The Role of Social Proof When Marketing Your Funeral Home

My wife and I had worked 60+ hours/week for over a year. We were stressed out and desperately needed a vacation.

It was years ago, and the internet was still in its infancy. That meant I couldn’t use the internet to research destinations.

At the time, the office building I worked in had a travel agency just off the lobby. I stopped in one day to talk to an agent and left an hour later after booking a week-long stay at a resort in the Dominican Republic.

It turned out to be a great trip. But in hindsight, I was fortunate because I had booked a vacation solely based on the recommendation of a commissioned travel agent I had just met. 

Contrast that with a more recent travel story…

In late 2019, I started planning an extended trip somewhere warm, hoping to avoid another snowy winter. That’s an option for us because as long as I have an internet connection and a cell phone, I can work from anywhere in the world.

I had a copy of International Living magazine with great articles on the top destinations for Americans and Canadian snowbirds (i.e., people who travel south every winter). That resource provided me with a short list of potential destinations.

Next, I went to and read their articles on the destinations. I also started studying the reviews from other travelers. 

Then I went to and started looking for accommodations. If you’ve ever booked an Airbnb, you know the importance of going beyond the property owner’s description and studying reviews from other travelers. 

My wife and I enjoy eating out, so I researched local restaurants using Google. Once again, reviews from other diners played a big role in evaluating restaurants.

Eventually, I booked a two-month stay in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The critical part of the decision-making process….reviews.

Before the internet took off, social proof consisted of a recommendation from a friend, neighbor, or travel agent. But now, in our internet-driven world, people might ask a friend, they don’t know their neighbor, and travel agents have disappeared. 

Today, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Google reviews can make or break a business.

The role of social proof is to lower the risk of making decisions. It’s important to remember that it is not a single decision. Instead, it’s a series of decisions that takes them through the process of becoming a customer.

For a funeral home, social proof makes it easier for a family to choose you over the other funeral homes in town. But it also makes it easier for them to decide on what kind of service they will have.

Consider the decisions an at-need cremation price shopper family needs to make.

  1. Which funeral homes should we call for prices?
  2. Which one do we want to meet with?
  3. What kind of service do we want (if any)?

Now consider what kind of social proof they need to see/read to make each decision.

#1 – which funeral homes should we call for prices?

Your ranking and rating on Google will heavily influence this decision. A search for “cremation services near me” will return three funeral homes and their ratings. You probably won’t get a phone call if you are not on that list.

Two important ranking factors are the number of reviews and the recency. A funeral home with ten reviews in the past twelve months can often outrank one with twenty reviews from five years ago.

#2 – Which one do we want to meet with?

You might think that having the lowest price is the only thing influencing this decision. That would be wrong.

Once a family has narrowed the list of funeral homes to call, they will read the content of your reviews. The sentiment expressed in the reviews written by other families will help them feel that you are a funeral home they can trust.

They will want to meet with funeral professionals with a track record of caring for and supporting families. The key is that they need to hear that from other families, not from you.

#3 – What kind of service do we want (if any)?

One of the points I make in my new Arrangements Course is that your funeral home must have a package to offer families who do not want a traditional funeral. Plus, you should name that package so families can tell other people about it.

When an at-need cremation price shopper family is reading your Google reviews, the reviews must reference your new package by name.

For example, I own the trademark on the term Beautiful Farewell and many of my clients have created packages using that name. If an at-need shopper reads a Google review that says, “My family had a Beautiful Farewell for our mother, and it was outstanding,” you’ve just given a price shopper a new option to consider.

You should create a package, give it a name, and then encourage families to use it in a review. That’s how you leverage social proof to launch your new package!!

Social proof is an essential part of marketing in today’s internet-driven world. Most funeral home owners understand the importance of Google reviews. However, be aware that your overall rating is important, but it is just the start of the social proof process.

Until next time


PS: Another point from my new arrangements course that influences social proof is the handouts you provide a family when doing a removal. I cover handouts in the Preparation section of the course.


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