36 Ideas to Breathe Life into Your Funeral Home’s MarketingJuly 1st, 2013
No one wants to call their baby ugly.
But let’s face it, some funeral marketing out there is pretty awful.
In a recent post titled “Has Funeral Marketing Lost Its Way?” I prompted funeral homes to ask themselves why funeral marketing has such a bad rep.
In that post, I gave examples of some pretty horrible funeral marketing, discussed some common excuses for it, and debunked a few myths.
But I didn’t want to leave you high and dry by telling you how bad funeral marketing is without giving you advice on how you can make it better.
With that said, here are 36 fresh ideas that can help you breathe life into your funeral marketing strategy!
Let’s start with one of my favorite inbound marketing strategies – blogging. In a recent post, we prompted you to ask yourself these 7 questions before starting a funeral home blog, but if you’re ready to go for it, then your blog could be the key to keeping your firm top of mind and relevant in your community. Here are some blog content ideas:
#1 What’s the best service you have ever offered a client family? Tap into the power of storytelling and write a blog post about the families’ experience. Even a short testimonial can make a great blog post and highlight your value at the same time.
#2 Put yourself in a publisher’s shoes for one day a month and brainstorm content ideas that you know your families and community will find interesting, controversial, touching, or thoughtful. Write down your ideas in an editorial calendar and try to write them at least a few weeks ahead of time.
#4 Are you hot under the collar about an opinion you just KNOW is wrong? Use your blog to challenge it and put your point across. Not only will you get lots of attention to your blog, but you can also facilitate a conversation about this topic across your social networks.
#5 Use videos to engage your audience – in the videos really get attention, so create video posts with testimonials, interviews, inspiration – and even humor.
#6 Newsjacking (using something in the news as a jumping-off point for a blog post) is another useful technique. Get it right and your post can go viral, getting more attention for your funeral home. You can write about positive community news, celebrations, holidays or other newsworthy events in your area. This also works for social media (I’ll get to that below).
#7 Write a roundup or list post. These get attention and are easy for client families to read. You could round-up posts on grief, inspirational quotes, eulogies, or other articles that are relevant to funeral service. Check out this post on epitaphs from MySendOff.com as an example.
#8 Share something personal that shows that you’re human, like this article written by funeral director Caleb Wilde shortly after becoming a father.
#9 Book reviews are also a winner. You can cover anything from biographies of famous people to useful resources for client families. The Association of Women Funeral Professionals has a section on great books – if you have read any of them, post your own review on your funeral home’s blog.
#10 In addition to blogging on your own site, try guest posting on others. This puts your funeral home in front of a new audience, positions you as a thought-leader in the profession, is good for search optimization and much more. Caleb Wilde does this well; see this list of his featured posts.
#11 When you do guest blog, make sure to ask them to link to your funeral home’s website or blog. When other websites link to yours, this gives you “SEO juice” that tells Google your content is useful to those who are linking to it. This will result in your blog post ranking higher on search engines.
#12 Use interviews to give a different perspective on issues. This example on the Daily Undertaker shows a different side to memorial monuments.
Social Media Ideas
Once your blog content is ready, it’s time to get social. Here are some tips for marketing your funeral home on social media.
#13 Share the blog posts you have written across your social networks. We recommend starting on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. These websites are the top four people visit to find interesting content and read blogs.
#14 Visit other blogs in your community – both within and outside the profession – and comment on relevant topics. If the blog happens to be CommentLuv enabled, you’ll also be able to leave a link to a recent blog post which will get more attention for your blog and your business.
#15 Set up a Quora profile and include a link to your funeral home’s website, then visit the funerals topic and answer some questions. There are also questions on rituals, burial, cremation, cemeteries – it’s a good opportunity to showcase your expertise and the results will show up in the search engines too.
#16 Set up a Pinterest profile and create boards for relevant topics such as memorial headstones, flowers, inspirational quotes, useful books (and so on). Pin content from your own blog as well as other relevant blogs. Martyn Funeral Home has done an excellent job using Pinterest to provide resources and boost its social media presence.
#17 Use a tool like Pinwords to create images suitable for pinning on Pinterest or sharing on other social networks.
#18 Take pictures of your staff doing interesting, fun or seasonally appropriate things that you can share. Here’s an unusual example from when Little Miss Funeral visited Harris Hill Cemetery.
#19 Use Memejack to create a relevant image using a current meme like the Grumpy Cat or the Keep Calm series and share it everywhere. When posting memes, make sure they’re sensitive to client families emotional state of mind. A good example of this is the Life With a Funeral Director blog. She shared a meme that’s inspirational for her audience that says “Keep Calm and Hang On”.
#20 Learn about hashtags – this Twitter invention (now used on every major social network) provides a way to tag status updates so your community can have an ongoing conversation about a topic. You can also use hashtags to monitor trending topics and tap into those for your own social media updates.
#21 Use Facebook advertising to create a very targeted advertising campaign at a very reasonable cost. So far, we’ve found Facebook advertising to be the most relevant to users (with the exception of Google ads) because you can advertise to people based on their location, interests, age, what Facebook groups they’re in, etc.
#22 Create infographics to share on social media sites such as Facebook and Google+. They could cover anything from unusual services to grief statistics, or even funeral personalization stats.
We’ve talked before about the importance of making funeral homes more relevant to the community. Here are some ways to do that AND market your funeral home at the same time.
#23 Some funeral homes have been around for more than a century, making them of potential interest to history buffs. If your funeral home has historic value, then consider offering guided tours – that will give you more recognition within the community.
#24 You have great event hosting space, so put it to use! Use your chapel for weddings and allow community members to rent your reception rooms for other celebrations.
#25 Outdoor space isn’t wasted space – you can use it for fireworks, bonfires, marshmallow roasts, sing-a-longs and movie screenings, depending on the weather.
#26 Recognize exemplary members of the community with a monthly or annual award. It will become a talking point even for those who don’t receive it. One example is the monthly “Heart and Soul” award offered by O’Connor Mortuary.
#27 If you’re going to be part of the community, you have to hang out where they are. That means joining and participating in local clubs and societies. It’s a great way to build relationships – and you’ll be quietly networking with every new connection.
#28 Sponsor your local community events to get your funeral home’s name out there. Or even better, host one! Schoedinger Funeral Service & Cremation hosts a camp for grieving families called Camp Hope (below) and now they’re seen as the go-to resource for grief support in their community.
#29 Create branded merchandise you can give away at those events. Consider a range of T-shirts, water bottles, pens or mugs with inspiring quotes, for example. These are a shortcut to making sure your community knows about and remembers your funeral homes.
#30 Hold an annual remembrance ceremony for people in your community to come together and memorialize their loved ones. Invite grief therapists to the event and ask them to have a short 10-minute consultation with attendees.
#31 Speak at community events related to your profession – another way of putting your face in front of potential client families.
Public Relations Ideas
We know how important it is to maintain a top-notch reputation in your community, so let’s look at some creative ways to market your funeral home via public relations.
#32 Hire a PR intern (paid or for college credit) who can monitor your social media and what people are saying about your funeral home online. They can also reach out to local media to secure media coverage and speaking engagements. Interns are a great resource because they cost very little money, and if you find a good candidate, can yield a high ROI for your firm.
#33 Speak at industry events such as NFDA, ICCFA or other state conventions – that shows your leadership in the funeral profession and is something you can refer to within the community and on your website.
#34 Send press releases or news pitches out to your local media outlets about new initiatives or interesting events at your funeral home. Robinson Funeral Home received national news attention by pitching the media with their latest funeral home renovation: a Starbucks inside their funeral home!
#35 Write an editorial article to show thought leadership and introduce you to members of the community who are not online.
#36 Collaborate with local or online businesses (or both) to offer grief packages to potential client families, then write and blog about them. For example, you could work with a local spa or massage therapist to offer a package that helps client families relax and start their journey of grief.
Now it’s time to put these 36 ideas into action!
Now that you’ve got the inspiration, put these ideas into action! These 36 ideas should help you get your funeral home’s marketing started, no matter how much time you have or how much your funeral marketing budget is!
PS. Want to REALLY amp up your funeral marketing? Get a free demo of funeralOne’s all-in-one website platform, f1Connect, by clicking here or calling 800-798-2575 extension 5!
What other ideas do you have for marketing your funeral home? Share them in the comments below!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joe Joachim is the CEO and Founder of funeralOne, the first global solutions firm leading a movement of change for the funeral profession. For the past 11 years, he’s developed game-changing solutions that help funeral professionals increase the value of their service offerings, connect with the families of today, and become more profitable. funeralOne’s solutions include: website design, aftercare, funeral eCommerce, and personalization software.