Marketing Your Business – Part II: Finding Potential Customers
As you prepare to set up shop as a funeral program printing and design business, you may have already begun to identify your potential customers. If you’re having trouble pinpointing your customer base, use these steps to focus in on those in need of your services.
Step 1: What do you have to offer?
This may seem like a silly question, but you’d be surprised how many new business owners can’t accurately identify what it is they offer potential clients. If someone asked you to give a one sentence description of your products and services, what would you say?
You might say, “I design and print custom funeral programs and other memorial keepsakes.” Or you could say, “I create unique and personal funeral mementos for customers to have printed.” Or does this describe what you do—“When someone dies, I work with their family and friends to design the perfect funeral keepsakes to honor their life.”
Once you’re able to say exactly what it is you offer the public, you can more easily begin to narrow down who needs those services and where to locate them.
Step 2: What other services are customers likely to use?
We talked in an earlier lesson about pairing your services with companies that serve families who have experienced a death. Think about what other services those families will require and how to position yourself as a trusted partner.
Those families will certainly be in touch with a funeral home or mortuary about their services. Do any of the funeral homes in your area ‘farm out’ their funeral program design? If so, ask if you can be on the list of design and printing companies they recommend. Here’s another thought—if a funeral home offers preplanning services for funerals, ask if your business card can be placed in the packet of information their customers are given. Will they be ordering flowers? Ask your local florists if they’ll allow you display brochures in their shops.
Area churches, synagogues and other places of worship may also refer grieving families to someone who can help create funeral programs and keepsakes. Get in touch with the administrator or pastor and ask how you can become one of their trusted partners for funeral needs.
By putting yourself in the place of someone who is planning a funeral, you can better understand how to position yourself to be of assistance. Once you’ve established your reputation as a quality provider of memorial programs and keepsakes, related service providers will become even more comfortable in referring their clients to you.
Step 3: Where will they look for help first?
Every individual has a unique style of looking for products and services, and this is true of the people who are responsible for planning funerals. Some people call local businesses first, while others prefer to look online for what’s available.
By creating a marketing strategy that covers both bases, you make yourself available to as many people in need of your services as possible.
For example, senior citizens may prefer to have a face-to-face conversation to plan all aspects of a loved one’s funeral. They’ll sit down with a funeral director, a pastor, a florist and, hopefully, you to discuss the details of their loved one’s final service. Don’t discount the value of becoming a local expert at designing personalized funeral keepsakes. Be creative in finding ways to advertise your business to that audience without imploding your start-up budget.
On the other hand, you don’t want to limit your business to your local area. The internet has expanded your borders infinitely. We’ll talk in the next lesson about how to create an effective presence online.
Being able to clearly state how you can help the person who is planning a friend or loved one’s funeral is the first step in marketing your new business. Follow that up by identifying what additional services they’ll need and strategizing ways to become a trusted partner with the companies who provide those services.
And, finally, make yourself available by more than one method so that your potential customers can find you when they need you. By following these steps, your new funeral program business has a much greater chance of success.