As you plan for your 2020 obituary revenue projections, you may be debating the question: do we need to increase obituary prices to hit our target revenue numbers next year? After all, obituaries account for about 2% of the newspaper industry’s annual revenue. This makes hitting obituary revenue targets a pretty big deal.

The Good News:

88% of survey respondents (fielded by Cint data insights) said that they would place an obituary honoring their loved one who died. Proving that people do want to place obituaries. So why isn’t this overwhelmingly high number translating into actual obituaries placed in the paper?

The Bad News Is:

The study further examined what these respondents anticipated paying for a print or online obituary. The study found obituary prices were 13% higher than customers expected in small markets and as much as 90% higher than anticipated in large or national markets.

So, with the need to increase revenue year over year, how can newspapers increase their obituary close rates?


Here Are A Few Ideas

1. Add Tangible Value:

When you increase your prices, consider adding a tangible gift your publication can give in remembrance of their lost loved one. Offering additional value, especially in the form of a memorial plaque can make all the difference. After all, the obituary in print will only last for the shelf life of the paper, a wood plaque or metal bookmark can last for many years to come.

PopMount works with publications to enhance obituary purchases through our white-labeled program. We deliver keepsake plaques and bookmarks to your customers, as if they were coming directly from you and include a special note from your publication. It is a great way to add value and goodwill to your existing obituary program.

2. Offer Online-Only Obituary:

If your publication is in a large or national market, it might be very costly for your readers to place an obituary. Your paper can offer online-only obituaries to customers as a secondary option if they decline a traditional obituary because of the costs. You can also add an online obituary for a more extended period for those who have placed one in the paper, as another way to add value.

3. Reduce Death Notices:

There has been a rise in the number of people selecting free death notices instead of placing a traditional obituary. These notices are impacting the industry nationwide, but it as the most significant impact on small and mid-sized publication. In response, some newspapers are condensing death notices to just a few short words for free. This encourages people to pay for fuller obituaries, but still allows individuals to place a notification, if that is their choice.

Case Study: Washington Post

By offering a keepsake plaque with each obituary and celebration sold, the Washington Post was able to increase their close rates by 30%.