When you think of preneed marketing, you probably think of the traditional channels that are most often used to promote pre-planning to families: direct mail, newspaper ads, brochures strategically placed throughout your funeral home, etc. However, did you know that preneed interest can often be gauged in unexpected ways?
Funeral homes across the country are increasingly utilizing less traditional, more unexpected methods to promote preneed in their communities. Why? Because it works. Seeing something out of the ordinary tends to pique the interest of consumers and cause them to want to learn more.
Read on for various ways you can implement these strategies at your funeral home.
Pizza and Pre-plan
You may have seen in the news earlier this year a Wisconsin funeral home offering a “Pizza and Pre-plan” event, providing free pizza to families along with a discussion about pre-planning their funeral. This made national news because it was unique and involved two things you wouldn’t normally associate with one another.
People love free events, and putting a creative spin on them will pique their interest even more giving you the opportunity to provide valuable information about why pre-planning is important. Pizza may be the reason they come, but the information and discussion you provide will be the reason they stay. And if you want to have your own unique take on this event, be creative! The options are endless. Think Donuts and Discussion, Coffee and Conversation, Lunch and Learn . . . What will help bring families in to your funeral home?
In your Aftercare Program
This may sound counter-intuitive; after all, aftercare involves serving a family who has just planned a service for a loved one. However, the idea behind this strategy is right place, right time. Families who have just planned and attended a service may have done so with or without a pre-arrangement in place. That means they may be thinking of one of two things: how difficult the process was to decide what their loved one would have wanted while grappling with the means to pay for it OR they may be thinking how grateful they are that they had a pre-arrangement so they didn’t have to worry about all of the emotionally and financially grueling details.
Either way, talking with families at this stage allows them to process the idea when they may be thinking about it most and at a time when they will be familiar first-hand with the benefits that come with pre-planning.
On Social Media
This digital marketing channel is becoming more and more relevant for businesses looking to reach their customers, and the funeral industry doesn’t have to be an exception. Consumers spend a bulk of their time on social media and are constantly exposed to brands looking to make an impression and impact customers’ purchasing decisions.
Whether it’s promoting a seminar or event (see Pizza and Pre-plan) or directly attracting preneed inquires through targeted Facebook advertising, social media is a great place to gauge interest, promote the value of planning ahead, as well as to increase your brand recognition so families think of you for their funeral planning needs. This is especially useful as millennials, the most active social media users, play a more active role in the decision-making process for their parents.
Bonus: Facebook now offers built-in lead forms as part of their advertising platform. This means that when viewing an ad for pre-planning, interested consumers can input their information into a form built into the ad without ever leaving Facebook.
Help Families Save their Photos
Similar to the Pizza and Pre-plan idea, you can invite families to your funeral home or to a local establishment for a seminar on the power of memories and the importance of recording them for future generations. Talking about memories and the role they play in remembering our loved ones is a less intimidating way to talk to families about planning ahead. When families make the decision to plan ahead while also taking the time to preserve and record their most cherished memories and photos, they can rest assured that their loved ones will be able to spend more time sharing memories and less time agonizing over planning a funeral.
Taking it a step further, you can help families save their photos through unique photo-scanning events at your funeral home. September is National Save Your Photos month, which is a great tie-in for such an event. It is not uncommon for families to have boxes and boxes of photos documenting the many milestones and important memories of their life. However, how many of these photos list who is in each photo and where it was taken? And what would happen to these photos in the event of a natural disaster? By helping families digitize these albums and record the context behind each photo, you can help them craft their own legacy to leave behind for their loved ones, all the while presenting them with valuable information about planning for the one thing in life that is expected, their own mortality.
Aside from the traditional preneed marketing avenues, promoting preneed in these ways is all about putting a creative spin on your marketing efforts. Find out what your target audience is interested in and tie that in to an event that also discusses pre-planning. Not everything has to be so direct or so serious. It may be the funeral industry, but it’s okay to have a little fun sometimes. You don’t have to put the “fun” in “funeral”, but you can put the “fun” in “funeral pre-planning.”