Creating Death Care “Search Ads” that get the click

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Every death care company is looking for ways to draw potential consumers to their online presence in order to engage them before they become clients of another death care company.  We decided to ask industry expert Welton Hong for some tips on how funeral homes can get that “extra reach” that may be able to build case numbers in a competitive community.

Here’s five tips that Mr. Hong shared with us. . . . . Written by Welton Hong:

Paid search ads offer another opportunity to show up in search engine results. No matter how great your search engine optimization efforts are, you can’t guarantee that you’ll land in the top 10 organic spots, but bidding on the right keywords can help your ads appear on page one for people who are searching for preplanning or at-need funeral information.

Ads are an option on all the major search engines, but funeral homes and other deathcare firms should always start with Google, the massive market leader with about 92% of the global search market share for desktop and mobile.

But choosing the right search engine for your ads is only the first step in winning the click and boosting conversions. Try some of the following tips to improve the performance of your search ads: 

  1. Include Numerical Values

You only have 300 characters for a Google ad. Those characters are broken up over:

  • Three headlines of up to 30 characters each
  • Two descriptions of up to 90 characters each
  • Two paths of up to 15 characters each, which are for the display URL and not for ad content

That means you only have 270 characters to convey your message, so using numerical values instead of spelling out numbers just makes good sense. “Buy one get one free” takes 20 characters including the spaces. “Buy 1 get 1 free” takes 16, and “BOGO” takes four. Take time to figure out how to be clear without using more characters than necessary.

Actual numbers do more than save on character count. Some people see a boost in ad performance when they include numerical values. Perhaps this is because numbers better attract consumer attention or make ads easier to scan quickly. Add numerics to your ads to see if you get a boost in performance.

  1. Test Ads That Spell Out Pricing—And Those That Don’t

Including pricing information in your ads can lead to mixed results. If people see the ad and the specified price is outside of their expectations, they’re unlikely to click to find out more. That means they could miss out on the fact that you offer services at lower price points too.

But other people may not click an ad at all if prices are vague. They may want to know for sure before they click that they aren’t wasting time researching a service that doesn’t align with their budget.

Find out what works best for your target audience by testing ads that spell out pricing and those that are vaguer. For example, try “Cremation services under $2,500” and “Low-cost cremation services” to see which version draws more clicks. Once you discover what your target audience responds best to, use that concept going forward for better ad performance. 

  1. Add Punctuation

Some people try to make the most of the short character counts in search ads by leaving out words, abbreviating words, and skipping the punctuation. A comma, a dash, or a period all take up one or more valuable character spaces, after all.

But that can be a mistake, as punctuation improves comprehension and “scannability.” Consider the following examples:

  • Affordable cremation services in Miami preplan now
  • Affordable cremation – preplan now in Miami

The ads include all the same information, but the second one with the dash is easier to read and understand quickly. That’s critical because the searcher is on a page with plenty of other options. They won’t spend even an extra second trying to understand your ad when they can move on and click the next one instead. 

  1. Use Emotional Language

Emotional marketing language remains one of the best ways to gain audience interest and capture the click. By inserting an emotionally tinged word or phrase in your ad, you increase the chance that the ad will connect with someone on a level that drives them to find out more or choose your link above all the others on the page.

However, you shouldn’t try to create a sob story. First, blatant emotional manipulation tends to turn people off and would likely reduce the performance of your ads. Second, ads don’t have the word count range required to create an entire subtle emotional story arc that can draw people in—save those types of efforts for blog posts or video marketing. 

What you can do is pepper ads with a few phrases that speak to common emotional drivers for purchase decisions in your industry. For deathcare companies, those might include:

  • Fear: People may preplan to abate fear of the unknown or the future.
  • Care of loved ones: People often preplan to save their loved ones the trouble and expense, and families in at-need situations are looking to honor someone they care about.
  • Grief and sorrow: Loved ones looking for closure via funeral services often experience deep emotions that you can speak to in a compassionate, caring manner.
  • Desire for savings: Budget-conscious audience members may be emotionally tied to a need to save money while also living up to traditions or expectations about deathcare.

Emotion words don’t have to be—and actually shouldn’t be—blatant. Words such as devoted, enduring, everlasting, steadfast, family, together, and compassionate are all subtle ways to speak to a desire to honor a loved one or leave a legacy, for example. 

  1. Use Concise, Easy-to-Understand CTAs

Every search ad should come with a concise call to action (CTA) that leaves no doubt about what the person should do. Obviously, the action you want someone to take based on your search ad is to click the link—and you can certainly say that.

But test some other phrases to change things up and clarify the value you’re offering. Here are some examples:

  • Download our preplanning guide.
  • Make an appointment today.
  • Get a free consultation.
  • Take our preplanning quiz!
  • Order a free memorial brochure.
  • Browse our gallery.

Each of these prompts the person to click but also tells them what happens on the other side. They’ll get a free guide, be able to talk to an expert, see a gallery of urns to choose from, or enjoy some other value that’s specific and goes beyond “finding out more.”

Ultimately, that’s the best advice you can get on creating search ads. Use the word count to create enough perceived value that the person can’t help but click.

About Welton Hong:  Welton Hong, founder and CEO of Ring Ring Marketing is a leading expert in helping funeral homes convert leads

Welton Hong
Ring Ring Marketing

from online directly to the phone line. Founded in the Silicon Valley, Ring Ring Marketing has successfully helped hundreds of small business increase their revenues in a short amount of time.

Welton is the author of Making Your Phone Ring with Internet Marketing and a regular contributor to many trade publications such as the American Funeral Director Magazine. He has a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Prior to starting Ring Ring Marketing, he was a senior technologist at R&D facilities for Intel, Sun Microsystems, and Oracle.

Ring Ring Marketing is currently a trusted partner with over 600 funeral homes, cemeteries, and organizations.

Ring Ring Marketing website.

Funeral Director Daily take:  There is no doubt anymore. . . internet marketing has to be part of your marketing or you are missing out on potential clientele.  It’s no longer an option, it’s a necessity for your business when you look at the statistics.

Take me, for instance, I don’t always buy online, but I research online.  Before I go out to “kick the tires” of an automobile purchase I’ll look online to see who has the vehicles I’m most interested in.  Or, a recent case with me. . . . .I was looking for options to build a retaining wall at our cabin.  Online I was able to see different options and get “ballpark pricing” of each option while sitting at my desk.  That led me to choose a style and go directly to and talk to the business who can do that type of work. . . and, by the way, it was a landscape company that I had never set foot in before. . . . they would not have pulled me in as a customer without their internet reach and “ballpark pricing”.

Here’s a couple of statistics that I recently came upon:

  • 67% of consumers have increased their internet shopping since the pandemic began
  • 43% of consumers research products or services online before purchasing via social networks
  • There were 209 million online shoppers in 2020. . .that number increased to 230 million in 2021. . an increase of over 10% in just one year.

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