Expert Insight: How to Humanize Your Funeral Marketing


You met Kristan McNames in 5 Ways Your Funeral Home Can Freak Out the Competition. Now, we get a firsthand look at some of the different ways she’s shaking things up to promote her funeral home and connect with her community in Rockford, Illinois. In this guest blog post, Kristan shares some insider secrets on how to humanize your funeral marketing.

The “Rookie” Mistake

When we opened our funeral home three years ago, our philosophy was that if it looked really nice, we were friendly and compassionate and the prices were fair that people would come. What we failed to consider was that in order for people to step over the threshold, they’d need to actually hear about us some way, somehow.

According to the National Directory of Morticians Redbook there are 19,680 funeral homes in the United States. Our rookie mistake seems silly in retrospect, but I can’t help but wonder how many of the 19,680 funeral homes in America are kicked back just waiting for people to walk through the door. In case you missed the memo, consumer preferences are changing, and it’s way past time to get your marketing message out in the world.

Rather than regurgitate all the things that you’ve probably already read in funeral and cremation magazines and have seen at conventions, I’ll share some things that we’ve done that have worked. People like doing business with people they like. There’s no better way for people to get to know you than to throw yourself out into the world and spread your message.

There are different venues and options available for meeting the general public providing an environment in which people can get to know you as a person. This will lead to them liking and respecting you, which will in turn increase your business in the future.

Tapping into the Airwaves

We showcase the products and services that we offer on a local talk radio program. For a nominal fee, I get to talk about myself, my business, and what I do for 25 minutes every other week. I joke with the host and show the community that I’m not some pasty funeral drone with the personality of a wet shoe.

There, I have the opportunity to discuss examples of funeral personalization, to answer cremation questions, to share insight and offer suggestions to callers.

What I’ve discovered is that people are sometimes more comfortable asking even the most basic cremation and funeral questions from the comfort of their home or car. I offer the listeners the opportunity to tour the funeral home, and to meet us in person.

Going “Green”

We have “green” or “eco” caskets and offerings. In three years, no one has selected a “green” option for their funeral. What I’ve discovered is that the eco-caskets are a great ice breaker in the selection room. They relieve some of the tension in the casket selection process, and get the conversations flowing.

The local media also loves a good green story. The caskets have paid for themselves over and over in the free public relations and media attention. Families seem pleased to realize that we truly are unique and progressive.

Our Funeral Home Isn’t Only for “Sad Events”

We have a myriad of events at the funeral home. Our space isn’t reserved for “sad” events. We sponsor AARP Driving safety classes, have a local scrap booker lead digital classes a few Saturdays each year, and have pre-need “Lunch and Learn” events planned for this year. We try to look outside of funeral service to see what other professions are doing to market their services.

Don’t be Afraid to Shine a Spotlight

I believe that in order to thrive and survive as a profession, we need to showcase our offerings and our staff, and not be afraid to utilize the media to help spread our message. Press releases about the accomplishments of staff members are a no-cost tool for spreading your message and sharing your achievements. Working closely with the media helps to put a human face on funeral service, and has helped us grow and expand our business.


About the Author: Kristan I. McNames, CFSP, graduated with a Bachelor Degree from the Mortuary Science and Funeral Service Program at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. After working for two corporate funeral providers, most recently as the General Manager; she decided to open her own funeral home in June of 2009, with her husband Bob McNames. Grace Funeral & Cremation Services is located in Rockford, Illinois, and has served over 175 families since opening.

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  1. regerwash

    Thank you for sharing such valuable information. It’s a pleasure to visit here, if you have time you can also visit us in Tony Gasparini Funerals

  2. Krystal Penrose

    Thanks Tony! 🙂