Is Your Funeral Home Marketing Message Unique?

One of the common mistakes funeral home owners make when it comes to growing their business is failing to establish a unique marketing position. 

If you are keeping track, this is point #3 from my 10-Steps Checklist for Growing Your Funeral Home report.

Do you have a lot of price shoppers? If so, I can almost guarantee that either you do not have a unique market position or you are not describing it correctly to the public.

Here’s an example of a great unique marketing position…

Recently, my wife and I walked through a farmers market looking for a particular vendor. One of her friends had told her about “The Knife Guy” who specialized in sharpening high-end kitchen knives.

Eventually, we found his booth, and sure enough, he had a big sign that said “The Knife Guy” and a display of expensive kitchen knives. My wife told him she wanted to have some of her kitchen knives sharpened. 

He asked approximately how much she had spent on the knives and explained how expensive knives are made of harder materials and require different sharpening techniques. 

He described his sharpening process and handed her two identical knives, one that was noticeably dull and one that he had sharpened. Next, he explained his fees and how they related to the original purchase price of a knife.

I had to chuckle to myself as I watched this process unfold.

The vendor had a simple service: knife sharpening.

He had a target market: people who could afford expensive knives.

He had a premium price: people who can afford expensive knives can afford to pay an expert to sharpen them.

He described his service with a great brand that made word-of-mouth marketing easy – “The Knife Guy” 

In our area, dozens of businesses sharpen knives. But he isn’t just another knife sharpener; he is “The Knife Guy” specializing in expensive kitchen knives. That’s a unique marketing position. 

When you establish a unique marketing position, customers do not price shop you. They seek you out, and the price is a secondary concern.

In the past, many funeral homes had a unique marketing position based on the church or religion they served. For example, in the town I grew up in, Stoddard Funeral Home served every Catholic family, and Mackey Funeral Home served every Protestant family.

In most communities, including my hometown, the old religious boundaries are long gone, and the number of funeral providers has grown. As a result, the funeral homes have no unique position, and families shop around for the best price.

Your unique marketing position is communicated by your marketing message (i.e., what your marketing says). That includes your website, Google Business Profile, advertisements, and even what you say to families. 

There are three important tests you can use when reviewing your marketing message. If you spend money on any form of advertising and your marketing message fails any of the three tests, you’re wasting your money.

Test #1 – “I would hope so!” – Do families already expect this from you? Then it’s not unique.

Test #2 – “Who else can say that?” – Do other funeral homes say the same thing? Then it’s not unique.

Test #3 – “Do families care?” – Maybe it’s a unique point, but no one cares…you still fail.

I’ve studied the marketing of thousands of funeral homes. Here are three common marketing messages.

  • “Compassionate family care in your time of need” – fails the “I would hope so!” test.
  • “Available 24 hrs a day” – fails the “Who else can say that?” test.
  • “Serving families since 1910 (or any other year)” – fails the “Do families care?” test. Previous generations cared about his point, but Boomers and Gen X do not.

When consulting with a client, one of my initial focuses is to develop a unique marketing position. My process starts by finding something unique about your funeral home that passes all three tests. If there is nothing unique, then we have to create something by innovating the business. 

The specific point you use could be related to your facility, service packages, guarantees, customer feedback, prices, or any number of things. The key is that the point has to be true, and you have to be able to prove it.

Once you find or create something unique that passes all three tests, the next step is to describe it in a way that makes it easy for people to share with their family and friends. 

Your description should be short enough for people to remember. It could be just a few words like “The Knife Guy” or a sentence. But if it takes a paragraph to describe your unique marketing position, people won’t remember it.

When creating a unique marketing positioning and description, it’s important to ensure your competition cannot copy it. That’s why I like to use trademarked terms whenever possible.

For example, one of my clients just won the local newspaper’s Reader’s Choice award for best funeral home. In the write-up, his funeral home is listed as the exclusive provider of At Peace Cremation Services™ in their area. I own the trademark on that term and license it to clients to make them unique in their market. If a competitor tries to copy it, they’ll find themselves in legal hot water.

If your business isn’t growing the way you want, evaluate the message you use in your advertising with the three tests I listed above. If you don’t like the results, reach out to me. 

I may not be “The Knife Guy”, but I am “Your Funeral Business Builder”. Working together, we can fix your marketing messaging and grow your funeral home business.

Until next time,



PS: Next wee, I’ll discuss step #4 from the checklist, “Do a better job of telling your story”. You can download the checklist here.


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