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Best Practices for Funeral Service providers Email Marketing

A funeral service provider is an owner of a funeral services business, or owner of a Funeral Service providers

As funeral directors, we are well aware of the changing trends that society has presented us. Besides noting the increase in the cremation rate, which we are very conscious of, the 2013 report released by Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) revealed that over sixty percent of Kenyans have access to the Internet. In the past, funeral service providers haven’t been quick to change and the Internet and electronic communications, like email, facebook, tweeter, G+, www.celebratelife websites, are now commonplace. Although your firm may not have an online presence (a web site) or use email daily, over half of the population does. With this information, marketing by email to some degree should seem to be an obvious part of your marketing plan. Since email marketing may be foreign to most, the following outline will identify the key success factors and explain how email marketing works, what are the benefits for your firm, and recommend the best practices for achieving a successful and ethical program.

There are two methods that funeral service providers can employ an email marketing program. First, on an individual call basis, email can be used by the client family to promote your funeral business web site. This form of viral marketing (not virus) will be explained later.

Secondly, the more common method in e-business would be the use of newsletters and other promotional mailings to a large number of recipients. For Funeral Service providerss, this could be in the form of a monthly or quarterly newsletter or a special announcement for upcoming events. This report will assume that your funeral service provision business has an online presence and offers a newsletter that visitors can subscribe to. There are four sections listed in chronological order detailing the email marketing process.

Collecting Email Addresses

Use ethical address gathering methods

As funeral service provider, we are very cautious not to offend anyone in our daily business operations and traditional marketing. The same goes for email marketing. Why would you waste time and money emailing people if they didn’t want it? Even though using stringent permission based data collection will limit the amount of addresses in your database; the result will be a “purer” collection of people who want your information. There are different tiers of gathering techniques, listed from the least ethical to the most.

Harvesting. This is gathering email addresses without the owner’s permission. It is achieved by “plucking” addresses from web sites, chat rooms, online directories, and other Internet channels.

The remaining methods relate to the user consciously entering his or her email address in a subscription tool on a web site.
Opt-out. After entering one’s address, the subscription box is already “check”. If the visitor doesn’t uncheck the box, he or she will be added to the mailing list. This method may still be deemed “sneaky.”

Unconfirmed Opt-in. This is like the previous method, but the box needs to be checked by the viewer. Basically he or she has consciously asked to subscribe. The problem with this method is that one could enter someone else’s address.

Verified Opt-in. Like the previous method, but in addition an email is automatically sent to the user stating that he or she subscribed to your newsletter. This email gives the user an opportunity to unsubscribe, but if left unanswered he or she will remain on the list.

Double Opt-in. This is like the previous method, except that the receiver must reply to the email or click on a link. At this point they are added to the list. This is the best practice as the user has re-confirmed his or her desire and this also prevents someone falsely entering someone else’s address.

Always record the date, time, and IP address for each submission. This information is just for your protection in the event of complaints from subscribers. Your hosting company or email campaign manager can provide this service for you. The result may be a smaller database, but it is as “pure” as possible. This pureness saves mailing expense and prevents receivers accusing you of Spam.

Recommendation. Use the “Double Opt-in” technique, it is the most ethical and limits the receipt of unwanted emails.

Creating Effective Newsletters and Mailers

Convey your image and identity

In the recent past funeral service providers have found that client families have not been as loyal. Owners and managers are looking for new ways to build new relationships and increase customer loyalty. Any online marketing should receive the same care and thought as any other funeral service providers marketing. Your newsletter should resemble your web site by using the same logos and colour schemes so that visitors can instantly identify the mailer.

Include Valuable Content

With the objective of building relationships and increasing loyalty, provide useful and desired content along with your message. A Funeral Service providers newsletter could include sections on grief and bereavement, upcoming Funeral Service providers community events, staff profiles, and of course, preneed.

Be Aware of Technical Issues

Unlike print media, what-you-see is not always what-you-get over the Internet. You need to cater to three main viewing preferences: HTML (nice looking with colour and graphics), AOL (for subscribers to worldwide Online only), and plain text (for users with older systems or slower internet access). Although making three versions is a little more work, you do not want to alienate anyone. Have them choose the format that the user desires at the time of subscribing. Don’t forget to always include an unsubscribe option in your mailer. To maintain customer loyalty and your reputation, always make it easy for the receiver to unsubscribe. Also, as stated earlier, you want to maintain a pure database.

Recommendation. Use your corporate image and brand, include useful information, and format your document into HTML, AOL, and plain text. Plus, always include a method to unsubscribe.

Using Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is defined as having someone else re-distribute your message. The most basic example is the use of an email signature, for example, “Get your Private, Free Email from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com.” You can use the same method promoting your Funeral Service providers by adding a signature to all of your outgoing email. “Visit our web site at www.celebratelife.co.ke ” Viral marketing can also be applied to your email newsletter campaign. You will notice many online articles state, “Click here to email this article to a friend.” This puts your message in front of people who may never have seen it.

Recommendation. Include a “Send Article to Friend” feature. Then include the re-senders name in the format of the forwarded article, “This article was sent to you by Mercy Jonson.”
As stated earlier, one form of viral marketing can be implemented for each family you serve. During the arrangement interview, ask for the email addresses from all family members with Internet access. Advise them that you will send them an email with all of the information pertaining to the deceased’s services. Ask them to forward the message to all appropriate people in their email address book.

There are three main benefits:
• you provide the family with a well worded message that they can send (as they have a lot of other things on their minds and may not be able to pen the right words)
• emailing family and friends is a quick and efficient way to “spread the word about the death and upcoming funeral”
• this unique viral marketing method will drive many visitors to your web site and maybe while at the web site they may order flowers or a gift basket for the family

This marketing technique can help in building relationships, strengthening loyalty, and increasing sales.
Recommendation. Script a well worded announcement stating funeral information and links to the obituary on www.celebratelife.co.ke web site, then send the email to the client family for them to pass on to others.

Analyzing Statistics

Sir Francis Bacon once stated, “Knowledge is Power.” Many forms of marketing are very hard to track. Even traditional direct mail, which is a lot more expensive in both printing and distribution, can only be tracked by the amount of replies that are received. With an email marketing campaign, you can analyze:
• number of messages sent (delivery rate)
• number that were opened (open rate)
• number that went to your site (click through rate)
• number that were forwarded (pass along rate)
• number of purchases (purchase rate)
• number of unsubscribers (unsubscribe rate)
• number that bounced invalid address (bounce back rate)
You can “know” everything about the campaign. By using this data, current return on investment can be measured and future campaigns can be fine tuned to be even more efficient.

Recommendation.

Learn how to analyze all email tracking statistics to enable you easily calculate ROI plus many other analysis. You will wish you had this information for all of your other marketing programs. Remember, knowledge is power.

This dialogue and the included recommendations are only guidelines to help funeral service providers better understand how email marketing works and to prescribe an ethical manner to do so. In these changing and competitive times, funeral service providers should consider new approaches to reach the community, build relationships, and strengthen loyalty. An ethical email marketing campaign can help to achieve that.

Note: Superseding these recommendations are any laws in your jurisdiction pertaining to the use of email marketing & solicitation.

Click here to request our price list for your own e-Newsletter campaign.

Use of Funeral Service magazine to advertize

FUNERAL SERVICES Times is a magazine dedicated to all those involved in the funeral service profession.

Targeting funeral directors throughout Kenya and Africa, this magazine caters for companies who want to sell their products and services to benefit the funeral sector. Every SIX months FUNERAL SERVICES Times informs funeral service providers throughout Kenya and Africa of the latest trends and developments in the industry. Distributed free of charge, every three months FUNERAL SERVICES Times aims to reach every single funeral director throughout Kenya and Africa. We do not restrict our readership by having to take a paid subscription or join an association. Everyone involved in the funeral profession is entitled to a free copy. FUNERAL SERVICES Times contains the latest news on the market, new products and features. This magazine is a key vehicle for competitive market. The newest products and services available to the industry are also highlighted to provide funeral directors with the latest ideas to add to their revenue streams. FUNERAL SERVICES Times is the obvious advertising medium for manufacturers or service providers looking to promote their wares to the profession.

FUNERAL SERVICES Times-Editor

Magazine Information

Profile: The Kenya’s and African Largest Circulation Magazine for the Funeral Industry.

Published every six months
Projected Circulation: 6000
Funeral Service Providers: 500
Larger Population: 2400
Manufacturers/Suppliers: 1000
Crematorium: 60
Celebratnts: 40
Bereaved Families: 2000

Editorial: Communicates news, new products and features to funeral professionals. It includes features relating to relevant industry issues, as well as interviews and Q&A’s with leading industry figures, and business advice to small to mid-sized companies. The result is a magazine that is a must-read for anyone within the funeral profession and bereaved families.

FUNERAL SERVICES Times is the unequivocal market leader for the funeral profession; by circulation FUNERAL SERVICES Times leaves the competition standing.

Every three months our circulation is staggering 80%.
If the funeral profession represents your target market, FUNERAL SERVICES Times offers the most effective way to get your message across.

Call advertising sales now: not only is our circulation 80% greater, but our rates are competitive too. So make your advertising budget go further call the only truly independent publication for the funeral profession, FUNERAL SERVICES Times - Now on 0733….

RATE CARDS 2013/2014
Display Series Discounts
Outside Front Cover Ksh. 120,000 3 insertions 10%
Outside Back Cover ksh. 150,000 6 insertions 15%
Inside Front Cover Ksh. 150,000 10 insertions 20%
Inside Back Cover Ksh. 140,000

Run of Magazine Other Discounts
Full Page Ksh.115,000 Publishers discount 10%
Half Page Ksh. 70,000 Registered Charity Discount 10%
Quarter Page Ksh. 42,000 Agency Discount 10%
Loose inserts
Per 1000 (less than 10gms) Ksh. 21,000

SUBMISSION OF EDITORIAL
Please note that clients who would like to take advantage of an editorial opportunity, or
Who wish to submit a press release containing information to appear in FUNERAL SERVICES Times should follow the criteria below.

• If your content is to appear in the Taking Stock section, please ensure that the products or services you wish to promote are new to the trade and therefore newsworthy.
• Images must be high-resolution, of at least 300dpi, and accompanied by descriptive text.
• Images or text may not be the same as included in advertisements in the same issue.
• The press release should be submitted by approximately one week before the copy deadline.
• The Editor reserves the right to edit content. Although every effort is made to include editorial in the issue preferred by the client, this may not always be possible. In such cases, Pet Gazette will try to place the submission in the next available issue.

Please note that any editorial promise is made as a gesture of goodwill and is completely separate to the contractual terms of placing an advertisement. Any editorial inclusion can be suspended, amended or deleted at the sole discretion of the Editor. If the Editor takes any of these three actions, any charge made separately for
Advertising space will STILL stand.

MECHANICAL REQUIREMENTS

All adverts being submitted to FUNERAL SERVICES Times need to be provided in a digital format. We do not accept film or other analogue formats. If you are unsure of any of these details please contact the editor or the technician in the production department.

When submitting an advert please ensure that it is provided in a Windows PC compatible format via email, CD or DVD. Please provide a black and white or colour print depending on the nature of your advert for proofing purposes. All adverts must be provided at a resolution of 300dpi (dots per inch) at the appropriate size.

Images cannot be accepted embedded into Microsoft Word documents. If submitting
finished artwork, please supply file as a flattened image to avoid file corruption.

Acceptable formats

.pdf (high resolution 300 dpi in CMYK mode). Adobe Illustrator files (up to v.10) saved as .eps fi les. All type must be ‘vectored’ to eliminate any font difficulties and artwork saved in CMYK mode.

Images: .jpeg .tiff or .eps formats. Type saved in .eps format must be ‘vectored’. Images
must be high resolution (300 dpi) and saved in CMYK mode.

Advertisers or readers wishing to submit their own pictures should set their digital cameras to the highest resolution available on their camera, before shooting. Pictures taken at low resolution will not be publishable quality.

Advert Dimensions

Full Page: 216mm wide x 303mm tall (measurements include 3mm bleed on all edges)

Double Page Spread: 425mm wide x 303mm tall (measurements include 3mm bleed on all edges)

Half Page Vertical: 93mm wide x 268mm tall

Half Page Horizontal: 190mm wide x 130mm tall

Quarter Page: 93mm wide x 130mm tall

Eighth Page: 93mm wide x 65mm tall

Sixteenth: 45mm wide x 65mm tall

Classified Column Width: 45mm

Banner adverts for Website:
468px by 60px (72 dpi and rgb colour mode)
300px by 250px (72 dpi and rgb colour mode)

A Guaranteed Circulation

Every month we publish a docket from the Royal Mail offering a guarantee to the advertiser that we deliver. We will reimburse any advertiser pro rata, if we do not. Funeral Service Times is the only pet trade publication that offers a guarantee of its circulation to its advertisers.

Terms and Conditions

1) An advertisement is accepted on the understanding that the relationship between the Advertiser and the Publisher is governed by the conditions set out below. Unless specifically approved in writing by the Publisher, the conditions stipulated on an advertiser’s order form or anywhere else shall be void.
2) For the purpose of these conditions, “Advertiser” shall refer to the contractual Principal that is the party responsible for payment of charges arising from the publication of an advertisement. Where appropriate, “advertisement” includes a loose or bound-in insert.
3) The Publisher reserves the right to refuse any advertisement submitted for publication.
4) The Publisher reserves the right to amend advertisement copy where absolutely necessary. If the Publisher considers it necessary to modify the space or alter the date or position of insertion, the Advertiser will have the right to cancel if such arrangements are unacceptable, unless such changes are due to an emergency or circumstances beyond the Publisher’s control. Where the advertisement forms part of a series order, the liability of the Advertiser shall be limited to the pro-rata cost of those advertisements already published.
5) In the event of any error, misprint or omission in the printing of an advertisement, except where attributable to an act or default by the Advertiser or his agents or where covered by Clause 4 above, the Publisher will either re-insert the advertisement or make a refund of or an adjustment to the cost. No re-insertion, refund or adjustment will be made where the error, misprint or omission does not materially detract from the advertisement. In no circumstances shall the total liability of the Publisher for any error, misprint or omission exceed (a) the amount of a full refund of any price paid to the Publisher for the advertisement in connection with which the liability arose (however where inserts are lost or damaged, the Publisher may also be liable for a proportion of the production costs) or (b) the cost of a further or corrective advertisement of a similar type to the advertisement in connection with which the liability arose. Any complaint concerning the reproduction of an advertisement must be lodged in writing within 28 days of the publication date.
6) The Publisher cannot accept liability for any errors due to inaccurate copy instructions. Charges will be made to the Advertiser where the printers are involved in extra production work owing to acts or defaults of the Advertiser or his agents. These charges will be in accordance with the published rates current at that date.
7) Advertisement rates are subject to revision at any time and individual orders are accepted on condition that the price binds the Publisher only in respect of the next issue to go to press.
8) Telephone space orders are subject to the same conditions as written orders. Nevertheless the Advertiser is asked to issue written confirmation of a verbal booking as far in advance of the publication date as possible and certainly within 14 days of the booking.
9) The Advertiser, where an agency, may not recharge a client for space at an increased rate, unless with the Publisher’s written consent.
10) If written copy instructions are not received by the agreed copy date, no guarantee can be given that proofs will be supplied or corrections made and the Publisher reserves the right to repeat the most appropriate copy.
11) Payment terms are strictly 30 days. If any debt remains unpaid beyond this point then Celebrate Life Enterprises reserves the right to either issue a claim in the Kenyan Court where all costs are to be borne by the Advertiser, or to pass the debt to its debt collecting agency, whereupon a surcharge of 15% will.
12) The Publisher grants a commission of 10% to advertising agencies with PPA recognition.
13) A series discount can be offered depending on the number of insertions booked. If an advertiser cancels the balance of a contract he relinquishes any right to the series discount to which he was previously entitled and advertisements will be paid for at the appropriate rate.
14) At least 4 weeks’ notice prior to publication date is required to stop or suspend a monotone insertion. At least 6 weeks’ notice prior to publication date is required to stop or suspend a colour insertion. This notice must be given in writing.
15) The Advertiser warrants that the advertisement does not contravene any Act of Parliament, nor is it in anyway illegal or defamatory or an infringement of any other party’s rights or an infringement of the Kenyan Codes of Advertising and Sales Promotion. On the contrary, copy must be legal, decent, honest and truthful. Should it become apparent that this is not the case, the Publisher reserves the right to suspend the advertisement, in which case no claim on the part of the Advertiser for damages or breach of contract shall arise.
16) The Advertiser will indemnify the Publisher fully in respect of any costs, damages or losses arising directly or indirectly from the publication of an advertisement, where such an advertisement conformed with the copy instructions supplied by the Advertiser. The Publisher will consult with the Advertiser as to the way in which such claims should be handled.
17) The placing of an order by an Advertiser constitutes an assurance that all necessary authority and permission has been secured for the use in the advertisement of a pictorial representation of or of words attributable to a living person.
18) If so required the Advertiser must disclose the identity of the client and reveal the nature of the product/service to be advertised. In the event of the Advertiser failing to comply with such a request, the Publisher reserves the right to cancel the advertisement, in which case no claim on the part of the Advertiser for damages or breach of contract shall arise.
19) If it is intended to include a competition or special offer within an advertisement, full details should be submitted at the time of booking.
20) In accepting financial advertisements, the Publisher does so on the understanding that their copy content, authorization and placing have been processed in accordance with the requirements of the Financial Services Act 1986.
21) The copyright on artwork/copy contributed to an advertisement by the Publisher shall be vested in the Publisher.
22) The Advertiser’s property and artwork etc. are held at his risk and should be insured by him against loss or damage from whatever cause. The Publisher reserves the right to destroy all artwork which has been in his custody for twelve months from the date of its last appearance.
23) Notwithstanding anything in the above which may provide to the contrary, neither the Publisher nor the Advertiser shall be liable to one another for any loss or damage, consequential or otherwise, caused by or arising out of any Act of Parliament, Order in Council, Act of State, strike of employees, lock-out, trade dispute, enemy action, rioting, civil commotion, fire, force majeure, Act of God, or other similar contingency beyond the control of either party.
24) These conditions and all other express terms of the contract shall be governed and construed in accordance with the Laws of Kenya. Please note that all telephone calls are recorded.