Funeral home marketing is often misunderstood. These misunderstandings can lead to a poor strategy and ultimately a loss of money. Let’s put these marketing myths to rest and steer your funeral home toward a path of a smart marketing strategy.
Myth #1 Marketing is about selling
According to the American Marketing Association, marketing can be defined as “processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
Simply put, marketing is about relationships. The goal of a good marketing strategy should be to focus on building and nurturing relationships with client families — not about selling to them.
The good news is social media has made managing relationships with your families easier than ever.
Myth #2 A newspaper ad is enough. My funeral home doesn’t need to be online
To get the most out of your money spent on an advertising campaign, your message also has to be remembered and/or acted upon. And it’s hard to do if the message isn’t reaching families.
With traditional advertising methods (print, newspapers, and TV) facing declining audience reach and trust, it might be better to target your families through online efforts.
According to the Pew Research Center, newspapers had the lowest drop in readership since 2010, calling 2015 a “recession year” for the industry. Pew’s Research shows that since 1999, the number of daily readers 65+ was at 72% but by 2014 it fell to 50%. And circulation and readership numbers are expected to continue to fall.
Traditional television viewership is facing a similar decline. According to TIME Magazine, “Overall, 2014 has seen a significantly more precipitous decline in TV viewing than any previous year, Nielsen reports.”
As for online advertising, there’s some good news. According to another Nielsen study on the state of advertising in 2015, “Branded websites are the second-most-trusted advertising format, behind recommendations from friends and family.”
That’s not to say traditional advertising isn’t effective. But if you want to maximize your marketing efforts, your funeral home needs an equal focus on traditional and digital marketing strategies.
Myth #3 Having a website is good enough
15 years ago, simply being online would have been a big deal. But times have changed. And it’s no longer enough to just have a website and to expect your marketing efforts to stop there.
An effective website won’t just drive traffic. It will drive the right kind of traffic. What’s the point of 5000 visitors if they aren’t interested in anything you offer? Wouldn’t you much rather have a couple hundred visitors that are highly interested in your services?
To get this kind of highly targeted traffic to your website, it means investing in SEO, social advertising, and a website with modern features. Here’s a great article about the kind of things families expect when visiting a funeral home’s website.
Myth #4 Social media is not intended for funeral homes
If done right, a social media strategy can be one of the most powerful ways to market your funeral home.
When a family wants answers, they look online first. One report found that 97% of people will head online when looking to shop for local services. Using social media can help start a conversation between your funeral home and the families in the community.
Like we mentioned above, unlike traditional advertising methods, social media also allows your funeral home to engage with families. And engagement is what pays off in the long run. It’s going to increase your revenue, your client families’ loyalty, and grow your word-of-mouth marketing efforts. A Gallup research poll has found that a consumer who is engaged with your brand will increase revenue by 23%.
But senior citizens don’t go online or use social media, right? It would be a waste of time and money to target them. That’s another myth. Social media use among the elderly has — and continues to — climb.
According to another Pew Research Center study, 59% of adults 65+ are online. And those that are become regular users, with around 71% of them using the internet every day. If your funeral home doesn’t’ have a social media strategy, it’s missing out on a great opportunity to market to families.