Welton Hong: “Putting your Marketing Money into the Community”

Editor’s Note:  Today we bring you some information on marketing your funeral business in your own community.  This article is written by funeral industry marketing expert, Welton Hong. 

Let’s look at local marketing opportunities that generate community goodwill while also getting your funeral home’s name out there. Here are some ideas to consider: 

Sponsor a Local Sports Team

Recreational sports leagues and youth travel teams have many expenses, including costs for uniforms, equipment, and maintenance for fields. They often turn to sponsorships from local businesses to help pay the way to championships. Options include:

  • Your funeral home’s name or logo on team uniforms, helping create positive brand recognition for your firm throughout the entire season
  • A mention of your firm on programs for games or on signs on the field
  • Your firm’s name permanently listed on a scoreboard, park sign, or bleachers

If your marketing budget isn’t big enough to buy a new scoreboard, you can still make a lasting impression on the community by lending a helping hand with sports or school events. Turn your love of a sport into a mentorship opportunity by coaching kids in the neighborhood—or offer your administrative skills to help plan and run a school fair.

Purchase Booth Space at a Local Event

Charity events often sell booth space to local businesses to raise more money while providing participants with exhibitions to view.

Pay attention to local news or reach out to area chapters for organizations that raise money for medical research, rescue missions, and other causes. Ask if they’re planning any future fun runs, charity walks, or other events. You can also purchase booth space at other types of events, including school and local fairs.

Once you have a date and time, show up with a simple canopy, a table or two, and banners with your funeral home name. Be prepared to hand out brochures and information on preplanning and have something to attract people to your booth, such as free candy or a game for kids to play.

If marketing your services in a booth doesn’t appeal to you, you can still show up for the community and get your business name in front of local eyes at such events. Get your staff together to form a running or walking team for a charity fundraiser, for example, and wear shirts with your business name on them. 

Provide Prizes for Local Raffles

If you can’t be at a local event, you can still ensure your business has a presence. One way is to provide prizes for local raffles. Churches, schools, charities, and many other entities often sell raffle tickets to raise funds, and when local businesses pitch in with the prizes, more of the proceeds can go to the good cause.

Businesses usually choose from three main options when providing prizes for a raffle:

  • Provide free goods and services. Funeral homes might consider offering a free preplanning package, for example.
  • Purchase a prize. When your own services don’t align with the audience for a raffle—if the participants are likely to be children or teens, for example—you can sponsor a prize by purchasing something else to donate.
  • Provide money for a prize. Funeral homes can also get their name associated with a raffle by putting up prize money. 

Host a Contest on Social Media for Your Community

Not all local marketing has to be done in person, and social media provides a way to get more exposure even if there’s not a local event or organization you can sponsor.

Simply come up with a contest for those in the community. Prizes can include all the same types of things you might consider for a raffle. This could include:

  • Living memorial contest: Craft a post about how we shouldn’t wait until people are gone to show them that we care. Host a contest that requires people to write a post on their own page that honors someone they love that’s still alive and tag you in the post for an entry.
  • Photo contest: Come up with a seasonal idea for a post. You might ask people to share a favorite spring memory of a lost loved one or a holiday post with the people they love. Have them share the post and use your hashtags or tag you for an entry. This one might work best on a platform like Instagram.
  • Simple giveaway: Prompt people to engage with and share your social media posts by hosting a small giveaway on your profile. People can enter by sharing, commenting on, liking, and saving your post—all actions that increase engagement rates and help more people see your business on social media.

Remember when you’re engaging in this type of marketing that the reasons are twofold: Yes, you want to get your funeral home name in front of more people more often, but you also want to provide value and service to your community. 

Welton Hong
Ring Ring Marketing

Welton Hong is the founder & CEO of Ring Ring Marketing, a full-service digital marketing firm recognized as a leader in educating the funeral industry on cutting-edge techniques to increase at-need calls and preneed sales. He is also the author of Making Your Phone Ring with Internet Marketing for Funeral Homes, Second Edition.  To learn more about Ring Ring Marketing click here.

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