digital marketing strategy

How Service Group of Oklahoma Improved its Digital Marketing Strategy

John Davenport, Vice President of Sales for Service Group of Oklahoma (SGO), understood that his 9 funeral homes had a choice to make: embrace an online-focused digital marketing strategy or connect with fewer families. After SGO chose to revamp its marketing strategy, the next step was to find the right company to partner with them on this endeavor. John said Funeral Directors Life (FDL) was a knowledgeable partner and gave creative input. He added, “They’re 100% adaptable to any idea we give them.”

Read more to learn about John and SGO’s unique journey to improved funeral home marketing.

How long has SGO been with FDL? What has your experience been like?

We’ve worked with FDL since March 2020, and we’ve had a great experience so far. We went through a pretty rigorous process of choosing someone who could help us meet our preneed and marketing goals. We interviewed about 14 different companies, and it was obvious that FDL was the best partner for us.

Why did you want a company that could help you with preneed and marketing?

It was very important to have that seamless service between preneed and marketing because we believe there is a tie in there. You really can’t have one without the other. I believe you have to have a company that can be consistent with your story, make sure your Facebook page isn’t just obituaries, produce strong messaging, and more. FDL had all the services we were looking for, and a partnership made sense.

What did your marketing strategy look like before joining FDL?

Our marketing was all over the place. We didn’t have a consistent brand or messaging for our funeral homes. We started focusing on preneed sales because that was – and still is – the lifeblood of our organization. But we quickly found out we needed marketing to complement our preneed efforts. That’s where FDL helped. From creating materials and promoting events to helping with our systems and processes, FDL has been a crucial partner for our preneed and marketing efforts.

How has FDL improved your digital marketing and social media presence?

FDL has helped us in many ways in these areas, but the simplest benefit is that they handle everything for us. We don’t have someone on staff dedicated to running the social media for all our funeral homes. But we have experts at FDL that are an easy phone call away. Plus, we’ve really seen a massive increase in our Facebook pages’ followers. One of our pages gained 100 followers in one month, which is significant since we’re talking about a town of about 4,000 people. We also saw our average attendance at preneed events go from 5 to 40 people – a 700% increase!

“Seeing those results shows us that what they’re doing at FDL is working and helping our funeral homes.”

Can you explain how FDL takes your marketing ideas and creates the best plan for them?

FDL is adaptable, willing to try out new ideas, and offers us feedback on what works and what doesn’t work. If we have a new idea, they work with us to create the best strategy. We’re constantly bouncing ideas off them, and rarely do they say no. They always try to come up with the best plan on how to move forward. Their expertise is great to have because they know what has worked in the past and what is likely to work in the future. It truly is a partnership.

Hypothetically speaking, what would have happened if you decided not to change your marketing strategy?

We would have gotten passed up by our competition – no question about it. More and more people are Googling funeral homes, so the risk is huge if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy ready to go. If you’re not at or near the top of Google searches, you are losing calls. With a digital marketing strategy, you can start reaching families first – before competitors.

What would you say to someone considering FDL for their preneed and marketing needs?

I absolutely would recommend it. In fact, I actually have recommended FDL to some funeral homes that are now your customers. I think it’s a great partnership filled with great people to do business with. I’ve laughed while talking with FDL employees, shared stories, and built strong relationships. We have had good days, and I think even better days are ahead of us.

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