How was your Annual Election Period (AEP)? Have you evaluated your performance? Do you need to enhance your sales and marketing strategies? Now is the time to recognize and appreciate your 2017 successes as well as confront your shortcomings.
There are several moving parts to a successful sales and marketing strategy, one being your Medicare Advantage (MA) website. The internet shopping trend is ever rising and this now applies to MA. Baby Boomers are aging into Medicare and with them come a new trend in internet shopping, enrolling and communicating with not only family and friends but with organizations they receive goods and services. In the 2016 Age-In Study by Deft Research, we learn, “Internet shopping rates have surpassed the rates of all other shopping activities.” The days of only direct mail are in the rear view. In fact, we also learn that your direct mail is actually motivating your website visits. Take advantage of these trends and take control of your website strategy.
Here are the top 3 items to keep in mind when evaluating, developing and implementing your MA website strategy.
- Think Easy: Your website mantra shall be: “clear and easy to navigate.” Not only is this the top requirement given to us from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) – in fact, this is the first requirement listed in section 100 of the 2018 draft Medicare Marketing Guidelines (MMG) – but this approach will ensure your website is user friendly and an effective marketing tool. Shoppers want the facts about your plan offerings and most importantly, they want them now. And if they are ready to enroll – the online enrollment process should just as easy as the shopping.Helpful tip: Organize your website around 3 general focus areas:
- Prospective member information – Here are your sales and marketing web pages, including the online enrollment tool.
- Current member information – These web pages focus on required content that is mostly geared towards your current members.
- Member Experience –Enhance your website with tools and a member portal that help drive your retention efforts.
- Follow the Rules: Make your list and check it twice. Compliance is key and whether you are developing, revising or monitoring your website, it is critical that you and your team have an understanding of all the CMS requirements as they apply to your MA website.Helpful tip: GHG recommends creating a website checklist that includes all CMS requirements. Are you developing a new website? List these requirements out as they would impact each of your proposed web pages or section of the website (prospective, current, retention). This is your content development driver. Are you revising or monitoring your website? This checklist is your tool to ensure compliance and it documents where each requirement is met by URL tracking.
- Member Perspective: It’s all about that member portal. As the Deft study highlights, web is worth it. Ensure an easy transition from prospect to member by providing your membership with an online, password protected member portal. Here the possibilities are endless – think newsletters, healthcare/health service reminders, provider/pharmacy look-up, drug search, claims check.Helpful hint: Collaborate with Stars! The experience of your members directly impacts your Star Rating. Collaborate with your Stars and care management teams to develop a member portal that truly supports member needs while simultaneously moving the numerator of your Stars measures.
Finally – don’t forget about your third-party websites. You may not have much control over the look and feel of your third-party websites but you must ensure they are compliant. Take note that one of the major changes proposed by CMS in the 2018 draft MMG is the addition of section 100.7 on third-party websites. CMS expects plans to be monitoring these sites in addition to their own.
All in all, enhancing our sales and marketing strategies is found in understanding our successes and failures. Take advantage of the rise in internet shopping and develop or revise your MA websites to go beyond the compliance requirements but to sell your products and retain your members. We are here to help!
 Deft Research, LLC. (n.d.) Marketing to Medicare Age-Ins: Internet and Direct Mail Trends. Retrieved from deftresearch.com
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