Funeral Home Marketing: it’s kind of like dating

One of the best analogies for funeral home marketing is personal relationships, specifically dating.

If you have ever been married, think back to when you were first dating your future spouse. You followed certain unwritten rules during the courtship that resulted in the eventual union.

Here are four rules of dating that also apply to marketing your funeral home.

Rule #1 – Start with a small step

I used to teach a workshop on Relationship Marketing using the dating analogy. One of the statements I always made was that you wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on the first date.

At one workshop man raised his hand and exclaimed, “I did!!”. I asked how that turned out for him, and he said she slapped his face and left the restaurant.

Dating and marketing work best when you start with a small step. In dating, it might be meeting for coffee. In marketing, it might be offering a planning guide on your website or inviting people to a preplanning workshop.

Rule #2 – Be honest

Before I was married, I dated a young woman who said that she was from a small town in Canada close to where I grew up. After about six dates, I learned that she was not from that town, but she had also never even been there.

She had just picked it off the map because a friend had told her where I was born, and she wanted to impress me. Needless to say, that was our last date.

Honesty in marketing may be a rare commodity, but it’s a critical element when it comes to funeral homes. If you want families to trust you, start by being honest in your marketing.

Rule #3 – Take small steps together

Dating is just a series of small steps that a couple takes together. But imagine what would happen if one of the parties decided they didn’t want to date anymore and said, “just call me when you’re ready to get married”?

When marketing your funeral home, it always works best if you think in terms of small steps. For example, you might offer a funeral home comparison checklist, then a preplanning guide, and next a Q&A phone call followed by an invitation to a preplanning workshop.

The at-need family has a similar need for small steps. They just have to move through them a lot quicker.

Rule #4 – You have to ask eventually

If you date someone long enough, eventually, one of you will start asking about where the relationship is going. Do you see marriage in our future? If not, please tell me now so I can keep shopping.

Marketing is the same way. Eventually, the prospect expects you to ask for the order.

In marketing terms, that’s called a “call to action.” Every marketing piece should have a call to action, but eventually, the action you want is for them to become a customer.

That’s why I include a link to my calendar at the end of my newsletters now and then. Every time I do that, I have a handful of people schedule appointments, and inevitably one or more of them will become clients.

When designing your marketing strategy, follow these four dating rules, and your funeral business will grow. You might have heard it called “relationship marketing,” but it’s simply good marketing to me.

In last week’s newsletter, I announced that I was planning on offering new packages from both my Funeral Business Builder and Funeral Success Marketing business units. Here’s the first of many…

At Funeral Success Marketing, we’re putting the finishing touches on a marketing campaign called About Funerals. This seven-part email series targets the “near need” call. Everybody fights over at-need and preneed, but I believe that the untapped market is people who will need your services in the next thirty days.

I created About Funerals for a client in Australia a few years ago, and it was very successful. This campaign works because it follows the four dating rules I outlined above.

We’re currently rewriting some of the content for the North American market and creating a marketing campaign to get people to opt-in to the email series. I’m looking for two funeral home owners who would like to be beta testers. You’ll get a 50% discount and have exclusive rights in your market.

If you’re interested, click here to get on my calendar.

Until next time


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