Get the Results You Want Despite a Different AEP

There is huge opportunity for agents who prepare early this year! The different scenario we find ourselves in this season isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Let’s take a peek into the 2021 Annual Election Period (AEP) and see what’s shaking up the mix.

1 – Presidential Elections: they always impact marketing efforts during a coinciding AEP. It’s no secret, political campaigns spend incredible amounts of money on advertising to capture the nation’s attention.

2 – Social Distancing Measures: the current climate can change the landscape for unprepared agents.  

The good news is that the demand for Medicare insurance is on the rise and a solid game plan can help ensure you retain and grow your book of business. With that end in mind, we’ve combined recent research with our years of experience to provide tips that can help you navigate this year’s unique challenges.

Embrace Digital Communication. It’s time to jump on the technology bandwagon! In a recent study, Medicare beneficiaries were asked if they would attend an in-person meeting/appointment if social distancing guidelines were lifted today. Here are the results:

  • Only 14% of respondents living in lower affected COVID-19 states said they would make the appointment
  • A mere 9% living in highly affected states expressed willingness to attend in-person meetings

If these figures hold through AEP, up to 90% of business conducted this year could be virtual or over-the-phone. For this reason, every possible digital communication tool should be explored; and the tools that work well for you should be understood, rehearsed, and ultimately implemented to the fullest. These digital methods may include video conferencing, virtual educational events, online calendar scheduling, a robust email platform, leads management system, online quoting tool, instant messaging, and social media marketing.

Complete Certifications Early. This is a friendly reminder for experienced agents and a must-do checklist item for newer agents. Historically, we’ve seen that the agents who certify early are most likely to sell more during AEP. With all that’s going on, this is not the year to let last-minute certifications or AHIP testing interfere with a well-laid marketing plan and selling strategy.

Stick to a Schedule. Establishing a timeline for when you’ll accomplish certain goals and holding yourself accountable to that schedule is the most straightforward path to achieving success during AEP. In addition to completing carrier certifications, here’s a breakdown on steps you can take to organize your plan, month by month.

July is an optimal month for completing your marketing plan:

  • Establishing where and when virtual or in-person events will take place
  • Securing venues (or understanding virtual venues)
  • Filing event info with carriers
  • Finalizing participation in retail programs
  • Implementing a retention strategy
  • Etc.

August represents the preparation phase of AEP planning:

  • Determining if plan changes are needed for current clients
  • Writing plan review letters
  • Checking certifications for completion
  • Confirming seminar venue reservations
  • Attending carrier rollout meetings
  • Etc.

September is the month to begin implementing your marketing plan:

  • Mail plan review letters
  • Prepare talk tracks for phone calls
  • Approve designs for marketing collateral such as flyers & mailers
  • Send approved artwork to appropriate publishers
  • Work with printers to ensure mail campaigns are properly scheduled
  • Etc.

Prepare Your Marketing Materials. Right now is the time to create a clear picture of what you want your marketing to communicate and look like. Print, digital and audio advertisements need to reflect your brand image and concisely communicate your value proposition. Any venture into a new medium – be it direct mail, social media, radio or something else – requires understanding what’s effective and implementing best practices. Video, for example, performs very well on social media. Making sure you have the tools and resources needed to incorporate video into your social media messaging is another layer of preparation beyond setting up a business account and writing posts. In short, determining what’s most effective and making strides to create such material takes time; and taking the time now to create the marketing collateral you want to use during AEP helps ensure you’ll be doing what you need to be doing during the selling season, which is, of course, selling Medicare insurance plans!

As an NMO/FMO dedicated to the success of each agent partner, we assist agents with AEP preparation through extensive training, exclusive marketing materials, one-on-one consultation, compliance oversight, digital marketing guidance, up-to-date research, sales guides, presentation materials and much more. Contact us today at 888-745-2320 or marketing@berwickinsurance.com for more information on how we can help you grow a successful Medicare insurance business any time of the year, year after year!

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