This post originally appeared on Connecting Directors.
As previously discussed, there’s a family in your community whose name you should get to know very well: the “Undecideds.” This family might not know who, specifically, will care for them in their time of need, but funeral directors can be proactive in making their funeral homes stand out among others when the time comes for the Undecideds to – well – decide. Here are some of my suggestions:
1. Stop compartmentalizing people into an overly-simplistic “price-shopper” category.
How many times do you hear others from outside of the profession refer to a “Funeral Director” stereotype and proceed to infer that all funeral directors fit that stereotype? It probably happens more often than you’d like – and you wish it would stop. After all, you’re not just a funeral director. You’re an individual with a unique personality – and you’re different from your peers. Right?
Now, imagine a situation where a funeral planner calls you soon before or immediately after a death. They start to ask about pricing, and immediately, you go into your “price shopper” conversation with them.
But wait a minute.
You should have a plan for handling conversations that involve price, but you should not immediately classify such individuals as price-shoppers. Most people are not familiar with the funeral planning process, and they often don’t know what to ask – price often seems like a logical first place to start.
2. Don’t forget about your “second” location.
Even single-location funeral homes don’t realize that they actually have (or at least, should have) a second location – their website.
Last year, there were an estimated 50 million searches for the term “funeral home” in the United States. As I’ve asked before, if your funeral home’s website looks like everybody else’s, what does that say about your funeral home? A website that is too basic or strikingly similar to thousands of other funeral home websites could lead the Undecideds to think that your funeral home is just like all the others.
I suggest that you not only create a website that reflects your funeral home and services, but also that you refresh your content often. You could offer a blog where the owner can give his or her personal perspective on the profession. Or, you could re-post articles that others have shared about topics that are important to families. It doesn’t matter how fancy or expensive your website is – it’s how you engage the Undecideds that matters.
3. Don’t forget about your “third, fourth, fifth, and more” locations.
Today’s Internet isn’t a place where you should simply create a basic website, “set it…and forget it.” With all of the social media tools that exist – including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and others – you have an amazing opportunity that simply didn’t exist 5 or 10 years ago. You can engage with families on an individual basis using simple social media tools.
Admittedly, it’s not as easy as just creating accounts, then watching the Undecideds send you a tweet that they’ve chosen your funeral home for their family’s funeral service. It’s important to have a plan in place. But investing real time and energy in these tools is essential.
4. Have an open mind.
I’ve heard several funeral professionals say something like, “Our families just wouldn’t use the Internet to find a funeral home.” Whether this is true or not, it almost doesn’t matter where your families would go. What matters is where the Undecideds are going. Assuming that the Undecideds wouldn’t utilize certain channels is dangerous, because if you’re wrong, and your competitors are utilizing those channels, you could miss out on business.
While it might be difficult or foreign to you, it’s important to try new methods for differentiating and marketing your funeral home. The marketing methods of the 1980’s and 1990’s – like phone books – just don’t work anymore. Funeral homes in Ohio are already getting to try our service, eFuneral, but it’s important to consider other unique channels – whether that’s Search Engine Optimization tools like SEOMoz and RavenTools or Google and Facebook’s advertising platforms - to find what the Undecideds in your hometown are gravitating towards.
At the end of the day, the Undecideds can certainly be an elusive bunch. But it’s important to keep this group in mind and cater to them so, ultimately, your family can help theirs.
eFuneral provides helpful information and support to those thinking about end-of-life.Get Started