4 Ways to Increase Your Preneed Sales Online
By Paul Lovelace, EVP of Corporate Development
Increasing your funeral home’s revenue is a challenge.
When you really think about it, you don’t have many viable options:
1. You can raise your prices, which most funeral homes don’t want to do.
2. You can sell more to your existing families. Again, many funeral homes don’t like this option or want to appear pushy.
3. Or you can bring in new families through preneed.
Many funeral home owners I talk to like option 3 the best. They’d rather promote their services to more families and increase their market share in their community.
But getting preneed sales (even leads) can be difficult.
If you have a passive preneed program where you rely solely on walk-ins and call-ins, you won’t see many sales, and you will find it almost impossible to increase your market share.
One of the best ways to increase sales is through an active preneed program where a designated person is educating your community and getting referrals and leads in the process. But even with an active program, sometimes the leads can dry up if you don’t have a variety of ways to bring them in.
Luckily, another way to reach families (especially if you’re short on time and resources) is by taking your efforts online. According to the World Bank, 92% of Americans use the internet. That means instead of waiting for families to walk in and ask you about preplanning, bring that education to them online!
These 4 strategies below can help you not only get more preneed leads, but more preneed sales online, too. Try one or try all three and see if your preneed sales improve!
Use social media marketing
Many Americans still have no idea they can make arrangements in advance and save their families from the financial and emotional burden that comes with making at-need arrangements. So, the best way to start spreading awareness about preplanning is online.
Why? Based on a recent consumer study we did, 90% of participants use social media. That includes Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, and other platforms. By meeting people online where they spend a lot of time, you can get your message in front of more people than traditional marketing methods.
But you need the right strategy get leads online so those leads will turn into preneed sales.
For our clients, we’ve created helpful resources about planning ahead, including checklists and eBooks. We help our funeral home customers promote these resources online through digital advertising. Then, we capture leads by asking for the person’s email address so we can send them their resource and follow up with more information about preplanning. This principle is called the rule of reciprocation, where if you provide something of value (helpful resource), people will provide something of value (their contact information). With this strategy, we’ve helped generate 10,000-12,000+ preneed leads per year for our clients on Facebook, Google, and YouTube.
To recap, your goals on social media should be to:
1. Educate families about the importance of planning ahead
2. Provide valuable resources in exchange for their contact information
Once you get preneed leads, you need a plan to nurture them and turn them into sales! Our team can help with that. Request a marketing consultation here.
Another way to get leads is by capturing the attention of people who visit your website for any reason, from those reading an obituary to those wanting information about your services.
But many funeral home websites aren’t set up for success. Here’s why:
1. They lack effective calls to action (CTAs).
2. They don’t educate the consumer.
3. They aren’t set up to be user-friendly.
Let’s look at each of these in a bit more depth.
They lack effective calls to action.
According to Semrush, “A call to action is a visual prompt (usually text or a button) to direct a user to take a specific action.”
On websites, these CTAs might say, “Download now,” “Learn more,” or “Talk to our team.”
To have an effective CTA for lead generation, you need to have an enticing offer that the reader can’t resist. The goal of this CTA is to provide something of value (a checklist, an eBook, etc.) in exchange for someone’s contact information.
On your website, promoting something like a preplanning checklist is a great CTA to drive preneed leads for your funeral home. Without CTAs, the website visitors won’t know how you can help them.
They don’t educate the consumer.
A lot of funeral home websites have something like a resources section, but the content is minimal and doesn’t answer questions that families have. If you, the expert, aren’t educating families about how you can help them, they’ll turn to other resources online that might paint the funeral profession in a negative light.
If you’re looking for quality content, start by sharing articles from www.funeralbasics.org. This is a website created by Funeral Directors Life that contains hundreds of well-researched articles for nearly every situation. You can also post informative videos and articles to your website to educate families.
They aren’t set up to be user-friendly.
If someone visited your website, would they easily be able to find information and resources on preplanning? Frequently asked questions? Your general price list?
If helpful information isn’t in your website navigation, families will get lost and close out of your website.
Overall, if your website has compelling CTAs, educates families, and is easy to navigate, that greatly increases your chance of getting preneed leads.
Try an online preplanning tool
The third way to get more preneed leads and sales online is through a preplanning tool.
As mentioned above, 92% of people use the internet today, and that includes all ages. People are already making big purchases online, from cars to vacations. More and more people are wanting to explore their funeral options online. Since 45% of people would preplan and pre-pay for their funerals, it’s even better if they can start the process online.
An online preplanning tool is a way for preneed families to prearrange online through your funeral home, from the comfort and convenience of home. It’s essentially a digital storefront for your funeral home. That means families can:
Select merchandise and other add-ons
Choose service details that align with how they want to be memorialized
And more importantly, gain peace of mind for the future
With this tool, they can start the process online and finish in person, start in person and finish online, or do everything online.
Several online preplanning tools exist, but not all were created equal. Some focus solely on disposition preferences and don’t educate families on the value of a funeral. Others provide a way to preplan but offer no way for families to fund their plans, even if they have the money and are prepared and comfortable with doing so.
What to look for in an online preplanning tool
You need a tool that:
Doesn’t solely promote direct cremations
Educates families on the value of a funeral
Provides a good, better, and best package recommendation to make for an easier decision-making process
Allows the option for funding online
And guides families through the entire process
It helps your funeral home get preneed sales, but another big side benefit is its lead generation capabilities. Anyone who creates an account through your Arrangement Guide tool becomes a lead for your funeral home that you can nurture! For our funeral home clients, we’ve helped generate over 10,000 leads in a few years.
Plus, when you promote this tool on social media using the strategies I mentioned above, you can start to see a steady source of qualified preneed leads and sales from your tool. Talk about a win-win!
Note: Arrangement Guide is available in select states.
Create a new cremation focused business
The last way to increase online preneed sales and leads is for the highly competitive funeral home. In larger, non-traditional markets, cremation has been on the rise (though family preference for cremation only rose 2.3% in the last decade). Not only that, low-cost (and low value) cremation providers are entering communities and targeting families.
Watch this clip to learn more about these providers.
To help cremation families preplan with your funeral home and not another provider, you can create a business that solely caters to the cremation crowd online. In short, only promote cremation offerings (direct cremation, cremation with a service, cremation with a viewing, etc.) to these preplanners.
We’ve seen a few Arrangement Guide customers create a cremation business, market the business online, and get leads and sales with this strategy. It’s more in-depth than the first three strategies mentioned above. However, if your market has high cremation rates and is competitive, this route could be a good choice for your funeral home.
Your preneed program is important
Your preneed program shouldn’t simply be viewed as an additional source of revenue. It should help you with your overall growth plan for your funeral home.
Whether you have a passive or active program, there are always ways you can improve your preneed block of business. We can help.
Request a FREE business consultation below!
Or learn more about all the ways we can serve you here.