As the solar industry grows, so does the need for high-quality, easy-to-close solar leads. The main issue new solar companies face when starting to put together a lead generation strategy is finding ways to set them apart from the intense competition that comes with the type of growth the solar industry is seeing today.
In this guide, we’ll break down every major solar lead generation method employed by successful solar installers all over the country so that you, too, can benefit from the high levels of demand the industry is looking at every day.
How to Generate Quality Leads
There are two different approaches for solar businesses to take when it comes to finding leads to sell to. These are buying solar leads and generating solar leads. The difference between these strategies is simple: when you’re buying solar leads, you’re hiring an individual or company to generate and qualify leads on your behalf. On the other hand, if you’re generating leads yourself, you’re in charge of the entire operation, from setting up landing pages, running ads, calling interested homeowners, adding them to your solar CRM, and dividing them amongst your sales team.
Some companies prefer to just buy leads from lead generation companies. In contrast, others would prefer handling the process themselves, and some solar businesses use a combination of self-generation and supplementing with a lead generation service.
Which method you choose depends on the size of your company, the needs of your business, and the budget you have in mind to set aside for lead generation. Many people prefer to generate their own leads simply because they can control the quality of the leads coming through their system, while others don’t mind the added risk when the price for leads from other companies is right.
Since purchasing leads from others is a relatively simple process, this guide will focus on ways for solar businesses to generate their own leads. Here are all the top ways you can get started today to generate high-quality leads for your solar business.
Know Your Target Audience
As a solar panel business owner, you have to know and understand your customers, their needs, and the value you provide to them.
A good place to start is identifying your ideal customer and creating a few buyer personas. This will help you develop a solar marketing strategy that appeals to these people and gets them interested in your products or services.
Simply put, your ideal customer is someone who has the problem that your product or service solves and is willing and able to pay for it.
To find out exactly who this person is, describe their:
- Demographics (age, gender, and location)
- Interests (hobbies, media they read, preferred social media sites, lifestyle choices, etc.)
- Reasons for their interest in solar (to save money, to reduce their carbon footprint, to be on the cutting-edge of technology, etc.)
- Availability (so that you can understand the best times to reach out to them)
Build fictional representations of these people (buyer personas) so that you can then build campaigns and create content that speaks to them specifically. This will result in more interest in your company and higher quality leads overall.
Create Pages and Forms to Gather Lead Data
Before putting any time and money into starting campaigns, the first and most crucial step in the lead generation process is to have somewhere for interested homeowners to get in touch with you. Depending on the type of campaigns you want to run, you might want to have one single page on your website to link to or a few more specific landing pages to direct potential clients to.
For example, if you offer free quotes, you might want a page with solar proposal-specific copy and messaging to direct traffic to, while if you’re running a limited-time deal or contest, you could consider building a separate page for that single campaign with more details about the offer. Separate pages will also help you sort the incoming leads from each, allowing your salespeople to offer people a much more customized experience and sales pitch than if they just came through your regular channels.
Offer Free Solar Consultations and Quotes
Offering free consultations and quotes are great ways to generate leads and get the word out about your solar business. It also helps build trust with your potential customer base, making it easier for them to buy from you. In an industry as competitive as ours, not offering a free quote or consult could quickly turn many potential customers away from your business before contacting them since offering free proposals is very much the norm nowadays.
Since offering a consultation or putting together a proposal for someone inherently requires some personal information to get the price and details right, such as an email or a home address, homeowners understand the need to give out their information and will also be very receptive to some contact with you before they receive their estimate.
You can use this time on the phone or by email to educate them on why installing renewable resources at home or on the roofs of their own companies would benefit them over time without coming off as too pushy.
Build Trust with Testimonials, Reviews, and Referrals
Nothing sells more than social proof in the form of testimonials, reviews, and referrals. When people head to your website, they want to see that you’re a reputable business they can trust, and one of the best ways to prove this to them is by displaying testimonials and reviews on your homepage or landing pages.
Reach out to former clients and ask them for a quick quote to describe their experience with your company, or set up a review page on your website where people can review their experience with you. You can also include photos of past jobs, video testimonials from customers, or written reviews from Google or Yelp.
You can also set up a referral program for your former clients to recommend friends and family to you in exchange for money (think gift cards), add-ons to their systems, or extra services such as solar panel cleaning and maintenance.
Asking for referrals from current clients is an effective way to get leads. A common misconception about asking for referrals is that it’s untoward or too aggressive. However, if you make it a habitual part of your client relations, it can be a simple and natural step in your post-sale interactions.
The first thing to ensure is that the client you’re asking for a referral from is happy with your service and/or product. If they weren’t satisfied, they would likely not refer anyone else to you. It’s important to truly understand what your customers expect and need so you can provide it to them – and then some!
In addition, be sure to ask people in your personal and professional networks for referrals. There may be people who know you or have heard about how great are at what you do that would be excited to provide referrals for you if asked. You just have to ask them!
Run Contests or Giveaways
Running a giveaway or contest is a great way to get people interested in your solar business. Giveaways and contests have become extremely popular among companies, and it’s not hard to understand why. Who doesn’t like the chance to win things for free, after all?
The most successful giveaways are those in which the prize is relevant to the company giving it away. If you’re interested in running a giveaway for your solar business, consider giving away something related to solar panels. A free additional solar panel would be great; however, this can be very expensive depending on how many people enter your contest and how many winners you want to award. Instead of a free solar panel or an entire system, try offering something like a gift card that can be used toward purchasing a whole system, a percentage discount off of their system, or even offering an additional service or upgrade if they buy a solar system from you.
Optimize your Website for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
No matter how much time you spend on your website, you won’t get any clicks or form submissions if no one can find it. This is where SEO comes in handy. If you’re following along with this guide, you’ll likely understand your target audience by now, which means that you have an idea about what these people are searching for, what questions they need the answers to, and what they are interested in.
Take a look at what your target audience is searching for on the web, and include those keywords on your web pages and blog articles so that your content shows up when people use those words in their online searches.
Consider the questions you hear from homeowners most frequently, and write blog articles to answer them. This will ensure that your website pops up when people search for answers to those questions. Remember, in order to convince people to reach out to you; you’ll need to show off that you are an expert who can be trusted to handle their solar project. Make that known through the content you put out on the web.
Another SEO strategy to implement is to keep an eye on your competitors and try to beat them to the first spot on Google. If you notice that a competitor has a high-ranking article about something you haven’t posted on your website, create your own version of that blog and optimize it to beat them at their own game; just make sure not to plagiarize their content or ideas in the process.
Offer Quality Content in Exchange for Contact Information
Another method of gathering contact information is through content offers. These offers should be enticing enough to get homeowners to give over their information and appeal to your buyer personas/target audience.
The purpose of a content offer is to capture the attention of potential solar customers, direct them to a landing page on your website, and convert these visitors into leads by having them sign up with their contact information.
If you followed our advice on knowing and understanding your target audience, you’ll likely have an idea of what interests and concerns your potential clients. You can then take that information and provide content answering the most common questions homeowners have about solar that you can turn into downloadable PDFs in exchange for a name, email, and phone number.
This type of content is similar to posting blogs on your website with CTA (call-to-action) buttons to request more information below them, with the main difference being that people can only access it if they fill out a request form first. For this type of content to work, it needs to have a very attractive title and description to push people to request the full version. This content can come in the form of ebooks, industry reports, whitepapers, case studies, checklists, and more.
Run Paid Advertising Campaigns
While writing content and optimizing your website for organic searches is a great way to generate leads, you should also be running ads to supplement the leads you’re generating from your “free” channels.
Putting together some paid ad campaigns on social media and search engines will help to expand your reach to people who otherwise wouldn’t find your company. The great thing about running paid ads is that you can choose exactly who to advertise to with very specific audience filtering tools, and you can also set budgets to ensure that you only spend what you want on these campaigns.
“Boost” blog articles that are doing well on social media pay to show up on search engines when people search for specific keywords. Advertise any contests or offers you’re currently running, all with links directly to your website or contact form. For example, if you’re based in Arizona, your company can pay to be the first name people see when they hit the “search” button on Google when looking up “Solar installation Arizona.”
You can also put together banner ads and pay to have them displayed on other websites, opening you up to even more potential clients.
What You Shouldn’t Do
When it comes to generating high-quality solar leads, you’ll want to stick to the tips and channels listed above. While tempting at first, there are two lead generation strategies you should avoid. Here’s what not to do if you want to get more leads for your solar business.
Nowadays, cold-calling anyone isn’t recommended. Not only do most people screen their calls, but trying to cold call just about anyone will be met with anger and is widely considered a waste of time.
While it is possible to land on someone interested in your offer eventually, you’ll find yourself wasting hours or even days on the phone being ignored, yelled at, or hung up on to get anywhere. Your time is better spent producing high-quality content, running ads, and maintaining/updating your website.
Buying Lists of Leads
No matter the industry, you’ll come across people whose entire business runs on selling lead lists to desperate companies looking for new prospects. While these lists usually aren’t very expensive, you’ll notice that most of the phone numbers and emails on them aren’t functional anymore or, even worse, that the people on the other end of the line have had their data sold many times over and are fed up of being called day after day with offers for things they aren’t interested in.
On the surface, buying a list of contact information might seem like a quick way to make some sales, but you’ll quickly learn that it was a waste of time and money and that you were better off generating leads in a more honest way, to begin with.
How to Turn Leads into Clients
Now that you have a good lead generation strategy in place, it’s time to get to work converting them into paying customers. Here are some working strategies to ensure every lead you’re generating doesn’t go to waste.
1 – Don’t make them wait.
If you receive a contact or quote request from someone and you have a free moment, reach out to them! You’ll want to strike while you’re still fresh on their mind and show them that you’re eager to get started on their solar project and get them the information that they need.
2 – Nurture them.
If you have a lead’s email address, enroll them in a nurturing campaign where you can send them emails all about solar to both keep your company’s name on their mind as well as educate them on your business and solar energy as a whole. Even if they don’t answer your initial call, they’ll be able to learn more about solar right from their inbox.
are an expert who can be trusted to handle their solar project. Make that known through the content you put out on the web.
3 – Provide excellent service.
If you struck while the iron is hot, ensure that what you’re putting together for your leads is high-quality. Send them a proposal and offer to walk them through it in person or over the phone. Make any changes that they request, or explain why those changes might not be best for their specific needs. Be a human, get to know them, and build rapport. You’d be surprised how far that will take you.
Most businesses will tell you that lead generation is one of the most difficult parts of the job, especially when the competition is as fierce as it is in the solar industry, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right lead generation strategy in place, you’ll be meeting more potential customers and selling more solar systems than you ever thought was possible.
Looking to scope, sell and complete more solar projects than ever? Solargraf is the most user-friendly, robust, and fully integrated solution on the market. Book your free demo today to learn more about growing your business with Solargraf.