By: Welton Hong

You might have heard that email marketing drives impressive returns, and that’s true. But, as a consumer yourself, you’re probably most familiar with promotional emails that offer discounts, free shipping if you buy today, or 20% off if you refer your friends.

That’s not the best type of email campaign for a funeral home. “Flash sale on caskets ends tomorrow!” and “BOGO headstones” aren’t the type of offers likely to endear your firm to most people.

Just because traditionally promotional emails are off the table doesn’t mean you can’t use email marketing to drive leads and conversions. Here are five other types of campaigns deathcare firms might engage in.

1. Welcome Email Campaigns
Welcome emails thank someone for signing up or making a purchase. But it’s more than good manners: That sign-up or first contact opens the door for you to further engage with potential clientele.

Welcome email campaigns are usually a series of 3-5 emails triggered by a sign-up. The first arrives immediately upon sign up (or at least within the first 24 hours). It thanks the consumer for their action and provides one or two bits of helpful information.

Other emails in a welcome series carry on a sort of one-sided conversation, providing the consumer with additional information in an attempt to prompt continued contact or a purchase.

Funeral homes can use welcome email campaigns when someone signs up for a newsletter, requests preplanning information, signs up for a webinar, or requests a brochure. Simply put an opt-in box on any of those forms that gives you permission to send marketing emails; if the consumer doesn’t uncheck the box, the welcome campaign can launch automatically.

You can customize these campaigns to meet the needs of your business and target audience, but here’s an example of how one might run if someone requested preplanning information:

• Email 1: Thanking the prospective client for reaching out and attaching information about preplanning

• Email 2: Following up to see if there are any questions and providing a link to a blog post with statistics about preplanning

• Email 3: An invitation to download a workbook on preplanning to help them get started

• Email 4: Letting them know you’re available whenever they’re ready and giving them a specific name and number if they want to reach out

2. Seasonal Campaigns
In the retail world, seasonal email campaigns are created around times such as holidays or back-to-school months. Deathcare businesses may want to avoid being overt—yes, death rates tend to rise in December and January, but launching a midwinter email campaign based on that premise is unlikely to bear much fruit and might scare off your audience.

Instead, create seasonal email campaigns meant to provide existing subscribers with value and position your funeral home as a caring part of the local community. Reach out with fun summer recipes or tips for beating the heat in the neighborhood, for example, and use soft, subtle CTAs that remind people you’re there if they have a need.

3. Campaigns Connected to Social
Funeral homes that want to build a better presence on social might start with email campaigns meant to bring subscribers to Facebook or Instagram.

Begin with a compelling social media post that includes an image. Include the image and part of the caption in an email along with an obvious link to the post in question. Then ask your subscribers to act with CTAs such as:

• We’d love to hear your feedback on…

• Come share your story about…

• How do you use an urn to honor your loved one? Share your picture with others.

Make sure the CTA is relevant to the social post and what you want people to do with that post.

If you want to drive more participation, couple your CTA with a giveaway. Purchase a gift card to a local shop or restaurant and say you’ll pick a winner from everyone who responds or shares your post on social.

The goal of these types of emails is to engage people across multiple channels and built rapport with members of your target audience. That helps increase future activity on your social media pages and the likelihood people might call on you when they have a need.

4. Reengagement Email Campaigns
Reengagement campaigns remind people that they were interested in your service at one point and may help persuade them to take action now.

This is a great option for reengaging people who previously showed interest in your preplanning services. Again, you can customize your campaigns to fit your brand and audience, but an example preplanning email reengagement campaign might look like this:
• Email 1: Remind potential clientele they requested information, acknowledge that life gets busy, and provide a link to download a quick guide or infographic on preplanning.

• Email 2: Provide three ways your firm makes preplanning easy.

• Email 3: Dispel a common myth about preplanning and let the prospect know how they can reach out to find out more or start preplanning.

5. Educational Series Emails
Educational emails are a common form of triggered email campaign for deathcare firms. This means they’re automatically triggered by the action of potential clientele. For example, if someone indicates on your site that they’re interested in preplanning, a series of five emails with tips on preplanning, links to preplanning information or step-by-step guidance on how to begin the preplanning process might kick off.

You can also send educational email series to your existing subscriber list without a trigger. Instead of a monthly newsletter, you might send a short series of emails explaining green burial options or what people can do with cremated remains to honor loved ones.

Email marketing can drive impressive return on investment—the average is $42 for every dollar you spend. If you’re not sure where to start with this lucrative marketing tactic, pick one of the email campaign ideas above and test it out for your deathcare firm this month. FBA


Welton Hong is the founder and marketing director of Ring Ring Marketing (FuneralHomeProfits.com), which specializes in helping funeral homes convert leads from online directly to the phone line. Welton also is a speaker at funeral home conferences and the author of Making Your Phone Ring with Internet Marketing for Funeral Homes. Reach him by email at [email protected] or call toll-free at 888-383-2848.