The Ultimate Guide to Funeral Marketing (50 Ideas To Try Today)

Marketing + funerals.

Until very recently, it has been a kind of an awkward combination. Like peanut butter & olive tapenade sandwiches. Just doesn’t quite work.

However, we believe marketing isn’t actually about selling, which has made it all the more easier to market to families.

In the olden days, funeral marketing was about advertisements and a one-way conversation.

Now, we’re finding out that funeral marketing is a two-way conversation.

Funeral marketing, we have learned, is more about connecting to families, educating them and offering them  an unmatchable level of service.

In the name of transforming funeral marketing for all, here are 50 ideas you can try today:

  

Step 1: Prepare for blast off

Before you take off on your funeral marketing rocketship, you have to do your safety check and make sure everything is in order for a safe and smooth flight. Here are some tips for doing that:

1. Hone in on your audience

Before you start any of your marketing efforts, it’s important to understand who you’re marketing to. Create a buyer persona for your ideal customers through surveys, interviews and research. Use this article to get you started.

 

2. Follow the top influencers in your niche.

Make a list of the top 10-25 brands in your niche (grief specialists, funeral bloggers, funeral homes, florists, community leaders) and gather links to their blogs and social media accounts. Refer to this for constant inspiration for content and social media ideas that are valuable to your audience.

 

3. Choose your focus

Decide which channels you want to focus your funeral marketing efforts on. Which channels should you focus on? Should you start a blog? A newsletter? Start with a couple of solid channels, and you can grow on the way.

Need help deciding which channels to focus on in the social media realm? This blog should help.

 

4. Define your goals.

What goals do you want to achieve? How can your funeral home’s marketing help you achieve those goals? Simply saying “I want to grow my bottom line” won’t cut it. You need to create specific goals that can guide your overall marketing strategy. By setting these goals, you can measure the success of your marketing initiatives by tracking your progress. Hubspot has created a killer template that makes setting smart marketing goals easier than ever – check it out here.

 

5. Let’s get professional

Then, make sure your profile, photos, bio and posts are professional, engaging and truly representational of who you are. While you’re at it, make sure every employee at your funeral home is using their personal social profiles to put a name to the faces at your firm. This checklist is the perfect resource for helping you amp up all of your social profiles.

 

6. Create a marketing calendar.

Once you’re into the swing of things, creating a calendar to map out all of your funeral marketing is the best way to stay organized and keep everyone on your team up-to-date. Create one calendar (something as simple as a spreadsheet works) that incorporates all of your social media updates, blogs, running online ads, events, sponsorships, etc. Need help creating one? Use this example marketing calendar from the marketing gurus over at Unbounce.

 

7. Start an idea bank.

While you’re creating your marketing calendar, make a simple spreadsheet, mind map, or even an app where you can record your marketing ideas as they come to you. We love Trello but Google Docs is great, too.

 

Step 2: Get online and create, create, create

Now that you’re all set-up and ready to take off, it’s time to create content until the cows come home. And here’s plenty of content ideas to get you started:

8. Publish inspiring content. 

Content is still king, and it will always be king. The first step to any marketing plan is content. It will serve as the magnet for you to attract families, as well as the foundation of your brand. 

Challenge: Try connecting with your audience by posting on social media for 30 days straight, and see what happens!

 

9. Recycle your old content.

Do you have brochures, old newsletters or articles that haven’t been published online yet? Use the content you have from them to create a blog post or social update on that topic. For example, if you have a brochure covering all the methods of disposition, use that content to write a blog post on all the choices families have when it comes to celebrating their loved one.

 

10. Create an “Ultimate Guide” 

Have a bunch of blogs on one particular topic? Combine them into a comprehensive eBook titled “The Ultimate Guide to [Insert topic]. That’s what we did here with these golden nuggets of blogs from over the year 😉

 

11. Share user-generated content on social media

Studies say that user-generated content is the most trusted form of content on social media. In fact,  according to Stack LA, “79% of shoppers say it highly impacts their purchasing decisions, likely because it’s less biased than branded content”. What exactly is user generated content you ask? It can be:

  • Quotes from your past families
  • Re-sharing their stories on Instagram or Facebook
  • A video or review they post on your product
  • Photos they take with your content

 

These are just some examples. Check out this blog by Bazaar Voice for more on user generated content.

 

12. Tune into the wisdom of thought leaders

Ask leaders in the funeral industry or other related industries a question. Take all the answers and turn them into one awesome blog post, video or social media post. Or… even better… do all 3!

 

13. Tap into trends

Being trendy isn’t necessarily many people’s “thing”, especially in the funeral biz. But being trendy on social media can mean the difference between your social content getting seen or not. The social media gods are ruthless and put precedence on content on social platforms that follows trends. So whether it’s using a trending song on Instagram stories, or simply creating your own flavor of a meme that everyone’s posting, you can tap into the power of trends for the highest good of your business.

 

14. Craft your very first meme

We just started to mention the power of memes in the last point, and we figured memes on their own are worth an idea in this list. Everyone loves memes. For us, memes are the content people engage with us most on. Memes are great because they tap into imagery we all know so well, and most memes can be edited with your own language related to your niche. In this case, the funeral profession.

Below is an example of a meme we posted that is one of our most successful pieces of content we’ve ever posted.

Challenge: use this tool to create your own funeral meme and watch how your families love it.

 

15. Try Instagram Reels (or Tik Tok)

Video still truly takes the crown on most social media platforms. Look at TikTok’s success, for example. With its short form, minute long videos it became nearly as popular as Instagram in about 1/10th of the time. You may not be ready to jump onto a new social media platform yet, and that’s ok if not! You can still create your own version of Tik Tok’s videos on Instagram with IG Reels. Reels are short 15, 30 or 60 second videos that have the capability to go viral, fast. Especially if you use trending songs and formats that others are using. 

Challenge: Create your own Instagram Reel, you can use this post for the downlow on how to

 

16. Create epic videos

Is writing not your strong point? Try recording a video to show your community who you are.  Be sure to lead with VALUE with videos, rather than trying to blatantly sell things. Try sharing content that lies in your expertise and wisdom, and it will flow more naturally from you. 

 

17. Get real-time with your audience on Live videos

Going “live” isn’t has been a consistently great way to increase engagement with your audience and show them you are here for them for years now. It’s easy to go live on Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok (here’s a guide on how to for all platforms). Some ideas for “Going Live” are: 

  • Answer the most common questions your families ask you
  • Review a book you recommend for your families
    • Interview a local or industry thought leader
    • Share what’s going on behind the scenes in your funeral home
    • Take everyone on a tour of your funeral home

 

18. Try email marketing

Have you tried email marketing before? If not, this is a great way to stay connected with your families after the funeral service. Try Mailchimp as a free email marketing tool to get you started. You can send out special promotions, event invites, inspiring content, and more.

19. Explore a website re-design

Is your funeral home website a huge tool for your funeral home’s business growth? If not, it could be time for a funeral home website re-design. Check out this blog to see if it might be time. 

 

Step 3: Build relationships

Marketing, at its essence, is really about relationships. Here’s some ideas for creating important relationships for the life of your funeral business:

20. Partner with other businesses

Use your community connections to help spread your message and offer value by partnering up with a related business for an event or giveaway. This is a great low budget way to double your audience, and develop a sense of leadership in your community!

Idea: Partner with a different local business every month for a community event at your funeral home. The events don’t have to be limited to your funeral home either. For example, you could partner with a local art shop, and host a healing art workshop for those in grieving. The possibilities are endless!

 

21. Change up your business cards

Are your business cards the same old drab, black and white business cards as everyone else? What if your business cards were inspiring enough to hold on to, and even pass on to others? What if your business cards had a question on them like: “I want to celebrate my life by ___________” and gave families a chance to fill in their answer? That is an easy and affordable way to make an impact on someone’s day, and potentially keep your funeral home brand top of mind.

 

22. Make funny or relatable merchandise

The power of simple merchandise such as stickers has been obvious for decades, and it still works wonders! Creating funny or relatable tag lines or images on t-shirts, keychains, or stickers can allow for your potential families to connect with you in a way that’s not creepy. Of course no one wants a shirt with a casket on it, but if it’s funny… you just might be able to pull it off!

 

23. Become a vendor at a local conference or festival

Does your funeral home regularly network in your community through conferences and festivals? If not, take this opportunity to start networking through these events! There are so many cool ways a funeral home could take part in a local event – you could offer up 15-minute grief support sessions, you could host a death-inspired talk, or you could even team up and make an art installation like the one below.

 

24. Attend local events as a guest

If you don’t have the time or resources to host your own events or be a vendor at conferences, why not attend others’ events? Why not attend a local Death Cafe, grief workshop, or hospice event? Simply by being present, you’re creating relationships and setting yourself up for service in every way you can.

 

25. Enter to win a local or industry award

If you’re spending the time to read this far into this blog, you probably put a lot of love into your funeral business. So why not get recognized for it? Partaking in local and industry awards programs gives you free PR and if you win, that’s a great way to earn credibility with your customers!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

26. Offer 365 days of email affirmations

The best way to keep your families connected with you after the service is to inspire their healing journey. The f1Connect website platform offers up a done-for-you, free service for you to support families for a year after you serve them. What better marketing is there than making sure your current customers are happy and taken care of?

 

Step 3: Educate and share your wisdom

It’s time for your client families to get some edu-ma-cation so they can make better, more informed decisions when it comes to their loved one. Here’s some ideas to get the ball rolling:

27. Become a mentor

If there’s one language you know really well as a funeral director, that language is healing through grief. Offer up your expertise to those who need them by letting your staff members mentor those who need it. It can be an additional service for families that is independent of the funeral service, or even part of a package. This would be a great way to offer up lots of value without relying on products or spending lots of money!

 

28. Amp up your pre-need game

What kinds of resources do you offer families to pre-plan their funerals? Are these resources boring and dry? Or inspiring? How could you revamp your pre-need resources to be more relatable, helpful or educational? 

 

29. Host your own workshop or class

Although partnering with others is great, it’s good to host your own community events, too. What conversations do people want to have about your specific services? Host workshops surrounding those conversations, and watch how quickly you can build a community of people.

 

30. Try your hand at infographics

If there’s one thing our industry needs more than anything else, it’s more education for our client families. Ask any family what they know about their options for when it comes their time… not many folks have information on this incredibly important aspect of life. Infographics are great for helping break down big concepts into smaller, bite sized nuggets that are shareable and talk-worthy. For help creating an infographic, try this blog. For a free resource to create infographics, try Canva

 

31. Host a free webinar or masterclass 

In the age of Zoom and everything being online, masterclasses and webinars are a GREAT thing to have on your marketing tool belt! You can do the masterclass live on Zoom, then offer a free recording for those who sign up. You could do one on grief, healing,  or pre-planning for families online. 

 

Other marketing ideas:

In case those ideas weren’t enough, here are some more all-time-favorite funeral marketing ideas we’ve been sharing with clients for more than a decade!

  1. Create a free offer for families that they can sign up for when they visit your website, such as a pre-planning toolkit.
  2. Shift the focus of your marketing content from selling to storytelling.
  3. Re-design your marketing materials to be more in line with what your families are looking for today.
  1. Submit an article to a local magazine that inspires families to start thinking about their end of life wishes.
  2. Reach out to podcasts and radio stations who might be willing to interview you on a relevant and cultural approach to death and dying.
  3. Make inspiring social media graphics easily and using the free design tool, Canva.
  4. Ask your past client families to give you a review on social media websites such as Yelp, Google, or Facebook.
  5. Ask your audience a question on Facebook or Twitter and publish it as a blog post. Here’s an example from the funeralOne blog where we asked funeral directors what makes them feel alive.
  6. Write about something personal and close to you. It could be about a death you’ve experienced, or something more uplifting such as an experience you had that restored your faith in humanity. By offering a mix of content that’s both personal and professional, you’ll entice new readers in different ways.
  7. Compile a list of the top funeral resources. Write about them in a blog, eBook or infographic… and make sure you tell the companies or businesses you mention. They’ll be more than happy to share content that’s singing their praises.

 

 

Other ideas from funeral directors that work

Last but certainly not least, we asked our audience of 20k funeral directors from around the world and here’s the funeral marketing ideas they say WORK for them:

  1. Full disclosure and clear itemization on contracts. And teach your directors what the whole contract means in layman’s terms. The absolute truth goes a long way.”
  • Tania T. 

 

  1. Nothing works better than a “Warm handshake”.
  • Pamela P.

 

  1. Do what you like to do in the business and what you’re actually good at – AAAAND hire out the rest. Best marketing tip – ever.”
  • Straight Paths

 

  1. Service, Service, Service. Trumps any marketing you can do.”
  • Dewayne M.

 

  1. Be the best funeral director(s), be approachable, friendly, etc. Do that bit extra on the day and the time leading up to the service, follow up a week after the service to touch base and receive any feedback.”
  • Mark B.

 

  1. Become, if you’re not already, an active member of your community.
  • Jamie H.

 

  1. “Hire great greeters. Good personality and compassion.”
  • Linda S.

 

  1. “Be genuinely compassionate. A grieving family can feel false words.”
  • Lisa L.

 

  1. Find out as much as you can about their loved one that you are taking care of and listen to the family. Be there for them. Do not rush or make them feel like they do not matter because they are in shock and you have to be very sensitive to their needs.”
  • Tina D.

 

BONUS idea: Re-invent your funeral home website with the f1Connect all-in-one website platform. Talk to one of our Funeral Success Specialists to learn more today!

We hope these ideas can help you for years to come. Feel free to bookmark this blog and come back to it whenever you need to! What other funeral marketing ideas do you have to add to the list? Tell us below!

 

 

Rochelle Rietow

funeralOne

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    This are good profit boosting tips! Thanks for sharing!

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    Hi. I was researching funeral marketing ideas and came across your article. What advice do you have for marketing funeral program templates?

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    Thank you!

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