The Name of Your Funeral Home

I’ve driven by the same one-story building for decades. Originally the sign said Midas Muffler. It was one of 1300 franchise locations in the US and over 2100 worldwide.

One day the muffler on one of my cars needed to be replaced, so I stopped at Midas and had them take care of it. The franchise owner asked if I wanted his mechanic to check the brakes while he was working on the car. I declined because I assumed they were muffler guys, not brake experts.

Not long after, I noticed that their sign had changed to Midas Mufflers and Brakes. A few years later, they expanded their services to include the entire car and changed their name to Midas Car Care Center. 

If I was looking for a general car repair shop, Midas is an option because their new name tells me that they do more than mufflers these days.

The name of your business is critical because it tells your prospective customers what you do. 

I was working on something for one of my funeral home clients this week and checked out his local competitors. They were all fairly traditional funeral homes, and each was named “family name” plus the term “funeral home”.

Smith Funeral Home, Jones Funeral Home, Doyle Funeral Home etc… (not their real names)

The community is also served by a discount cremation company that operates under “community name” plus “Cremation Services”.

Consider what someone in that community would do if they wanted a cremation service. They would search Google for something like “cremation service near me” and trust Google to give them local options. 

Google shows them a list of businesses, but only one has the word cremation in their name, and Google lists them first. Who gets the phone call?

The one with the term “cremation” in their name!

When I take on a new strategic growth client, one of the first things I look at is their business name. If the name does not include the “cremation” or at least “crematory”, we start by adding it. We can work on dozens of other growth strategies later, but fixing the business name is often the starting point.

In a competitive market, ranking for “cremation services near me” on Google is almost impossible if you do not have the term in your business name.

And yet….at least 50% of funeral homes do not have the term “cremation” in their name even though they all offer cremation services.

The problem is that changing a business name, especially in the online world, can seem like an overwhelming task. Fortunately, we’ve helped dozens of clients go through the process. Here are the steps.

Step #1 – File a DBA (Doing Business As)

Begin by filing a DBA with your community and/or state. Once approved, this gives you the legal right to use a different business name.

Be sure to get a copy of the approved paperwork because you will need it in one of the other steps.

Step #2 – Get the name approved by your state licensing board

Depending upon your state or province, you may need to get your licensing board’s approval.

In theory, this should be a rubber stamp situation, but in our experience, some licensing boards can become a major pain in the backside and hold up the process. Start this process as soon as possible because we’ve seen some states hold things up for six months or more.

Step #3 – Update your branding

Once you have your new DBA and your state/province’s approval, it’s time to update your branding.

Start with a new logo, then update your building signs, handouts, business cards, etc. When you get your new sign installed, take some good pictures.

Step #4 – Update your website

Go through your website and carefully update your business name wherever it appears. Be extra careful to ensure your mailing address reflects the new business name.

Please note that you do not need to update your website’s domain address (URL). In fact, you shouldn’t, or it will hurt your search engine ranking.

Step #5 – Update your Google Business Profile

Your Google Business Profile includes your official business name. You will need to update this to reflect your new name. As soon as you do that, Google will ask for proof that you have the right to use the name. 

Now is the time to submit a copy of your DBA that you saved in step #1. You should also update your profile to include a picture of your new street sign and logo.

Google’s fraud prevention department is working overtime these days and is on the lookout for people using business names that they don’t own. That’s why they now ask for proof that you legally own the name you are submitting.

Step #6 – Update the hundreds of places that Google checks

When ranking your website, one of the factors that Google considers is whether or not you are using the same name everywhere on the internet. If you are inconsistent, Google won’t trust you, and your rank will suffer.

That’s why the last step is to go through the tedious process of updating your business name across the internet. Start with Facebook and then move on to places like Citysearch, YP, Yelp, and on and on.

If my car needed a tune-up, would I consider calling Midas Muffler? No.

But would I consider calling Midas Car Care Center? Yes.

It’s the same thing with your funeral home. If the term “cremation” is not in your name, you are missing out on potential calls.

We’ve gone through this process dozens of times. If you’d like our help, contact me. 

Until next time,


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