Sitting right in front of you might be the biggest funeral home marketing opportunity in decades. In this newsletter, I’ll describe the opportunity and give you an action plan for moving forward.
I often tell my clients that the best form of marketing you can do is conduct a beautiful and meaningful service for each family you serve. In addition to helping the immediate family, you are also starting a relationship with every person who attends the service.
Every attendee will eventually experience the death of a loved one and need the help of a funeral home. Will they call you?
When my clients ask a family why they chose them, the most common answer is that they had previously attended a service at their funeral home and knew they’d do a good job. That’s why a beautiful funeral service is your best form of marketing!!
I am writing this just before Memorial Day 2021. As of today, the Covid-19 death toll in the United States is 593K.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of those deaths resulted in a grieving family who did not have the benefit of a funeral. In many cases, they couldn’t even say goodbye to their loved ones. They need to gather together, feel supported, mourn, experience a ceremony, and shed some tears.
For every person who lost a family member, there is a long list of people who would have attended a funeral if one had been held. They have needs too.
All of those unmet needs represent the once-in-a-lifetime marketing opportunity I mentioned above.
To be very clear, this is not a short-term money-making opportunity. If you do it right, the money will come to you eventually, but if you turn this into a preneed lead generation opportunity, you’ll ruin it for everyone.
The basic idea is to create a memorial event for everyone who lost a loved one during the pandemic and could not have the type of funeral they wanted or needed.
Many of my clients hold a community event on or around Memorial Day. It’s that same concept just applied to the pandemic.
Here are five steps you can take to create an event and serve families.
Step 1 – Decide on the scope of the event.
You could hold this event for the families you’ve served since Covid started, or you could extend it to the entire community. The choice is yours, and it just depends upon how big of an event you feel like you can handle.
If you keep it to the families you’ve served, it’s easier to connect with them because you already have their contact information. If you extend it to the community, you’ll have to spend some money on advertising.
Step 2 – Pick a venue.
If you have a beautiful funeral home that’s large enough for the event you want, then I would definitely hold it there. Ideally, I would like to have enough room around the funeral home to set up some tents for open-air displays, gathering points, and maybe a refreshment tent.
If you have to use another venue, make sure that you have enough signage to clearly brand this as an event staged by your funeral home. You want to make sure that people see this as your event and not one put on by the venue.
Step 3 – Choose an overriding theme.
Is this going to be a somber or celebratory event? It’s your choice.
Keep in mind that Covid deaths were generally unexpected and therefore traumatic events. A loss like that is rarely a cause for celebration.
If you are going to include a life celebration element, consider placing it at the end of the event instead of making it the main focus.
Step 4 – Create a memorialization plan.
Never forget that the whole purpose is to bring families some sense of closure. To do that, you will need to create some form of a funeral ceremony and allow each person who experienced a loss to feel like their needs have been met.
If you have a celebrant on your team, this would be a perfect time to make them the featured speaker.
Step 5 – Create a marketing plan.
Last but not least, you will need a plan to bring people to the event. If you have a small list, you can just make some phone calls, but you’ll need an advertising plan if you’re extending this to the community.
At a bare minimum, consider setting up a Facebook event and a series of Facebook advertisements to increase awareness.
If you’re extending this to the entire community, you should be able to pick up some free press from the local TV or radio stations.
You might also consider partnering with the local hospice organizations and maybe a few churches. They can help get the word out about the event.
I hope those five steps help you organize a great event. Remember, this is the most important marketing opportunity in years. Make this a beautiful and meaningful event, and you will benefit for years to come.
Until next time
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