Why Advertising Your Funeral Home is a Waste of $ (And What You Should Do Instead)February 6th, 2013
Have you ever felt that the usual ways of promoting your funeral home just aren’t working as well as they used to? Well, you’re right. There are several recent studies (like this one from the Pew Research Center and this one from WSI) that show that traditional advertising is becoming less effective.
Why Advertising No Longer Works
Let’s take a look at why traditional advertising doesn’t really work anymore.
- – First of all, it’s mostly static – this no longer appeals to Baby Boomers who prefer to have a two-way conversation with a brand online rather than a one-way, generic one.
- – It tends to be focused on one medium (ie. radio,tv, newspaper) or another, while today’s audience wants access to information wherever they are. Traditional advertising doesn’t readily provide them with that information they need, when they need it.
- – It can be hard to see how effective it is because you never really know how many people are seeing your ad and how many actually become your client families because of it.
- – It focuses on selling and most people don’t like to be sold to.
- – It’s expensive.
- – We’re selling a service people don’t want to think about buying. Is someone going to remember the radio ad they heard 5 years ago when they need your service? Chances are, the demographic you’re trying to reach isn’t listening to the radio hoping to hear a commercial for your funeral home.
It’s obvious that your funeral home needs a better option for promoting your services. And thankfully, there is one: it’s called content marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is all about creating and sharing something valuable to get the attention of your potential families. It provides an antidote to all the defects of traditional advertising because it’s platform-independent (meaning you can share it anywhere), dynamic (in other words, it can be changed quickly and easily) , measurable and in most cases, free.
So it’s no wonder that 86% of marketers are using content marketing to attract their customers’ attention (according to a study by PACE and the Content Marketing Institute). And businesses of all kinds are catching on fast, so you don’t want to be left behind.
What Content Marketing Can Do For You
Now that we’ve nailed down exactly what content marketing is, let’s really dig in and find out what all the hoopla is about. Here are the top goals your funeral home can achieve with content marketing:
- – It can spread the word to people about your funeral home, building your brand awareness
- – It can help you attract (and keep) the attention of potential client families
- – It can generate your business new leads
- – It can keep existing client families loyal to your funeral home
Check out this infographic for more ideas of how businesses of all sizes use content marketing.
A Prime Example of Content Marketing
The truth is, we don’t work in a profession that’s appealing or glamorous to most. But that doesn’t mean content marketing won’t appeal to our audiences.
Mint.com is a great example of making non-glamorous topics such as personal finance seem appealing and easy-to-learn, thanks to content marketing.
They know that by offering their readers free resources that help them manage their personal finances, they’re more likely to become paying customers down the road.
Not only that – they’ve established themselves as a resource for consumers. The truth is that any business can use content marketing – and, believe it or not, that includes your funeral home.
Content Marketing Ideas for Your Funeral Home
So what kind of content can you share to build authority and connect you more deeply with existing and potential client families? Try to think of the topics that would capture your families’ and community’s interest, and go from there. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Articles & E-Newsletters
These could provide information on topics of interest to your families and community like:
- – A roundup of links to relevant community news, either weekly or monthly. You can use the tool Paper.li to do just that, for free.
- – Answers to client families’ frequently asked questions about your funeral home and funeral services.
- – Topics that dive into issues of interest to them, such as personalized services or what options are available to them.
- – Grief & healing advice – answer some common questions surrounding grief in a Q&A form.
2. Blog Posts
If your funeral home doesn’t have a blog, now’s the time to start one. In addition to the content ideas listed above, you could try:
- – Reviewing related or complementary products of interest to your community and client families.
- Example: write a book review on grief and healing books you recommend.
- – Sharing examples of unique funeral services, highlighting the benefits of the services you offer, but in a non-salesy way.
- Example: Write a post titled “X Ways to Celebrate Your Loved One’s Life” and include some of your service as examples.
- – Publishing guest posts from people with authoritative opinions on issues of interest.
- Example: Have an expert from a local hospice write a post on making end-of-life decisions.
- – Mythbusting – debunking the misconceptions some people have about funeral homes and funeral services.
- Example: Write a satirical post like “X Things You Didn’t Know About Your Funeral Director” that pokes fun at some common misconceptions and allows your community to get to know your staff.
3. Case Studies & Testimonials
These are a good way to tell the story of what you do and how real client families feel about your services. Try doing the following:
- – Interviewing a client family who had an excellent experience with your firm.
- – Interviewing your employees for a day in the life slot (people love behind-the-scenes exposes).
- Example:During Christmas, an O’Connor Mortuary Employee wrote about their favorite Christmas memories. Read it here.
4. Community Events
Hold events that give something back to your community while being totally aligned with the services you offer. Try these:
- – Deepening your relationship with client families by holding weekly grief and healing events to help them face their feelings.
- – Hosting events at hospices and care homes.
- – Holding pre-planning meetings to help client families “start the conversation” about their end-of-life decisions.
5. Educational Content Library
You are the expert in your business, so this is your chance to wow your community with a wealth of informative, free resources. These could include:
- – Funeral pre-planning guides
- – Information on funeral etiquette
- – Guides on what to do when a death occurs
- – Information on customized funeral services
- – Answers to frequently asked questions
- – Grief and healing resources
If you are using f1connect as your website platform, you’ll notice that your resource library is automatically built out for you. You can also add in articles unique to your firm, and even print them out for your families.
Here’s an example of f1Connect’s educational content library:
Creating Content When You Don’t Have the Time
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably wondering if you really have the time to create all this content? If you’re already stressed out by the demands of your practice, don’t worry – there are lots of places to get content tailor made for your funeral home.
Here are a few suggestions:
1) Content Marketplaces
Zerys, CopyPress and TextBroker are great resources that allow you to come up with article titles (and in some cases pitches), select a writer and get unique articles written for you. Rates for these vary, but some can be very cost effective. For example, with Zerys, you can get a decent 500-word article for about $12. Just make sure that all of the articles you outsource represent the professional quality and messaging of your firm.
2) Guest Bloggers in Your Community
Do you know of a great grief counselor? What about a leader in your community? By asking people in your community to write for your blog, you’ll be able to get more exposure to your blog from their audience, and you’ll save yourself the time of writing it yourself. Best of all, asking people in your community to guest blog for you doesn’t cost a penny – usually they’ll just ask you to provide a link to their website or a mention of their business.
Alternatively, you can “hire” bloggers for free by using a guest blogging site like MyBlogGuest or PostJoint. There’s a little more quality control for you to do with this method, but you can soon build a relationship with some professional writers.
3) Hire a Professional Writer
You can hire a freelance writer part-time, full-time or even for a few articles – the choice is yours! Most freelance writers are flexible, but be prepared to pay around $100 for every piece of content they write for you. You can find them by searching on Google, Contently or LinkedIn.
4) Leverage the Content You Already Have
This is by far the easiest way to get started with content marketing. If you are currently using the f1Connect website platform, use your resource library to your advantage! It’s content that’s already written for your firm, so print it out and make pamphlets for your families, turn it into a blog post, or post a link to it on your Facebook wall. If your funeral home isn’t using f1Connect, but you’d love to get your hands on that content library, you can learn more about it here.
If you don’t have f1Connect but have some resourceful content you’ve already written, provide a link to it on your website and see how your families and community react. If they love what you’ve given them, you know it’s time to invest more effort into content marketing for your firm.
Now that you know why your funeral home advertising isn’t working, and what you can do about it, give it a try! Start by writing or compiling one piece of content and see how your families and community like it. You’ll probably be blown away by their reaction!
Stay tuned: We’ll show you how to share your content with your families and community online!
What do you think about content marketing? Do you know of any small businesses that are using it? Share your thoughts below!