Building a marketing plan that will attract Medicare and Medicare-eligible prospects will require adjusting your current marketing tactics. To meet the specific needs of the 75.4 million baby boomers that will enter retirement over the next decade, as well as the millions of seniors currently on Medicare plans looking for a change in coverage and price, a traditional and personal approach to marketing with an emphasis on education is essential to your success. With that mind, here are six of the most effective ways to market to boomers and seniors.

1. Don’t Fall for the Trends
It’s best to avoid the lure of the latest and greatest marketing trends. Many marketers make the mistake of narrowing in on caregivers under the assumption they are the decision makers for their parents. It is far more effective to target your audience directly with messages that resonate with their evolving needs. Direct mail campaigns and videos done at a slower pace with text overlay may be an archaic practice to the millennial generation, but these tactics hold up to an audience that grew up before the era of 140 characters.

2. Be an Educator
Boomers and seniors want to see every detail spelled out in print. Shorthand text and trendy acronyms don’t work with this group. Education is the key here. Explaining how original Medicare works and then how Medicare Supplement plans work in conjunction with Medicare is the best approach. It’s far more important to use the right language than creative copy. Anticipate and try to address every potential question directly. Include the answers in printed brochures, direct mail materials, and make the information easily available on your website.

3. Referrals, Referrals, Referrals
This is overwhelmingly the best lead source for this group for obvious reasons. Referrals is all about service and baby boomers and seniors not only expect great service, they demand it. Make sure you ask your current clients for leads either in person or via a direct mail or email outreach.

Then there are referrals that come from “Centers of Influence.” “In-services” are training sessions you can hold to help other professionals in the boomer and senior markets understand Medicare and Medicare insurance. Think financial advisors, lawyers, CPAs, social workers, etc. These training sessions are an opportunity to meet new people who deal with the boomer and senior markets, demonstrate your expertise, and gain future referrals.

4. Gather Those Leads
While referrals seem to be the most popular and effective method for meeting new prospects, top companies regularly invest in several different lead sources. Finding leads during the Annual Election Period (AEP), the most important time of the year, which typically runs from mid-October to Early December, is extremely important.

Local Advertising – Local advertising can be extremely powerful, in the form of newspaper ads, radio ads, bus stop benches, church bulletins, local retirement community bulletins, etc. It’s important to commit a dollar amount you’re willing spend each month and stick with it for a while. Research says people need to be exposed to a message 7-12 times before it sticks. Consistency and repetition are important.

Direct Mail – Tried and true and still a top source for finding new leads. Direct mail also has the highest cost-per-lead ROI. Despite the rising significance of digital marketing, traditional strategies are still delivering value. Direct mail also produced the highest ROI for cost-per-enrollment per a recent study by DMN3.

Social Media – Seniors are the largest growing population on Facebook. But it’s best to consult with a social media marketing expert to help you target prospects. This can be a complicated science and an expert social media marketing firm can help you target correctly, and develop and serve the best creative execution that will get you noticed and drive leads.

Events– Use the above-mentioned tactics; local advertising, direct mail and social media to invite prospects to an event where you can educate them, gain their trust, and be the front runner as they consider who to entrust their plan with.

Send something in advance of the event– For those that agree to attend an event (opt-in) send an advance packet to them (via mail or email) with a tutorial on Medicare for them to read or bring to the appointment.

5. Be Prepared to Put in the Time
While boomers and seniors are more responsive to traditional marketing methods, they do not take decision making lightly. They view each purchase as a commitment. Static budgets require boomers entering retirement to become wary of spending outside of their strict limits. Boomers and seniors need to build trust with the brand. While a typical sales process may take one or two calls to close, expect to spend at least double that amount of time.

6. Get Personal
Seniors want to know that their needs are being considered on an individual basis rather than being thrown a one-size-fits-all solution. Personalized service and respectfully listening to their situation with concern and interest will go a long way toward securing a sale. Always be patient, not pushy. Being impatient is the first thing that will kill a sale. Many boomers and seniors have the time to listen and really learn about the product. They’re also likely to share personal stories and experiences which aids in building the rapport needed to make the sale.

A Few More Things to Consider
Naturally, there are a lot of government and state regulations around selling Medicare plans. So, we ask that you consult with those rules before approaching any of the above-mentioned tactics. Selling supplemental plans is much more lenient and you have more leeway on what you can and cannot do.

It’s also important to note that it can be much more time-consuming to targeting boomers turning 65 years old than it is going after those 67 and above. Those that have already been on Medicare plans have some knowledge already and may just be looking to make a switch based on their coverage and price. This is something to consider as part of your overall strategy to go after this market.