A marketing campaign conducted for a funeral home is a unique and challenging task. Obviously, it shouldn’t be handled like a beer commercial during the Super Bowl. There has to be a certain sense of dignity befitting the grave circumstances families find themselves in when in need of a funeral home. The Casket and Funeral Supply Association of America, recently released research reveals that Americans don’t plan for their funerals, resulting in a poorly prepared population for the inevitable and making the job of funeral homes marketers that much harder. As the marketing consultant for Ratterman Brothers Funeral Homes, I face the same challenges funeral homes across the country face: How to market in this modern world without resorting to unsavory tactics or losing our humanity? The good news is that what has worked in the past still works and is friendly to a budget but can be time-consuming. A mix of tried and true tactics and modern techniques should be undertaken.
Fundraising by helping a local charity could be the best way, in my opinion, to show that your businesses are leaders in the community. I like the idea of working with a local charity because I get the chance to really know the charity and feel good about supporting it without any worries about improprieties. Also, it will boost name recognition for your funeral home. Offering to allow the charity to use your building for events, donating time and money, or just getting involved by helping to promote are measures you can employ to both serve the community and benefit your business.
Aftercare is a means of keeping a connection with family members and helping those who are struggling with the loss of a loved one. There are resources that can be made available on your website such as interactive videos and grief counseling. Group grief and healing meetings can be held by a professional at your facility which brings together others that are suffering. You have already served these families so they are already familiar with how you conduct yourself. It will be easier to work on implementing practices that promote a sense of community among these clients.
Sponsoring local events and teams is an easy and effective means of getting your brand in front of people. Sponsoring local festivals, sports teams, or the fair establishes that you have an investment in the community. Does someone on your staff have children and play organized sports? Then sponsor the team. Is there a local chili cook-off and a staff member cooks a mean bowl? Then offer to sponsor them. There are numerous ways to be involved in the local festivities that will make people aware of your services without coming off as unseemly.
Social Media is a growing and compelling trend but I approach it with apprehension. I manage it as a tool of communication and education. We try to post content or articles that educate our clients about retirement, financial matters, or other related news. It doesn’t feel right to post about “specials” or other “deal” related materials. It seems shallow to post about deals when someone is coping with the loss of a loved one. Our position on social media is to post educational and informative recommendations that helps clients be better prepared for loss or life.
Any marketing campaign you employ needs to begin with a sincere attempt to help families that have endured a tragedy get through it with as little friction and pain as is reasonable considering the circumstances. This mindset has served us well and will continue to be one of our core principles. Marketing with decorum has its challenges but when done right the rewards outweigh the added effort.