Marketing & Social Media – Don’t Get Carried Away

Weidert Group Staff
Posted by Weidert Group Staff on July 27, 2010

Anyone (or the one person) who reads my posts knows that I have an issue with funeral home marketing in general – it’s absolutely awful.

I had cause to look at a crematory’s website recently when my neighbor died. I’m sure those who run this crematory are nice people who enjoy working with the dead and put on a swell funeral. But they’ve gotten carried away with social media.

As soon as the site loaded (I won’t give you a link – they might be litigious) a middle-aged woman in homely shoes walked out on screen and started talking quietly to me. (By the way, that “I’m walking around on your screen” technology seems like a cool idea to some people, but it’s annoying and cheesy). She gave a slow, kindly overview of the site’s features and even pointed directly to the buttons I should click. She seemed very sad about my loss while she was doing it, too.

Among the many choices she pointed to were:

1.    A place to sign up for a newsletter
2.    A field to fill out to get current obituaries emailed to me
3.    A spot to subscribe to the crematory’s RSS feed
4.    A chance to sign up for a brochure
5.    A place to fill out forms to become a member of the cremation society
6.    A place to fill out a form indicating my “immediate needs
7.    A link so that I can FOLLOW THEM ON TWITTER!

(Take a moment, if you need to.)

First – WHY WOULD I WANT TO BECOME A MEMBER OF THE CREMATORY SOCIETY? It’s not like joining the National Wildlife Society or the Lindsay Lohan Has No Discernable Talent Society – what possible interest does the average person have in cremation? Other than when it’s his or her own?

And I’d like to meet the person who wants current obituaries emailed to him. He’s probably friends with the sociopath who wants to read a crematory’s RSS feed with his morning cup of coffee.

The “Click here if you have immediate needs” button seems odd, too. Do people find themselves saying, “Gee, Ed just dropped dead in the living room – who’s got a laptop so we can get this show on the road?” If any professional service was meant for face-to-face consultation, it’s this one.

My favorite, though? Twitter. When I saw the undertakers were bona fide tweeters, I immediately became a follower just to see what a funeral home has to chat about. So far, I’ve learned that the first legal cremation in England took place in 1885. Good to know.

We caution clients about getting carried away with social media – don’t let yourself get talked into it simply because, like the crematory, “Everyone’s on it!” It’s a fantastic set of tools, but not every tool is right for your business; in fact, just a few will be.

Be realistic about the role your product or service in your audience’s life/work, and choose only the tools that make sense based on the value they place in what you do for them. Want to know what those tools might be and how to best use them? Give us a call and download our Top 5 Blogs About Online Marketing.

Topics: Social Media

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