The NFDA recently revealed an important statistic. They found that most families won’t visit more than one funeral home.
In their 2017 Consumer Awareness and Preference Study, only 18.9% of families said they contacted more than one funeral home before choosing.
Some families will go with a funeral home they’ve used in the past. But what about families that have never planned a funeral before?
They are likely to only choose the first funeral home they find. The important question is, how can your funeral home make sure it’s found first? You can start by connecting with families long before they need your services.
Here’s how your funeral home can achieve that.
Share Educational Resources
Educating families in your community is a great start. Let’s say you’re shopping for a new riding mower to maintain the grounds at your funeral home. You decide to do a little research. There are two local home improvement stores in town, and both offer generally the same brands of riding mowers.
However, when you visit one of the store’s websites you find that in addition to the riding mowers, they also offer you resources on maintenance, customer testimonials, and in-depth videos explaining the differences between different mower brands and capabilities.
This kind of content helps create more value for someone shopping for a mower, especially if it’s their first time. It also establishes thought leadership, making this home improvement store the go-to resource within the community for any other home improvement needs.
The same applies to a funeral home. For the families that have never needed a funeral home before, your funeral home can stand out by sharing educational resources on social media or your website and hosting your own educational events.
So what kind of educational content can your funeral home share with families? Below are a few ideas:
- Benefits of preplanning.
- The important role memorialization plays in healing.
- The differences between different funeral service options.
- How to have a memorial service if you choose cremation.
As a funeral director, you know the profession better than anyone else. By sharing your knowledge with families, you can make sure your funeral home is first on the list when that time comes.
Share Your Story with Families
Another way to establish a bond of trust with families is to share your funeral home’s story. Dealing with the death of a loved one is one of the hardest things we face. And when that time comes, families want to work with someone they can trust — someone they feel they know.
That’s why sharing your story is important. Every funeral home has a unique story, whether you’re a passionate first-generation funeral home owner looking to make an impact on the community, or a third-generation owner with a rich history of community service. Whatever your story, it needs to be shared.
In an article for Forbes, marketing guru Neil Patel writes that “Humans are wired to tell stories and hear stories… This is precisely why a brand’s story is so important — it’s absolutely engaging. When someone is engaged like this, interested in your brand’s story, they feel connected in a powerful way. This feeling of connection then turns them into customers.”
When a family is looking for a funeral home for the first time, they are going to choose the funeral home they feel like they can connect with on a personal level. That’s why sharing your story is so critical.
Here are some ways to start:
- Create a detail-rich “About Us” section on your website that highlights your funeral home’s achievements, passions, and commitment to service.
- Introduce new staff members on social media. Make sure to go beyond their professional background and share details and aspects that highlight their personality.
- Use video to give families an even more personal look at your staff and their backgrounds.
Support the Community
Another way to connect with families before they need your services is to stay actively involved in the community. Again, families want a funeral home they can trust. What better way to establish trust than through community involvement? Your funeral home can sponsor community events, support local charities, or throw a 4th of July barbecue.
Partner with Others
Forming professional partnerships benefits your funeral home and provides more value to the families you serve. And when it comes to forming partnerships, there are plenty of people for your funeral home to choose from. Seek out local celebrants, grief counselors, hospice caregivers, churches, community service groups, doctors, and nurses. These partnerships allow your funeral home to provide unique experiences that other funeral homes can’t.
For example, by partnering with a local hospice provider, you can ensure continuity of care. Families will feel more comfortable choosing a funeral home recommended by their caregiver, and your funeral home can learn more about the hospice patient while they are still living. This leads to learning more about their story, their experiences, and how they would like to be remembered; which ultimately leads to a more meaningful funeral service.
Create an Online Experience
This is one area most funeral homes tend to put on the back burner, but they shouldn’t. Especially if you want to stay competitive and reach out to families first. In today’s world, an online presence is more than just having a website, it’s an experience.
Modern mobile and responsive websites establish trust. In fact, 91% of people will avoid a business if their website is outdated. Another study conducted by psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Sillence found that 94% of surveyors said website design contributes to their level of trust with a company.
Not only does a modern website establish trust, it also can help families after a loss. Features like permanent online memorials, grief and loss resources, and other tribute products all aid in the experience a family has with your funeral home.
Let’s go back to the NFDA finding. Only 18.9% of families will look at more than one funeral home before choosing. Is your funeral home doing everything it can to make sure you connect with families before your competitors do?