Spring is here. Can you feel it?
With springtime, comes spring cleaning. And spring cleaning isn’t just something you do at your house on the weekend.
Right now, we’re inviting you to take a look at your funeral marketing efforts. Do they need spring cleaning, too? Chances are, they probably do.
The way things are going in the funeral profession, things are changing quickly. Funeral marketing has changed quite a bit in the last five years. Actually, if we’re being honest, funeral marketing has changed a lot in the last one year.
Essentially, the biggest theme is that we, as funeral professionals, are being asked to SERVE rather then SELL.
This is a big mindset shift we’ve covered over the last year in our blog here and here. And now, we’re here to give you some practical and applicable tips to apply these fresh perspectives into your funeral marketing. Just in time for spring!
So grab your spring cleaning boots and let’s dive into these fresh funeral perspectives… and some marketing tips to make them happen:
Fresh perspective #1: Selling doesn’t sell anymore
Traditional funeral marketing says: Create advertisements to try and sell your products and services
New funeral marketing says: Create value for your families and the selling will happen organically
There is a saying that goes “selling is marketing, but marketing is not selling,” and we wholeheartedly agree. The families of today are looking for value from you, not a sales pitch. And the more value you offer them, the more organically you’ll attract new client families to your funeral business.
Here are a few easy ways to offer value to your audience online:
- Gather a collection of research and statistics related to funeral service.
You could gather research on funeral costs, green burials, cremation, personalization, etc. Once you’ve gather them, you can post them individually on social media, turn them into a blog post, create an infographic with them, or present them in Slideshare… or better yet, do all four. Want to see an example? Check out this multi-media post we wrote on mobile websites.
- Predict upcoming trends in funeral service.
Excite your client families about the possibilities that the future of funerals offers them. Or… ask your audience to predict what they think will become popular. Either way, you’ll be sure to get engagement.
- Compile a list of the top funeral resources.
Write about them in a blog, free eBook or infographic… and make sure you tell the companies or businesses you mention. They’ll be more than happy to share content that’s singing their praises!
- Bring your offline resources, online.
Do you have brochures, old newsletters or articles that haven’t been published online yet? Use the content you have from them to create a blog post or social update on that topic. For example, if you have a brochure covering all the methods of disposition, use that content to write a blog post on all the choices families have when it comes to celebrating their loved one.
- Make your website a top resource for families.
You can take all of these ideas and turn them into everfresh content for your marketing channels, but don’t forget about your website! Take your best content that families respond to the most, and turn it into a resource section on your website. You can turn it into a guide, an, FAQ section or a collection of helpful links.
Ps. If you’re looking for a funeral home website platform with an epic resource section and all the other marketing bells and whistles, check out f1Connect!
Fresh perspective #2: Marketing success isn’t in the numbers
Traditional funeral marketing says: Successful marketing translates into sales
New funeral marketing says: Successful marketing translates into an engaged, active community
Nowadays, the funeral businesses with the most success aren’t the ones slaying casket sales. Nope. They’re the ones hosting workshops, initiating community conversations, and offering valuable content online (and offline). Although dollar signs are a tangible result, what’s even more tangible is an active community of people who trust you completely and would recommend your funeral home to any of their friends in need.
Here are some ideas to start building an engaged community online:
Get active in your online communities. Sure, great content is important. But you know what’s just as important? Getting out there and engaging with your online community.
- Before you start your own community, join one.
Sure, it’s easy to create a community. But to actually get people to want to join it? That requires engaging with them beforehand. Join LinkedIn groups and other communities relevant to your profession and start engaging in meaningful conversations on them. Once you engage with these communities enough, you’ll make a name for yourself and establish yourself as a thought leader on topics relevant to your profession. Want more help establishing thought leadership? Check out this article from Fast Company.
- Team up with your peers for mutual support.
A really fun way to extend your reach and make a bigger impact in your community is to link up with your peers. You could offer to share each other’s most popular articles, share social updates, guest blog for each other, or even collaborate on events or workshops in your area. Plus, you might even learn a thing or two along the way!
8. Start guest blogging.
Guest blogging is one of the quickest ways to reach a larger audience. Not only will it give you an opportunity to engage with different communities in our niche, but it will also help you expand your message to a wider audience.
Tip: The funeralOne blog frequently hosts guest bloggers on our page… be sure to ask us about future opportunities!
9. Host regular online (or offline) events.
You can host offline workshops or online events. They don’t have to be perfect. They can be a simple and free meetup to begin. The form and shape of these events will happen organically as you keep doing them. Just don’t be afraid to start!
- Create a Facebook group.
If you come to a point where people are asking how they can get more involved in your community, then it might be time to create a “meeting” place for everyone to gather. Facebook is great for that. Create a Facebook group, and have an intern or employee regularly post and engage the members in it. The benefit of having a Facebook group is that you can impact and help people on a long term basis.
Fresh perspective #3: Perfection doesn’t sell anymore
Traditional funeral marketing says: Creating the image of tidiness and perfection is what families want to see
New funeral marketing says: Creating a vulnerable, real and up-close look into who you are and what you do is what families want to see
Gone are the days of posed Instagram or Facebook photos. People can smell that fakeness from a mile away. They want to see the REAL you. That’s what will draw them to you. They’ll resonate with your authenticity, and trust that on a deep level.
Here are some ways to start to invite your authenticity into your online marketing:
- Write about something personal and close to you.
It could be about a death you’ve experienced, or something more uplifting such as an experience you had that restored your faith in humanity. By offering a mix of content that’s both personal and professional, you’ll entice new readers in different ways.
- Do a Facebook “Live” video.
These words might either confuse you because you aren’t sure what a Facebook Live video is, or they might terrify you because the thought of being on an unedited video is vulnerable. Either way, this one is edgy for most marketers. However, Facebook Live videos are possibly the quickest and easiest way to build a deeper connection with your online audience. Unedited and raw, they give you a chance to get online to talk about the topics that mean a lot to you (and your community). For help getting started with Facebook Live, check out this Hubspot guide.
- Put together a list of your favorite inspirational or motivational quotes.
Gather the quotes that have gotten you through tough (or amazing) times. Share the story behind them. Tell your audience what they bring up for you. For example, you could write a post with a grief quote and share your own story with grief.
Fresh perspective #4: Marketing is a conversation
Traditional funeral marketing says: Marketing is a monologue
New funeral marketing says: Marketing is a two-way conversation
Marketing used to consist of talking at your potential customers. But now, it’s about listening. If you don’t listen, you won’t understand how to best engage with your audience. So before you tweet, open your ears and eyes, and listen to what your families are talking about.
Here are some ideas for engaging your audience in a two-way conversation:
- Create a survey or poll on Facebook.
Thanks to the free and awesome tools Google Forms, Typeform, or Google Consumer Surveys, polling your audience is easy. You can gather opinions on a certain topic, or gain insight by conducting a research poll to get the answers you need for your marketing. You can also publish the results in a blog post or newsletter.
- Pose a question on social media.
And you can use the answers to publish into an article, newsletter or blog. Here’s an example from the funeralOne blog where we asked funeral directors what makes them feel alive.
- Ask your audience how you’re doing.
The best way to find out how your marketing efforts are doing is to ask. Post a social status asking them what topics they like the best, or what topics they’d like to see you write or post about. Or, create a blog post (like this one we published) with a survey asking readers to leave feedback about your blog.
- Request that your families to submit a story to you.
This is a great way to not only listen, but to get great testimonials for your funeral home website. their experience with your funeral home and publish it on your blog, newsletter, or on your website.
Lastly, marketing starts with your website
Before you put these tips to use, do you have an epic funeral home website to send your client families to? A home base for you to bring in your audience, and serve them before they walk in your front door? To learn more about our all-in-one website platform, f1Connect, click here to contact one of our website specialists today!
What other marketing ideas have been successful for you at your funeral home? Tell us in the comments below!