One Simple Trick To Truly Understand Your Families

If you’re in the funeral profession, you know that serving your families with kindness and compassion is at the forefront of importance. But the million dollar question is…How well do you REALLY know your families?

Like we’ve been preaching for years, the families of today are different from the ones you might be used to serving. And it’s worth taking the time to get to know them. It’s important that you’re effectively marketing to today’s families and offering services they find meaningful. And we’re glad you’re here, because that means you’re one step closer to understanding what really makes your families tick.

Our favorite exercise to get to know our target audience is creating buyer personas. Buyer personas won’t just give you insight on how to market to families. They’ll help you communicate better, build REAL relationships, and introduce products and services that actually solve their problems and make their lives easier.

But before we even get into the gushy details on buyer personas, let’s dive into what buyer personas are…

What is a buyer persona?

In short, buyer personas are simply fictional representations of your funeral home’s ideal customers. They’re based on real information about potential families’ demographics and behavior, along with educated speculation about their motivations, concerns, and goals.

How do you create buyer personas?

Buyer personas are created through research, surveys, and interviews of your target audience. That includes a mix of customers – both “good” and “bad” — prospects, and those outside of your contact database who might align with your target audience. You’ll collect data that is both qualitative and quantitative to paint a picture of who your ideal customer is, what they value, and how your services can meet their needs.

Now that we know what buyer personas are, here’s how to create buyer personas for your funeral home:

Step 1: Find your subject

There’s two options for this step. The first is to find 3-5 people in your target audience and interview them. The second is to answer your interview questions (we’ll get to those next) through research and your perspective based on families you’ve served in the past. Let’s go over the pros and cons of each:

The interview approach

Ideally, the first phase of creating your buyer persona would be finding a mix of “good” and “bad” families who are in your target audience (aka, Baby Boomers). We suggest interviewing 3-5 people who are unique yet still represent your target audience. For example, you might want to interview someone with a conservative mindset and also someone who is more forward-thinking. You could interview someone who lives in your community and someone whose parents live in your community, but has moved out of town.

Think about all the types of families who walk into your door, and consider that when choosing interviewees. It’s not always easy to get people to sit down and answer a list of questions you have for them, so maybe you could offer them an incentive, such as a gift card.

Or find your answers through research instead

Some funeral professionals might feel like they don’t have the time to sit down and interview several people, aggregate the data, then present it via a buyer persona. If that’s the case, you can always complete your buyer personas through research. You’ll use the same interview questions you’d ask your interviewees, but research the answer. This route isn’t always going to be as accurate, however it’s still effective.

Step 2: Come up with interview questions

Ok, so you’ve found a way to get your question’s answered. Here are our suggestions for questions you should be asking during your interview/research phase:

Who is your target audience?

NOTE: Please remember that even if you’re not interviewing people, it’s important to come up with fictional information that helps you paint a true picture of the persona.

  • What is their name?
  • What do they look like? (For this, it’s best to find a picture, whether it’s real or fake, of each persona)
  • Age?
  • Gender?
  • Married? Divorced? For how long?
  • Do they have children? What are their names and ages?
  • Where do they live?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • What is their income? (individual and household)
  • Describe their education? Are they college grads?
  • What does their typical day look like?
  • What’s important to them?
  • What are their goals?
  • What are their major preoccupations?
  • What do they worry about?
  • What are their mannerisms?
  • Where do they spend most of their time? Where would they rather be?
  • What do they like to do for fun?
  • Are they involved in the community? How are they involved?
  • Who are the people in their life that matter most?

Where do they find information?

If you’re going to really get inside the heads of your potential families, you’ll want to know how they find information. Once you know where and how to message to them, you’ll be able to make your presence and establish credibility where they’re spending their time online (and offline).

  • What magazines do they read?
  • What social networks do they spend the most time on?
  • Where would they go first to find information about funeral homes? (Google? Friends / family? Previous funeral homes they’ve worked with?)
  • How much time do they spend online?
  • What information do they want to see on your funeral home’s website?


What kind of experience do they expect from your funeral home?

  • What are their feelings about funeral services in general?
  • What do they feel makes a great funeral service?
  • What are their general viewpoints on previous funeral services they’ve attended?
  • Have they ever planned a funeral service? What did they like about the process? What didn’t they like?
  • What are your persona’s primary goal(s) when planning a funeral service?
  • What are your persona’s secondary goal(s) when planning a funeral service?
  • How can you or your services/products help them achieve their goals?
  • What are their primary challenges when planning a funeral service?
  • What are their secondary challenges when planning a funeral service?
  • How can you or your services/products help them solve their problems?
  • What kind of features/benefits do they expect to find?
  • What kind of experience do they expect during the arrangement process?
  • How do they prefer to plan their (or their loved one’s) funeral service?
  • What common objections will families have about your products or services?
  • What are some real-life quotes your persona said during an interview, or would say, about their experience with your funeral home? Think about how they talk and what they say to get great insight.


Step 3: Build your personas

Now that you’ve done your interviews and research, you’ve got a lot of information to work with. It’s time to organize and simplify the information you’ve collected to build personas that you can share with anyone involved with your funeral home’s marketing or arrangement process.

NOTE: After your interviews and research, you may find that you have a few general customer types that have very different viewpoints – and that could very well be the case. In this situation, we recommend that you build separate personas to reflect each of these customer types. In fact, here at funeralOne, we leverage multiple personas to reflect the different goals and motivations of our audiences. However, the key here is to boil your personas down to the most important 2-3 customer types, because the reality is, you can’t be everything to everyone.

Our favorite buyer persona template can be found on  As you can see below, this is a REALLY simple template that’s visually pleasing and easy to digest and that’s exactly why we love it. To access this template, simply create a account (it’s free) and choose the “Empathy Map” layout.


NOTE: You will see that this template is definitely much more simple than the interview questions or research that you’ve completed, and it’s designed to be that way. Your personas should be boiled down to only the most important messages. Otherwise, people you share them with will either a) have information overload OR b) not read any of it. (Trust me, we’ve been there! And that’s exactly why we adopted this simple template.)

However, save a longer summary of all of the information you’ve collected. This information is gold because it will help spark new ideas that you can incorporate at your funeral home down the line.

You’re finished!

See, that was fun, wasn’t it?! Now that you’ve created your buyer personas, think about how you can better tailor your marketing, services and even your location to better serve your ideal families.

Looking for a funeral home website that attracts today’s families?

f1Connect is the funeral profession’s only website platform engineered to attract and educate today’s families. Click here or call 1 (800) 798-2575 extension 5.


Joe Joachim


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  7. letago


  8. letago

    can I use this strategy even in SA ? amongst the africans one has to target everyone especially in the rural areas