The Key to Community Focused Advertising for Your Funeral Home

In this week’s video, I discuss the key to using community focused advertising (church bulletins, chamber of commerce newsletters, etc.) to grow your funeral home business. I also give you one simple change that you can make to your ad to dramatically improve its’ effectiveness.

It’s a short 5-minute video, and an AI-generated transcript is provided below the video.

Unfortunately, there’s a typo on the slide. I used the British spelling of “focussed” instead of the more common spelling of “focused”. Darn spell checker failed me again!

AI Generated Transcript of – The Key to Community Focused Advertising for Your Funeral Home

Hi, this is John Callaghan.

Something interesting happens as a funeral home grows. The owner gets more involved in the community by joining churches, different organizations, the Chamber of Commerce, etc. When they join these organizations, they often get opportunities for community-focused advertising. Most owners see this type of advertising as almost a charity, just giving money away without expecting much in return. However, these forms of advertising—church bulletins, sports teams, Chamber of Commerce publications—can be great.

These organizations publish publications, sometimes weekly, monthly, or even yearly. They approach members looking for businesses to advertise in, and funeral homes often advertise in these publications. But are they getting anything out of it? The key is to clearly reference the cause or group in your ad. Whether it’s a print or digital ad, clearly referencing the cause or group is crucial to making it work for you.

Let me give you an example. My first funeral home client, 20 years ago, was running an ad in the local church bulletin. It was a Catholic church, and the ad said, “Serving all faiths and cultures.” They weren’t getting any business or growing their call volume from that church. So, we changed it. The new ad said, “You can have a funeral or a Catholic funeral. There is a difference.” The owner of the funeral home was a devout Catholic with a well-thought-out process for Catholic funerals. They did a great job with them.

We ran that ad, and within days, the local priest called the funeral home and said, “Thank goodness you finally realized there is a difference.” Suddenly, we started getting all the calls from that church. The congregation loved it, and since the owner was a devout Catholic, he wasn’t making anything up. They ran that ad for over 10 years, and it continued to get people’s attention.

Here’s another example. Recently, we ran a campaign for Walker Funeral Home. The campaign theme was “What stories will you share?” It encouraged people to think about the stories they would share at their celebration of life. That’s a standard ad, but we added “Proud sponsor of All Saints Catholic School” at the bottom because it was going into the school publication. Once again, they received phone calls specifically referencing the ad.

Why did that work so well? The standard formula for direct response advertising, which I’ve discussed in a previous video, is Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. You follow that formula for every ad, and you’ll be successful. But the hardest part is attention. You have to get someone’s attention because people don’t read ads; they scan the entire page, whether a webpage or a printed page. They read the content in the middle and scan everything else, so something has to grab their attention. That’s the hardest part.

What grabs their attention? Typically, three things: something unusual, a problem, or something familiar. This ad got noticed because “All Saints Catholic School” is familiar to the person reading it. They’re reading the publication, scanning the ads, and they notice the words “All Saints Catholic School.” It’s as simple as that.

If you want a return on investment from community-focused advertising, reference the cause or group in big, bold letters in your ad. People will notice it, and that’s how you get value from this kind of advertising.

That concludes my series on advertising your funeral home. Next week, I’ll be back with a new topic from my mind map, where I’ve mapped out everything I’m going to talk about this year. I’ll pick a new topic and be back next week with more information on how to grow your funeral home business. Bye for now.


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