You tell us what needs to be changed!

 

Our first blog post comes from an industry in which many of us may not give much thought, unless we absolutely have to. We received an email in from an Irish Funeral home discussing with us the difficulties that their business is facing today. Below is the email that explains how their market is struggling to find ways to generate revenue.

Hi IP,

Firstly id like to say that I think this is a great initiative you have set up and hope to see some great ideas come through here  as in times like this we need all the help we can get for getting through. The issue that we are facing in our industry today is the change in Ireland away from being a very traditional culture to a more individualistic one. As our industry in Ireland is currently unregulated we have seen an awful amount of new unqualified entrants drag down the standards in the industry. Increased competition is an issue for any business, and solving the issue of an unregulated market can only come from change in government policy, which is another battle itself. We are looking however for input on how to generate new streams of revenue, while still being respectful to our customers. As I stated earlier there has been a change away from the traditional religious culture in Ireland, which has resulted in people not going down the path of the removal the night before the funeral. This has meant that our cars are getting out 50% less than before, we do respect all of our customers decisions and would never put pressure on anyone to purchase something that they did not want to, but we do have costs to meet as a hearse alone can cost anywhere between €90,000 to €150,00o. So what we are looking for is new ways to generate income while being respectful to our customers. People are in a very vulnerable position when making these decisions and we respect our customers enough for trusting us to perform this service for there loved one to not take advantage of them. So we would love to hear if anybody had some real ideas on how generate new revenue, we only ask that when people are coming up ideas to remember what form of work we do and to really consider how the customer would feel, as customer satisfaction is whats most important to us.

Kindest Regards

A

 

From this email we can understand the difficulty that any business can face when having to deal with  changes in consumer behavior. Coming up with solutions to reduce revenue decline can be harrowing for firms and although this service may not be easiest thing to market, it is something that we all will have to face someday so maybe a little pre-thought into what services we may want on our own day might not do any of us any harm.

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Comments on: "Problems in a Dying Market" (4)

  1. I dont know if this would be viable for you guys, but just that u mentioned that you dont get the use of the car twice now because people are becoming less religious. Now this might not be everyone’s cup of tea but when an aunt of mine died last year our family had something similar to a removal except in their own home, it was really personal and such a lovely way to say good bye. If you were to maybe suggest to families that instead of a removal you have bring the body from the funeral home to there house and then the following day bring the body from the house to the church this way you get your cars out twice. I personally would have no problem paying that expense as I was able to see first hand how nice a home good bye could be if done right. But in saying all this I dont know how easy or difficult it would be to do that, but its just one suggestion that might help.

    Susan
    Solicitor

  2. John Clifton said:

    Hello there, I might have something that could be of use to you. I am a marketing consultant for funeral homes on the east coast of the United States. Drop me a mail and I can explain to you what I have implemented here that has helped turn around struggling funeral homes. My email is johncliftoninc@hotmail.com.

    Regards
    John Clifton
    Marketing Consultant

  3. I think that this is a VERY interesting blog to start discussions on problem issues.

    I don’t know the culture in Ireland to speak to what is changing and how, but I have a ton of first hand experiance in the US to share.

    Eternal Reefs conceived the idea of using cremation memorials as a way to help preserve, protect and enhance the marine environment. We are the MOST PROFITABLE cremation memorial that a funeral home can offer its cremation families.

    We have been providing this service for eleven years, creating more than 1500 Eternal Reefs and we still get less than 5% of our business from the funeral industry.
    With more than 8400 fans on Facebook, 70% female over the age of 45, we have a profitable, green, positive program for the funeral industry.

    The growing interest in conservation, green, burials is going to have a bigger impact on funeral industry revenue than cremation. Those funeral homes that are seeking to adapt to changing social patterns will make some mistakes, but will survive and in most cases thrive.

    As more people opt for cremation, green burial and home funerals the need to move toward a paid consulting roll will become an avenue for many funeral homes to take.

  4. Hi, I have also posted this under the trafficking post but this is a bit more specific for this topic.
    My company is working directly with funeral directors now to provide help with their online marketing, so maybe I can offer some perspective. I’ll deal with Social Media here, since it was specifically addressed.

    First, set yourself up a twitter account and get little “tips” going out daily. Once a business day. Don’t overexpose yourself. Deal with subjects like how to properly prepare for a funeral, cremation vs. burial and pre-planning. Once a week, send out a tweet dealing with a certain subject (I’ll use pre-planning as an example) including a clickable, trackable link to your website or a webpage for more information.

    Also set up a blog where you go into certain subjects in more depth in a small article format. Include a clickable trackable link to the site or a page with more information. Update it regularly to gain priority with search engines.

    I would also suggest setting up a youtube account. Create a series of videos with different material. Do some videos explaining pre-planning, how to pick the right casket, cremation, etc. Do a video giving a tour of your facility, a video showing urns and caskets you offer etc. If you offer services like ashes scattering, fire one off on-site (before the service of course) and show them how you go through the process. Bookend every video with your information and a clickable, trackable link back to the site. There’s a way to tag videos for optimization to gain precedence on search engines when people are looking for you, and also to gain priority on youtube.

    You might also want to look into search engine optimization, but be careful. It can be costly, or if you do it yourself, time consuming. Some people also have different approaches, but make sure your information’s being put into directories and everything’s being tracked for effectiveness. Otherwise you’re burning time, money or both.

    You want all your content to be focused on what someone’s concerns would be, not how great your funeral home is (even if it’s true). The name of the game is exposure, and especially for your field, trust. Provide information to leverage your expertise, and build online relationships with your customers so that people trust your experience and personality enough to trust you with their loved one.

    if you have an email list, e-newsletters are still a great way to build a relationship with your list as well. Make it personable, provide valuable information, and if you already have an existing relationship (if they’re on your list, I’m assuming they know who you are) pull back the curtain and have a section dedicated to what’s going on with you and your co-workers so you become more personable in their eyes.

    Another thing I’ve been suggesting lately for email marketing is video email correspondence. Shoot a sequence of videos just talking to your list and end it with your information. Here’s an example of what I’ve automated to email to someone after we initially connect.

    Once again, I hope this helps.

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