Social media is ‘marketing.’ It’s not the new marketing, it’s the current state of marketing, and funeral homes and deathcare companies can no longer afford to ignore it. There are so many reasons why deathcare companies need to get their heads out of the sand and start engaging on the platforms used by over 68% of all Americans.
But first let me frame this up for you: you are a business owner (doesn’t matter what your business is, but almost all who are reading this are in the deathcare space) and as a business owner, you need attention from the consumer, so they know you exist. Pretty simple, right? No attention equals no business. So, understanding that means you should understand that you are a media company before you are anything else. That’s right before you are a funeral home, crematory, cemetery or pet cremation business you are a media company. Meaning, you must be producing content on the platforms where your target audience is hanging out and devoting hours of their time every day.
The number one platform you should be focusing on is Facebook. Over 1.37 billion (with a B) people every day are logging on to Facebook. In the United States, 80% of internet-using adults engage on Facebook. In the deathcare space, we know that 65-75% of people shopping for deathcare services are women between the age of 45-65. Just over 75% of women in the US between 45-65 who have internet access engage on Facebook. Yet, we spend, in this profession, 95% of our marketing dollars trying to find and reach the 25% who aren’t using Facebook daily. That doesn’t make sense.
Need more convincing to make Facebook a central part of your marketing strategy for 2018 besides the fact that your prime target audience is fully engaged there? Here are a few of the other benefits you get from marketing on Facebook correctly:
Increase Brand Awareness
Facebook is the best way to build your brand in today’s market. Facebook lets you advertise and have an open dialogue with consumers and generate meaningful content and relationships. If you don’t have a Facebook Paget for your funeral home or death care business, you’re already behind. Bring attention to your business by establishing your brand on Facebook.
Improve Brand Loyalty
This is the new word of mouth. Brand loyalty is about knowing more about your consumer than your competition does. Creating valuable content that consumers can engage with leads to a deeper relationship with clients; the more you know about someone, the more complex the relationship becomes. Focusing on creating organic content and humanizing your brand allows funeral companies to better educate the consumer and establish a deeper relationship.
Humanize Your Brand
Consumers connect with people and connect with a story. Use your Facebook Page to get personal with your audience. Showcase your staff members so consumers can get to know your funeral home. Transparency is so important in this field; transparency is what will attract consumers to your brand.
Establish Your Brand as an Authority and Thought Leader
The amazing thing about the internet is that there is no hierarchy. Users can do whatever they want with the knowledge they acquire. Producing content that is entertaining and engaging will set you apart from your competitors. Funeral homes can position themselves as a leader in the community by putting out more content than any other competitor. This establishes them as an authority and a thought leader. Keep in mind that consumers can see right through BS, so be real and be transparent.
Targeted advertising allows brands to target a specific demographic with ads. Funeral homes can choose who their ads target based on age, race, gender, income, and interests. This is such a valuable tool; once you go through that checklist, Facebook will only show that ad to the specific person you are trying to reach and, therefore, saves money. A smaller pool of people are targeted, so you’d be spending less money and reaching a more specific group of consumers. For example, at DISRUPT Media, we ran an ad for a funeral home in South Carolina that carried a Gamecocks casket. It was shared many times, and people were tagging family members in the comments to tell them that this was the casket they wanted for their funeral. One man, in particular, loved it but had already made pre-need arrangements at another funeral home. The funeral home was able to message that user privately and switched his pre-need to their funeral home. This targeted advertisement, towards older males, brought in business for this funeral home.
Retargeting is the type of advertising that makes you think “Man, how did they know that?!” If you were just online shopping for a new computer and you get on Facebook and see that same computer in an ad, you have been retargeted. Freaky, but it works. If that product you were considering buying keeps showing up, you are more inclined to buy it. Facebook allows every ad account to do this. At DISRUPT, we tried this with a few funeral homes by using cookies to track the consumers that visited the obituaries section of their website for 90 days. This gives the business valuable information about the consumer that can be used to better target them when creating new ads.
Improve Preneed and Atneed Sales
Brand loyalty and transparency are what improve sales. Shopping and buying habits consumers have don’t change when it comes to funeral services. The way consumers look for reviews, referrals, and testimonials from friends and families are the same. So, to improve sales is to improve the quality of the content. If a consumer is engaging with the same funeral home every day or every week, why would they call a different funeral home when they are ready to pre-plan or are in an at-need situation? According to the NFDA 2017 Consumer Awareness and Preferences Study, “Only 18.9% respondents contacted more than one funeral home in their time of need.” If they are already connecting with your brand, they aren’t going to go somewhere else when it comes to their at-need or pre-need service.
Cut Marketing Costs
This graphic below shows how much money you save by marketing on Facebook rather than traditional forms of advertisement. They calculated the CPM for seven different advertising mediums to show how much money you would have to spend to reach 1,000 consumers. This study shows that it only costs $0.25 to reach 1,000 consumers on Facebook. This statistic should cause businesses to reconsider their marketing strategy; this has the potential to allocate their funds to different categories in their budget, resulting in businesses being able to spend more time focusing on the consumer and their needs.
Ok, so hopefully after reading the text above you understand and realize how important and how valuable social media, specifically Facebook, is for your business. If not, well you can just put the forsake sign out front now.
For those of you that get it, here are some tips and trends you should embrace in 2018:
Facebook is King
Stop worrying about what comes after Facebook or what happens if Facebook goes away. Who cares? Currently billions of your potential customers engage there every single day which means you should too. It’s the large social platform on the planet, and there is a massive upside for the deathcare companies that learn how to engage their audience first.
Post More Video
Video has become a very vital form of content for Facebook. One of the best ways to reach users and generate engagement is to post a video. You may not know where to begin, so here are a few pointers:
- Feel free to get creative. Whether you're recording with just an iPhone camera or an actual camera, think of more than just a standard angle or area to shoot from. Possibly angle the camera and have the person speaking looking off to the side of the camera, instead of directly at it.
- Dress comfortably, yet clean.
- Shoot within the confines of the funeral homes (several locations would be nice)
- Shoot inside. This allows noise reduction and simply better audio.
- Explain what it means to YOU to perform a meaningful Funeral Ceremony.
- Give a brief history of the firm and how it started. (Extended experience/family owned)
- Explain your process of engaging the family of the recently deceased and how you feel a very personal and honorable approach is best.
- Speak on the main point of how you like to shift the focus of your funerals to being a celebration of life, rather than a focus on loss.
- Explain what doing this as-a-whole means to you. Why did you enter this profession? What does it mean to you when you help families during these hard times? What do you personally get (emotion wise) out of doing this?
- Employee stories, spotlights, and/or fun ideas such as (things funeral directors say, snippets from events, inside the funeral home, etc.)
When recording these videos and answering these questions and topics, feel free to have each team member answer a question they feel most comfortable talking about. Instead of focusing on one member answering everything, this allows multiple faces for your audience to get comfortable with and learn about personally. This is important, as the biggest thing you can do aside from the normal process of marketing, is build a personal relationship with your audience.
Going Live on the page to users = real-time content. Facebook Live is powerful because it is prioritized in the Newsfeed and will notify your users of the activity. Each time you go Live on your page, users will get a notification to encourage them to watch along. People are spending 3X longer watching live video than native video.
Post Content That is Shareable
Post content that is real-time and engaging. Content that shows the real you and is personable and it’s ok to add some humor.
Facebook Ads and Boosted Content
Facebook is the best place to reach your target audience. Women over 45 are the ones that are looking into funeral homes; they’re your biggest audience. Women in that demographic can’t get enough of Facebook. Cater to them by investing the time and the small amount of money it takes to reach your audience because it will absolutely pay for itself in the long run.
Social media is the cheapest, easiest and most effective way of marketing today. Invest in the commitment to more successful marketing.
Start Playing with Instagram
To win you need attention and trust. It’s a circle. Attention…trust, they feed each other, and without one, you don’t get the other. You’ve got to be able to capture attention, but you also need your audience to trust you. The marketing element in which the funeral profession has been terribly lacking is in building trust. All of what we hear mainstream about the funeral profession is negativity. Being able to capture somebody’s attention while building trust is extremely, extremely valuable when it comes to engaging with the consumer and securing business for now and for the future.
Your marketing needs to be focused in the place where consumers, your customers, are giving their attention at scale. Instagram is a completely attention-driven network, and that holds a lot of value. The demographic you want to target so badly, those 45-65-year-old women, are starting to scale very quickly on Instagram. They make up the largest demographic on Facebook, and now they are beginning to turn their attention to Instagram.
What’s next for funeral home marketing? It’s absolutely Instagram. Attention is the game, and Instagram is the arena. If you want to read about other strategies, check out our list of 18 brilliant funeral home marketing ideas here!
About Ryan Thogmartin:
Ryan Thogmartin is a deathcare entrepreneur and the CEO of DISRUPT Media and creator of ConnectingDirectors.com. | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles
About DISRUPT Media:
Most deathcare companies struggle with Facebook marketing. We provide a process for creating personalized Facebook content that will drive community engagement and measurable leads ensuring growth and profitability.