By Leader Managing Editor Courtney Gould Miller & Editor Kara Apel
California has been recognized for its early and strict response to COVID-19. In March, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a first-in-the-nation mandate for all 40 million residents to “shelter in place” to slow the virus’s spread.
As of today, there have been over 5,000 COVID-19 deaths recorded across the state, along with over 160,000 confirmed cases.
Cypress Lawn Funeral Home & Memorial Park, located just south of San Francisco, has helped a number of families whose loved ones have died during the pandemic, including those who died from the virus. San Francisco County has seen over 40 COVID-19 deaths, and San Mateo County, where Cypress Lawn is located, has experienced almost 100 deaths.
Robert A. Gordon Jr., President and CEO of Cypress Lawn, has kept the health and safety of his staff and visitors as his top priority throughout the pandemic. Unlike other providers in California that closed during March and April, Cypress Lawn’s memorial park and funeral homes remained open to serve the public. During that time and continuing through today, Cypress Lawn’s employees have transitioned into a new way of delivering service, managing their teams, and running their departments.
Communicating Now and Going Forward
Part of Cypress Lawn’s strategy has been adeptly communicating with the public throughout the entire pandemic. They focused on conveying all of the options available to families, including their ability to livestream funeral and memorial services at all of their Bay Area locations and offering free virtual preplanning consultations.
Cypress Lawn also ran two TV ads during the height of the pandemic, including a spot that promoted their livestreaming services and an ad thanking first responders. These videos also ran on Cypress Lawn’s Facebook page, which were boosted with advertising dollars to reach more families in the Bay Area.
“It was important for us to shine a light on how we intend to deliver service, information, and education going forward,” Gordon said.
In March, that began with adding popups to all of Cypress Lawn’s provider websites. Physical signage was also created and placed in high-traffic areas in all facilities to remind guests of appropriate social distancing practices and guidelines in place.
As this situation is expected to continue for months and likely into next year, Cypress Lawn now has a page on its website dedicated specifically to the funeral home’s COVID-19 response. This page, which was created keeping SEO optimization in mind, directs families and potential customers to everything they need to know about visiting Cypress Lawn.
Proving Safety is Top Concern
Another important part of Cypress Lawn’s marketing strategy was to create a Safety Guide for guests, explaining all of their continued efforts to keep the funeral home as safe as possible for both guests and employees alike.
“We want every person to feel safe walking in our doors. Information is power, and sharing everything we are doing to keep families safe helps to alleviate some of the fears and anxiety guests may have as they venture into our facilities,” Gordon said.
Some of the topics mentioned in the Safety Guide include protocols for their environment, communication, and participation. This one-sheet serves in a variety of capacities; it is handed out to guests and displayed in prominent locations around the funeral home. Gordon views this list as a “living document” that can be updated as the situation evolves.
Gordon believes all of these marketing efforts have paid off tenfold, ensuring that families know they can still turn to his staff during these uncertain times.
“Cypress Lawn has been helping Bay Area families for over a century during some of the most difficult times of their lives, and today is no different. We remain committed to keeping the families we serve first, and by communicating with them throughout this entire process, we’ve been able to earn — and keep — their trust,” Gordon said.
Interested in learning about how your firm can create a customized Safety Guide and a clear plan forward? Schedule a call with the experts at MKJ Marketing today.