It is hard to believe the Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) is almost here. As we inch closer to “go time” here are some marketing strategies that have proven successful for us and many of our agents. When planning out your marketing strategy, it is necessary to consider both current and potential new clients. The goal of AEP is to not only continue to add new clients, but to also maintain a high retention among your current Medicare clients.
Below are Marketing opportunities to consider when planning your AEP marketing strategy.
Current Medicare Customers: Current Medicare clients may need to make changes during AEP for various reasons. Make sure you are securing your current Medicare pipeline from switching to another agent. This is the first step you should focus on because you can reach out to them prior to AEP. Start by sending them a letter in September to advise them AEP is approaching and to reach out to you to if they need to make a change or to review if their current coverage is still adequate for their needs. Here is an example of a letter you can use to tailor to your liking and send out.
As October comes around, follow up via phone to set appointments with any current clients that needed a review. You can meet with them as early as 10/1 to go over plan options, then have them complete the application and return it to you on 10/15.
Cross Selling – Other lines: If you sell other types of insurance, i.e. P&C, Life, Final Expense, then this is the time of year you want target your over 65 clients from these other lines. Since you have a current relationship with them, they already know and trust you. Don’t waste that connection!
Per Medicare, you can make unsolicited contact with these customers, including sending letters, emails, and phone calls. Similar to your current Medicare clients, you should reach out to this group starting September. You can send them a general letter or postcard letting them know you also do Medicare and AEP is approaching. Here is an example of a letter you can tailor for yourself. Closer to October, follow up via phone to set appointments for October.
Provider Marketing: Provider marketing includes physicians, doctors, dentists, and pharmacies. These are providers that Medicare eligible, or soon to be eligible customers regularly visit and trust because they have an existing relationship. These providers have direct contact with this group of patients and are frequently asked about Medicare. You can be beneficial in these environments by providing materials that answer common Medicare question and offer plans that include the provider in their network. The former is a benefit to the customer because they receive important information and are referred a trusted source for Medicare. The latter is a benefit to the provider because it helps keep their current customers in-network when they choose a new Medicare plan.
This is a strategy many of our agents have success with and receive referrals regularly. The key is to be consistent when visiting your providers. For doctor and dentist offices, you can bring flyers and a basket of candies or treats to put beside your flyer display. For pharmacies, you can get permission ahead of time to set up a Medicare booth in the store (away from the patient consultant areas) to help answer questions and sign up new members. You can also create flyers that promote you and answer specific Medicare questions for customers to take (i.e. clarifying the donut hole).
If you do not already have relationships with any providers, it is a good idea to start before AEP comes around. Start as soon as possible by making contact, bringing materials, or setting up booths where appropriate.
MEDICARE MEETINGS: Medicare meetings are a good way to get in front of a room full of Medicare recipients who are shopping plans or looking to help clarify the confusing world of Medicare. If planned correctly, meetings are a great strategy for AEP because they allow you to reach a large number of potential clients at once. This is key for AEP since the window to elect a plan is short, but the number of eligibles looking to change is large. If you are interested in doing Medicare Sales Meetings and Medicare Educational Meetings then you must prepare and market them in advance of AEP. Most carriers require you to book and commit to your AEP meeting times during the summer months, and some require auditions to make sure you are covering the required content.
General Unsolicited Marketing: You will want to market beyond your book of business to reach new potential clients. General unsolicited marketing includes all of the following:
- Conventional Mailers: Postcards, Letters, BRC (Business Reply Cards)
- Email Marketing
- Print media: newspaper and magazine ads
- Event sponsorships
This is a great way to reach a larger group of people to let them know who you are and what you offer. Make sure you message is to the point, grabs their attention, states how you can help, and includes a picture of you so they see a friendly face. If you do mailers, make sure you budget so you can do 2 or 3 different mailings. The more they see your face and company, the more familiar and trusting you become.
There are a ton of Medicare rules governing what you can and cannot do when marketing Medicare Beneficiaries. Be sure to check out our recent blog “Medicare Marketing: The Dos and Don’ts” as a refresher.