Funeral and cemetery advertising in the newspaper

The challenge of advertising in the newspaper is enormous in this day and age. Traditionally, big brands bought print advertising to promote their business, however, with less than half of the adult population reading a daily newspaper, the option is not as obvious. Did you know that only 42% of readers of a newspaper will note a full page ad. That means that the average quarter page ad will only be noted by about 25% of readers. The other challenges with print are lack of frequency and price. In order to sell a product or service, your message must reach prospects with solid frequency and a page in the newspaper does not deliver. Also, the cost of print advertising continues to rise as the circulation decrease therefore the cost efficiency is decreasing. The argument that the older demographic is still reading the newspaper is one to consider, however, the return on investment doesn’t justify it. The one position that could be considered is the obituary section so simply add your funeral home or cemetery name and logo at the bottom of the announcement and you have a presence in the newspaper. For more information on funeral and cemetery advertising, visit our website at

What radio formats make sense for funeral and cemetery ads

So you’ve decided to use radio as a medium to promote your funeral and cemetery business. The next question is which format makes sense. First, radio stations can provide you with demographic information on their respective listening audience. So you can analyze the market and select the stations that target the 50+ demographic. On the AM band, the obvious choice is a talk radio station because the audience is actively listening and will absorb the commercial content. Every market usually has at least one heritage talk radio station as well as perhaps a sports station. On the FM band, the options are substantial. The first choice would be an oldies station that features either nostalgic music or 60’s and 70’s music. The other choices are a light adult contemporary station or even a classic rock station as those should target the 35 – 64 demographic. The other important consideration is the cost effectiveness. You may have a station with bigger reach, however, if the cost per thousand is too high then you may one to consider the # 2 station. For more information on selecting radio stations to promote your funeral home or cemetery property, please contact us at

How to stand out in the crowd

In 2013, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to rise above the onslaught of advertising that we are bombarded with on a daily basis. The average consumer is exposed to 3,500 messages daily. How is that possible? Just think about your average day. You wake up in the morning and turn on the radio and hear several messages, you get up and brush your teeth with Colgate, wash your hair with Pantene, and shave with Gillette. You may browse a newspaper and will definitely see billboards on your commute to work. And your day has just started. So how do you stand out. The answer is a combination of reach and frequency coupled with a compelling story and consumer benefit. The debate between reach and frequency is ongoing; however, the key is frequency over reach. Would you rather tell a compelling story to a smaller group of prospects or a short mention of your company to a larger group. Frequency trumps reach. As a matter of fact, larger reach equals a bigger price tag and limits frequency. Unless you are McDonalds or Coca Cola, the affordability factor must be considered. In terms of radio advertising, I would prefer 30 commercials weekly on a radio station with smaller reach than 10 weekly on a station with bigger reach. Consumers have to hear or see a message often enough to elicit a reaction. So when you are selecting media, also consider having a strong presence with less media than a weak presence with more media. For more information, visit my website at

A new creative approach to funeral and cemetery marketing

Have you noticed that the vast majority of advertising is based on one simple tenet – the best price. I have not seen an ad for the automotive industry on TV, radio or in the newspaper that didn’t focus on the price – whether it’s a low finance rate, low lease rate or just a low purchase price. As a matter of fact, one automotive manufacturer is featuring a weekly payment for a 2013 vehicle of only $36 per week. That’s less than I spend at Starbucks and a couple of lunches on a weekly basis. But what is this accomplishing in terms of brand equity. If I flip through a daily newspaper, my only criteria for judgement on a vehicle becomes the lowest price and ignores the other components including quality or benefits that may be important to me. It’s time to take another path in your marketing efforts and that is the path of educational marketing. We took this approach in the funeral and cemetery industry and it proved to be very successful. Instead of cliche filled commercials about compassion, families serving families and so on; we decided to educate consumers as well as demystify the concept of pre-planning, cremation, and memorialization. Our commercials started with a simple phrase ” did you know that ” and followed with pertinent information on why consumers opt for cremation or why it makes sense to plan ahead. This approach will position your funeral home or cemetery property from the competition and create a bond between consumers and your brand. This approach can be used in any professional industry, orthodontists talking about why young children should be examined and what to look for; or real estate agents giving tips on staging a home. For more information on this unique approach to marketing, visit our website at or follow our blog at

Patience is the key to funeral and cemetery advertising

After spending almost 30 years in the radio sales industry, I have discovered that one of the key components to advertising success is patience. Over the years, many prospects have said to me ” let’s try it for a couple of weeks and see what happens “. At that point, it is important to have a discussion with the prospect about how advertising works. The perfect analogy would be trying to get into shape. You can’t join a gym, start working out and expect to be in great physical condition in a few short weeks. You have to make a long term commitment and continue to do the work necessary to achieve your objective. The same principles applies to advertising; it takes time to build a brand in a society which is bombarded with advertising at every turn. And in the funeral and cemetery profession, decisions are not made quickly due to the fact that there are many considerations which impact family and friends. So when planning your advertising strategy, make a long term plan which would be a 52 week radio schedule, a weekly newspaper insertion. If your budget is limited, run at least 26 weeks or 13 weeks in the spring and 13 weeks in he fall. Also, make certain that your frequency is solid. For example, I would rather have 25 commercials weekly on 3 radio stations that 10 – 15 weekly on 6 radio stations. Short term advertising is risky, long term advertising builds a brand. For more information, contact me via email at tim@

Radio creative for funeral and cemetery advertising

So you booked a radio campaign and now it’s time to create a commercial.

Following is the top ten tips for a good radio commercial . . .

1. Make sure that your commercial promotes the benefits to consumers as opposed to the features of your product
2. The first seven seconds is critical to capture the attention of the listener. Start by asking a question to the listener that will compel them to continue listening. Or make a statement that solves are problem that they are experiencing
3. Provide information that will help the listener, in other words, straight answers to real questions
4. Ask the listener to do something, for example, call this number today for our free information kit or visit our website for more information
5. Make the point of contact with your funeral home or cemetery as seamless as possible, in other words, easy to remember numbers or website addresses
6. Avoid making the commercial sound like a funeral or cemetery commercial by not using cliches or somber music in the background
7. Consider 60 second commercials as you are telling a story
8. Make certain that there is a definitive call to action at the end of the commercial which includes your company name, slogan and the simplest way to contact you
9. Use a believable and trustworthy voice instead of a radio stations’s house announcer
10. Do the commercial yourself as your understanding and passion for your business will come across in a more compelling fashion than anyone else

For more information on radio advertising for the funeral and cemetery profession, contact tim@

Funeral and cemetery radio advertising

So we have established that radio is an optimal medium for the funeral and cemetery profession. But what are the steps to creating a campaign. 

Step # 1 – determine which radio stations reach the target demographic which typically is 50+ skewed female

Step # 2 Рestablish a budget and gather rank reports on the stations.  Factor the audience and the price and determine which station is most cost efficient

Step # 3 – schedule a long term campaign as short schedules are a gamble

Step # 4 – have patience and let the campaign build your brand over time

My next blog will discuss the creative approach

Say goodbye to passive media

In the world of funeral and cemetery marketing, the traditional approach usually includes a combination of newspaper and direct mail. The challenge today is that less consumers are reading a newspaper on a daily basis and the response rates for direct mail are less than half a percent. It’s time to say goodbye to passive media and begin working with proactive media like radio, television and social media. Radio is the optimal mainstream media as it offers the ability to target specific demographics and offers affordable frequency. And you can create an emotional connection to listeners more than 95% of North Americans listen to the radio daily and it is the only medium available for free. in the coming weeks, i will give you simple steps to create your own radio campsign. For more information contact

It’s all about the message

In the funeral and cemetery advertising business, there are too many cliche filled ads – our family serving your family, serving this community for 50 years, and compassionate at a time of need. Although these are important considerations, the focus should be on education. Work to demystify death by educating consumers about the funeral and cemetery profession. Start a commercial by saying did you know that more and more consumers are opting for cremation and then explain the reasons such as convenience, flexibility and simplicity. You then position your company differently from the others by offering consumers a benefit. For more information contact tim@