Today’s Medicare-eligible Boomers are unlike their predecessors. They are tech savvy and go online to learn about topics of interest to them, particularly for health information and shopping Medicare options. In fact, for the first time in their 11 years of conducting their annual Age-In study, Deft Research, a health insurance consumer intelligence company, found that internet shopping is the most predominant way in which those ages 64-68 who are not yet enrolled in Medicare shop for health insurance. In any given month in the year prior to age 65, a predictable and consistent percentage of Age-ins (40-45%) are using the internet to shop for health insurance, according to the study.
With this growing trend in mind, it is critical that Medicare Advantage providers adapt multi-channel pre-AEP marketing approachs that include direct mail, email, landing pages, social and an optimized online presence in order to evolve to the digital behaviors of Boomers.
Below are five ways in which private Medicare providers can evolve their age-in marketing to better engage the modern age-in:
1. Optimize Online Presence
Take advantage of online shopping trends and take control of your website strategy. Health insurers can begin to optimize their Medicare Advantage website by ensuring that the page is clear and easy to navigate, as required by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In fact, this is the first requirement listed in section 100 of the 2018 draft Medicare Marketing Guidelines (MMG). Try to organize your prospective member information, enrollment resources and tools separate from your pages of member information.
In addition, PNC Healthcare found that 44% of Boomers (50-71) read about health plans digitally – and that was back in 2015. The most effective way todrive prospects to your site as they search for information online is to publish blog content focused on the topic of Medicare and common open enrollment questions. Doing so will improve both your SEO and brand credibility. The more relevant and engaging your content is, the more likely you are to rank higher in search results. Publishing blog content in the months leading up to open enrollment around common search terms and top keywords can be one of the most effective ways to garner new leads organically. Just ensure that each post has a desired action, and that you end the article with a clear path to take that action. You can blog about things like “what to ask your agent during open enrollment” or “understanding the difference between Medicare plan types”. You can even “vlog” (video blog) about it!
2. Incorporate Social
Seniors are now the fastest growing age group to use social media. In fact, according to Pew Research’s 2017 “Tech Adoption Climbs Among Seniors Report,” 34% of Americans ages 65 and up use social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, versus only 27% in 2013. Social media usage among seniors was found to be tied to educational attainment and household income. Those with at least some college experience and annual household incomes that are $50,000 or more are more likely to use social networks, necessitating the creation of prospect segments and targeted social promotion. Health plan marketers should promote their blog and educational video content via social media, as well as articles about the positive impact their employees and providers are making in the community and upcoming educational events. These posts should be geo-targeted to those living in or in close radius to the community of mention.
3. Rethink Direct Mail
Direct mail was found to be the most effective method for driving age-in consumers to websites, according to the Deft 2016 Age-In study. Mail drove three times more visitors to websites than Internet or TV advertisements. The most likely visitor to a health plan’s website was found to be a more sophisticated consumer though, with sophistication gauged in terms of education, income, and health insurance literacy. That is why the creation of several, segment-focused websites, if not fully personalized landing pages, should be created to best communicate to different groups with different needs and levels of understanding, rather than driving to one generic webpage. In a rich media environment, direct mail must be thought of less as generic plan awareness pieces, and more as deliverers of unique online shopping experiences – driving recipients to personalized online support tools, content, advice and incentives that expand upon what plan information they may have already come across online.
4. Leverage Landing Pages
Effective landing pages often remove distractions found on a typical website, like navigation and links to other sections of the site, and drive a user toward a specific and singular goal. Health plans can use this digital marketing tactic to create a simple, open enrollment page that provides a clear message that inspires visitors to fill out a form or contact sales for more information. These pages should include terms the visitor would use in their everyday life to describe what they seek, e.g., “health insurance quote.” Including these keywords in both the landing page’s content, as well as the campaign that drove them to the page, instills confidence in the user that they have found an insurance company that can help them easily acquire the information they need. Links to these landing pages should be leveraged across direct mail, email campaigns, social and other digital and non-digital promotions to maximize leads during open enrollment. Personalized landing pages have also been found to be great ways to drive online conversion from direct mail, but are only effective in driving lead acquisition if personalization is truly leveraged on the page to create a compelling 1:1 experience. This can be in the form of personalized content or personalized plan selection tools – incorporating individual-level data, such as past interactions, expressed product interest and demographic, geographic and plan history data.
5. Encourage Email Opt-In
Email is still one of the most effective ways to communicate with current and prospective clients. If your contacts are already organized in a lead management system, then email can provide an easy way to keep your company at top of mind and a click away when a prospect is ready to take action. Email can be used to send reminders about upcoming deadlines for open enrollment and for delivering educational content, promotions and incentives to drive more rapid enrollment. It also enables the collection of digital data, with every email open and click of a link delivering insights into what motivates the consumer. If you do not have prospect email addresses, consider including easy ways to opt-in within your direct mail-integrated landing pages or MA website page.
Multiplied Outreach—Multiplied Acquisition Opportunity
These research findings make it clear that multiple channels need to be deployed in order to effectively reach age-ins and adapt to their growing technology adoption, and that channels must be leveraged in ways different than before. The days of singular-channel AEP marketing models are in the rear view and omnichannel approaches are becoming the go-to, with direct mail being utilized as a tool for driving to engaging and educational 1:1 online experiences.