? Are the staff you have hired highly qualified? Any idea you can think of is useful to design the most perfect strategy for selling funeral services.
Know your customers
The people who use your funeral services can give you important clues about why they have chosen you over other providers. Spend some time talking to them to find out their level of satisfaction, what details they would improve and how they got to know you. You can consider the option of creating a small survey which they can fill in at the funeral parlour itself or send them a short form via email.
Get to know your competition
Grab a pen and paper again and analyse the strengths and weaknesses of your rivals. You can also research what trends and strategies the major funeral groups are developing. In the process, you’ll discover what your competitive advantages are, what aspects of your business you need to improve and what services you need to highlight in your marketing plan for funeral homes, as these are what make you unique and special.
Now that you know the battlefield, it’s time to develop strategies for selling funeral services. The first and most important part of your marketing plan for funeral homes is to tell the world that you exist.
Marketing plan for a funeral home
Most customers search the internet to find out what a funeral home looks like before visiting it in person, especially now with the coronavirus restrictions. That’s why it’s essential to make sure that future customers find you online. This is possible, easy and free thanks to Google, social media and your own website. Let’s look at the key elements of marketing for funeral homes.
Create a website
There are many platforms that allow you to create your website and host it on their system for free (more about some of them below). It is best to buy your own domain name, which costs around 20 euros per year depending on the provider, because it will be much more profitable and will offer a much more professional image of your funeral home in the long run.
Among the content you should offer on your funeral home website, try to anticipate the needs of future customers. The best thing to do is to think about your own experience when you have visited a hotel or restaurant website. Basically there are four things you want to know: where it is, what the facilities are like, what services it offers and what the prices are.
- Presentation. Include a brief presentation of your funeral home. Remember that this will be the first impression your future clients will receive, so be concise and attractive. This is the best time to sell the strengths you discovered during the “know yourself” phase.
- Image gallery. Add pictures of the facilities. This will be your showcase, so the images should be nice and of high quality. If a camera is not your thing, use a professional photographer. It is worth it and their services are not very expensive.
- Services and prices. The keys to this section are clarity and transparency. No one likes to find a lot of small print or to feel cheated because the price does not include taxes. In addition to the funeral fees, add a short form for families to request a quote in advance. You can also make it easy for customers to contact you directly through a chat room that gives them real-time feedback.
- Location. Don’t forget to include the address, telephone number, email, opening hours and any practical information for your clients, such as the metro or bus line, or even if you have a car park. With Google Maps, a useful tool of marketing for funeral homes and businesses in any sector, you can also include an indicative map.
Marketing Strategies for Funeral Homes in Social Media
Social media offers a free and highly effective way to attract customers to a funeral home. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Youtube… there are plenty of platforms you can incorporate into your marketing plan, but that doesn’t mean you have to open a profile on each and every one of them. It is best to opt for a simple strategy and focus on the most popular ones among your potential customers (you can ask them in the survey we talked about in the “know your customers” section).
There are plenty of platforms you can incorporate into your marketing plan, but that doesn’t mean you have to open a profile on each and every one of them.
It is very important that you keep your networks updated. This means that you should at least post some new content two or three times a week. Avoid selling your services. It is much more advisable to report how your facilities are, if you participate in any social work, sponsorship of events, participation in talks or courses, any nice detail that has caught your attention… Remember that your profile is corporate and represents your company: be extremely respectful in your comments, think twice if your message is appropriate, avoid your own opinions and never ever reply to a rude client in the heat of the moment.
How to appear on Google Maps
As a physical business, it is essential that your funeral home appears on Google Maps with directions, contact details and opening hours. It will help you attract customers and sell more funeral services.
The first thing you need to do is to register your business with Google by creating a Google My Business account. It’s very easy and totally free. Enter your business name and fill in the information about opening hours, location on the map and don’t forget to add your website. Finally, Google will ask you to verify that you are the owner of the funeral home. It is best to select the call or SMS option.
Remember that users can leave comments with their experience of their visit to your funeral home and even rate it on a scale of one to five. These messages are one of the best references for undecided customers. Check the messages on a regular basis. You can be grateful for positive comments and apologise very politely for a bad review. Everyone will see that you care about your customers and strive to improve.
There are many platforms that can help you with your strategy of marketing for funeral homes. Check if your business is included in the most consulted virtual telephone directories. Sometimes local councils publish a list of businesses of interest to local residents on their websites, so make sure your funeral parlour is among them. Don’t forget that there are many funeral service search engines and price comparators, because it is essential to appear among the results. Remember that the strongest online search engines can be great allies in boosting your marketing plan for funeral homes.
Mailing and online advertising
One of the most effective marketing alternatives for funeral homes that want to communicate with their customers is to send emails. Using tools such as Mailchimp, which we will explain below, you can create a mailing list for one-off mailings or a weekly newsletter. In addition, this platform incorporates forms and tools to help you be extremely respectful with data protection laws.
If you are considering the possibility of paying to insert an advertising banner on a website, it is best to use a communications company to help you decide the most appropriate, economical and effective way to sell your funeral services.
Digital tools of marketing for funeral homes
It is an essential tool for creating a website or blog. It is also an excellent content manager and allows you to manage aspects such as the appearance or content of a website without the need to know anything about programming. In addition, it allows the installation of plugins to incorporate online reservations, payment through the web and a customer service chat. WordPress is a multipurpose knife with a thousand add-ons, perfect for those who are just starting out.
Zoom, Slack and Google Drive
These three tools are perfect for managing internal communication within your funeral home.
- Zoom is a programme for video calls and virtual meetings that can be used from your computer, phone and tablet.
- Slack organises communication through chat rooms that allow file uploading. If your team is not very large, you can opt for a free account.
- Google Drive is Google’s free cloud storage system for up to 15 gigabytes. It also allows you to share documents with other users and even edit them simultaneously.
This is a marketing automation platform that helps you share email and advertising campaigns with customers. It is free for sending six emails a month to less than 2,000 people. It offers the possibility to create a distribution list and you can even divide it according to the type of customers. Maichimp has a wide variety of ready-made templates and, through its form system, it is very easy to comply with data protection laws for customers who wish to unsubscribe from the mailing list.
Used to measure how well your funeral home marketing is going. It is a web analytics tool from Google that shows what traffic is coming to your website by audience type. It also offers many useful functions for the business, such as the incorporation of algorithms to create metrics that help us predict the quality of traffic, or the measurement of the impact of our campaigns on different channels.
This is a free website with simplified graphic design tools. It allows you to create posters, animations and publications for social networks with an adapted format without having any idea of design. It has a multitude of templates to help you start from scratch and a large bank of free images.
This is the tool you need to get your website to appear among the first search results on Google. It is a free service that helps you to monitor, maintain and solve your website’s SEO and indexing problems.