I’ve heard the question posed in different ways, but the foundation is always the same:
“Where is the funeral home business going, and should I commit to the funeral profession?”
It’s a valid question, though one without a definite answer—if there are 8,000 independent funeral businesses, there are 8,000 different answers. Each family and each business will address the challenge of moving forward differently.
Designing a marketing strategy represents a great challenge for most funeral home, cremation, and cemetery business operators because they don’t know where to start. But not having a plan will leave you wandering – working diligently but without direction or purpose. This is what creates the concern for the future.
The best place to begin is with gathering information. A popular book in the 1990s, The Millionaire Next Door, demonstrated how most successful small business owners are experts in their field, but not necessarily knowledgeable of related areas critical for their success, such as media selection and advertising messages. We see it often: Owners working “in” the business, when they really need to be working “on” the business.
Technology has complicated media selection because, unlike traditional media, we can’t see digital marketing working for us in the same way as we can television, newspaper, radio, and yellow pages. Also, unlike traditional media, understanding and leveraging digital marketing demands a greater depth of knowledge to make it work. As such, gathering information is perhaps the most important aspect of creating a marketing strategy.
As you consider your funeral home marketing strategy for 2019, start with this question as you gather information:
What strategy or strategies will we invest in to meet our business objectives this year?
You may be focused on growing revenue and/or growing call volume but the first step is developing the strategies most likely to make that happen. It could be expanding into new markets, either with a new building or an e-commerce business. It could be increasing capacity by building a new crematory or hiring more staff. Or it could be adding to topline growth by expanding services, such as receptions and merchandise.
All of the strategies listed above have been successful for clients we serve, but all have required an operational and marketing plan. Start by listing the steps you think will be necessary to accomplish the strategy you choose. Then, be sure to ask for feedback from others who might see things you missed. While budget is an important factor to any business decision, it’s most critical to determine what is needed to achieve the goal. There’s no sense in starting a strategy that requires investment in property, equipment, or people without planning for the advertising that will bring the consumers needed to see the return on that investment.
Creating a marketing strategy alone can be difficult, and that’s why many funeral homes, cremation businesses, and cemeteries call us to assist them in that process. A phone call or email to us may be all you need to start this next year off strong and primed to answer the most-asked question in the funeral industry for yourself.