Social Media - A Must

You're telling me you don't have a Facebook account for your funeral home!? F.A.C. Marketing has spent the last few months working on finding the best option for social marketing. We are proud to announce a Premium Social Media Management offering that will allow you to be a player in the social media arena in your community. Although we are focusing on Facebook at this time, we do have the ability to integrate all other social media outlets as well. New studies have shown that people are reaching out and doing more and more business through Facebook, exclusively. Let us help you climb that social marketing mountain. The price...well, would you believe we are only asking $325 monthly? This cost is far less than what most funeral homes spend on newspaper advertising in a year. Call us or visit the new Social Media Management tab on this site for more information. 

Direct Mail Still Works

Even in today's world of e-mail and social marketing, direct mail continues to perform. If you're not using direct mail, chances are, your competition is and they are filling mailboxes and being seen by your neighbors when they go to their mailbox. Face it, we go to the mailbox every day.

So why does direct mail continue to perform? Here are the top three reasons as they apply to the funeral industry:

1) Targeted Mailings - Mailing lists can be very, very detailed. We can drill down through multiple levels of demographic information to target the most logical audience for your piece. It makes no difference if the mail piece is a pre-need solicitation or a quarterly newsletter, we can find the perfect match of budget, demographics and message to bring back return-on-investment and top-of-mind-awareness.

2) The "Mailbox Moment" - It makes no difference how many e-mail accounts you have, you still check the mailbox daily. Personally, I have four e-mail accounts for various business interests and I they are pushed to me in my office as well as on my smart phone. Even with that kind of connectivity, I still look for my mail, in the same spot, every day. Now, think about your demographic. For years we have followed what we call the "mailbox moment". For the older demographic, especially those who are retired or have little contact with others throughout their day, going to the mailbox is still a big deal. Direct mail is seen by seniors. Many seniors even read each piece, meticulously. That is what you want, right?

3) Top-of-Mind-Awareness - When your logo is in front of a consumer's eyes, you're building your brand. You are imprinting your information in their brain. Direct mail places your logo, and your message, in the hands of the consumer. You can build top-of-mind-awareness through repetition of direct mail which is why quarterly newsletters continue to do very well in the markets we serve. Your piece may have a call-to-action which will allow you some measure of success but far too often funeral directors do not see the return they expected and fail to see the impressions the pieces had even on those who took no action. For just a few cents, you've placed as much information as you care to share, in the hands of a potential family to serve. That is a powerful form of marketing.

If you have questions about developing a direct-mail campaign or would like to explore the investment in a campaign, please feel free to give us a call. There is no cost or obligation.

Marketing Your Staff

We develop budgets for funeral homes. It is one of the things we do here at F.A.C. Marketing. We can look at media types of every kind and check the reach they offer based on demographics from A-Z. But one thing we can't do is get your staff out in front of the public. One of the least utilized assets to any funeral home is the people who are passionate about the death care industry and work daily to help the families who call on you during their time of need. By that I don't mean that funeral directors and staff don't fulfill the daily duties assigned to them. But ask yourself, when the last time was you funded a member of your staff for a local golf tournament or paid their full dues to a social or service organization?

Make it someone's job to be on a Board of Directors for your local Hospice House. Make it a part of the job description for each funeral director to be a member of a local service organization. Use the staff you have to affordably, effectively cultivate relationships with the community. If you don't have everyone active, schedule a short meeting and find out who is interested in each aspect of the community and use that staff member's strengths to improve your local market position. Those who select a funeral home are far more likely to select a friend than an unknown. While we can use newspaper, TV and radio advertising to keep your funeral home at the top of the minds of your community, it is up to you to use the advertising as one facet of your overall marketing campaign.

Thinking about a new logo?  Keep it simple.

We work with hundreds of Funeral Directors representing funeral homes from coast-to-coast plus Alaska and Hawaii. Although most of their challenges are unique in scope and timing, there is one thing they all have in common. Each and every one has a logo they use to identify their business. At F.A.C. Marketing we've developed countless logo ideas and branded funeral homes for years to come. I thought it might be a good time to review some of the logo development basics just in case you're one of those professionals who is a far better Funeral Director than a logo designer! Here are the five basics I start with when proceeding with logo development.

1) Keep it Simple. Think of the most universal of logos and you'll find they are all tastefully, beautifully simple. When you see an apple with a bite out of the right side...what do you think of? How about a blue oval with four script-font letter? A simple stylized "swoosh" will bring to mind what company? I need not tell you that I have just given you the logos for Apple, Ford and Nike. These logos are embedded in our minds and are, unarguably, simple. When you design your logo, keep it simple. Avoid a flurry of curly serifs and line art.

2) Adaptability is vital. Is your logo easily applied to vehicles? If your logo is "full-color," does it look just as attractive and clear as it does in its original state? Far too often we see Funeral Homes with colorful logos that have not been adapted to a one-color image. These logos, when placed in small ads or on promo items such as pens, might as well be left off. Your logo should be placed on everything. If it doesn't look good in every application, consider adaptations.

3) Vector is vital. Most people don't understand the difference between a vector-based image and a raster image. However, the difference is monumental in adapting and working with your logo across media platforms.

Raster artwork is any digital art composed of horizontal and vertical rows of pixels. As a result, when raster images are enlarged, the image quality diminishes significantly. Typical raster file types include .psd, .tif, .jpg, .gif, and .bmp. Raster images are fine for placing into an ad at the exact size needed, but should not be enlarged. Overall though, your logo should come in a raster format which can then be saved as or exported to, different formats.

Vector artwork is digital art composed of mathematical lines and curves. As a result, vector images can be reduced or enlarged in size indefinitely, without any loss in image quality. Typical vector file types include .ai, .eps, .ps, .indd, .pdf, and .cdr.

F.A.C. Marketing produces logos in all vector file formats.

4) Do people know what your logo looks like without seeing it? That logo on your sign and in all your advertising and marketing should build a mental imprint on the community you serve. Try asking people in your community if they can describe your logo without looking at it. If they can't, especially after years of seeing it around the community, you might have a problem. Memorable relates right back to simplicity. If your logo ends up looking like an abstract work of art or is a gray, poorly defined line art image of your facility, you're not doing yourself any favors. Consider coming up with a memorable logo that easily imprints itself in the mind of your consumers.

5) You claim to be the Does your logo claim the same thing? Be unique when you develop your logo. That said, I have worked with clients who started their logo design process requesting a pineapple be used to represent his funeral home in the Midwest. Another, in the Pacific Northwest, liked the idea of a palm tree. Luckily those ideas were transformed into more practical, meaningful  and location-friendly designs. We want unique, not confusion-inspiring. Your logo should look nothing like that of your competition. If the guy down the street has a stylized letter as the focus of his logo, steer clear of doing the same. Your logo is yours. It should be as unique as you are.

Keep these basics in mind as you develop a logo that will likely stick with you for the rest of your business life. Once you find the perfect logo, you'll be proud to wear it on your clothing, place it on your vehicles and send out your mail with your "brand" on the letterhead. If you're in need of assistance, give us a call and we can help you in whatever capacity you see fit.

Are you throwing dollars out your door?

Are you one of those Funeral Directors that says "yes" to every single "advertising" request that comes through your door? We work with customers every day who may fall victim to their own goodwill and charitable habits.

Funeral home owners should take a few minutes, each year, to review and tweak their annual advertising budget and should keep track of how many dollars go out to local charities, school groups, newspapers, radio stations, benefit events, and a long laundry list of other reasons your community calls on you. Tracking these expenses, as they are paid out, can keep you from looking back on your year and asking yourself why the $5,000 you sent out in increments of $50 seems like it wasn't a very good idea all of the sudden. If you decide (and stick with it), at the beginning of your year, what you're going to give to these types of projects, you can save yourself thousands at year's end.

We recommend developing a standard sheet that all solicitors, including radio & TV stations, newspapers and organizations must fill out and submit to you. This is the first step F.A.C. Marketing uses in our Marketing Director Program. These requests should be reviewed and culled so that you get as much benefit from them as possible. Negotiate return on your investment if at all possible. If there is no message in the "advertising" you receive, you might want to say "no". Often it is very difficult to say no to a high school student or someone asking for dollars for a cancer patient. However, if your funeral home is to stay viable, you can't fund every request. We recommend using letters, after you have reviewed the solicitation request form we mentioned earlier, to approve or deny the request. One of the reasons our Marketing Director program is so popular with Funeral Directors is the ability to tailor the program and give you the power to say yes or no on a case-by-case basis and then F.A.C. Marketing can send out the letter saying the budget has been allocated and we cannot assist the solicitor at this time. Our letterhead, not yours, is used for this purpose.

So ask yourself what it would be worth to you to develop a program that could save you thousands every year. Once you've decided to take the step, implement the program or contact us for help. That's what we're here for.

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