3 Steps for Advertising Your Funeral Home

Jim Rohn, a great business philosopher, once said, “to be a master communicator, all you’ve got to do is follow this simple three-step process:

  1. Have something good to say
  2. Say it well
  3. Say it often

At the time, Jim was referring to all forms of communication, but I find that this three-step process can save you a lot of money when it comes to advertising your funeral home.

Funeral home advertising should always have something good to say, say it well, and say it often. In this newsletter, I’ll delve a bit further into those three steps.

But first, a dirty little secret about advertising agencies.

Most business owners assume that their agency makes their money off of their creative services, charging for things like designing a campaign, writing copy, and creating ads.

Yes, they may charge for these services, but where they make more money is off of their placement of the ad. 

Let’s say your agency creates a new television ad for you. You like how it turned out and agree to run it on your local station.

The agency delivers the ad to the TV station and is designated as the “agency of record” and receives a commission on all money you spend with the station.

The typical agency commission is 15%. If you spend $10k running the ads, the agency gets $1,500. If you spend $100k on ads, the agency gets $15k.

The bottom line is that the more you run the ads, the more money the agency makes. They’re not incented to create a great ad. They’re incented to keep you running mediocre ads.

Let’s look at Jim Rohn’s three steps and see how they apply to a funeral home business.

Step #1 – Have something good to say

This step can be a challenge for many funeral home owners because they have not intentionally created a noticeably different business from their competition. They’ve strived to make their business better but not necessarily different. 

That was ok for the Silent Generation, but you have to focus on how you are different from your competition when it comes to Baby Boomers. If there are no differences, you must create one before spending money on advertising.

Step #2 – Say it well

A 30-second TV or radio commercial has a limit of roughly 75 words. Advertisers often fall into the trap of trying to cram as many points as possible into one script. 

They open with the fact that the funeral home was founded in 1884 and then go through the laundry list of traditional funerals, cremation services, monuments, and preplanning. That approach never works and results in an ad that is ignored by the audience.

A better way to “say it well” is to take one point and focus the ad on that point.

Let’s say your funeral home has a crematory, and you want that to be your main point for this ad. Your ad might read something like this. 

“Are you considering cremation? Did you know that most funeral homes do not have their own crematory and instead outsource their cremations to another company? This introduces security issues and can be a major concern for families. 

At Smith Funeral Home, we have our own onsite crematory and a detailed 17 step security process. When you call us, you will never have to worry about your loved one’s remains. Call us at 888 555 1212”

Step #3 – Say it often

As I said earlier, this is how most agencies make their money. The more you “say it often,” the more commission they collect from the media company. 

You are paying to repeat your message as much as possible so that people will remember your name. That’s called Top of Mind Awareness (TOMA).

But here’s the thing…

If you have something good to say and say it well, you do not have to repeat it as often for people to remember you.

Do a better job of step #1 and step #2, and you do not have to spend as much money on step #3. How cool is that!!

Here’s how most agencies approach Jim Rohn’s three steps

  1. Have something good to say – ignore this point
  2. Say it well – cram as much as possible
  3. Say it often – maximize their commissions by running it until the budget is empty.

Here’s how I approach advertising

  1. Have something good to say – focus on this
  2. Say it well – one key point per ad
  3. Say it often – run it until we achieve Top of Mind Awareness

I’m here to help you win more calls, serve more families, and save money on advertising along the way.

Until next time



PS: If you’re wondering, I never sign up as the “agency of record” because I don’t want the commissions. Instead, I have the media company reduce their price for my client.

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