211 – How to market something nobody really wants. Like a funeral business!

211 – How to market something nobody really wants. Like a funeral business!

Starting a funeral business comes with a number of different challenges. It’s a sector that is not very welcoming of newcomers, it provides a service that people only seek out in very specific circumstances, and it’s hard to make it sexy. But against all the odds, Carly Dalton (ex-corporate) and her husband (ex-police force) have made a huge success of their funeral services business, GreenHaven Funerals, in just 18-months.

And they’ve made it work by getting every aspect of their marketing lined up in the right way. With her HR background, Carly knew that investing in the right training and certification would be the most important thing if they wanted to deliver a great service. But Carly went beyond this and made sure that she had a well optimised website and web presence, and that she formed connections with key partners in her local area so that her funerals business would stand the best chance of being a success.

Fast forward 18 months, and Carly is too busy to attend the industry expo where she was once received with hesitation as an industry newbie.

PLUS, I answer a listener question about how to find the time to generate a second income stream, and provide you with another inspirational quote of the week. Let’s go!

Episode Timeline

  • 2.45  I give you two solutions to lighten your marketing load: Netregistry and 99Designs.
  • 5.30 How can you create more time to focus on a second income stream?
  • 13.00 Join the Small Business Big Marketing Forum today!
  • 13.30 Introducing this week’s guest, owner of GreenHaven Funerals, Carly Dalton.
  • 17.00 Why the big funeral service companies can’t compete with Carly when it comes to personalised service.
  • 19.00  Carly and her husband recognised their own strengths in problem solving (in HR and in the police force) and use this as small business owners.
  • 22.00 The funeral service business is not very accepting of newcomers but clients were ringing Carly within a week of opening shop.
  • 23.00  Why it was important for Carly to seek out professional training and certification before starting her business.
  • 25.30 How Carly harnesses the power of the internet to seek out new customers – optimised web pages, Adwords, and social media.
  • 26.30 Why testimonials matter for small businesses and how Carly receives them.
  • 31.00 Start at the end and work back – how do you want your customer to feel?
  • 32.00 Growing the business through finding key partners in the local area such as nursing homes and palliative care centres. Carly even delivers free grieving and loss training for these partners.
  • 35.00 The power of referrals.
  • 36.00 What keeps Carly awake at night?
  • 42.00 My top four takeaways from this episode.
  • 44.30 Inspirational quote of the week!

Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode



My Top 4 Learnings

My top four takeaways from chatting with Carly are:

1. Optimise your web pages. This is how customers will find your business website, so get on it. And if you need help, get in touch with NetRegistry.

2. Encourage your clients to provide testimonials. This can give a small business an important competitive advantage.

3. Help your competitors out. It might sound unintuitive, but it will help you in the long-term.

4. Be opportunistic. If an opportunity comes your way, jump on it.

Over to you!

Let me know YOUR #1 takeaway from this episode by leaving a comment below.
My guest and myself personally read and respond to every comment.

10 thoughts on “211 – How to market something nobody really wants. Like a funeral business!”

  1. What a great interview, and an amazing person. Having lost three family members in the last few years, I know just how tepid “big funeral home” service can be. If you do nothing other than make what can be a truly awful time in people’s lives, even a little less hideous, you will remain forever in their hearts – and at the top of their referral list.

  2. Karen Johnston

    Hi Timbo and Carly, Loved this interview. Carly you sound amazing! I will be listening to this episode a few times. Love the show. Long time listener! Big fan! Good on you Tim. Never stop!

  3. Great episode Timbo, I was dying to listen to it. Got a killer question from Carly, when she asks customers how they want to feel after the ceremony. Awesome question, all about the emotional response they want to have. More business owners should be asking their customers that question before they provide the good or service.

  4. Hi Timbo and Carly, I’m from WOMO.com.au and it was great to hear about Greenhaven’s success and especially the use of customer reviews. If listeners are interested in learning more about how customer reviews can drive business growth, we have some free word-of-mouth marketing tips they can access here: http://buff.ly/1xqv2lE

    We’ve also got some examples of how other businesses are using the Reviews Widget on their websites here: http://buff.ly/1xqva4F (This really helps convert a lot more browsers into buyers as it gives customers the trust they need to choose your business!)

    Please feel free to contact us at WOMO with any questions as well – 1300 496 669.
    Another great episode!

  5. Thanks Karen … I intend not to. Carly will have to carry me out of the Small Business Big Marketing HQ with my headphones on, clutching the mic ;0)

  6. Hi Sandy … thanks for sharing. Carly had a great sense and compassion for how her clients feel – and as a result could deliver a service that simply works. In a future episode (#213 with TEDx’s Jon Yeo) I explore this topic even further. Stay tooooned.

  7. Hi Sandy,
    Thank you for your lovely comments! We are so lucky that we have been able to apply ourselves to this industry and provide a unique service to our families. We really love this work and hope to be able to provide our funeral services to the community for many years to come.
    Carly x

  8. Hi Fiona,
    Thankyou for joining this page and contributing your thoughts. WOMO has been an amazing marketing tool for us and we love to promote it to other small business owners so they can get the benefit from it as well.

    Carly x

  9. Hi Justin, it’s a hard question to ask and our clients don’t always know what to say.. but it lends itself to further discussion and allows us a starting point which leads to sharing ideas and lots of options to say farewell in a unique way to their loved one..
    Thanks for your lovely comments on our episide..
    Carly 🙂

  10. Hi Karen, thank you for your lovely comments on our interview… I’m sure Tim will be around for another 50 or so years talking about great marketing ideas!!
    I look forward to being part of the small business, big marketing show community.
    Carly xx

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