5 Creative Ways to Engage Seniors for Funeral PlanningAug 01, 2022 | 5 MIN READ
One of the reasons so many funeral homes and funeral directors rely on direct mail is that it’s guaranteed to reach the intended audience. With open rates reaching 90%, direct mail nearly ensures you reach your intended audience.
But there are other marketing methods that can offer you the same benefits and provide the kind of personal touch that helps build a connection with your clients.
- Why Funeral Homes Need to Engage Seniors
- Meeting Seniors Where They Are
- Funeral Planning and Senior Events
- Creative Ways to Engage Seniors
Why Funeral Homes Need to Engage Seniors
While people in their 20s and 30s are planning for life changes, only those who have lost a close loved one are pre-planning their funerals. In fact, many of them, who are starting families, are investing in life insurance. People in their 40s and 50s are beginning to consider retirement and in the early stages of planning, but seniors, those in their 60s and 70s, are beginning to think about end of life concerns.
Certainly, as we discuss outreach options, attracting individuals across age ranges is ideal, but seniors are the audience mostly likely to be actively planning a funeral or planning memorials and end of life celebrations. In fact, they’re more likely than others to have it at the forefront of their minds, which means it's easier for you, in the course of other activities and events, to open up conversations.
Meeting Seniors Where They Are
Often, when we think of where to meet seniors, people erroneously assume that means spending all your time in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. While those places are certainly options, and can be included in some of the events you plan, consider options that are outside the box.
Realtors don’t only network at open houses or home buying/selling workshops and seminars. Successful realtors are meeting clients where they are. To improve your marketing and outreach, you also need to meet seniors where they are.
Researching and understanding where seniors live and spend their free time is essential to your planning and can help you create not just the kind of events they’re interested in, but in the places they’ll already be. We’ll get to more of that in a minute!
Funeral Planning and Senior Events
Obviously one of the best places to market funeral planning and funeral services is at senior events. Still, these don’t have to be “inside the box” either. Senior events can include:
- Senior expos
- Senior centers (during regular schedules or special events)
- AARP events
- Retirement community events
- Senior enrichment or lifelong learning programs
- Senior caregiver programs or events
- Silver Sneakers or other workout programs
- Senior parks and recreation programs
- Senior programs at community arts organizations or libraries
- Retired senior volunteer programs (RSVP)
Senior events hosted by community organizations are a great informal way to meet with seniors and foster relationships. Part of your strategy should be to create these connections so that when you do host more formal events, you’ve got a network to reach out to.
5 Creative Ways to Engage Seniors
Leveraging existing community events to assist with your marketing efforts is a great strategy for building relationships and your network, both with individuals and organizations. In fact, those established relationships may come in handy when you start creating programming to engage seniors.
Then, when it comes to funeral planning, you’ll be in the forefront of their minds as you’re already actively engaged in the community.
1. Host or start a book club
Funeral homes are community spaces. They’re places for gathering, and when offering aftercare services, like counseling groups, you’re already creating spaces for your community to gather when they aren’t attending a memorial service.
Further, retirees spend more time reading than any other age group, which means providing a space for a book club to meet, working with the library, or hosting your own book club (it doesn’t have to be grief related) can be a great way to engage and connect with seniors, familiarizing them with you, your business, and your services.
2. Social events for widows and widowers
Support groups don’t have to be somber, with everyone seated in a circle ruminating on loss. In fact, there’s no better way to celebrate the lives of loved ones than with social events that incorporate their favorite activities or restaurants.
A once-a-month brunch is a great way to build community, supplement your aftercare programs, and develop community connections. While these events are great for widows and widowers, especially as they transition into a life without their loved one, social events can include any of your clients or connections.
3. Host wellness events
Wellness events are a great opportunity to not just provide a service to the community but to also help stress that part of your role in the community is to offer support and assistance before people may need your services.
Since the start of the pandemic, senior activity levels have decreased, but we know wellness activities are a key element to keeping seniors healthy. Consider partnering with local wellness practitioners to offer events such as senior yoga, tai chi, meditation, and more.
4. Consider a community garden
Many funeral homes have space on their grounds where they can start a community garden. It doesn’t have to be expansive, but a garden provides an opportunity to invite seniors to share their knowledge, engage in a passion some may miss now that they have downsized, and enjoy, literally, the fruits of their labor.
Many nursing homes have incorporated ways for seniors to garden, including accessible raised beds. What’s more, the National Institute of Health has identified several benefits for seniors who regularly garden.
5. Start a volunteer group
Volunteer groups exist, but many focus on single causes, require physical stress or exertion that limits participation, or don’t meet frequently enough to keep connections.
Creating a volunteer group, which can be focused around providing flowers or cleanup for cemeteries or any variety of activities (even something different each month), will get you and your clients or network out in the community regularly. That participation is likely to help you build a solid foundation, not just with the individuals you work with but with your community too.
One additional benefit of these activities is that they demonstrate the ability for your business to seek opportunities outside the traditional mold. As many individuals look to plan memorials and celebrations of life that are less traditional, seeking a funeral home that is willing to look outside the box, include community, and that seems willing to explore other spaces is essential.
If you’re ready to talk to a preneed insurance partner who wants to help you connect with your community, build your marketing efforts, and provide the products and services your clients need, get in touch with the ELCO team today.