The funeral profession is like no other field of work. Funerals are among the most serious and sensitive services that people require. That means it’s extremely important to consider how you market yourself in the community. So how should you go about doing it?
Focus on relationship marketing. It’s the single most important type of marketing for your funeral home.
What Is Relationship Marketing?
There are a lot of definitions for relationship marketing, but this article in Forbes sums it up nicely: “Relationship marketing is a strategy designed to foster customer loyalty, interaction and long-term engagement. It is designed to develop strong connections with customers by providing them with information directly suited to their needs and interests and by promoting open communication.”
Now, there’s a lot of technical jargon in that definition. But what it essentially means for your funeral home is that your marketing strategy should revolve around connecting and building relationships with families — not just in a time of need — but all year long.
In fact, it’s something many of the funeral homes we work with already excel at. But if your funeral home isn’t making relationship marketing its number one priority, you should reconsider your strategy. Here’s why.
Benefits for Your Funeral Home
By prioritizing your connections with client families over all other aspects of a sale or service, you develop trust with them. And in turn, that leads to added value when they decide to choose your funeral home. It’s not the only benefit, however.
Relationship marketing benefits your funeral home in that:
- Families are far less likely to shop around. If they’ve enjoyed a personal relationship with you in the past, families are highly likely to choose your firm in their time of need.
- It creates brand ambassadors. Strong relationships are the groundwork for word-of-mouth marketing. By investing in lasting relationships, you increase the chance that client families will recommend your funeral home to others.
- It reduces the cost of other marketing efforts. Gaining new client families can be expensive. In order to educate and inform them of your funeral home, it requires paid advertising and expensive marketing campaigns. Instead, relationship marketing means former client families — the ones you’ve built strong relationships with — will introduce you to new client families as they spread the word about your funeral home.
- It makes it harder for your competitors to compete. A study titled Value Managed Relationships: The Key To Customer Retention And Profitability, found that businesses with stronger relationships and higher client loyalty don’t have to worry about competitor offerings. They also are more able to shut out new competitors from opening up in the area.
It’s easy to see why relationship marketing is so important. Now let’s talk about strategy.
Strategies for Your Funeral Home
Like we said before, relationship marketing is something we see a lot of our funeral home clients already doing. Here are the different strategies they use to create meaningful relationships in their communities.
To create memorable experiences for families, you need everyone on board. Train your staff in the art of human-to-human interaction and quality customer service. Here are a few articles to help get you started:
- Why Effective Communication Leads to More Personalization
- Questions to Ask a Grieving Family for Funeral Personalization
- Trust: Five Pillars of Building Trust with Families
Go out into the community and engage with families directly. Businesses that are involved in community events not only increase brand visibility, they also receive higher approval and customer satisfaction. That’s because people want businesses to be more than just about selling services, they want businesses to be engaged in the welfare of their own community.
Here are a few great articles about community involvement for your funeral home:
- A Beginner’s Guide to Planning Your Funeral Home’s Events
- A Guide to Getting the Most Out of Facebook Events
- Why Funeral Directors Need Community Involvement
Social Media/Online Engagement
Nothing will replace the incredible value of face-to-face human interaction. But that doesn’t mean your funeral home should avoid building relationships online. In this day and age, it’s an increasingly important way to engage families and build trust. In fact, your online presence is often the first impression many families will have of your funeral home.
Here are some resources to make sure you’re investing everything you can in that crucial first impression:
- 6 Best Social Media Automation Platforms for Funeral Homes
- How to Engage with Families Using the Latest Social Media Updates
- It’s the Little Things That Matter for Memorable Funeral Experiences
What are ways your funeral home practices relationship marketing in your community? Share your ideas in the comments!