PPC Funeral Home Advertising: Search Engine Marketing & PPC Drive At-Need Case Counts
Funeral home operators understand that marketing their businesses require attention to two types of clientele: pre-need and at-need. While it’s vitally important to do both, today I’d like to focus specifically on techniques that drive case counts with at-need clientele.
When people need to arrange services for an unexpected passing (or simply don’t have a plan in place, for whatever reason), they’ll typically go straight to an online search for a funeral home.
I realize that in the past they might start with the Yellow Pages or a local directory — or go the word of mouth route, asking friends and colleagues — but that’s all becoming far less common as digital resources rapidly overtake traditional ones. We live in a time when the internet is so accessible and convenient that it’s simply easier to go that route.
When at-need clientele go to the internet, the strength of your search engine marketing will play a major role in whether they notice your funeral home and choose to contact you. That makes it one of the pillars of funeral home marketing in the digital age.
In its most traditional form — organic search results — search engine marketing is pretty simple. Someone will punch a search term into Google or another search engine (although it’s usually Google, by far the most dominant player in that medium). If they’re Nashville, for example, they’ll search for “Nashville funeral homes” or simply “Nashville funeral,” “Nashville burial,” “Nashville cremation,” etc.
They don’t even necessarily have to include their location. The vast majority of the time, the search engine actually knows where you are, either by location services on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet (devices that are gaining much more of the internet search market lately), or because you’re signed in to the search engine and have provided your location. So you’ll almost always get local results by punching in “funeral homes,” “funeral,” and so on.
When someone does this, as you’re certainly aware, they’ll get a list of potential providers through organic search results. The page that comes up, naturally, is called as search engine results page (or SERP for short). Unlike funeral home advertising, these results are unpaid. The order in which you’re listed depends on your business’s search engine optimization (SEO), which is largely — but not entirely — based upon the SEO of your website.
Good website SEO ensures a high ranking; bad website SEO could get you pushed to the second page, or perhaps even further down. That would be really bad, because recent studies show that more than 90 percent of searchers never make it past the first page on a Google SERP! And in fact, more than 50 percent of searchers choose among the first three providers listed on the first page. That’s how important it is to be ranked highly.
You might have heard that organic search results are not as important as they once were. That is true to a degree, because paid advertising has made organic results a bit less of a priority.
But it’s only a bit, so don’t take that to mean you should ignore organic listings. They’re still critical to your funeral home’s success, especially for at-need clientele. Some searchers still prefer to go straight to the organic search results instead of checking out the paid funeral home advertising at the top of the page.
However, many other searchers do review the paid ads that also naturally appear on the top of a SERP. These are typically pay-per-click (PPC) ads, and they’re vitally important for driving visitors to your site and converting visitors into paying clientele. PPC is one of the primary types of effective, efficient funeral home advertising.
A key difference between organic search results and PPC advertising is that PPC ads give your business priority on a SERP almost immediately. Improving your SEO is more of a gradual process — it will make you rank higher, and it’s absolutely worth doing, but it doesn’t happen overnight. PPC advertising does. If you’re looking to rapidly increase website visits and drive at-need case counts, PPC is one of the most effective tools.
PPC is also great for funeral home advertising because of its excellent return on investment. “Pay per click” means exactly what it says: You only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad, sending the searcher to your website. Compare that to a print ad where you’re paying no matter what, regardless if it even resonates with a reader.
A click means you already have an interested lead who wants to learn more about your business. At this point, it’s up to your website to close the deal by getting the lead to call you (to convert, as we say). But if someone doesn’t click, the ad doesn’t cost you anything.
PPC is additionally useful for your funeral home advertising campaign because it provides excellent analytics. If you run several different PPC ads (with different calls to action and/or language), you’ll know exactly which of these are most effective. You can retire ads that don’t work well and push forward with ones creating the most click-throughs. And these changes also “go live” virtually immediately, so you won’t be wasting any time.
The best choice, as I explain to my clients, is to simultaneously work on improving your search engine optimization and to invest in PPC ads for an immediate effect. That combination of funeral home advertising lets you cover the long-term and short-term approach. And as your SEO takes effect and helps you climb the rankings in your local market, you’ll have both methods working to attract leads and improve case counts.
In addition to PPC, I often recommend a focus on local search map advertising. This ensures your funeral home appears on a map of search-specific businesses on the SERP. At-need clientele typically want a provider who is close by, and this lets them see your location at a glance. It also increases your visibility on massively popular apps such as Google Maps.
Finally, mobile marketing is a tool that’s having increasing importance in funeral home advertising as more people search on smartphones and tablets.
One core aspect of this is geotargeting. You can create a campaign that reaches out selectively to people within a given geographic area. At-need clientele will often seek out a funeral home that’s nearby, so you can target such individuals purely based on their proximity to you.
There’s also a technique known as geofencing. This lets you build a “virtual fence” around a particular location to send advertisement messages specifically within that area. A hospital would be a perfect location to utilize this tool.
At Ring Ring Marketing, we’ve seen how effective these techniques can be for a funeral home marketing campaign that attracts at-need clientele and creates a substantial increase in case counts.