Local Medicare marketing involves its share of pounding the pavement in your community, but you can support your offline marketing through locally focused online techniques.
To help you consolidate your efforts, we’ve pulled together detailed info on the most powerful online methods you can use to boost your local footprint.
Table of Contents
Google My Business
- 80% of consumers use search engines to find local information.
- 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours.
- Local searches result in purchases 28% of the time.
Google My Business is what powers Google search results that show a business’s phone number, hours, address, reviews, photos, and web site. Location-based searches mean a well-made GMB profile will appear higher in search for prospects located in your area. Here is a search result for “Knoxville TN veterinarian”:
The information you see – the address, hours, phone, phone number, etc. – is from the veterinarian’s profile on Google My Business (GMB) profile. Your profile can include photos, posts, and offers, which let you display coupon codes, discounts, and other offers with your GMB listing.
92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search results. Make sure you have a good listing and keep it up to date so you will outrank your competitors.
GMB doesn’t require a website, but having one is an advantage. One option is to use your Facebook business page. (See below.) Another option is to use GMB’s free Website Builder and create a site using their mobile-friendly templates. The website is limited to a single page, but that’s all many agents need. If you don’t have a domain name (like nccagent.com), you can use the default URL Google provides. You also have the option to use domains.google.com to transfer an existing domain or register a new domain name for $12 a year.
Google My Business will email you a monthly report of activity showing how many times your GMB listing appeared in Google search results, and how many people visited your site, called you, or asked for directions through your GMB profile. Google will also send you email notifications when someone reviews your business.
- 71% of American adults use Facebook.
- 74% of Facebook users are high-income earners.
- 15% of social media users shop on Facebook.
Facebook is the social media platform every Medicare agent and agency should be on. It’s the most popular platform, with 247 million users in the U.S. and Canada. More importantly, Facebook and YouTube are the most most popular platforms for seniors, and seniors are Facebook’s fastest-growing segment.
Create a free business page and use it to connect with the community. Similar to Google My Business, clients can find your phone number and email address, get directions to your office, and see your business hours. Beyond that, they can see information about your company and services, and see photos and updates about your business. Download the Facebook Pages app to manage your page on your phone.
For more information on how and what to post on your Facebook business page, check out our guide to Facebook for insurance agents.
Facebook (and social media in general) is so-so at creating new customers organically (meaning not paid advertising). That’s because the people who follow your page are probably already clients. The best way to use Facebook without buying ads is to post updates and photos to stay in touch with existing clients. That way, you will be top of mind when they think about their insurance needs.
If you want new clients, Facebook Ads will get your company noticed by new prospects. To make sure your ad shows only to your demographic, you can limit the ad audience to certain ages, locations, and other criteria. Select age 64 to target the all-important T65 demographic. Facebook ads are not easy to set up, so do your homework before you spend your first dollar.
There is an easier alternative to regular Facebook ads. First, create a post (update). A post might be news about your company, a new product you’re offering, an offer to find better rates, or a reminder to enroll in Medicare Advantage. Then click the Boost Post button. Boosted posts offer the same targeting options as regular ads, and the process is much simpler.
Every week, Facebook will email you a report showing the number of people who saw your posts (Post Reach), who liked, shared, or commented on your posts (Post Engagements), and who liked your page (New Page Likes). The Facebook Pages app has even more metrics, and you can view them at any time. For even more information, explore Facebook Insights Page Summary statistics. The Facebook Ads app shows vital statistics for your ad campaigns and allows you to manage your ads on mobile.
There are tons of free directories online where you can list your business, and each listing boosts your chances of being seen by prospects when they search the web for your services.
If you have a website, keeping updated and maintained directory listings can actually give you a crucial advantage over the local competition. Listings with matching name, address, and phone number information across multiple directories rank higher in Google search, but 86% of small businesses are skipping directory listings. Chances are your competitors are among them.
You can find a useful list of free directories here.
Notice we specify “free” directories. While there are certainly plenty of paid options, you generally won’t get a worthwhile return on that investment.
The one exception to this rule is the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber is a national organization with local branches in cities and counties of every size. Of course the Chamber of Commerce is much more than a directory, but they do keep an online listing of member businesses, and it’s one of the most powerful when it comes to local marketing. In fact, consumers are 49% more likely to have a favorable opinion of a business if that business is a member of the Chamber.
Check the nationwide Chamber of Commerce Directory to find your local Chamber.
Guest Post in Local Blogs
Writing guest posts for local blogs may seem like a lot of effort, but Google weights geography heavily when ranking search results related to services like Medicare sales. Links to your website or social media from blogs located in or near your market will push you toward the top of the search for any prospects nearby.
Even small towns have local bloggers, and the nearest major city is sure to have plenty. Just do a Google search with your city’s name and “blog” to locate them. Add “seniors” to your search to get even more specialized results.
You may even be able to build useful connections to businesses through their blogs. A quick search near where NCC’s offices are located found an active blog from a large senior living facility, and another from a service that provides help and companionship to seniors.
Once you’ve found the right blogs, reach out to them and offer to write an informative post about Medicare for their readers. Request that they allow you to include a short bio with a link to your website, or to your Facebook page if you don’t have a website.
- Don’t just limit yourself to blogs directed at seniors. Try searching for caregiver-focused blogs. Many towns also have blogs directed at moms. You may be able to connect with these websites and groups since many mothers are also caring for elderly parents.
- Review the “About” section of blogs you are considering contacting to verify that they are not connected to a competing agent or agency.
- When you think you’ve found a blog that’s a good prospect, take some time to read through their recent posts so you know what type of information they’re looking for.
- 45% of customers are likely to check Yelp reviews before visiting a business.
- Yelp has more than 178 million unique visitors monthly across mobile, desktop, and app platforms.
- 80% of searches and 76% of ad clicks on Yelp come from mobile devices.
Restaurants aren’t the only thing you can find with Yelp, and consumers are starting to realize it. In 2018 there were 672,000 unbranded searches for insurance on Yelp every month.
Yelp collects business information from a variety of sources. Your insurance agency may already be listed on Yelp, even if no one in your company added it to Yelp. In that case, the business is considered unclaimed. No one is managing it, monitoring reviews, or updating your business’s information. Unclaimed businesses have basic information like street addresses and phone numbers, but they don’t have other features like photos and descriptions.
A basic, claimed listing with your contact information, photos, business description, and hours of operation is free. You can pay for additional features to enhance your listing.
- Business Highlights – $2/day, $730/year.
- Logo – $1/day $365/year.
- Remove Competitor Ads – $2/day, $730/year.
- Call to Action Button – $2/day, $730/year.
Those nickel and dime charges add up fast. Instead of paying for listing upgrades, buy good old-fashioned advertising. Yelp ads are much easier to create than Facebook ads. Facebook display ads target by age, location, and other criteria, but that audience isn’t necessarily in the market for insurance. Yelp ads are keyword-based: your ads show when people search for the very thing you’re selling.
Sometimes you’ll search Yelp and the top results will say “Sponsored.” That’s an example of a paid Yelp advertisement that can put your agency above the competition. Search Yelp for “insurance” to see what your competitors are up to. In our area, sponsored results appear at the top of every search result for insurance terms (insurance agent, Medicare insurance, life insurance, etc.).
Log in to biz.yelp.com to get basic metrics, such as the number of times your listing was viewed and the number of leads. Leads include things like clicks to your website, clicks to call on mobile, getting directions to your office, and Call to Action clicks.
For detailed metrics, download Yelp for Business. The free app gives you everything you need to manage your listing from your phone: respond to direct messages, see reviews, edit your business information, upload photos, and manage ads. If you allow notifications, you will get alerts when your ads are about to expire, and when someone sends a direct message or posts a question or review.
- Claiming Your Yelp Listing
- How to Make the Perfect Insurance Agency Profile
- Going Beyond the Yelp Business Page: How and Why to Market Your Insurance Agency on Yelp
- Yelp for Businesses: The Ultimate Guide
Community Social Media
We’ve discussed Facebook, and as social media goes it’s pretty much the standard, but there are other social media options available that might get you even more closely in touch with local prospects.
Nextdoor is a neighborhood social network where communities discuss local events, find lost pets, and – most importantly for Medicare agents – recommend local businesses and services.
In fact, 26% of messages sent on Nextdoor are local recommendations.
Whereas with Reddit you may need to branch out a bit beyond your town, Nextdoor is the opposite. It’s divided into hyper-local neighborhoods, allowing you to specifically target the parts of your town where seniors most often live.
You can post on Nextdoor as a member for free, and the network also has paid advertising options. Either way, the first step is to create a Nextdoor business page.
Be sure to join as a regular member, too, so that you can watch for community members needing assistance. Recent Nextdoor posts in a neighborhood near NCC’s headquarters involved questions about Medicare coverage, equipment, and providers. Users can even “Tag a Business” in posts asking for recommendations. A smart Medicare agent with a completed Nextdoor business page could easily use these posts to connect directly with local prospects.
Reddit is a massive online community that’s broken into “subreddits,” or places where users discuss specific topics. Many of those subreddits are location-specific. While these don’t often get as much traffic as larger subreddits, they do offer you a place to find members of your local community who may be in need of your services.
Visit Reddit.com and use the site search (located at the top of the page) to look for your hometown. Smaller local subreddits don’t get much traffic, so you may also want to branch out to the subreddit for the nearest major metropolitan area.
Once you’ve selected the subreddit(s) you’d like to post to, you’ll want to reach out to the moderators of the subreddit and ask permission to post. Keep in mind that the Reddit audience tends to skew a little younger, so you may want to direct your message toward those looking for coverage information for their parents or grandparents.
To contact a subreddit’s moderator, first find the mods list on the right side of the subreddit home page.
Click a moderator’s name to be taken to their account page, then look on the right side of the page for the “More Options” link below the “Follow” button.
Select “Send Message” to contact the moderator and request permission to post. You’ll need to create a Reddit account to do this if you don’t already have one.
Note: Reddit does have a paid advertising option, however most paid ads there are related to tech or popular culture. For Medicare sales, your ad dollars are better spent elsewhere.