Tips & Tactics for Developing a Stellar Open Enrollment Marketing Plan
Health insurance marketing can be a tricky business.
Successfully promoting your insurance products and services is no small feat in any industry. That is doubly true in the health insurance space, which is stringently regulated at both the state and Federal levels and all over the map on the customer journey.
For health insurance agents, trying to increase enrollments and improve retention rates is a never-ending task. During Open Enrollment Period (OEP) — which stretches from now until January 15 of next year — it’s a 24/7 job.
Back-to-back sales windows for on and off-exchange plans offer lucrative opportunities but with equal-sized challenges during this annual sprint. Prospecting for new clients while managing leads and juggling current client renewals can really keep you on your toes.
Preparing for the onslaught of OEP 2023 can feel overwhelming, but no worries — we’re here to help! Here are a few ideas and a little inspiration to help you get started, and, hopefully, send your conversions skyrocketing.
“Open Enrollment” is a one-size-fits-all phrase that can refer to annual enrollment periods for private insurance consumers, on-exchange shoppers, Medicare beneficiaries, and Medicare Advantage enrollees. Marketing to each of these customer segments has its own set of drivers and guidelines. An effective, compliant communications strategy for each is critical — but doable.
Stats to Consider:
- 31% of B2B marketers say email newsletters are the best way to nurture leads
- Wondering when to send it? According to Campaign Monitor, Mondays tend to have the highest email open rates (nearly 19%)
- According to Blue Core, 74% of Baby Boomers think email is the most personal channel to receive brand communications, followed by 72% of Gen X, and 64% of Millennials
Tips & Tactics:
- Email marketing can be very powerful with practically every customer segment; a robust insurance Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is an essential tool that will not only help you automate marketing workflows but also capture valuable data points that can help inform your overall marketing efforts.
- Maintaining an insurance website is not only a great way to share information, but it also helps legitimize your business with consumers. At a minimum, your site should be responsive and include a homepage, a services page, an about page, a contact page, a news or blog page for updates and timely content, and professional photography (including a headshot).
- Your website should include a lead form on your contact page, as well as a call-to-action (CTA) that links to the form on every landing page. To help increase conversions, the CTA link should be high on the page, optimized for mobile devices, and include no more than 4-5 required fields and optional fields.
- Another website tip: Check your site speed at least once a month, and even more often during OEP; slow-loading pages aren’t just a poor user experience, they can also have a negative impact on your Google ranking.
- Social media is a powerful platform for sharing educational content as well as promoting marketing events. To get the most mileage out of your posts, include; Engaging post content, highly searched hashtags, in-brand images, links back to your own website, and timely healthcare information that’s relevant to your target customer segments.
Marketing to Millennials
If your marketing plan for Millennials includes insurance sales tactics that are even slightly pushy, rethink your strategy. Research in the past few years shows unequivocally that Millennials tend to scoff at advertising claims, with as much as 90% placing their trust in word-of-mouth reviews instead. On the other hand, this group — an estimated 30% of which are uninsured — tends to be fiercely brand-loyal and enjoy engaging with their preferred brands.
Stats to Consider:
- Think outside the box with under-65 health insurance shoppers — 84% of Millennials say they don’t trust traditional marketing
- 62% of Millennials say engagement on social media increases their likelihood of becoming loyal customers
- A recent survey shows 34% of uninsured Millennials did not know that they can obtain health insurance through the ACA marketplace
Tips & Tactics:
- Leveraging a robust insurance quoting engine can help you easily find and compare Millennial-friendly healthcare options—including affordable ACA Marketplace plans. If your OEP marketing plan includes prospects in the 24-40 age group, it’s a must-have tool.
- If you have the resources and budget, consider adding video to your portfolio of marketing assets. Millennials tend to love visual storytelling, and Youtube ranks high as a favorite social media platform with this group.
- Wellness content resonates deeply with Millennials. If you want to engage with them online or on social media, healthy lifestyle tips and educational healthcare content are your friends.
- Advertising on Facebook can help you gain traction with Millennials. The vast majority report using Facebook on a daily basis, where the targeting options for pay-per-click ads are considerable.
Selling to Seniors
Though the marketing guidelines for Medicare and Medicare Advantage tend to be acutely specific, the open enrollment periods for both are ripe with opportunity. First up: The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), which runs through Dec. 7, followed by the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period that kicks off on Jan. 1 and ends on March 31. Spoiler alert: Medicare Advantage membership is expected to grow by 2 million members this year.
Stats to Consider:
- According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more Medicare Advantage plans are available in 2023 than in any other year
- More than 18% of the U.S. population is covered by Medicare
- Enrollment in Medicare Advantage, the private plan alternative to traditional Medicare, has more than doubled over the last decade
Tips & Tactics:
- Cold calls to Medicare prospects, as well as text and voicemail messages, are prohibited under Federal guidelines.
- Don’t discount digital promotions targeted to the senior set — 75% of people ages 65 and older are regular internet users.
- Workshops and seminars are still marketing honeypots for Medicare prospects. To remain compliant, make sure you register any events with your carriers, and market them as “educational.”
- Don’t assume that seniors avoid social media; more than 40% of Americans 65 and older use social media.
As you ramp up to make this year’s OEP your best enrollment season yet, remember: Connecting with clients with authenticity and providing them with good old-fashioned customer service is key. A little hard work and a lot of organization will see you growing your book of insurance business, increasing client retention, and driving referrals.