Medicare Marketing is Changing

Critical Strategies for Better Medicare Marketing This Year

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) can be intense for health insurers. It’s the only time of year when nearly half of insured Americans consider changing their coverage or insurance provider.  

Best practice says to have your Medicare strategic marketing and tactical plans nailed down for AEP and “aging in” campaigns (for those turning 65) early in the new year. This includes: 

  • Creating the right digital and omnichannel media plan 
  • Identifying the most important variables for A/B split testing opportunities for each medium 
  • Defining measures of success for each medium and a plan for lead tracking through to enrollment/subscription if possible  
  • Clear SEO and SEM strategic plans based on purchase intent search data – with a focus on conversions 
  • Incorporating related and clear content strategy  
  • Timelines that ensure content and advertising asset creation allow the time required for the approval of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) 

If your yearly Medicare marketing plan isn’t polished in January each year, you’re already behind your savvy and seasoned competitors. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s too late, and you’re not alone.  

If this is you, prioritize based on these six best-practice Medicare marketing strategies. We believe these – when done well – will improve your conversions during AEP and in “aging in” campaigns throughout the year.  

The power of direct mail in your Medicare marketing mix 

Nearly 90% of health insurance service providers use direct mail in their campaigns, and for good reason. Research shows that: 

  • Direct mail open rates reach up to 90% 
  • 70% of consumers consider direct mail to be more personal than digital interactions 
  • Americans now find direct mail 43% less annoying than online marketing 

Additionally, studies show that people spend more time with physical ads, find them easier to remember and have a higher emotional response to print materials than their digital counterparts. 

Direct mail is still critically important for Medicare marketing, and it works when done well. This is particularly true for older audiences, who tend to trust mail more than digital communications. 

However, while direct mail marketing is still a necessity, Medicare marketing is becoming increasingly digital, matching the expectations of beneficiaries. According to McKinsey, online search tools were the most important source of plan information during the most recent Medicare AEP. 

This means it’s becoming increasingly important to connect your print and digital marketing efforts for a seamless consumer experience. Companies can create a direct mail-driven omnichannel Medicare marketing experience by: 

  • Including QR codes on direct mail pieces that lead to a landing page where you can measure conversions 
  • Tracking your direct mail with USPS so you can up your digital campaigns on the days when most packages will be delivered 
  • Tapping into channels that beneficiaries claim to be most informative, including email, performance TV (not just branding) and online advertisements 
  • Keeping the look, feel and language consistent across channels for a familiar presence  

Test different methods and mediums 

Campaign performance depends heavily on small details or variables that need to be consistently A/B tested. For example, these variables can include:

  • The type of envelope that’s sent for direct mail 
  • Envelope size 
  • Deliverable timing 
  • The most cost-effective cadence 
  • Calls to action (CTAs) 
  • Customization to the prospect and their regional affinities  

It’s important to continuously test the variables that have the most positive impact on generating leads, inquiries, and ultimate conversions to subscription/membership. You will get clear, scalable results with a clean A/B split test matrix that ensures you have enough impressions in each test cell to deliver enough data to meet the requirements of a 90% confidence ratio.  

You always maintain your control as “A” and test up against it. And you always ensure that the winner is only called when you have run enough in circulation or impressions AND responses to meet the requirements of the confidence ratio.  

If you do not do this, your “roll out” of the new control or winner is very unlikely to deliver the improved results you expect. This proven methodology is all too rare in today’s world, and it is what builds proven lead generation and conversion marketing systems. It is scalable and replicable. TruStar is an expert in this field with decades of experience.  

The quality of your mailing list is also paramount. After all, you can have the best plan, pricing and benefits in the state, but if you are sending to the wrong audience, it will not work.  

When mailing to new prospects, we commonly see issues with large chunks of mail going to bad addresses or the deceased. The latter is offensive and must be avoided by working with the few high-quality list sources that have and suppress the latest deceased records.  

It is advisable to work with seasoned direct response and insurance performance marketing experts with deep Medicare experience to ensure success. 

Build trust by guiding prospects with answers about Medicare 

Medicare is confusing. You can get a leg up on the competition by being the source of information that people bookmark and return to when they have questions. 

To build your authority on the subject, consider: 

  • Hosting regular Medicare 101 seminars throughout the year, both digitally and in person 
  • Focusing more on educating than selling 
  • Answering common FAQs about the different Medicare plan types, eligibility, coverage, limitations, etc. 

Get expert guidance on complex CMS regulations 

Medicare has its own language, and so does marketing around Medicare. Medicare marketing is complex and highly regulated, including rules relating to: 

  • Terminology 
  • Font size 
  • Footnote placement 
  • Media formats 
  • Disclaimers 
  • Prior approval by CMS 

Because of these strict regulations, it’s critical that you find the most experienced Medicare marketing resource and get their guidance from the start. Ordinary marketers, designers and web developers won’t know these rules. Save time by working with a team that has the necessary knowledge and experience. 

Partner with health insurance brokers 

More Medicare beneficiaries are speaking with a broker to find the right plan, with 40% of beneficiaries considering brokers as an existing or potential resource. This presents an opportunity for Medicare service providers to partner with brokers to capture those who are unhappy with other plans and who wish to change their coverage during eligible windows. 

Brokers are not required to represent all available Medicare plans, and average online broker plan selection tools include less than half of Medicare Advantage plans and less than two-thirds of Medicare Part D plans. It’s important for insurance companies to make these shortlists and have brokers understand the benefits of choosing their plans over others. 

Enlist an experienced marketing partner  

Successful Medicare marketing is critical to the economic health of insurance companies. Now is not the time to hire a newbie. Make sure you enlist the help of a marketing partner who’s knowledgeable about Medicare marketing rules and trends. 

TruStar Marketing has decades of experience in Medicare marketing for payers and can create the right strategic, planning, and tactical plans to help you scale year after year.   

Contact us for a free Medicare strategy info call now to improve your Medicare leads this year and beyond.