Word-of-Mouth Marketing (Your Secret Weapon this AEP)

At some point each of us have tried a product or service on advice from a friend, colleague, or family member. It’s human nature and how we as individuals are exposed to new experiences. This connection to human nature and our tendency to trust the people around us are likely the reasons word-of-mouth marketing is so powerful. According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising.

Ways agents can benefit from ramping up word-of-mouth marketing efforts this Annual Enrollment Period (AEP):

Timing. Referrals have the most impact when prospects are actively looking for a solution to their problem. Given that AEP runs October 1 – December 7, we know exactly when we need to create buzz around our brand & business. Because this is the time of year when people need the most help finding or switching to the right Medicare plan, of course this is the time of year when people are asking the most questions. So, when a “friend of a friend” mentions needing help with Medicare, your name is dropped at the most opportune time—a feat that can’t be accomplished by traditional or digital advertising.

Credibility. Some of the most difficult concepts to communicate using standard advertising—ie. “I’m knowledgeable” or “You can trust me”—are immediately conveyed and believed when someone advocates on your behalf. We trust our friends and, by extension, trust the people our friends recommend.

Investment. It’s no secret: word-of-mouth marketing is FREE! Typically, time is the only investment an agent must make when bolstering their word-of-mouth marketing efforts. With that said, the agents who dedicate time to improving word-of-mouth marketing can see huge gains to the bottom line.

Measurement. Word-of-mouth marketing is very trackable! It’s easy to ask who recommended you (in the event the prospect isn’t yelling it from the rooftops). Additionally, it’s very easy to then go and see what marketing communications you sent to the referring client. Did you send them a birthday card? Do you reach out regularly on social media? Did they attend a Customer Appreciation Event? Answering these questions helps clarify which retention efforts are working well and lead to the most referrals.

Examples of ways agents can boost word-of-mouth marketing this AEP:

• Send an email campaign to current clients asking that they refer any friends or family members who have questions about Medicare plans.

• Include a brief client testimonial in your email signature.

• Create a social media campaign that highlights client testimonials (without disclosing any Personally Identifiable Information!).

• Host a Customer Appreciation Event and invite current clients to bring a friend.

• Conduct unique, buzz-worthy events like having current clients “picket” your business with signs that say, “I love my Medicare insurance agent!”

• Produce and distribute referral cards to clients: these can have your regular business card design on the front, and on the back is a blank line with the words: “Referred by:”.

• Volunteer at local hospitals, shelters, food banks, etc.

These are but a few examples of how agents can increase word-of-mouth referrals. Providing clients with an exemplary service experience is a clear starting point for any word-of-mouth marketing campaign. That said, the real key to building an effective word-of-mouth strategy is to move away from hoping customers tell their friends about you and more toward specific tactics that actively encourage people to refer. Agents who do more than keep this in mind and put such a word-of-mouth strategy at or near the top of their to-do list can see great success during the Annual Enrollment period and year-round.

As a National Marketing Organization that works with thousands of independent agents, we understand you must generate leads in order to grow your business. That’s why we work diligently to provide the resources necessary for successful marketing. If this information is valuable and you want to know more about the services we provide our Medicare agent partners, please contact us at marketing@berwickinsurance.com or 888-745-2320.

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