This is the second part of a two-part series. To read part one, click here.
Funeral homes can divvy up their marketing into two broad categories — preneed and at-need arrangements. Because the two are so different, they require a different approach. In part one, we talked about how preneed marketing requires going out and reaching families with a strategy geared toward lead generation and persuasion.
So how does an at-need approach differ from preneed strategy?
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At-Need: Families Find You
Whereas preneed is primarily lead generation, at-need is all about branding. But what exactly is branding — especially in the context of your funeral home? As Forbes puts it, branding is “one of those words that is widely used but unevenly understood.”
The brand is essentially the overall experience client families share with your funeral home. It includes things like your logo, your name, and your website design, but it’s also much more. It’s your message, your vision of service, your history, and how you distinguish yourself from your competitors.
A strong brand in your community means families — especially your at-need families — will have a better chance of finding you. A strong brand means high visibility.
Visibility in the Community
With visibility, there are two schools of thought — traditional and modern. Both have their perks, but both have their drawbacks as well.
For your funeral home to have well-established visibility in the community, it’s best to use both. Let’s break them down:
You’re probably familiar with the traditional methods of promoting visibility in the community. They include advertising in the newspaper, putting an ad out on the radio or on TV, or even a local billboard.
These methods are great for targeting the Silent and Boomer generations. National newspaper readership is still at around 50% for 55-years old and above, per the Pew Research Center, and broadcast television viewership remains highest among both the Silent generation and Boomers.
Traditional methods of advertising for your funeral home are still worth it — especially if your funeral home caters to mostly traditional families. But to reach Gen Xers — the ones who end up arranging funeral services for their parents — as well as Millennials, a new approach is needed.
A Local Consumer Review Survey found that 85% of people use the internet when looking up a local business. To increase visibility among Millennials and Gen Xers, that means your funeral home needs to be found online.
A website is a good place to start. If you don’t have a funeral home website, your funeral home won’t be competitive. But there’s more to modern advertising than just having a website.
- It’s important that your funeral home can be found on local searches. There are several local listing sites your funeral home can use, but the most powerful is Google My Business. It allows families to easily see your hours, contact information, reviews, and location — all with a simple search. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting your funeral home registered with Google.
- Your funeral home website also will have to be mobile-friendly. According to Google, more searches now occur on a mobile device than they do on a PC and another Google study found that almost 80% of people will leave a website for one that is mobile-friendly. If that isn’t enough reason to have a mobile-ready site, Google now lowers your SEO ranking — meaning your funeral home will appear lower in search results — if your site isn’t optimized for mobile.
- Facebook is great for increasing visibility. It’s where most of your client families spend their time online — 64% of adult internet users age 50-64 are on Facebook, per the Pew Research Center. Facebook can build free word-of-mouth marketing and family engagement but also has great tools to market targeted ads to local families.
- SEO rankings also are important. A good ranking means you’ll show up higher in a local search. The algorithms used by Google and other search engines are constantly changing, but there are a few key things you can do to keep your funeral home high on the list. We’ve mentioned keeping your website mobile-friendly, but other ways include keeping an updated blog on your funeral home as well as making sure your site is using a modern design.
With at-need families, it’s all about brand visibility. When families start looking for an at-need arrangement, you’ll want to make sure your funeral home is the first to be seen. And the best way is to utilize both traditional and modern advertising methods to maximize visibility.