The Best Mix for Your Funeral Home Advertising

You’ve budgeted funds to advertise your funeral home, but where is the best place to invest those funds? Should you spend it with Google? Facebook? How about your local TV station?

In this lesson, I describe the danger of putting all of your eggs in one basket and how a diversified advertising portfolio may be your best option. I also give you my thoughts on how I would structure that portfolio to maximize the results.

Watch the video or read the transcription below. A ChatGPT summary is below the transcription.

Transcript: The Best Mix for Your Funeral Home Advertising

Hi, this is John Callaghan, and this week, we will talk about your advertising mix.
Last week, I mentioned that there are many different forms of advertising for your funeral home and many places you can spend your money. Between Google and Facebook, TV, radio, billboards, newspapers, and on, there’s no shortage of places for you to spend your money. How do you mix up the money? How do you spread it out?

We will touch on the danger of one, digital versus traditional, and then an optimal mix.

We had a very sad situation with a client late last year. They contacted us and needed somebody with a magic wand to urgently solve a problem.

They had spent all of their money on Google advertising and had been doing so very successively for about two years. They were a relatively new business, about a 3-year-old funeral home, and for all three years, the only thing they had spent money on was Google advertising. It had suddenly stopped working, and they needed a quick fix.

Well, after looking at it for a while, it became obvious that they were a victim of a major change at Google. There was no quick fix.
They needed to start launching other forms of advertising right away, but from a cashflow standpoint, that was a very difficult thing for them to do. They had bet everything on one form of advertising, and then that form changed, and they got caught up in it.

It’s the equivalent of owning one stock versus having a diversified portfolio.

That one stock might go on a great run for months or years, but it’s not going to last forever, and at some point, that one stock that you put all of your money into might start underperforming.

That’s where a diversified portfolio always, in the long run, outperforms and beats that one stock.

Advertising is the same way. If you put all of your investments in one form of media, it might do great for a short period of time, but eventually, it’s going to stop, and you’re at a high risk.

Then, you’ve got to consider digital versus traditional. Both have advantages and disadvantages and in some markets, traditional options are not available.

Newspapers are gone, and there is no TV station or local radio station. Nothing is left, and your only choice is digital, but that’s not everywhere.

In most of the country, there are still some traditional options available, but each one has advantages and disadvantages.
If you’re looking at digital, the big advantage is targeting. I can specifically target a group of people. It’s scary how much you can target people in digital marketing and measure the response rate.

And it’s very, very effective because that’s where everybody is.

You’re probably watching this on your phone right now. Everybody’s watching or engaging with digital content, which is why it’s effective. It works because that’s where the audience is.

The big disadvantage, though, is the stuff’s complex. This is very, very hard to do. I have been doing digital marketing for 20 years now. In the early days, it was trivial. It was so easy. It was trivial to set up a Google ad campaign and target a group of people and get responses, it was easy.

That’s not the case anymore. Digital marketing is very complex, but the other big disadvantage is Big Brother.
Yes, the digital marketing companies, specifically Google and Facebook, do operate like Big Brother. They review your advertising, and if they don’t like it, they don’t run it.

Regardless of what you’ve put into that ad, you risk Big Brother telling you that it’s not a valid ad. We run into this every year when we start running ads for Veterans Day.

Facebook, for whatever reason, likes to flag anything that’s veteran-related, but they don’t do it in the entire country. Unfortunately, they do it in blue states. If you’re in a blue state, it’s really hard to run a veteran ad on Facebook. If you’re a red state, you can.

How did they come up with that? Who knows, but that’s the type of Big Brother operation that happens in the digital world.
In the traditional world, there are advantages there, too. Low-cost traditional advertising has come way down in price. As digital has gone up, traditional has come down.

You can run TV ads for a fraction of what you used to be able to, and you can focus on a local community.
If you have a good channel, whether a TV channel, a radio station that can focus locally, or a newspaper, you can focus on that local community and do some very effective stuff.

But the disadvantage is that it’s a shrinking audience. That’s the bottom line. It’s going away eventually.

The other big problem is the cost of change. If you put up a billboard, it’s not easy to change that. If you put together a television commercial, it’s not easy to produce and it’s not easy to change.

So, traditional advertising still has a role, but it’s not easy and it’s not as effective as it used to be.

The optimal mix, well, frankly, it varies, and not to avoid that question, but it does vary a lot from market to market all over the country.

But here are three different problems that if I’m going to put together a portfolio, again, think of this as an investment portfolio and just like investments, you’re going to have stocks and bonds and a mix of other things in there.

You want to make sure that your investments in advertising are covering three different problems; emergency calls, which is your at need calls, relationships, and awareness. Diversify your money between those three problems.

Now, if I’m looking at emergency and winning at need calls, the winner there is Google Ads. Google is the new phone book they have been for the last 10 years, and just like people used to look in the phone book to get your number, people look on Google to get your number.

A funny thing that they used to say about the phone book is that 70% of people who went to the phone book weren’t looking to shop. They were looking for your phone number.

It’s the same thing on Google. People say, oh, I found you on Google. Well, that only means because they heard about you a dozen times at other places and they went to Google to find your phone number.

But if I have to put money anywhere, I’m going to put money in Google first because I got to make sure I’m winning those at need calls.

If you’re already in the top three on the map or if I type in “funeral homes near me” and I’m showing up in the top three, then I probably don’t need to worry about spending money because I’m already there, but if I’m not, then I absolutely need to be spending money with Google.

Next, relationships. How do I cultivate relationships in my local community? Facebook is a tremendous way to do this, and I always include some Facebook advertising.

For one thing. It’s much lower cost than any other form of advertising these days, even cheaper than Google, and it’s very, very effective if it’s done right, but using Facebook to develop relationships in your local community absolutely is a great opportunity. I think church bulletins are a great opportunity if you have specific churches that you draw from.

If you have three or four churches in your community that you win a lot of the calls in there, then I would be running church bulletin ads if they still publish a bulletin in order to maintain that relationship and just keep your name in front of those people.

A great opportunity in some small towns is radio sponsorships. One of my clients recently called me and said, they’ve got a new radio program that they’re going to be reading the local obituaries every day on this local radio station. You only get that in a small town!

They offered him a sponsorship spot on it. I said, that’s a fabulous spot because who’s going to listen to it? Your target audience is going to listen to it. Yes, you should sponsor.

There are ways in your local market to cultivate relationships, and I would make sure that you’re spending a good chunk of your advertising budget on cultivating relationships.

Next, awareness. Again, it goes back to do they know about you? If everybody knows about you in town, you don’t need to spend money on awareness, but if they don’t, then this is a good idea.

Facebook advertising is great for awareness. One of the beautiful things with Facebook advertising is I can target people who are outside of my circle of influence, other people in the community.

Normally, I’ve just advertised to the people who already follow us and put our message in front of us, but if I want awareness, I’ll put that message in front of every baby, boom, female in town and target them, and it works. It works very well.

TV, radio, again, great for building awareness. Billboards can be fabulous for running awareness and they’ve come way down in costs.
You want to make sure that you’re looking at emergency, you’re looking at relationships, and you’re looking at awareness.

The danger of one is one place. If you put all your money in one place, it’s like putting all of your investments on one stock. It might play out or it might crash and burn. Diversify your portfolio.

Digital versus traditional. You need a mix. Digital, absolutely, but if you have an opportunity to spend traditional dollars in your market, do it. It still works. It still cost effective. If there are options for you in your local market.

And an optimal mix, make sure you diversify it between emergencies (at need calls), relationships, and awareness.

I’ll be back next week with more information about how to advertise your funeral home and grow your funeral and business.

Bye for now.

ChatGPT Summary: The Best Mix for Your Funeral Home Advertising

As a marketing consultant for funeral home owners, I advise a balanced advertising strategy. Don’t invest in only one method, such as Google Ads; this can be risky, as one of our clients found when Google changed its algorithm. Instead, diversify like an investment portfolio across various media to mitigate risks.

Consider both digital and traditional advertising. Digital allows precise targeting and is where most people spend their time, but it’s complex and subject to restrictions by companies like Google and Facebook. Traditional methods, like TV, radio, and print, have become more affordable and focus on local communities, but their audience is dwindling.

Your advertising should address three areas: immediate need calls, community relationships, and brand awareness. Google Ads excel at capturing immediate needs. Use Facebook and other community-focused platforms like church bulletins and radio sponsorships to build relationships. For awareness, consider all available channels, including digital and traditional, to ensure your funeral home remains top of mind.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *