How Cemeteries can compete with Big Business
Like many other industries, major players control huge parts of the cemetery, crematorium and funeral home industry. Many small businesses wonder how they can compete with the dominant businesses.
The good news is that small or independent businesses actually have several advantages over big, nationwide companies. If you want to survive and thrive as a cemetery, crematorium or funeral home you will find playing to your strengths will go a long way toward success. Here are some insights on how to successfully compete with bigger players:
Focus on Local Advertising
Much of the actual services and work of cemeteries and crematoriums happens at the local level. People are using the internet more and more to find service providers, but they are most interested in finding local businesses to help them.
By focusing marketing efforts to reach and engage the people around you, you don't need a broad, expensive approach for national advertising like the big companies do. Instead, you can focus on raising awareness of your business within the neighborhoods that surround your business.
You know your community better than any corporate conglomerate. By focusing your online and offline marketing on your city, neighborhood, and community, you have a big competitive advantage over the big guys from out of town.
Don't Compete on Price
One of the fastest ways to go out of business is to try and compete with the big companies on price. The truth is that they can survive far longer on narrower margins than you can. You can't win a price war.
Instead of focusing on offering customers the lowest prices, your business should focus on offering the best quality services. You can offer your customers a great value, even if you don't have the lowest prices. Communicate the quality, personalized service, and expertise that you deliver.
Customers that make decisions solely based on price are not loyal. They will always go wherever they can get the best deal. They are also often not pleasant to deal with. If you focus on attracting customers interested in quality and service, you will have more loyal customers and will enjoy working with them more.
Focus on Relationships not Transactions
The death of a loved one will always be a personal experience. When people are grieving they want to work with people that respect them and their loss. People never forget the kindnesses shown to them in the aftermath of the death of a loved one.
When customers feel that you care about their needs and not just their wallets they will become your best source of referrals. They will often be happy to give you testimonials. You can forge a multi-generational relationship with them.
Businesses that focus only on transactions, especially in the death care industry, will always be scrambling to attract more and more customers. But, businesses that make relationships their priority are able to survive and thrive even in rough market conditions because they have a long list of referral sources.
The death care industry produces more than $100 billion globally in economic activity each year. That number will only increase as the population continues to age. There are more than enough paying customers for small businesses to continue to be profitable.
The key to your ongoing success is making sure you are competing to your strengths, and not to the strengths of the bigger companies.
I am inclined to agree with pretty much everything in that blog...relationships not transactions, absolutely.