funeral home marketing

How to Protect Your Funeral Home Marketing Budget

By Rae Hudson, Account Executive

Funeral home marketing isn’t always as straightforward as it sounds.

Sometimes it may feel like you are spinning your wheels and wasting money. Maybe you aren’t getting the results you want. Perhaps you’re working with a marketing company that says all the right things but does not deliver on its promises.

If you’re not careful, you can easily waste your funeral home marketing budget on strategies that don’t work.

Investing in the right marketing strategy makes all the difference. First, you need a system that ensures that your marketing dollars are well-spent and that your message reaches the right people. Then, by understanding your target audience and leveraging the right message at the right time, on the right platform, and using the right media type, you can create an effective marketing strategy to help you reach your goals.

Here are five ways you might be wasting your marketing dollars – and what you can do to protect your budget.

1. Sending the wrong message

When it comes to funeral home marketing, one of the most common mistakes is spending money on the wrong message. Funeral homes do this by talking about themselves first – their history, years in service, qualifications of their staff, etc.

Unfortunately, talking about yourself first sets you up as the hero. But your audience doesn’t need a hero. They need a guide. They need someone who understands their problem and can come alongside them and help them navigate a difficult situation, such as funeral planning during a time of loss or before a time of need.

It’s also essential to make sure your message is clear and concise. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that your audience may not understand. Keep it simple so your audience can easily digest your message. You can’t go wrong if your message is focused on your audience, their problem, and how you can help them solve it.

2. Posting at the wrong time

Another way funeral homes waste their marketing dollars is by running ads at the wrong time or length of time. For marketing ahead of events, such as preplanning seminars or lunch and learns, we recommend running ads on Facebook at least two weeks before the event to allow plenty of time for people to sign up. Often, funeral professionals get rushed and try to advertise for less than two weeks. And it doesn’t always work out so well.

Speaking of events, it’s also crucial to consider the time of year that you host special events. Usually, spring and fall are popular seasons because the weather tends to be more reliable, and people aren’t traveling as much as they are during the holidays and summer.

Planning your year out ahead of time for events is a great idea! Then, you can fill in the rest of your year with other types of marketing, such as surveys, eBook offers, video ads, and year-round Google and YouTube ads.

By scheduling your marketing to be spread out throughout the year and setting up ads to run for the optimal length of time, you’ll be more likely to reach your target audience, get them interested in your services, and use your budget wisely.

3. Targeting the wrong audience

Sharing the right message at the right time means nothing if you’re not connecting with the right people.

We often hear from funeral homes who say, “Our marketing company said our reach for our latest campaign was over 10,000! But we don’t see a lot of leads or activity. What gives?”

The likely problem is that the audience wasn’t targeted correctly. The marketing company may be reaching people outside the funeral home’s geographical reach or its sweet spot age range.

Here’s Mitchell McLean, Funeral Directors Life Vice President of Digital Marketing, on how funeral homes mismanage their budgets:

For example, funeral homes in large metro areas may need to target a tight radius around the funeral home, say 5 miles, versus a funeral home in a rural area, which may serve a 20-mile radius. Also, targeting age ranges under 50 probably won’t get you the desired results.

You’ll be more likely to get results from your marketing campaigns by targeting the right audience. Here are two types of audiences your funeral home serves.

4. Using the wrong platform

Many funeral homes also make the mistake of advertising on the wrong platform. For example, they may run print or TV ads when their target audience is more likely to be online. Or they may advertise on local radio stations when their target market no longer listens to the radio.

As a result, funeral homes are missing out on potential customers by advertising on the wrong platform. They’re also opening the door for their competitors to reach families first.

Drew Seale, Funeral Directors Life Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, shares an example of why it’s important to reach families online.

To be more effective, funeral homes should focus their advertising efforts on platforms their target audience uses. For example, if they target adults aged 45 to 50+, they should focus on online platforms such as social media (like Facebook) and Google. This type of digital marketing also tends to be less expensive, so you can do more and reach more people than you would by running a costly TV ad or billboard.

Here are 5 reasons to get active on Facebook.

Discover how Google can help your funeral home reach more people.

It’s not wrong to run a TV ad or put up a billboard, and many funeral homes do. The only problem is if the bulk of your budget is spent on these marketing types because it’s difficult to gauge results and effectiveness. How do you know exactly how many people saw your billboard or commercial?

By advertising on the right platforms, you’ll be more likely to reach your target audience and be able to see a return on investment from your marketing campaigns.

5. Focusing on the wrong media

The last area in which funeral homes make mistakes is using the wrong media to advertise their services. Better put, they are ignoring the most influential media available: video!

Most social media platforms LOVE video. YouTube, the most popular social platform today, requires it. While static images can do well on Facebook, videos kick your marketing to the next level. It’s worth investing in quality video content you can use on social media, your website, and even TV if it’s within your budget.

Not only do social platforms love video, but your audience also does. People often have their guard up around the idea of funeral service, and video is an essential tool in your toolbelt to help you break down those barriers and defenses. Videos make you, your staff, and your facilities feel familiar and accessible.

We recommend creating a library of video content that covers your philosophy of service, preplanning, an overview of your facilities, a family testimonial or two, and your thoughts on how personalization can make funerals more meaningful. Here are other ideas you can try.

Go for marketing gold

You’ve got marketing gold when you can reach the right audience with the right message at the right time on the right platform using the right media.

Want to learn more about how our funeral home marketing experts can help you navigate these pitfalls? Download our FREE Digital Marketing 101 eBook or go ahead and request a demo today!

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