NEMT Marketing: Tips to Consider for Your Marketing Plan That Works
The non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) industry was worth $8.6 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to over $16 billion by 2028.
There are a few reasons for the growth of the NEMT industry in the United States:
- Chronic illness, primarily in adults at least 50 years old, is increasing.
- The aging population is growing.
- The elderly prefer to grow old at home rather than in a facility.
- People recognized the importance of NEMT services during the pandemic.
But while the NEMT industry is growing, it doesn’t mean just anybody can open their own venture and take advantage of it. A good NEMT marketing plan is critical for long-term growth and success.
- Things to Consider When Starting Starting an NEMT Business
- Creating an NEMT Marketing Plan and Strategy
- Know Your Target Audience: Identifying Your Ideal Customer
- Staying Competitive: Keeping Up With Industry Trends and Changes
Things to Consider When Starting Starting an NEMT Business
Around four million Americans miss their healthcare appointments due to the lack of appropriate transportation. Starting an NEMT business is not just about making money, but it is also a form of service to one of the most vulnerable sectors of society.
What are the essential NEMT business elements you need to consider?
You must establish your legal standing before you can open a business. Next, you should prepare the following legal documents to establish an enterprise as an NEMT provider:
- Transportation licenses
- Other state requirements
You must calculate how much money you need to start your business. NEMT vehicles are highly specialized and will be used to safely transport people with medical conditions. They must be able to accommodate oxygen tanks, wheelchairs, and other critical medical equipment.
Of course, to be successful, you can’t purchase just one NEMT vehicle. You need a fleet, the exact number of which would depend on your budget and scope of operations.
You will also need robust NEMT software to get a head start on your business. With RouteGenie, you can easily schedule patient pickups, manage transportation dispatch, optimize routes, send real-time communication, and bill patients with just a few clicks.
The right people for the job need to be hired. An NEMT driver is not just any ordinary driver. They must have experience handling medical patients and be licensed to do so. Administrative staff must be organized and observant to ensure efficient and accurate dispatch and scheduling, even when there is software to rely on.
If your target audience doesn’t know about your NEMT business, there is no hope for success. NEMT is a vital service to the community, and the people need to know that your company is operational and ready to serve them.
Marketing in NEMT is crucial; for this, you need a detailed NEMT marketing plan.
Creating an NEMT Marketing Plan and Strategy
A marketing plan coordinates business goals and objectives with the best advertising strategies and processes. It outlines what the business aims to achieve and how to go about it.
An effective NEMT marketing plan contains a generic or big-picture idea of the business, as well as the micro intentions for success.
How to write a marketing plan?
It starts with the business summary. This details what the company is about, including its name, location, mission statement, and target market.
When you are at the stage of asking how to develop a marketing plan, one of the most important issues to raise is the problem. What is the problem that your business aims to solve?
In this case, it provides transportation for passengers who need specialized vehicles to attend medical appointments. People who need emergency care will call ambulances to serve them. But for non-emergency cases, public transportation just won’t do.
Now that you have your statement of the problem, it’s time to lay out the solution. When you have a structure for a great solution, your business becomes easy to market.
But to whom do you market?
Know Your Target Audience: Identifying Your Ideal Customer
Audience targeting will make it easier for you to market your transport service.
People with medical conditions are the obvious direct market for your NEMT business. In most cases, they will be senior citizens and retirees.
Around 80% of adults 65 years old or older have at least one chronic disease. Around 68% have at least two. They need to see their doctors regularly to get treatment, monitor their condition, and refill their maintenance medication. They are the ones who need NEMT services the most.
So, how do you market to this group?
Advertising at local facilities
Some of them stay in medical facilities, nursing homes, and other types of residences for the elderly. You can schedule a presentation in local facilities and leave your contact information with the admin staff. They will be the ones to make the calls and schedule trips for NEMT services for their residents.
Note that 77% of aging adults prefer to grow old at home. To reach potential clients who prefer to stay at home, you can go to community centers in various neighborhoods where the seniors often congregate.
Traditional media marketing and advertising may work as well. But to get the best possible return on investment, you must do your due diligence. Determine the shows many senior citizens watch for broadcast advertising and the newspaper or magazines they read for print advertising.
You can also put pamphlets and leaflets in clinics, hospitals, and other medical facilities frequented by older adults. Doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel, including clinic secretaries, could be fantastic spokespersons who could refer your NEMT business to regular patients. It’s crucial to leverage the role of referral marketing in building your NEMT business.
When it comes to providing printed material for passengers in vehicles, it's important to keep things simple and easy to understand. Think about what information passengers might need, such as directions to a destination or contact details for your business, and make sure it's clearly displayed.
Advertising on vehicles can be a great way to get your brand noticed by a wider audience. When vehicles are nicely branded with your logo and messaging, they become a mobile billboard that can be seen by potential customers all over town. It's a cost-effective way to increase brand awareness and attract new leads. Plus, it's a great way to make your business look more professional and established. When your vehicles are out on the road, they're representing your brand to the world, so it's important to make sure they look their best.
Consider using an NEMT passenger app, it's a convenient way for passengers to order rides and work with transportation providers. With just a few taps on the smartphone, passengers can book a ride, track the driver’s progress, and pay for the journey, if you utilize a tool like a passenger app, you can use it as a strong competitive advantage. This makes the whole process much smoother and more enjoyable for passengers. Also, with the app, as we have at RouteGenie, passengers can download the app and then find a provider in the app, so just being listed there can bring you more business.
SEO in NEMT industry
Everybody knows about SEO, but only some are doing it at all and a few of those are doing it properly. It's vital to ensure your website is optimized for search engines. This means using relevant keywords, creating high-quality content, and gaining quality backlinks to your site. You should understand what and how needs to be done if you want to have growth and don’t want to get penalized for the black-hat SEO that your contractors might be running.
Finally, Google and Microsoft ads can be a great way to drive traffic to your website and increase conversions. With the right set of keywords, settings, and ad copy, you can reach your ideal audience and encourage them to take action. Before you start running ads you need to ask yourself these questions:
- Does my website look good?
- Does a text copy on my website align with a search terms that I’m targeting?
- Do I have analytics set up that way that I can clearly understand what brings me business and what eats my budgets?
It is crucial to understand what HIPAA compliance is and to make sure that you don’t send sensitive data to 3rd parties and that it’s kept secure.
Just because your target audience is not on some social media platform that doesn’t mean you should neglect these platforms. The children and grandchildren of older adults may come across your advertisements and realize that your NEMT service is essential for their kin.
Relatives of those with medical needs who are not necessarily seniors may also come across your social media campaign. Plus, the number of older adults on social media is increasing.
When you correctly identify your target audience, you can strategize better to ensure your campaign reaches the right people. Almost everything we’ve covered above can be adjusted a bit and applied to indirect audiences as well.
Staying Competitive: Keeping Up With Industry Trends and Changes
While learning how to develop a marketing plan for a small business, you also need to educate yourself about the industry. It pays to know the history of the NEMT industry and how it fits in the transportation and medical niches.
As a new player in the industry, study the numbers and determine if there is enough demand for your business. Look into your competitors’ numbers to see if your service can become competitive.
You should also keep up with NEMT trends. You must be well-informed of the direction of the industry so it can go with the flow and stay ahead of the competition.
Robust NEMT software like RouteGenie is crucial in providing the best possible service for your clients. It will also be the main factor that plays a significant role in scaling your NEMT business.
Starting an NEMT business is not easy. There may be scope for your operations, but being competitive in the long term is another story. Having an NEMT marketing plan will help you pave a path to success. It is a roadmap through which you can coordinate your goals with the needs of your target audience and more.
Everything comes together in an all-in-one NEMT software that seamlessly accomplishes dispatching, routing, and billing. To understand how efficient, comprehensive, and customizable RouteGenie is, book a demo today.
About the author
As RouteGenie's Marketing Director, Yurii gained deep knowledge in the NEMT industry. He is an expert in marketing, utilizing all marketing channels to build RouteGenie's brand and to make sure NEMT providers have access to powerful NEMT software that can boost their growth. Yurii shares his knowledge by writing content on topics related to marketing, and the healthcare industry: medical transportation, home care, and medical billing.READ MORE