Marketing Tools Deathcare Firms May Overlook Part 4: Printed Brochures

Trifold, bifold, or handbill — it doesn’t matter what format your printed marketing brochures take. It matters that you or your staff is equipped with them at the right time.

Some businesses don’t invest in printed brochures because they believe print is dead. And while online marketing is certainly powerful and important, traditional businesses like deathcare firms can’t afford to quit paper completely. Here are three times you’ll be happy you stocked some paper marketing materials.

  1. Marketing at Local Events

Whether you’re sponsoring a booth at the local JDRF walk for diabetes or your staff is running the ring toss at the elementary school carnival, it’s time to dust off your elevator speech. When people ask about your firm or services, you should be ready with a compelling answer that lets them know what you do and, more importantly, what you can do for them.

But it can be a challenge to discuss the benefits of preplanning with aplomb when a dozen third graders are lined up to throw rings at bottles. The ability to hand over a marketing brochure saves you a lot of time and ensures the other party can peruse your information at a more opportune time — such as when they aren€™t escorting their child through the squealing, candy-energized masses.

  1. Providing Information on Premises

Printed brochures provide the same benefit at your own offices or funeral home. Someone who is attending a visitation for a lost friend may enjoy the look and feel of your funeral home and wonder if you offer preplanning services. But they may feel uncomfortable getting more information between hugging loved ones and listening to eulogies. A discreet display of brochures in a hallway or near the exit makes it possible for potential clientele to grab marketing materials to look over later.

  1. Random Encounters

Of course you’re not living your entire life looking for a reason to bring up your funeral home services. But relevant random encounters do happen, and if you have a couple brochures stashed in your vehicle or laptop bag, you can provide people with the information they need at just the right time. That goes a long way to setting up the type of trust relationship people want with a deathcare provider.

This is the last entry in our series on often-overlooked marketing tools for deathcare firms. If you missed any of the other three, click back through our blog posts now to catch up.

Marketing Tools Deathcare Firms May Overlook Part 3: Podcasts

More than half of Americans listen to podcasts, and about 80 percent say they recall businesses and brands when they hear ads for them in podcasts. You don’t have to find the time and creativity to launch your own podcast to benefit from the popularity of these programs. Check out three ways funeral homes and other deathcare firms can use podcasts for marketing below.

  1. Get Interviewed on a Podcast

Let podcasters know that you’re open to interviews or partnering with them to provide content for an episode. The best way to do this is to find podcasters that discuss topics tangential to your services. For example:

  • A history podcaster might be interested in your knowledge about local cemeteries
  • A supernatural podcaster might interview you on the topic of death and deathcare through the ages
  • A podcast for retirees might be interested in how preplanning can help older adults protect their final wishes

The goal in being interviewed is to demonstrate your expertise and get a little plug in for your business. Make sure the podcaster is open to you providing your firm’s website and contact information at least once during your interview.

  1. Sponsor a Podcast

If you don’t have something to offer a podcast audience, you can still get your name front and center by sponsoring the podcast. You can approach smaller podcasters directly, which can be a great way to connect with someone that has an audience mostly local to you. Let them know you’re willing to be a sponsor and find out what their rates are.

When you sponsor a podcast or even just an episode, the podcaster mentions your business’s name and contact information during the podcast. They might do so at the beginning and end of the program or during each break.

  1. Advertise on a Podcast Network

You can also advertise via a podcast network. This works similar to advertising via an online ad network like Google’s. You create ad content and set some parameters about how often you want to pay for the ad to be served and what demographics match your target audience. The podcast network serves the ads during a variety of podcasts, so your message isn’t linked to a single program.

Did you miss our previous entries in this blog series on oft-overlooked marketing tools for deathcare firms? Circle back to read about press releases and vehicle wraps now.

Marketing Tools Deathcare Firms May Overlook Part 2: Vehicle Wraps or Magnets

Last week we talked about press releases as a marketing tool. Today, we’re looking at whether deathcare firms can use vehicle wraps for local marketing.

Vehicle wraps or magnets can be a passive but powerful form of marketing. Depending on your location, they can generate up to 80,000 impressions a day. That’s 80,000 times a day people register the message on your vehicle — and advertising on fleet vehicles drives name recognition 15x more powerfully than any other form of advertising.

But are vehicle wraps or magnets the right form of advertising for your funeral home? We’re not necessarily suggesting you wrap your hearse in come-hither marketing images. But tasteful signage and messaging on other types of vehicles may remind people in the community what you stand for and the services you offer. That increases the chance they’ll call your firm when they are ready to preplan or experience an at-need situation.

Some tips for using vehicle wraps or magnets include:

  • Wrap an owner’s vehicle with a wrap that includes the name and phone number for your deathcare firm along with a short motto
  • Wrap delivery vehicles or other fleet vehicles with tasteful images or information about your firm
  • Add magnets to vehicles when you’re using them for business purposes and take them off at other times if desired

Vehicle wraps cost between $1,000 and $3,000 and last for a long time. They provide an added benefit of protection for your paint job and vehicle finish, and you can have the wraps removed professionally without damaging anything beneath.

Magnets are an even more cost-effective way to advertise on cars. They’re also preferable if you want to market different products or services or swap out messaging periodically.

Check back next week to find out about another marketing option you might be overlooking.

How to Supercharge At-Need Calls with Funeral Home Internet Marketing

Funeral homes don’t just market themselves on the internet.

A funeral home internet marketing plan is best accomplished through word of mouth in the community. It can also employ print advertising, in newspapers or the Yellow Pages.

That’s just how it is. That’s how it’s always been done. And that’s the way it always will be.

And…it’s time to forget all of that.

This is a new age—a digital age, to be specific. Newspapers have been struggling for years, and many of them frankly are on the brink of extinction.

The print Yellow Pages directory is ignored by all but a small segment of the population, mostly elder people. Everyone else tosses that big book right in the recycling bin.

While certain offline funeral home marketing strategies still retain some effectiveness, hoping for a Yellow Pages listing (and even a display ad) to save that day is a losing proposition.

More often than not, today’s families will find you online. If you’re looking to supercharge your at-need calls, you need to focus your attention and your marketing dollars on the internet.

Now, we’re sure that many of you reading this are marketing your funeral homes online—at least to some degree. That’s a message you’ll hear from a variety of funeral home marketing companies. No business can survive these days without at least a website and an email address, and a funeral home is no exception.

However, by itself, a website is just an essential aspect of doing business in the digital age. It’s really not much different than having a phone number.

You’d never even consider having a business without a phone number, and that’s all a website (by itself) is these days.

When we say “by itself,” here’s what we mean: A website can be an amazing marketing tool. It can be an amazing generator of both at-need and preneed contracts. (This guide focuses on at-needs, but obviously preplanning is important as well.) It can be utilized in a way that generates far more leads than any traditional advertising methods.

However, all too often, none of that happens. For many local, independent businesses—but especially for many funeral homes—the website does little more than exist. It’s an online presence and nothing more. It could be an incredible resource, but it’s reduced to little more than untapped potential.

And in those businesses, the website is often where the online aspect of a funeral home marketing plan begins and ends. There might be a little attention placed on search engine marketing, but it’s often rudimentary at best.

Some of these funeral home owners remain unfamiliar with pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, one of the most powerful lead generators available to funeral homes today. They know little about local search, mobile marketing, the importance of reviews, etc. They might be cognizant of various funeral home marketing ideas, but they have no idea how to execute them.

And that’s okay. Because given that you’re reading this, we know you’re interested in doing everything you can to make your funeral home as successful as possible.

And because many of your local competitors likely aren’t digging into funeral home marketing strategies the way they should be, you have a great chance to dominate your market in at-need calls by simply employing some of these tools.

Yes, the very fact that the death care industry (at the local level, at least) has been slow to adopt to the digital age is what makes it such a great opportunity for you.

While they’re stalling, you can take advantage of all the latest funeral home marketing trends. You can jump to the top of organic rankings for your geographic area.

You can have the dominant local website for attracting at-need clientele and converting visitors into contracts. You can have the overwhelming share of reviews (and the highest-quality ones), marking your funeral home as the leader in your market.

Sound good? Then let’s get started.

SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING

At its essence, search engine marketing (SEM) simply refers to funeral home marketing strategies you execute through search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

We don’t want to entirely ignore the latter two, because all three of these search engines are important. However, in this guide, we will focus almost entirely on Google.

That’s because Google has a dominating market share—over 90 percent of search in America is done on Google, and pretty much anything you do that helps your visibility with Google will do the same with the others.

Of all the funeral home marketing ideas we’ll cover in this guide for generating at-need calls, search engine marketing remains the foundation. If your funeral home fails to do a good job here, you won’t attract visitors to your website, and thus you won’t be converting visitors into phone calls for at-need services.

With that said, you could be doing an amazing job with SEM, driving tons of traffic to your site, but if you don’t have a high-converting site, it won’t matter. Your site must be optimized to convert. If it’s a bad website, regardless of how good your funeral home marketing plan is, you won’t get the call.

I’ll get into that in more detail later, but for now, just remember that the two go hand in hand: Great search engine marketing generates the traffic. A great website monetizes that traffic (by turning it into at-need calls). One doesn’t work without the other.

Over the past year, more than 1.2 million people searched for funeral homes on Google. Of those searches, more than half searched on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. That’s how dominant mobile search is now. Put a pin in that, because we’ll dig in deeper on that point and how it relates to other funeral home marketing trends later.

So we’re in a time when many more people are searching for your services on mobile phones. This is especially true for at-need situations, because when a family is dealing with the death of a loved one, they’ll often turn to the research option most immediately at hand—a smartphone, which is connected 24/7 to the internet.

If they’re in a hospital and a family member just died, they likely don’t have a laptop (and definitely don’t have a desktop computer) at hand. But they all have their phones.

(Additionally, there’s been a massive spike in household adoption for voice-controlled computing devices, aka “smart speakers,” over the past year, so optimizing for voice searches is becoming important as well. It’s a trend we need to follow closely when considering marketing strategies for funeral homes.)

Let’s look at what these family members discover when they do a search for funeral homes in their area.

Say, for example, they’re in Colorado Springs. If they do a search on Google (as most people do) for “funeral home” or “funeral” or “burial” or “cremation,” they’ll be displayed a search engine results page (SERP) for providers of these services in their area. (In the vast majority of cases, they don’t even have to type in “Colorado Springs.”)

When the SERP appears, it will have three different elements:

  • At the top of the page, the searcher will see pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements, which are foundational to the top funeral home marketing strategies. These are paid ads (as opposed to organic listings).
  • Beneath that, they’ll see the local business search section, a listing of three local providers, that is accompanied by a map. These are unpaid (free) listings. This list of three providers is commonly called the “Local 3-Pack.”
  • Finally, they’ll see the organic search listings. These are the unpaid (free) listings of businesses in the area, typically ranked in order of what Google considers the most useful to the searcher. When you’ve employed great search engine optimization (SEO), you tend to be among the very top of these listings—and being in that area is crucial to your success.

Here’s how each of these elements works:

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

PPC isn’t just one of the top funeral home marketing trends right now. It’s one of the most commanding tools for delivering at-need calls immediately, so we’re going to cover it in considerable detail.

These are paid ads. On a SERP, you’ll typically see a total of seven of these ads: four on top, three more at the bottom. (Google used to show more of these ads on the right side of the SERP, but it’s stopped doing that.)

When you employ a well-designed PPC campaign, you’re essentially paying to jump to the top of search results for your industry and your geographic area. Instead of waiting for SEO to kick in and improve your organic (unpaid) rankings, you get prime real estate up top. These ads get a much higher click-through rate (how many people click the link) than listings lower on the SERP.

PPC ads have a variety of other benefits, including:

  • Cost-effectiveness: With PPC, you only pay when someone clicks your ad. And virtually no one will be clicking who is not in need of your services. If your ad is targeting at-need calls, you’ll get clicks from urgent leads.
  • Virtually instant website traffic: When you start a PPC campaign, you’ll have ads on the front pages of SERPs for Google (and other search engines, if desired) within only a few days.
  • Flexibility over print: You can do banner ads and streaming video with PPC. You also can alter your ads anytime on the fly to ensure maximum effectiveness. None of that is possible with print.
  • Laser targeting: You’re only advertising to people looking for exactly what you provide. You also can specifically target by location to reach local clientele.

To create a PPC campaign for your funeral home marketing plan, you use keyword analysis to determine the keywords that fit your business like a glove. That includes terms specific to death care and its services, along with specific geography.

Your campaign also should include negative keywords, which sounds scary, but this simply means keywords you want to exclude when people search for them. For example, if you don’t do pet cremation, you would exclude terms such as “pet,” “dog,” “cat,” etc., so searchers for such services won’t see your ads. (This works wonderfully, which is why it’s currently one of the key funeral home marketing trends.)

Regarding geography, your campaign can be a macro or micro as you like. Options include city names, a defined radius, and zip codes.

For example, if you want to exclude certain less desirable neighborhoods, you can exclude the zip codes in those areas. Additionally, if you have a full-service funeral home and a direct cremation service, you might want to use a limited radius for the funeral home and a broader one for direct cremation.

Day Parting

This is another great benefit of PPC and an excellent tool when marketing for funeral homes. It lets you only run ads during the times of day you prefer.

Many funeral homes are available 24/7, so they have their ads running constantly. However, some don’t need that. Perhaps they can’t handle that much business, or they prefer to only get calls during certain times of the day. You can select the time ranges in which your ads appear, ensuring they’re only displayed when you want them to be.

Faucet of Leads

This is another important aspect of PPC. It means at any time, you can adjust how often your ads appear.

As part of your comprehensive funeral home marketing plan, you can effectively turn on the faucet full blast, letting your ads appear all the time, to generate as many leads as possible.

Alternatively, if you have more business than you can handle and need to suspend lead generation for a bit, you can pause all of your ads—that’s turning the faucet off entirely.

Or, if you’re moderately busy and would like to keep generating a flow of leads—but not the “full blast” option—you can set your ad buy to just let leads drip in for a while.

Ultimately, these decisions are determined by your maximum daily budget for PPC and how much of a lead flow you wish to accomplish. It can be adjusted at any time and takes effect virtually immediately.

PPC on Mobile Devices

While PPC advertising is a great at-need calls generator on any type of device, it’s especially effective on mobile devices—which is great, because more and more people search on mobile every day.

On a mobile device, the PPC ads at the top of the SERP virtually always take up the full real estate of the phone screen. You won’t see anything else until you scroll down. All of the unpaid results are hidden at first. That’s why it’s critical, given the popularity of smartphones, that you stake your claim for that real estate with PPC ads. It’s a core aspect of marketing for funeral homes.

Another consideration: With everything else smartphones do these days, it’s sometimes easy to forget that they’re actually phones. In your PPC ad, there’s CALL button function right there in the ad. With the single tap of a finger, a family can call you for an at-need situation. They’re already on a phone, so you get an immediate conversion.

Note that you must be sure to turn on the call button when you set up your PPC ad, because it’s not activated by default. When you have the function enabled, leads bypass your website and go straight to calling you. It’s one of the very best ways to grow at-need calls.

Local Business Search – Ranking in Google Maps 3-Pack

Again, this section appears directly under the first batch of PPC ads, as long as there are PPC campaigns in your area. It’s a way for Google to spotlight what it considers the very best providers in a given industry in the area. (So it’s important to be in here.) There’s no cost for this; Google does it for free. No more than three businesses appear here, so you want to be among them. It’s one of the most critical aspects of marketing for funeral homes.

Here are the main factors Google considers for whether you make the grade:

  1. Have a complete business listing on Google. Be sure you’ve claimed your Google My Business listing. Then, make sure everything is filled out, and especially that your business’s name, phone number, address and business category are all accurate. You also can add photos here. Definitely do so—upload a minimum of 10. You can add videos as well, and I highly recommend doing so.
  2. Have a high quantity and quality of online reviews. The more the better, and the more positive, the better. Both quantity and quality really matter (more on that later).
  3. Have many high-quality citations. Even if you’ve claimed your listing, Google doesn’t know whether you’re legitimate unless you have citations (other places on the internet where your business name appears). In citations, your business name, phone number, and address all must be identical. That’s extremely important. Make sure all of your business info is uniform across the internet.

Organic Search

Again, these are the old-school “search results” you’re familiar with from the very first days of Google and similar search engines. These listings are not as powerful as they used to be in the days before PPC ads and Local Search, but they still definitely matter. Some searchers remain wary of paid ads and tend to click on organic listings.

To get the best organic listings (and thus capture all those at-need calls), you must employ great SEO. That’s one of the key marketing strategies for funeral homes you’re likely already familiar with, and it’s one with so many facets, we can’t really get into all of them here.

But the most important thing to know is that websites can’t game the system the way they used to do. That’s “black hat” SEO, and webmasters who try these tricks now see their websites severely punished in organic rankings.

For SEO, what Google really wants to see from your website is lots and lots (and lots of lots) of great content. That means plenty of original, relevant content that really educates the visitor on everything you do and everything you know about death care services.

The three words that define great SEO and top organic rankings today are “Content Is King.” That’s not only text content but also images and videos, plus (where appropriate) other content elements such as graphs and infographics. The more high-quality content, the better.

WEBSITE CONVERSIONS

Now that we’ve covered the essential aspects of search engine marketing, let’s look at website conversions: how to turn website visitors into actual at-need clientele. Without that, none of the other funeral home marketing ideas you employ matter much at all.

We mentioned in the last section that content is king, and indeed, a website that’s rich in high-quality, original, relevant content also tends to be one that’s great at converting.

However, many other funeral home internet marketing strategies factor into this consideration. In fact, we actually have a 37-point checklist! But for our purposes here, let’s focus on the seven most critical factors in getting website conversions for at-need calls:

  1. Clear call to action (CTA) on all pages. Most people coming to your site for at-need situations are in despair, so you really need to guide them to the next step. You need a great call to action, paired with your phone number, on every page. This is ideally in the top right corner, in the form of a recurring header. Also, make sure the phone number is big enough to see easily.
  2. Unique selling proposition (USP). How are you different from your local competitors? Figure out how to differentiate yourself and really show it off. Where is your key strategic advantage? Play that up. Every successful business needs to know its USP.
  3. Business profile video. These days, people love to look at videos. When people see video of your funeral home and what your directors (and other staff) look like, that builds credibility. These videos are ideally no more than a minute long, and these days, the price for a professional videographer is very reasonable.
  4. Credibility (pictures, videos, testimonials, logos, Yelp, etc.). Remember that these families need help immediately. You need to let them know that you are a credible, legitimate, superior service provider. Display pictures of the funeral home and pictures and bios of the staff. Also include several great testimonials by satisfied clientele.
  5. Social media buttons. If you have a social media presence, make sure you’re displaying the buttons for those platforms and that they can be clearly seen. This is one of the most basic funeral home marketing trends to follow.
  6. Ease of contacting you. Check your website to see how easy it is for people to find your phone number. Pull up the site on a mobile phone and make sure the number is always there, no matter where you are on the site, for you to “tap to call.” (That means it’s coded so someone on a phone can simply call you by tapping the number.)
  7. Google Analytics. This free service helps you know how well your engagement is working. You can figure out where visitors are coming from, which pages they’re checking out, and how long they stay. This data is incredibly helpful for improving conversions.

REVIEWS AND REPUTATION

Reputation is everything in the local funeral home industry. If you don’t have a strong reputation, you’re in serious trouble. No one wants to entrust the care of a recently passed family member to a funeral home that doesn’t have a stellar reputation. This is paramount to any type of marketing for funeral homes.

And regardless of what your reputation might be offline (in your community), it’s just as critical—if not more so—to have a phenomenal reputation online. That means that your funeral home has a lot of five-star reviews (or their equivalent) on platforms such as Yelp, Google, and Facebook.

If someone in an at-need situation comes across a funeral home with a 2.5-star average rating on Yelp, there’s no way they’re contacting that business. That’s just not good enough. In fact, studies show most people won’t bother contacting a business with an overall rating of less than four stars.

Similarly, if a home has virtually no reviews on Yelp or other platforms, it’s highly unlikely to get that at-need call. People want to know a funeral home has plenty of experience and an investment in the community. So you really need a great quantity, in addition to quality, of reviews.

As part of your funeral home internet marketing plan, the three platforms you absolutely must monitor for reviews are Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Having poor reviews (or too few reviews) on any of them can be devastating to your funeral home.

There are many ways to generate more reviews from satisfied customers. However, it’s obviously crucial to solicit reviews in a thoughtful, discreet manner. A funeral home isn’t a pizza joint, and your process in this area obviously must be as respectful and reverent as in everything else you do.

With that said, it’s fine to ask satisfied families to review your business when you feel it’s appropriate. You also can include this query in a thank-you email or at the bottom of digital and print invoices.

One important caveat: Yelp has a very strict policy against directly soliciting reviews, so we recommend playing it safe there. However, if a family inquires about wanting to review you on Yelp, there’s nothing wrong with saying you’d appreciate that.

You want to generate positive reviews, of course. No funeral home marketing plan will be successful without them. However, it’s just as important to head off negative reviews. If you’re good at following up with families when services are over, you’ll often prevent negative reviews online. Be sure to ask whether they had any issues with your services. If so, do what you can to rectify their concerns before they feel the need to criticize you online.

We also employ automated tools with many of our clients to ensure positive reviews and head off negative ones. These tools help satisfied clients report their appreciation with the click of a button.

If they’re not satisfied, the tool encourages them to contact you directly before they leave a negative review, letting you handle the problem before it goes further.

Be advised that we’re careful with the language and process here, because Google updated its policies in 2018, advising businesses that they’re not allowed to directly prevent someone from posting a negative review by routing that person away from the review option (known as “review gating”).

Take this seriously, because you don’t want to get into trouble with Google. But the way you create your messaging, either on your own or through a software solution such as ours, can greatly improve the likelihood of a dissatisfied client reaching out to you before publicly panning your business.

MOBILE-FRIENDLINESS

Finally, let’s talk a little about how important mobile devices are for your funeral home marketing plan.

Earlier, we discussed the degree to which mobile devices have become pervasive in Americans’ lives. Smartphones truly have become indispensable among every generation and demographic. To be successful today, you really must embrace mobile devices in everything you do. (And again, this is starting to become true of “smart speakers” as well.)

It’s unbelievably important that your website be mobile-friendly. If it was designed several years ago and looks great on a desktop computer, but it looks terrible (and operates poorly) on a smartphone, you’re in huge trouble.

Today, it’s not simply just as important that your website work as well on mobile as on desktop—it’s more important. Mobile is becoming the dominant interface for at-need clientele, so you must follow suit.

This also relates to the issue of mobile load time, meaning how long it takes a site to load on a mobile device. Mobile users are accustomed to immediacy. A recent survey showed that 53 percent will abandon a site if it doesn’t load within three seconds.

Do you know how quickly your site loads on a smartphone? Are you willing to give up more than half of your potential clientele because it’s too slow?

You can test out the mobile-friendliness of your funeral home website very easily through a Google tool. Just type in “mobile friendly test” on Google, and it will come up. Punch in the data and review the information it provides, particularly as it relates to speed.

Additionally, there are specific mobile marketing tools that work wonderfully for potential at-need clientele, and they provide some of the best ROI of all funeral home marketing strategies.

The nature of at-need death care services lends itself to mobile marketing. As we noted earlier, if you’re at a hospital and a loved one has passed, it’s natural to go to your smartphone to determine how to proceed. Your other computers simply aren’t available.

A core aspect of mobile marketing is geotargeting, one of the most beneficial funeral home marketing ideas you can implement today. 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.

Another method is geofencing. This lets you build a “virtual fence” around a particular location to send advertisement messages specifically within that area. Obviously, a hospital would be a perfect location to utilize this tool.

These marketing strategies for funeral homes take advantage of the fact that mobile devices upload very specific location data in real time to show where they are. This information is invaluable when you’re creating a mobile marketing campaign. It helps you connect specifically with people in need of your services, providing a benefit for all parties.

You can also create advertisements on search engines such as Google to target very specific locations. When someone in the target area simply searches for “funeral services,” “cremation,” “burial” or similar terms, your ad will be positioned to immediately catch the searcher’s eye.

Finally, mobile marketing is incredibly beneficial because it’s one of the easiest marketing methods to track. When you receive a phone call, a clickthrough or a website visit through mobile marketing, analytics provide you all the information on how that contact originated.

CONCLUSION

That might have seemed like a lot of information on how to grow at-need calls for your funeral home, but really, it’s only scratched the surface. This is just the foundation for a comprehensive online funeral home marketing plan.

We don’t want to bog you down with too many highly technical details about the process, although we’re always happy to go over every single step for someone who’s interested in what we do. Unlike many other funeral home marketing companies, at Ring Ring Marketing, client communication is one of our highest priorities.

We really hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to funeral home marketing strategies. Download a copy of ‘The Funeral Home Director’s Guide to Generating More At-Need Calls,” a comprehensive resource on the marketing techniques that work best for immediately driving more calls from immediate needs.

Sincerely,

Welton Hong
Founder, Ring Ring Marketing

Marketing Tools Deathcare Firms May Overlook Part 1: Press Releases

Cutting the ribbon on a new funeral home location is certainly a newsworthy story, but did you know you can use press releases to market your business and services at other times too?

A press release is simply a formulaic method of notifying news outlets and publishers that you have a story they might be interested in. Press release distribution services let you do this by creating a single document and releasing it automatically to dozens or even hundreds of publications. Those that are interested can run the story straight from the information in the press release or contact someone at your firm for an interview.

When can a deathcare firm use press release marketing? Some businesses make the mistake of sending press releases every week or two no matter what, and that can be a bad idea. If you don’t have anything newsworthy to offer, publications are likely to ignore your press releases. You might even be banned from press release services if you abuse them in this way.

But you don’t need to break major ground on a new business location to have legitimate news to share. Here are a few times funeral homes or other deathcare businesses might use press release marketing:

  • Announcement of events, including free webinars or hybrid events people in the community can attend to learn more about preplanning
  • Partnership with another business or community organizations on a charitable effort or other endeavor that’s meaningful to the neighborhood or city
  • Availability of new service lines or products so families in your area will know they’re an option

While there’s no hard and fast word count, press releases should be short and informative. Aim for 400 words or so and follow the journalistic pyramid structure:

  • The headline, summary line, and first paragraph should provide enough details that people get the picture even if that’s all they read
  • Follow up with a couple of paragraphs with additional details that give more context to your story or announcement
  • Conclude with your contact information and a short boilerplate about you or your company

Mastering the press release format can be difficult, and it’s even harder to create compelling press releases that stand out in the piles received by publications daily. If your press release efforts aren’t providing results, consider working with a marketing agency to up your game

Come back next week for the second installment in our series on marketing tools that are often overlooked: vehicle wraps.

3 Ideas for Live Social Media Deathcare Marketing Events

Lockdowns might have come and (hopefully) gone, but the COVID-19 pandemic left behind a lot of habits. One of those is a consumer desire for more real-time interaction on social media. Learn more below and get three ideas for incorporating live social media events into your deathcare marketing efforts.

Why Live Events?

Before the pandemic, Facebook Live and other real-time interactive technology was growing in popularity. But the pandemic created a clamor for these instant touchpoints, with individuals and businesses being encouraged to “show their face” on social media to build digital community at a time when face-to-face community was impossible.

Many people enjoyed those live events, and consumers are used to them now. They look forward to them, and businesses of all types are using them to drive higher engagement rates, build community, and support better conversions.

Live Events Don’t Need to Be Lavish

Webinars are a tried-and-true technique for marketing preneed services. But your live events don’t need to be an hour long or involve a ton of work. Social media makes it possible to connect with others in real-time with quick updates or mini-events.

3 Ideas for Deathcare Marketing Live Events on Social Media

You do need a plan for what events you’ll hold and how they fit into your overall deathcare marketing strategy. Once you make that plan, executing it can take less than an hour a week. Here are some ideas for live social media events to include in deathcare marketing efforts.

  1. Provide a tour: All you need is a smartphone with a decent camera, and you can give a live tour of your location. Show off the remodel of your visiting room or give people an (appropriate!) inside look at your operations. People are naturally curious, and a live tour lets you react to questions and explain things in real time.
  2. Answer some questions: Speaking of answering questions, set aside a 15-minute live window weekly to hop on Facebook or Instagram Live and answer common questions. Invite people to ask questions in advance or interact on your Live.
  3. Interview someone: Interview the funeral director, customer service staff, or even interesting people in your community.

Then save your live posts so people can watch them later too. You get double benefits: real-time community with your followers plus valuable content that can live on your social pages or even be included in blog posts in the future.

How to Get Ranked in Google’s 3-Pack

Getting ranked in the Google 3-pack is as good as it gets without having to pay for the visibility. When a user searches for a local business in Google, search results appear based on metrics that measure relevance and proximity. This produces the best results that match the user’s intent. Google then displays these results at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) in groups of three, which is called the Google 3-Pack.

What does it take to get listed in it and how to rank higher on google maps local 3-pack? It comes down to three primary signals. The first is how complete your Google listing is. And how do you optimize your Google business profile to appear in the Google local pack? Welton Hong shares with you the other two, as well as tips on improving each one, in his latest video.

3 Tips for Incorporating Social Proof in Deathcare Digital Marketing

Almost 90 percent of consumers start with online research before they make any type of purchase. And more than 90 percent say they trust organic reviews and social proof more than any other type of advertising.

Those two facts indicate that it’s not enough to have a strong online presence to connect with people when they start researching for preplanning needs or come to Google with an at-need situation. Deathcare firms must also do the work to incorporate social proof into their marketing.

What Is Social Proof?

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon. In general, people view certain behaviors as more appropriate or correct when they see others performing them. That extends to purchase decisions!

If someone sees that 50 families have chosen your funeral home over others — and moreover, have been satisfied with your service — they’re more likely to choose your funeral home too. Social proof points to your business being the right decision.

3 Ways to Incorporate Social Proof in Deathcare Marketing

Paid advertisements, even if they include videos or written testimonies from past clientele, aren’t as strong as unpaid social proof. Here are three ways to incorporate unpaid social proof into your marketing efforts:

  1. Ask for reviews. Ask satisfied families if they would leave a review on Google or Yelp. Google reviews are especially strong social proof because they can change how your listings show up in search results.
  2. Share social media mentions. When a family or clientele tags you on social media in a positive post, that’s social proof! Repost it with a short note of appreciation. For example, if a family posts “So grateful for the kind service of Smith Funeral Home in helping us honor Gran,” Smith Funeral Home might share the post and say, “We were honored to be part of such a special service.”
  3. Include testimonials on your website. Quote positive information from Google reviews on a testimonials page or pepper them throughout your site in callouts. It breaks up the page and provides social proof right on your website.

How to Tell if a Google Update Affected Your Search Ranking

Welton Hong comes to you today from ICCFA’s Dead Talks in Las Vegas. One of the things he loves about attending industry events is catching up with clients and partners and having the opportunity to answer their questions in person. While he was speaking with a funeral director, they asked with all the changes to Google’s algorithm, how can one tell if their website’s ranking was impacted? And there are two simple ways for you to check, which he discusses in his latest video.

3 Reasons to Use Paid Social Media Advertising for Deathcare

Less than a quarter of businesses on Facebook use paid Facebook ads. If you’re not one of the 24 percent of businesses paying for exposure on social media, you could be making a big marketing mistake. Discover three reasons to make social media ads a part of your deathcare marketing strategy below.

1. It’s Inexpensive and Cost-Effective

You decide how much you spend on social media ads, and you can test the waters with campaigns that start as low as $5. The ROI on your campaigns depends on the quality of your ads and how well you target them.

The average cost-per-click on Facebook is about 97 cents. It’s 38 cents on Twitter, though average CPC rises to just over $3.50 on Instagram.

Your numbers will obviously differ, but if you’re paying $1 for a click on Facebook and have a 2 percent conversion rate on preplanning offers, $100 in social media advertising gets you two new preplanning clients. Not a bad ROI for fairly minimal effort.

2. You Can’t Rely on Organic Reach

Why not make free posts on social media instead of paying for them? On average, only around 5 percent of the people who follow your page will see any given post you make. That number goes up if the post is liked, shared, or commented on, but it can be lower too.

However, it goes up even more if you boost the post (turn it into a paid ad). Then you can target specific social media users—whether or not they already follow you—and ensure your post shows up in people’s feeds.

3. You Connect with People Where They Are

Millions of people sign into social media multiple times a day. Consumers engage with these platforms for entertainment, connection, and to find out about businesses and products. Paying to advertise on social media platforms lets you put your message on channels people are already perusing, which can increase the effectiveness of your marketing.