By Leader Editor Kara Apel
The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in an unprecedented era for our nation and world. Situations and circumstances are constantly changing, prompting many of us to rethink or change traditional or normal elements of our lives — even the smallest gestures like hugs and handshakes are currently not deemed to be acceptable.
The current limitations and restrictions recommended by the government are changing the way funeral homes and crematories are conducting business on an hour-by-hour basis. It’s a struggle for many to keep up with the latest information, and when combined with the day-to-day duties of running a firm, this has proven to be an exhausting time for all funeral professionals.
Because of this, the experts at MKJ Marketing felt compelled to share their best practices and advice for firms during this chaotic and difficult time. During a recent webinar, MKJ’s expert panel discussed 18 ways that firms across the country can demonstrate leadership and sensitivity during this crisis.
Below are just a few of the important points that were shared during the webinar. If you missed it, be sure to watch the full video on the MKJ Marketing website.
Post signage at building entrances
While industry professionals are staying in the loop with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you cannot assume that everyone in your community is doing the same. That’s why posting signage at building entrances detailing what visitors can expect is necessary. The signage should explain that your firm is following the guidance of the government, along with the latest ordinances and restrictions for your area. Make sure the verbiage is clear but also compassionate. MKJ Marketing has posted FREE downloadable one-sheets that any firm can use.
Phone calls matter more than ever before
ASD – Answering Service for Directors estimates that funeral homes are receiving 6% more calls than usual due to the pandemic. Everyone is feeling the stress and impact of COVID-19, which is causing emotions and anxieties to be more heightened than normal. Since families are less likely or unable to visit facilities in person, it’s vital to train your staff members who answer the phones on how to best answer questions, offer solutions, and calm concerns. ASD is currently offering a FREE 30-day trial for funeral homes to use during this chaotic time.
Stay with or start TV media
Nielsen estimates we could see a 60% increase in TV viewership as consumers are being ordered to “shelter in place.” In a crisis like COVID-19, viewers are ramping up their news consumption on a daily basis as they seek the latest information about the virus. With more audiences watching than normal, TV is more important than ever before. If you are currently running ads, make sure to review your current spots to make sure they are not insensitive. This is also a good time to seek out new content that is timely and will resonate with viewers. MKJ Marketing has created two new TV spots, including one about the important work of first responders and another about offering livestreaming services, that convey the right message during this hectic time.
Keep your website and social media pages updated
As we all know, digital platforms are the way that most people consume information these days. Your community will be relying on your website and social media pages for the latest information. Make sure to notify your community about all updates from the government related to funeral service and the specific actions your business is taking. You can also use your Facebook page as an opportunity to share helpful resources that you think your neighbors need to know about. If you want your message to be seen by as many people as possible, you may want to consider putting some advertising budget behind your posts.
Put thought into livestreaming now
As cities and entire states are moving into lockdown status, fewer people will be able to attend funeral or memorial services. Due to restrictions on the size of gatherings, families are going to have to make tough decisions about who they can invite to memorialize their loved one in person. By offering livestreaming, your firm can put families’ minds at ease because all of their loved ones will have the chance to participate in the service. While firms can use free services like Facebook Live, this is not ideal for broadcasting a family’s most private and intimate moments. Livestreaming companies like OneRoom understand the complexities involved with funeral service and can advise owners on the best options available.
To view the entire webinar or to find additional resources for marketing strategies, visit the COVID-19 section on MKJ Marketing’s website.
How is your funeral home coping with COVID-19? Comment on this story or share your thoughts by emailing [email protected].