Promoting a typical local business is a very different process than funeral home advertising. Quite simply, advertising death care services requires an entirely different skill set. It puts limits on approach, tone and word use that your local landscaper, coffee shop or auto parts store never has to worry about.
It’s a tricky balance, one many funeral homes have struggled with over the years, particularly as advertising for brick-and-mortar businesses has become so much more prevalent in our digital age.
The bottom line is that you’re promoting a business, so you must take advantage of the tools and practices employed by all local businesses. You need to attract clientele for both at-need and pre-need services by selling yourself in some way, highlighting the advantages you have over competitors. Those could be more experience, better prices, stronger customer service, a better selection of caskets, urns and headstones, etc.
Whatever the case, your funeral home advertising needs to put your best foot forward, to impress your competitive advantage upon potential clients, just like any other business. But you need to do so in a way that doesn’t come off crass or “salesy.”
It’s a delicate balance to find. If you promote yourself too much like every other business, you risk putting off potential clientele. If your funeral home advertising is too vague or subtle, you fail to differentiate yourself from competitors.
Having worked with a variety of business people in the death care industry, I understand how tricky this can be. At Ring Ring Marketing, we’ve discovered there’s a critical “sweet spot” for funeral home advertising that some providers still have trouble landing upon.
The huge rise in online advertising in recent years has put a spotlight on this issue. Many funeral home operators and directors have been much more comfortable creating a solemn, reverent print advertisement than crafting high-converting website copy or a pay-per-click ad that truly hits the mark.
And that’s totally understandable. You’re in the business of providing excellent customer service, not creating effective online funeral home advertising. And most old-school local ad companies simply aren’t trained in the particular techniques that work for promoting death care services on the internet.
Those traditional ad agencies often simply replicate the same old print ads and directory listings for plain-vanilla websites that aren’t built for effective search engine optimization or to convert visitors into interested customers. Many funeral home sites don’t even display properly on mobile devices, which is where many family members look first these days to evaluate their options.
More than anything else, these local agencies often struggle with how to create effective funeral home advertising copy that’s concise, which is extremely important when promoting your business online. A PPC ad has to get its message across in few words, so those words must be carefully chosen. For a funeral home, the ad must include effective keywords and immediately attract the viewer’s attention while still remaining professional and proper.
At Ring Ring Marketing, we specialize in creating funeral home advertising copy that drives case counts and ensures excellent return on investment while always ensuring a reverent tone. Whatever your particular needs and goals, we can help you find that sweet spot. Here’s some of the things we consider when creating these ads:
One thing most advertising professionals have learned over the years is that customers typically don’t like copy that sounds too salesy. This is especially true for at-need services in death care.
Client families are already dealing with the death of a loved one. They want to be feel comforted, to feel safe — not to be hit with a corporate ad that could just as well be for “buy one, get one free” mattress sales as for funeral services. Unfortunately, that’s something we really do see from other marketing agencies who try to dip their toes into funeral home advertising.
A conversational tone works wonders. The best funeral home advertising, whether online or off, has a touch of personality and even vulnerability to it. You’re putting your best foot forward, but you’re doing so in a way that finds common ground with the potential client, not sounding bombastic. Form a connection with the reader if you want to drive leads and case counts.
If your funeral home advertising doesn’t give off that personal touch, it’s seriously wasting money. This is true of both at-need and pre-need services. Your clients aren’t just purchasing your services; they’re contracting for peace of mind. They want to know that you’ll take care of everything and do so with thoughtfulness, care and respect. So you need to put yourself up front.
There are various ways to do this. Photos of you and your staff are great — but make sure they’re good pictures that convey a feeling of warmth and caring. Using a professional photographer is very highly recommended.
As you’re probably aware, coming off as too cold can be a major turnoff. Ask family and friends for their honest opinions on how approachable you look in your professional funeral home advertising photos. If they note any concerns, it’s absolutely worth it to try a different approach.
Whatever you do, don’t use stock photos for this type of advertising. Potential clients see them as impersonal and cheesy, the exact opposite of what you’re trying to convey.
This isn’t always easy in funeral home advertising. As I mentioned previously, there’s a certain sweet spot you’re looking to hit, and that restricts the window to be too creative. You obviously also want to take care to avoid anything too irreverent or cutesy — that’s not the sort of tone clientele are looking for in funeral home services.
However, there are ways to separate yourself from everyone else in your local market. Take a look at what your competitors are doing and try to phrase your ad copy differently. Even just a few introductory words in your ad, something thoughtful and simple, can make a big impression.
At Ring Ring Marketing, we’ve found that finding the proper tone in your funeral home advertising can be a huge boon in improving case counts.