A couple at a wedding

 

Written by Jacob Terranova

 

Did you know February is National Wedding Month? And, surprisingly, it has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day. In fact, February is known as National Wedding Month because it’s the time of year that many couples begin reaching out to wedding planners to help plan their special day.

 

As the month honors all things wedding-related, let’s look at wedding planners, their secrets to success, and how your funeral home can borrow those ideas.

 

Educate the Public

One thing wedding and event planners excel at is their ability to educate the public on why we need them. A quick search on Google leads to several results on the importance of hiring wedding planners. Here are just a few of the many articles that popped up:

  • “5 major reasons you should hire a wedding planner”
  • “17 reasons you need to hire a wedding planner in 2017”
  • “Why we didn’t hire a wedding planner…But wish we had”
  • “10 reasons you should consider hiring a wedding planner”

As you can see, according to wedding planners, there’re a lot of reasons to hire a wedding planner. It’s one thing they do so well. Wedding planners create consistent and cohesive messaging to the public. This really hammers in the notion of their value and benefits during the wedding planning process.

 

It’s a practice funeral professionals need to adopt. Because today, funeral homes are facing many challenges. There’s already a lot of misconception and myths when it comes to funeral service. On top of that, low-cost direct cremation providers and funeral startups are already making a significant impact on the profession.

 

Today’s families have more options when it comes to how they want to memorialize and honor a loved one. In a 2017 press release, former NFDA President W. Ashley Cozine said “Our role as a funeral director is to help make sure families understand all of the available options and commemorate the life of their loved one in a meaningful way regardless of whether they choose burial or cremation.” Funeral directors can do that by educating the public in the same proactive ways that wedding planners are doing.

 

There are plenty of ways to get started.

  • Your funeral home can create educational content and post it on your funeral home’s blog and social media channels.
  • Your staff can host education seminars in the community to highlight the value of funeral service.
  • You can also partner with a larger organization, such as the Funeral and Memorial Council (FAMIC). Their Have the Talk of a Lifetime campaign is a powerful tool to engage families and help them start planning more meaningful memorial experiences.

Cross-Selling and Packaging Services

Another idea to adopt from wedding planners is the idea of cross-selling and packaging. It’s the idea of adding new revenue streams and services and packaging them alongside your more traditional services. Wedding planners are great at this. In addition to their initial planning fee, they also become a one-stop shop — offering floral services, stationery design, catering, travel arrangement services, and much more.

 

This convenience factor is an important reason many people opt to choose wedding planners in the first place. They are great at packaging these services, usually in a tiered good-better-best service plan. The benefit of a good-better-best system is that it clearly outlines the services involved in each plan. Families can choose the plan that provides the most value in their situation.

 

An additional benefit is that this pricing system is easily customizable. Let’s say a family is leaning toward your funeral home’s “good” option, but they really want the memorial book package that comes with the “better” plan. You have the option to meet in the middle of those two plans, choosing pieces from both the good and better packages.

 

By packaging services, you make the decision-making process easier for families. The Harvard Business Review notes that package pricing is so effective because “customers are more comfortable with this pricing strategy. Few of us take well to ultimatums, which is exactly what offering a single price is: ‘Here’s the price, take it or leave it.’ In contrast, good-better-best is accommodating: ‘If the price is too high, consider our good version’ or ‘You may appreciate the features of our best option.’” And surprisingly, as the Harvard Business Review article states, when using a tiered pricing plan such as good-better-best, a majority end up choosing the best option, as it clearly highlights the value involved over the other plans.

 

Expand into an Event Center

Many wedding planners do more than just weddings. They’ve expanded into other roles — become corporate event planners, holiday party planners, and other types of event planners.

 

And funeral homes are taking note. Some have chosen to be more than a funeral home. They’ve transformed their facility into the go-to event center in the community.

 

Funeral Director Nancy Sanden told Today.com that “it’s the future of funeral service, having reception centers on site for families to celebrate life and weddings and other major events.” That’s why her funeral home now hosts everything from funerals to organized dinners, graduation parties, reunions, first communions, and other community life events. Just as wedding planners have gone beyond just planning weddings, expanding beyond funerals can help incorporate new revenue streams for your funeral home.

 

What are some other ideas funeral homes should adopt from wedding or event planners? Share with us in the comments below!

 

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