Modern day consumers have the luxury of choice. Want to get food? You can order directly from hundreds of restaurants. Need to buy something? You can hop on Amazon and choose from thousands of different vendors and products.
The death care industry, however, is more or less unaffected by these changes. You can’t exactly order a funeral from a thousand kilometers away. That means that funeral homes are still competing in local and hyperlocal markets. You don’t need to set yourself apart from everyone, but you do need to set yourself apart from the other funeral homes in your area.
That comes with advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, you’re not competing with hundreds of other companies. On the other, you have to compete against other funeral homes that may have already captured a huge share of the market – word-of-mouth is powerful in the industry, and many families will use the same funeral home for generations.
With all of that context in mind, let’s look at some of the ways you can acquire new clients – and even land some who would have gone to your competitors.
Do your research
The first step is to figure out what already sets your funeral home apart – and what other funeral homes are doing to stand out. You can do this in three steps:
First, talk to your existing clients. Ask them what brought them to your funeral home, what they liked about the experience, and what you could do better. One-on-one conversations may be best – surveys can help too.
Second, talk to other funeral home owners – preferably, funeral homes that are far enough from your local competition to engage in meaningful conversations, but close enough that your markets are similar. Ask them what they’re doing to stand out.
Finally, scope your local competition. What are they doing that you’re not? Are there any lessons you can learn from them? What are their clients saying? You can learn a lot by looking at their reviews.
No one wants to hear “just lower your prices”. Doing so can cut into your profit margins, and in the short term, it can make your business unprofitable. What’s more, there are a lot of funeral home clients who are not looking to cut costs – they’re looking for the best services.
That means the “lower prices” strategy won’t work for everyone. But you don’t have to lower all of your prices – you can opt to offer the lowest prices in some areas. The lowest cost for cremation! The lowest cost for burials! The lowest cost for floral arrangements!
Having lower costs can net you more clients who wouldn’t be able to afford funeral services otherwise. They’ll tell their friends and their family, and suddenly you’re getting all kinds of clients – and performing a valuable service.
Offer the best services
Lowering prices isn’t always going to cut it – your competitors may have exceptionally low prices already, you may be looking to offer higher caliber funerary services, or you may simply not have room in your budget to lower profits.
That’s okay – you can opt, instead, to offer the best services. You’ve done your research, so you know the kinds of things your clients are looking for – and what your competitors are and aren’t offering.
Sometimes, the best service is as simple as having a website that’s easy to navigate with helpful resources. Other times, it’s offering the widest selection of products and services on the market. Or it could simply be offering that one thing that no other funeral home in your area offers.
The best service can also mean the best customer service. Empathetic staff who truly look to create the best possible funeral for their clients can go a long way to distinguish you from other funeral homes.
Marketing can set you apart
Services and prices can go a long way to set you apart – if your potential clients even know you exist.
Realistically, the amount of “shopping around” people do with funeral homes tends to be less than what you’d see with other services. There’s urgency, unless you’ve pre-planned – and that means marketing can be a huge boon.
More and more, funeral homes are being found through Google, rather than through TV ads and bus benches. And when the time comes to find a funeral home, people will tend to click the first result or two – not do incredibly in-depth research. Death is time sensitive, after all.
Funeral home SEO is the best marketing strategy for getting to the top rank in Google – and acquiring all the customers who are searching for a funeral home in their area. It can be tailored to local (city or town) and hyperlocal (neighbourhood) environments, so it’s made to outrank your most fierce competitors.
Following these tips should help you stand out from the competition. Have any other recommendations other funeral homes should follow? Contact us and let us know – we’d love to hear your thoughts!