Attracting the right customers to purchase your products is the foundation for a successful business. Creating a solar advertising strategy is crucial for potential sales. A solar advertising strategy does not need a large budget to implement.
Using different types of solar advertising alternatives can help create an effective campaign. Every business owner understands that sales create profits, and finding potential buyers requires the right combination of advertising strategies and a reputation for the quality of solar system products.
Solar advertising plans can cover a variety of areas to reach potential buyers. Researching and planning are the best way to begin any advertising campaign. Without proper preparation, any advertising campaign could cost a solar installer business time, money, and loss of potential sales.
Here are 5 alternatives to solar advertising to consider if you’re a solar professional looking to grow your business and generate more leads without simply running ads for your business.
Understanding Your Target Audience
Before starting any advertising campaign or lead generation program, it’s important to understand who the people you want to target are. Knowing the target audience is the most important aspect of any business’s advertising campaign.
A solar installer must understand the potential buyer if they want to make any sales. The main question to ask before starting an advertising campaign is, “why is the buyer willing to invest in a solar system in the first place, and why should they choose my company for the job?” By understanding the reasons behind the investment, the advertising campaign can help entice the customer to complete the purchase.
Under most circumstances, solar panel buyers will fall into one of three categories.
- The frugal person who wants to save money on monthly utility bills.
- The environmentally conscientious person who wants to help eliminate harmful emissions into the atmosphere.
- A mix of frugal and environmentally conscientious who understands that solar is both a great financial investment and a net benefit for the environment.
Creating an accurate target audience profile will help find the right type of advertising strategy for your business. These can then be drilled down further and organized into what we call buyer personas.
How to Build Buyer Personas
Having accurate and detailed buyer personas is essential for any business looking to generate good, high-quality leads for their company. A buyer persona is a fictional depiction of your ideal client, and it can be used to help you create content, run ads, and influence your sales pitch.
Building buyer personas involves speaking to real clients, learning about them and their habits, and then dividing them into separate fictional people in categories based on similar characteristics.
Depending on your findings, you might come up with 1 – 2 different buyer personas, or anywhere from 10 – 20. These, however, aren’t set in stone and should be updated and modified as your business or clients change or as you learn more information about your target audience. Since the solar industry is ever-changing, your audience might change too. Make sure that your ideal clients this year are still your ideal clients next year, for example.
Information to Include in a Buyer Persona:
- Demographic information (age, gender, location, income).
- Their communication preferences (phone, email, text, etc.).
- Which social media platforms they prefer to use if any.
- Their background (career, lifestyle, family).
- Their personality traits (introverted, extroverted, reserved, etc.).
- What are their main challenges (do they want solar for financial reasons, are they interested in lowering their carbon footprint, etc.)?
- What can your solar company do to help this persona overcome its main challenges?
Once you start interviewing a few clients, you’ll see some trends pop up. When you’re confident that you have enough information to build an accurate persona, start dividing these people into categories and organize them in a spreadsheet or a PowerPoint slideshow so that everyone at your company can easily refer to them before starting any new solar ad campaign, creating a new social media post or writing any new blog article.
Sometimes your content will be one-size-fits-all, while other times, you’ll want to create content to respond to the needs of specific buyer personas. This greatly helps with targeting the exact person you want to reach. This perfect person for your services, in the long run, will generate much higher quality leads for your company than you would get if you just tried throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.
Solar Advertising Alternatives
After creating your target audience profile and buyer personas, the next step is finding the right type of solar advertising alternatives to reach as many potential customers as possible
1. Free Products
Everyone loves a freebie. These free products don’t have to be large or expensive items since the idea is to simply get your company’s name out to the public. An installer may begin by attending local home shows, fairs, or other public events to display solar panel products. In order to draw a potential customer’s attention, offer a free product.
These custom printed products need to supply the customer with basic information about the solar panel business, including the company’s name, the point of contact, and website information. If the product is large enough, include an address and a catchphrase. Adding the information to various inexpensive products helps promote the business. Here are a few items to consider handing out as freebies.
- Ink pens
- Reusable water bottles
- Reusable grocery bags
- Wireless phone charging pads
Passing out small items allows the potential client a chance to remember your company and entice them to review your company’s website later. Whether sitting in a car or at a desk, these free products constantly remind potential customers of your solar panel company’s information. Additionally, each time the person uses a water bottle or grocery bag in public, the chances of someone else seeing the item and the information increases, providing you with a free advertisement for your company and services.
2. Get Active on Social Media
Social media is a valuable resource for solar advertising. Creating business pages allows potential customers to view all the necessary information about solar panel products and get engaged with your company, and interested in your work.
Increase visibility with relatable photos. Photos of solar panels may not entice an individual to stay on the page. Photos of beautiful sunrises and sunsets invite a person to view the information about the importance of solar power. You can also consider posting photos of solar jobs that you’re particularly proud of that really show off what your business is capable of.
Be Found With Hashtags
Use hashtags sparingly. Hashtags allow an individual a chance to find your page’s content. Be careful, though; using too many hashtags may give the viewer the wrong impression and, depending on which social network you’re using, punish your page and make its algorithm less likely to show it on people’s feeds. When planning out which hashtags you want to use, do some quick research on the ideal number of tags recommended for the social network you’re posting to.
Use Inviting Headlines to Boost Engagement
Create inviting headlines to promote the business and ask questions to boost engagement. You can ask your audience: “Why did you go solar?” or, “what do you think about this panel installation our company completed last week?”. You can also take advantage of your social network’s poll feature to boost engagement and gather information about the people following your pages.
Post at Ideal Times for your Ideal Customers
Post at different times of the day for maximum coverage, but be mindful of your buyer personas. Scheduling posts that alternate post times between the morning, afternoon, and evening will increase your chances of being seen, but you should also consider the times you think your audience is more active on social media when deciding which times are best to focus on. For example, if your ideal clients are often on Facebook during their lunch hour but busy at work and offline in the afternoon, schedule the most posts around noon, so they pop up right at the top of your audience’s feed right when they log in.
Social media has the potential to reach millions of customers. To be effective, your potential customer should be engaged enough to click on any of the links you’re sharing, head to your website, and ultimately, fill out a contact form or send an email requesting more information or a quote from your company.
Set Up Automatic Message Replies
If the social media service you’re using has a messaging feature, chances are it also allows business pages to set up canned responses so that your potential clients can quickly get the answers they’re looking for, whether you’re available to answer their messages right away or not.
Think of the kinds of questions you receive the most often, and set up an automatic reply to answer each one. For example, have responses ready for questions like, “how do I get a solar quote?”, “how much do you charge?”, “how can I get in touch with you?” and “how do solar panels work?”.
Each response should be quick and informative and should also link to a relevant page on your website where homeowners can get more information relevant to their questions, such as your contact page or a blog article.
For questions that don’t fit the categories we mentioned above, include a standard reply stating that you have received their inquiry and will get back to them as soon as possible. You can also link to your contact page or include a phone number that interested parties can use to reach you immediately.
3. Use Lead Generation Tools
Using lead generation tools can help you build a potential client list without wasting time and money on solar advertising campaigns. Leads can come from a variety of sources:
- Reviews and referrals from other clients. Leads generated through reviews and referrals are often some of the highest quality leads you can get.
- “Contact us” forms on your website to entice quote requests and other inquiries.
- Hosting webinars pertaining to the benefits of solar energy. These can be simple presentations or FAQ-style conversations where you get the audience involved.
- Live chats on social media to boost engagement and speak directly to your audience in a casual, informal way.
- Social media posts to show off your company, services, or previous solar installations.
- Third-party affiliate programs.
- Hyperlinks on your blog, social media platforms, or your company’s website that lead to your contact form.
- Link to your company’s website or a landing page with a special offer or discount. This can be offered on social media, through blogs, or by email.
4. Add a Blog to Your Company’s Website
Having a company website allows potential customers to review the solar panel systems and services you offer, and adding a blog can drive more traffic to the site. As more individuals frequent the site, the potential for sales increases.
When it comes to blogging, the first thing you want to work on is creating content that answers the most common questions you see homeowners asking about solar energy and solar panel systems. Let your expertise shine here and provide easy-to-understand, in-depth articles that dive into the ins and outs of solar energy.
Topics to consider writing articles about can include:
- How do solar panels work?
- The average cost of solar panels in your state.
- Do solar panels work in the Winter?
- Best solar panel manufacturers.
- What is net metering?
You can also use your blog to highlight your company’s expertise through customer testimonials, interviews, and case studies and introduce your team to build some confidence in your employees. Produce some FAQ-style articles where you answer even more questions about the industry or work you do, which could then link out to other related articles on your website with more details.
Do some keyword research to discover more topics that people are searching for online, and include these words and phrases in your articles to help search engines crawl your pages for relevancy so that they appear at the top of every search that includes these terms.
If your content is well-written and informative, people will click on your links and read your articles, increasing the amount of time they spend on your website and therefore showing search engines like Google and Bing that your content is relevant and helpful so that they show it to even more people.
If you really want to maximize Search Engine Optimization (SEO), try to post articles on a regular basis to show search engines that you’re still relevant. If you don’t have an in-house writer on staff, consider hiring a freelancer to write these articles for you and bank them to have a steady number of blog articles published daily, weekly, or monthly.
Each article should end with a little bit of information about your company and its services and a link to a contact form on your website where homeowners can request a quote or more information from your business. Every article is a chance to inform the public about the benefits of installing solar panels. Adding blogs is an inexpensive solar advertising alternative.
5. Use Videos
Many people are visual consumers. Adding videos to a blog, social media, or company’s website provides valuable insight into the product and the business. These videos can represent different aspects of solar technology, the solar industry, or your company’s work.
Think of video content as if they were blog articles, and produce some based on what you think your buyer personas are interested in seeing and learning about.
Potential video topics can include
- A guide to the solar installation process.
- An explanation of how solar panels work.
- The importance of solar panels to the environment.
- Views of homes and businesses with solar panels that you have installed.
- A breakdown of the different types of solar panels available on the market with pros and cons.
- Video testimonials from happy customers.
- Interviews and conversations with your staff and crew.
The important part of each video is attracting interest. By keeping the individual on the page, the chances of sales increase. This is why embedding videos into blog articles with similar topics is a great idea if you want to increase the time your potential clients stay on the page to improve your SEO.
Bonus: Sponsor Local Events
While there are a lot of large solar installation companies operating in the United States, the industry is largely comprised of small to mid-sized local installers. If your company fits into this category, consider getting your name out to the community through local sponsorships.
Consider sponsoring the local little league baseball game, cheerleading competition, or hockey tournament. Not only does this help get your name out there through banners, invitations, programs, etc., but it also shows locals that your company is a part of the community and someone to be trusted.
Attend these events to mingle with the local community, pass out business cards or give out some of the freebies we listed in the first advertising alternative we listed above.
Additionally, many homeowners with children and nice suburban houses tend to frequent these events, making them a great place to find people with homes that may be great candidates for solar panel installations.
Implementing an effective campaign may require a combination of different alternative strategies for success and lead generation. The best part of alternative solar advertising methods is the inexpensive cost.
Blogs and widespread social media use are minimal costs to begin and maintain. A solar installer will be able to receive a higher return on investment by using cost-effective methods such as what we listed above to advertise.