Celebrate and Share Holidays and Special Days on Facebook

The wait is over: the Social Media Copilot’s 2016 Holiday and Special Day posts are live! And this year they are bigger and better than ever.

Let’s back up a moment and discuss why it’s critical to post content on relevant holidays and special days throughout the year on Facebook.

  1. Show your community that your firm is about celebrating life, not just focusing on death
  2. Holiday and special day posts are proven to get more engagement and reach
  3. Become the trusted hub for social media content
  4. Spread your brand with beautiful, viral posts

55 Custom Built Graphics

This year our Social Media Copilot holiday and special day feeds are bigger than ever with a whopping 55 custom built graphics celebrating all the major holidays as well as fun and important national days and months throughout the year.

Best of all, your logo is automatically added to every photo before posting, ensuring your brand gets maximum exposure!

Get The Posts Now!

If you’re a Social Media Copilot Premium customer, you’ve already got the posts. Just login to your Copilot and click “Schedule All” for the 2016 Holiday and Special Day campaigns. One click and you’re done; the Copilot is amazing, huh? :)

If you’re not using the Social Media Copilot Premium, what are you waiting for? Sign up now to get all these great posts, huge fan growth, unparalleled community reach and much more. If you’re using the Talk of a Lifetime version of the Copilot, or Copilot Pro, contact us to upgrade today.

Top 5 Digital Marketing Trends for Funeral Homes in 2016

We all know the funeral industry is changing. People are becoming more price sensitive, folks shopping around more and funeral homes continue to feel the pressure from local competition and online offerings. The good news is that by taking advantage of the latest marketing trends, smart funeral homes can position themselves for both immediate growth and lasting success.

Below we’ll look at the 5 dominate marketing trends your funeral home should pay attention to this year. While some of them are brand new, others have been around for awhile but are now becoming more effective through the use of technology.

Finally, be sure to read through to the end, where we announce an amazing offer to help your funeral home succeed online, absolutely free!

Without further ado, let’s see the trends.

1. Facebook Ads

It’s no secret that Facebook has been aggressively adjusting their news feed which has resulted in fewer people seeing your Facebook Page’s posts organically. While on the face of it, less reach seems like bad news, right? Actually, it’s a great opportunity! What Facebook is doing is making its paid ads more effective (and important). Best of all, if you set your ads up right, you can get really great ROI! Let’s take a look at 3 kinds of Facebook Ads you should consider.

Boost for Engagement

Facebook offers the ability to boost your post (i.e. pay Facebook) to reach a broader audience. But to get value from this kind of ad, you must be careful to set it up properly while boosting the correct types of posts. Start by selecting your most engaging content; posts that position your brand in a positive light. One way you can do this is simply wait a few days after posting to see which of your posts performs the best organically, then boost those for greater reach and exposure. Next, when you boost the post you want to be sure you are selecting a targeted audience of people within your community, so that you aren’t wasting your budget on folks who can never become customers. Finally, be sure to monitor the results to see which audiences are responding the best, then adjust your future ads to target more of those people.

Awareness Ads

Perhaps your funeral home is holding a special educational event, a candle lighting ceremony or is releasing a new offering or special. Facebook is the ideal way to build awareness for your event or offering! In this case, you’ll want to create a custom graphic promoting your announcement (make your graphic 1200px by 627px and be sure to abide by the 20% text rule) then boost your post to a very targeted audience of people in your community who will be most interested in your offering.

Promote an event or offering on Facebook

Conversion Ads

While the aforementioned types of ads are intended to build awareness and engagement of your brand, it’s also possible to generate actual leads by getting people to click back to your website or provide you their contact information. To be clear, if you are looking to sell something on Facebook, such as a preplanning package, prepare to be disappointed! Facebook is not a good medium for direct sales. Instead, you can use Facebook to build interest and educate your audience, then provide some call to action or giveaway to move them down your marketing funnel and closer to a sale. For instance, you might give away a free eBook on preplanning, a downloadable Living Will, preplanning reminders, or any other offer in return for their email address or contact information. From there, you can use drip marketing techniques (discussed below) to heat up the lead and result in a sale!

2. Mobile-First Mindset

Mobile devices now account for over half of all internet usage! It’s an amazing milestone, but one that probably doesn’t surprise anyone who sees people glued to their phones everywhere they go.

For your marketing plan to succeed, you need to ensure you have a mobile-first mindset, meaning you take into account mobile internet users with all of your digital marketing.

For example, your website should employ a responsive design to ensure it looks perfect no matter what sized device your visitor is using. This is even more important when you consider that Google now penalizes websites without responsive designs, making it less likely that your website will show up in search results for people on their phones. If you don’t have a responsive website, or don’t know where to start, contact us now and we’ll get you where you need to be!

When you send emails or newsletters, be sure they have a responsive design as well, since they are likely to be opened on a mobile device and 80% of people will simply delete an email if it doesn’t look good on their phone!

When you create Facebook Ads, you should keep in mind that almost half of Facebook’s users only use Facebook from their mobile device! That means you should cater to their mobile experience. For instance, if you are asking someone to click on a link from your Facebook ad and leave their Facebook app to go to your website, there’s a good chance you’re going to get poor conversion rates. Fortunately Facebook has just released a new kind of ad, called Lead Ads, that let mobile users submit information to sign up for your offer or newsletter without leaving their Facebook app! 

3. Email Newsletters

While newsletters have been around for a long time, they are now more popular than ever!

Newsletters are particularly valuable for funeral homes and cemeteries, since they allow you to take your message directly to your community, and speak to them with their full attention, right from their inbox. You can educate your families on the value of pre-planning, announce events, and position yourself as the experts within the industry to build the all important top-of-mind awareness that leads to more customers and better word of mouth marketing.

Many people need to see your message multiple (or even a dozen or more) times before they are ready to take action. The best marketing approach is one that saturates your audience with your message across multiple channels. You might prime your audience with simple and engaging posts on Facebook, then bring them a more in depth article through your newsletter.

You can get started with newsletters by using popular tools such as MailChimp or Constant Contact. If you really want to save time, and want access to a huge library of newsletter stories for funeral home audiences, consider using our very own Email Copilot!

4. Retargeting

Retargeting is an extremely effective form of advertising in which your ads are only shown to people with whom you’ve already made some sort of contact. On the web, typically retargeting is focused on showing display ads across the web to people who have previously visited your website. You’ve probably noticed this done to you before: perhaps you were shopping for a new vacuum cleaner on Amazon, and then sure enough, you start seeing ads for vacuum cleaners on Facebook!

Here’s how you can make retargeting work for you.

You’d probably agree that it’s more effective to show an ad to someone who already visited your funeral home’s website, right? After all, they are at the very least familiar with your brand already, and maybe be interested in something you offer. You then simply install a pixel to your website (or particular pages on your website) to track visitors, and create ads for those visitors to see across the web, including on Facebook and Twitter. You can use tools such as PerfectAudience, Google AdWords, AdRoll and others to set up your retargeting campaigns.

5. Drip Marketing

Drip marketing is an email marketing strategy that sends (i.e. “drips”) pre-written set of messages to customers or prospects over time. The emails are sent automatically after being triggered by some action indicating interest.

Drip marketing serves a different purpose than your email newsletters. Your newsletters have a broad audience and maintains general interest. Drip marketing, on the other hand, is very targeted and sent just to people who initiate the trigger. Further, with drip marketing, once somebody starts the campaign, they get each email message in the series in the exact order, unlike newsletters where someone only starts getting new emails from the time in which they subscribe.

Using Drip Marketing, you can generate interest using some sort of giveaway, for instance, perhaps you are giving away a free Living Will. To sign up, folks just need to enter their email address. From there, they get a series of emails automatically over time, explaining how to use the Living Will, progressing to a discussion of preplanning, and culminating with calls to action to get started.

Want more information about this powerful marketing technique, and examples of how you can use it within your funeral home? Sign up for our free email marketing e-course now!

Free Technology Office Hours!

I know this can be a lot to sort out on your own. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone! We are offering free technology office hours to help answer any questions you have about your website, Facebook, digital marketing or any other technology. Just click here to book a slot to chat with us and tap into our expertise for free!

See Your Business Results in Real-time

We are super excited to announce the new Funeral Innovations Business Dashboard!

Now any Funeral Innovations client can immediately see a summary of their business results in realtime, across their web, Facebook and email platforms.

Let’s take a look at what’s new:

At A Glance

The At a Glance stats give you a quick look into your critical results over the past month, as well as the performance relative to your firm’s monthly averages. Want to drill down further? You can change the duration to show your past week, day or even year.

Performance Charts

The performance charts provide an interactive chart showing you the results of some of your key business metrics over time. This provides you a visual overview of how your website and marketing engines are helping you reach your goals.

Activity Feed 

Our revamped Activity Feed shows you a real-time look at the critical activity occurring within your web and marketing channels. This includes flower & gift purchases, newsletter signups, boosted Facebook posts, visitor inquiries, review submissions, preplanning submissions, announcements, milestones and more! You can simply click on any activity notice for the full details.

It shows everything that’s important, all in one place.

Try it now!

Take the new FI Dashboard a spin for yourself now. Just login to your Funeral Innovations account and you’ll be brought there right away. And of course we’d love to know what you think, and hear what else you’d like to see!

 

7 Tips for Funeral Homes to Get More Engagement on Facebook

At Funeral Innovations, we help funeral homes succeed on Facebook. One critically important step for succeeding on Facebook is engaging your audience. The more you engage your audience, the more you build your brand loyalty and reach. But many funeral homes aren’t sure what kind of content they should post to engage their audience on Facebook.

We have helped funeral homes reach over 5 million people on Facebook this year alone, so we know a bit about what works and what doesn’t!

I’d like to highlight some tips and ideas for engaging your audience on Facebook in a way that helps you achieve your business goals through real life examples from some of your peer’s Facebook Pages.

Let’s get right into it!

1. Photos and Videos Get the Most Engagement

Humans are visual. Photos and videos catch people’s attention as they quickly scroll through their Facebook news feed and thus get the most engagement. Photos get over 50% more engagement than text-only posts, and videos do even better! According to Facebook, “Bright, colorful images depicting human interaction are particularly successful.”

So it’s time to start flexing your artistic muscles and create some eye-popping graphics! Here’s a great example we shared for one of our partner firms.

 

2. Keep Your Message Positive

People go on Facebook to see interesting stuff, find out what their friends are doing, smile, laugh or learn a little something. They don’t go on Facebook to focus on death or mortality. But as a funeral home, how do you balance your message to keep it on topic but not too focused on death? Just be sure to keep your message light and up-lifting. Here’s a great example that got tons of engagement: almost 700 likes!

 

3. Educate Your Audience

Most people don’t know much about our industry, but on Facebook, people enjoy learning new and interesting things! That’s great for funeral homes, since education is one of the best forms of marketing. Help your community understand what it is you do, and why it matters. Perhaps you post about a day in the life of a funeral director. It might sound boring to you, since it’s your job, but I guarantee it will pique the interest of people in your community!

Some other ideas:

  • Post pictures of different rooms or parts of your facility and/or grounds and describe what they are used for
  • Highlight each of your employees and what their role in your firm entails
  • Describe the different types of dispositions along with pros and cons of each
  • Help people understand the benefits of planning ahead
  • Provide some history of your firm and grounds
  • Describe the traditions and history of different funeral services
  • Offer grief tips and helpful articles on dealing with grief
  • Offer some funeral etiquette, such as what to wear to a service or how to write a condolence letter

What other ideas can you think of?

 

4. Toot Your Own Horn

It’s ok to brag every now and then, especially if you’re sharing some flattering words about your firm from someone you’ve served. That’s the power of posting testimonials: you provide folks with social validation, meaning they see just how valued their peers in their community find your service.

One way we do this for our clients is we collect reviews from their customers. For the positive ones, we ask the reviewer for permission to share it, and then we put the review on a graphical background to create what we call a Review Board, then post them to Facebook. The graphic helps the post get people’s attention, and this ensures that a lot of people in the community see just how valued the firm is!

Here’s one example:

5. Show How You’re Different

Let your fans see what makes you different from other firms and other businesses in your area. What is it that makes you so great? Show them! Perhaps you provide the ultimate personalization and craft unique celebrations of life. That’s the case for Robert’s Family Funeral Home in Forest Lake, MN. They helped honor someone within the hockey community with a unique and memorable celebration you see below. This really resonated within the Forest Lake community, and the post got tons of engagement and positive feedback.

 

6. Humor is OK. Actually, it’s Good!

People go on Facebook to smile and laugh. Often, they don’t associate those traits with a funeral home, but it’s ok for a funeral home to be funny sometimes. In fact, it helps your brand by showing that not only do you know how to be serious, sympathetic and supportive, but that you also know how to make people smile. Here’s a great example!

 

7. If It Works Once, Post it Again!

This is a powerful little secret that most people don’t know about. If you have a post that gets good engagement once, you really ought to post it again! The reason is that even the most successful posts on Facebook are only seen by a small fraction of your fans, those who happen to have logged in within the first few hours after you posted it. The rest of your audience never even sees it. Don’t let a good post go to waste by only posting it once! What we do for our clients is we monitor their posts, and if one gets great engagement, we wait a few months and post it again. Almost always, it does just as well or even better the next time around. This ensures the best posts get seen by as many people as possible. This is the Boomerang feature, which is automatically included in our Social Media Copilot software.

 

 

There you go: 7 tips and examples that will help you go viral and get positive engagement on your Facebook Page.

Of course, if you’re still struggling to get the results you want from your Facebook Page, or simply don’t have time to manage it properly yourself, we’ll be happy to help! Check out our Social Media Copilot solution, which has helped funeral homes reach over 5 million people in their communities this year alone. It’s the most advanced, proven and effective solution in our industry! We make your Facebook strategy simple and effective. So contact us now and let’s Go Viral Together.

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Introducing the Email Copilot – The Simplest Way to Build Email Newsletters Ever

Funeral Innovations today introduced the Email Copilot, the funeral industry’s first turn-key email solution. With more than 90% of the adult population in the US having an active email address, funeral homes and cemeteries are looking to take their marketing message and branding to the inboxes of their community. Many owners see the need to expand their marketing to email, but most have avoided it due to the time required to create the content.

The Email Copilot provides a turn-key solution where you can create professional email newsletters in less than 5 minutes.  Unlike other email platforms available, the Email Copilot includes a large library of industry specific stories. With a simple click, you can take a selected story and customize it with your own wording and graphics to create a beautiful, personalized newsletter.

“We are very excited about the potential of the Email Copilot. Email is an established technology that has proven results in terms of marketing effectiveness. Our Email Copilot solves the challenges of creating an effective monthly newsletter, without breaking the bank. Best of all, firms using the Email Copilot to send newsletters are seeing email open rates up to 200% higher than industry average!”, says Greg Young, Co-founder of Funeral Innovations.

To compliment the original stories, there are several features of the Email Copilot that help collect newsletter subscribers through your website and Facebook page.  All the emails collected are verified, ensuring your email list is valid to avoid spam reports.  

If you would like to learn more about the Email Copilot, visit www.funeralinnovations.com/email or contact us to arrange a demo today.

elderly couple

Are You Reaching the Right People on Facebook?

If you have a Facebook Page for your funeral home or cemetery (and if you don’t, contact us asap!), you probably have watched as your fan count slowly rises (or if you’re using our Social Media Copilot, your fan count has quickly risen!). You’ve been adding content and you’re delighting in everyone who likes, shares or comments on it. You think you’ve got a good handle on things, right?

Well, maybe not! Do you know if you’re reaching the right people?

The important thing to remember is not everyone on Facebook is your target market. If you’re a funeral home or cemetery, your primary market is most likely people 45 and older, and in particular, women. After all, they are the ones often making the buying decisions.

That doesn’t mean you should be ignoring younger demographics. There is a lot of value in reaching and engaging younger folks within your community on Facebook. Younger people are often more comfortable with social media and as a result generate more overall engagement. And even if these people aren’t your target market, their engagement also helps spread your content to their networks, including their parents and grandparents. Plus, more engagement overall makes Facebook naturally spread your content to more people. In addition, they are going to be your target market at some point in the future, right?

But if the majority of your reach and engagement is coming from younger people, you’re ultimately missing the big picture. You’re fooled into thinking you’re doing a great job with your Facebook marketing while in the end falling short of your business goals.

So how can you tell if your target market is engaging with your content?

It’s easy: head over to Facebook Insights, which shows all the data for your page. Here’s how:

  1. If you’re the Admin of your Facebook Page, you’ll see a button at the top of your Page called Insights. Click that.
  2. Next click on the People Tab
  3. Then choose the Fans sub-tab. 

From here, you’ll see the makeup of all your fans, based on age and gender, and how that compares to the overall demographics of Facebook as a whole. Here’s an example of one of our partners, who has a out-sized proportion of fans in their target market!

Next, click on the “People Engaged” sub-tab. From here you’ll see the makeup of the folks who actually engage with your content – in other words, the people who like, comment, click on or share the stuff you post.

When you look at the demographic buckets, you’d like to see at least 50% of your engagement coming from your target market: people 45 and up. To determine your total percent, just add up the percents of all the bar chart starting at 45-54 and going to the right. In this sample, from one of our partners, you’ll see that 68% of their total engagement comes from people 45 and up. That’s a great result, and shows they are reaching and engaging their target market!

If you’re not reaching enough of your target market, what can you do to improve? One way is to run targeted Facebook ads, to ensure the right people are being exposed to your page and your content. You can do that yourself, or you can entrust an expert by using our Social Media Copilot. We have extensive experience and proven success in boosting your reach and engagement of those people who are in your target market, helping you meet your marketing and business goals!

To stress the importance of engaging your target market, we’ve also added a new metric to our Facebook Power Rankings that measures your Demographics for you. Head over to our free Power Rankings to see how your demographic reach compares to other Facebook Pages in our industry.

Most importantly, as part of our Social Media Copilot solution, we have developed a proven strategy for helping funeral homes and cemeteries succeed on Facebook. No more guessing or hoping for success: we can guarantee it! Contact us today to learn more or to get started now.

 

 

Our Newest Copilot Content Feed: Poems

We’re please to announce our latest content feed for the Social Media Copilot. The Poems feed contains funeral-related poems and photo boards to inspire, educate and heal your fans on Facebook.

All Premium Social Media Copilot subscribers already have access to the Poems content feed: you’ll see if on the left-hand side of your Copilot. Just click through to view all the poems and images. There’s no further action necessary: the poems will be included in your schedule automatically by the Copilot. Easy, huh?

If you’re not yet a Copilot subscriber, or are on the Basic plan, just upgrade to Premium now to get the Poems feed. Of course, you’ll also get a lot more when you go Premium, including growth ads, boosted posts, Holiday and Special Days campaigns, more frequent posting, Boomerang, Reach Prediction and the rest of the Post Genius premium features!

Go Premium Now!

Are there other content feeds you’d like us to add next? Just respond to this email to let us know! We’re excited to hear your ideas.

Meet the new Social Media Copilot for Funeral Homes and Cemeteries

You probably already know the Social Media Copilot is the best way for funeral homes and cemeteries to grow their Facebook presence. Now we’re excited to announce the Social Media Copilot just got a whole lot better!

Introducing the new Social Media Copilot

The next time you log in to the Copilot, you’ll immediately notice something new. The Copilot is now bigger and better in so many ways! Check out just a few of them:

Brand New Look

The Copilot received a massive facelift, improving the design and navigation, while making it easier to manage your content.

Mobile friendly

The new Copilot works great on mobile, allowing you to manage your schedule of posts from anywhere your phone is… meaning everywhere!

Campaigns

For Premium subscribers, we’re rolling out “Campaigns”, featuring time-sensitive series of posts that are scheduled for specific dates, like Holidays, Special Days, and the currently running Breast Cancer Awareness campaign. In addition, you can now click “Schedule All” to schedule every post in the campaign with a single click!

Predicted Reach

As the newest feature within the Post Genius package (exclusive for Premium subscribers), Predicted Reach shows you how many people you can expect will see each post… before you even publish it!! The predictions are accurate to within 10%, and getting smarter all the time. Amazing, huh?

Much More

We can’t fit all the improvements in this email (you’re probably busy with work, after all), but go ahead and login to http://funeralinnovations.com and see for yourself all the ways the Copilot just got better than ever!

If you’re not yet using the Copilot, what are you waiting for!? Contact Us to Get Started

2013 Year in Review

2013 was by far our best year yet, as we’ve released many exciting new products, features and partnerships to help funeral homes grow online. We are deeply grateful to all the amazing funeral homes we work with in our effort to move the industry forward.

In case you missed anything, here are the highlights:

Social Media Copilot

The Social Media Copilot was the hit of 2013! The Copilot makes it easy for funeral homes to engage and grow their fan bases. In fact, Facebook posts published by the Copilot reached over 1 MILLION people in your communities in 2013!

The Copilot content library now consists of almost 2,000 posts, hand-picked to engage your funeral home’s audience. In addition, we released a handful of new content feeds including a “Special Days” feed, pet loss feeds, and “Branded Photo Boards”, which automatically customizes grief-related photo boards with your funeral home’s logo for the ultimate viral branding on Facebook.

Through the launch of our new Copilot Captain program, we’ve helped funeral homes increase their fan count in their communities by over 50%!

Finally, we launched Copilot Insights to help show you exactly how many people are seeing your posts on Facebook, and which are the most popular, without ever leaving your email inbox!

Talk of a Lifetime on Facebook

We are excited to have partnered with the Funeral and Memorial Information Council (FAMIC) to help you share the Talk of a Lifetime campaign with your funeral home’s Facebook fans!

As part of our partnership with FAMIC, we released a free version of our Social Media Copilot that automatically publishes the Talk of a Lifetime content to your funeral home’s Facebook Page.

Want to try the free Talk of a Lifetime version of the Copilot? There’s absolutely no cost and you can cancel at any time.

Just take this link to get started:

https://funeralinnovations.com/users/register/famic?plans=44

Healing Registry

Our Healing Registry e-commerce solution got even better in 2013, with a mobile version to make it easy and accessible on even the small screens of smart phones.

For the year, our partners have seen a $63 average CPM through our Healing Registry. In other words, every 1,000 obituary visits has resulted in $63 of flower and gift sales!

To put this in context, our Healing Registry gets over 50% higher CPM than what we’ve observed with other obituary e-commerce solutions!

Funeral Innovations is Growing!

We were excited to welcome a new member to the Funeral Innovations team this year. James Arama joined Funeral Innovations as a software developer, and he brings an unmatched work ethic, curiosity and creativity to the funeral industry. James is set to graduate from Marist College in New York, with a major in Computer Science, and experience working at Intel as well as a high school national championship programming pedigree!

 

 

Looking Forward to 2014

As great as 2013 was, we can’t wait to show you all awesome things already in the works for 2014!

We’d love to partner with you in our mission of helping funeral homes grow their businesses online. If growing your company sounds good to you, contact us and see how we can help!

Mobile Healing Registry

We’re excited to announce that our Healing Registry has gone mobile! Now people who visit obituaries on your mobile website can purchase sympathy flowers and gifts right from their phone, resulting a better customer experience and more revenue for your funeral home.

If you use the Funeral Innovations Healing Registry, your mobile registry is already enabled.