Digital Marketing 101: Know your audience

Marketing in this day and age can be a mystery. Old tried and true solutions like the newspaper, the Yellow Pages, and the radio are losing prominence. In their place, we have Facebook, Google Ads, and YouTube. If you are like most funeral directors, you are worried about being behind the marketing curve but don’t know the first place to begin.

That’s OK. We’re here to help.

Digital marketing can help you reach more people, share your story, and promote your offerings, from preneed to at-need. However, doing all this requires specific strategies to ensure marketing success. For example, you shouldn’t only share obituaries online because then you’re not promoting your offerings. On the contrary, only promoting your offerings doesn’t create enough value for families. You need a happy medium.

Before you start thinking about what to promote, where to share it, and how to be strategic about it, you need to know who your audience is.

Know your audience

Before you start working with any digital platform (social media, YouTube, Google, commercials, etc.), you’re going to want to know your audience. For funeral homes, you have two basic categories: at-need (people who have experienced a loss recently) and preneed (everyone else).

At-need audience

The at-need audience includes families who have experienced a death and are trying to plan a funeral. It also includes people in the community who may have to plan a funeral for a loved one in the future. Most of these families will be local, but some of them may be families who come into town when their loved one passes away. For example, if Jane Smith’s grandmother passes away in your town, Jane may come to town to plan the funeral, but she lives in another state and has no connection to your local area. Dispersed families will rely on online reviews and online reputation to quickly find a funeral home, so if you don’t have an active online presence, you could lose those families to other competitors.

What kinds of things does the at-need audience need to know from your digital marketing? They need to know that you’re trustworthy, that you have answers for them, and that you’re going to guide them in a respectful way. They want to know that you have options for various religious needs and financial needs. Many of these people don’t know much about funerals and your digital presence can help clarify the many misnomers people have about the funeral industry. These families want knowledge, and providing that knowledge can make your funeral home stand out.

Preneed audience

The preneed audience is generally in the 50 and older age range and can vary in knowledge and desire for a preplanned funeral. Some may be ready to purchase a preneed plan now, likely because they just experienced the death of a loved one. They don’t want their family to go through the struggle of funeral planning again, so they’re ready take the leap and start their own prearranged funeral plan. For this audience, a strong call to action of “Start Planning Now” could work great, especially somewhere on your website. Having a way for them to plan and pay for their funeral online is even better (check out Arrangement Guide for more information). But most people will not fall into this audience. Most people will either be slightly interested, curious, or completely unaware of the options for preplanning. These people will need to see educational content about why they should plan ahead before you can ask them to do anything. They will need to know that you are a trustworthy funeral professional who can provide the best service for them and their families.

Next steps

Families in your community are your audience. And you want to reach them in the best ways, especially if they’re cost effective. With a strong digital marketing strategy in place that integrates all the new technology available today, you will be able to grow both your preneed and at-need business.

We’ve helped hundreds of funeral homes connect with their audience and share content to improve their reach and reputation. We can help your funeral home too. Our Social Media Management program is the answer. Learn more by clicking the button below!

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