5 Easy & Effective Ways to Educate Your Community on What You Do
On the rare occasions deathcare professionals are free to socialize, the last thing you probably want to talk about is what you do for a living. Although death is an unavoidable fact of life, body preparation and casket selection aren’t exactly appetizing topics for dinner conversation. Even so, there are other, more amenable ways you can talk about deathcare and in the process firmly establish yourself as your community’s go-to thought leader on all things death-related.
Start a blog on your website
Your funeral home, crematory, or cemetery website is one of the first introductions you have to families who are evaluating their at-need or preneed options. Plus, the more relevant content you’re regularly adding to your site, the higher ranking you’ll achieve when someone searches “funeral homes near me” on Google. A blog is a win-win, and all you have to do is write what you know — or have someone on your team or a ghostwriter do it for you.
You wouldn’t have to write volumes or post every week. Start out with a 400- to 500-word post on “safe” subjects, like why you chose your profession, the origins of your firm (beyond what’s on your “Our History” page), or tips on choosing the right music for a service. Gradually, as you get more comfortable, you might (tastefully) cover things like what happens to the body during the cremation process, ideas for permanent memorialization, and personal stories of the most touching services you’ve performed.
Volunteer as a speaker for local organizations
Chances are you’re already a member of your local chamber of commerce and perhaps a few civic organizations like Kiwanis, Rotary, and the like. You pay your dues, list your membership on your resume, and attend a few meetings or luncheons a year, where you listen to the featured speaker talk for 30 minutes about something fairly interesting.
Why not volunteer to talk about something that everyone wants to know but nobody wants to ask? Deathcare doesn’t have to be a taboo topic or morbid matter. Again, everyone in your audience is going to die sometime, and most of them have already experienced the death of a loved one — maybe they’ve even been responsible for planning a funeral. Your expertise is just as valuable as that of the guys who spoke on liability insurance and the local real estate market.
Again, you don’t have to provide a graphic description of the reconstructive arts. Instead, talk about why preneeds are important, the fact that cremation doesn’t always have to be “direct,” and some of the innovations in the field, like aquamation and natural organic reduction — even if those things aren’t available in your area yet. You’ll position yourself as someone who’s an expert in their field, and they’ll remember you for your foresight and knowledge.
Create FAQ videos
Video is one of the most powerful tools in marketing and communication today. In fact, 86% of businesses use video in their marketing efforts, while 92% believe video is one the most important parts of their marketing strategy. Surely you saw the vital importance of video during the pandemic, when livestreaming and recording services were the only ways families could say goodbye to loved ones. Best of all, video doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive, or time-consuming. You can easily record short videos on your smartphone that actually look really professional, or let someone on your team record for you. Hiring a local videographer to record multiple videos in one day could still be worth the cost.
Wondering what to talk about? Think about the questions your families ask you — your FAQs. What’s included in a standard funeral package? Do you have to embalm a body before cremation? Can family or friends do hair and makeup? Being honest and forthright, while at the same time answering the real questions that people have but may be afraid to ask — or not know to ask — will truly help you to establish yourself as the go-to guy or gal in your community when it comes to deathcare. And, again, posting these videos to your website in addition to your social media pages will enhance your site’s search engine optimization (SEO).
Conduct seminars at your place (or theirs)
OK, so planning and conducting a 45-minute or one-hour seminar isn’t as simple as recording a short video or writing a blog. But the benefits of hosting a lunch-and-learn or evening seminar at your event center, local church, senior center, or other venue will greatly outweigh your expense and efforts in the long run.
Depending on your audience, possible topics for your presentation could be anything from a broad overview of preplanning to how green funerals and burials work. You could charge a small fee to cover lunch or refreshments, or offer your services at no charge. Either way, your audience will be more likely to seek out the expertise of someone they’ve met and who has demonstrated their knowledge of the subject when they’re ready to plan their own services or those for someone else.
Submit a press release to your local news outlets
Think you and your team aren’t newsworthy? Think again! Your local newspapers and television news stations love to share good news and happy stories, especially when they and their audiences are inundated with the opposite these days. Why not tell them about new certifications your team members have earned, or how your firm just celebrated its 50th anniversary, or that one of your beloved funeral directors has just retired. We’ve seen press releases about folks completing continuing education courses, attending conferences like NFDA, ICCFA, or CANA, or participating in (or hosting!) local events. If you don’t feel comfortable writing your own press release, consider calling a reporter and asking them to come interview you. Most outlets also have “Contact Me” forms or other ways to submit ideas for stories — and these don’t require a degree in journalism to write.
In our recent 2022 Connecting Directors Deathcare Survey, nearly 27% of respondents ranked “educating your families and community” as one of their top frustrations. Chances are, it’s one of yours, too. We hope these tips work for you!