A growing solar market breeds competition, and with competition comes a need to increase the visibility of your business and set yourself apart from the rest. One of the best ways to achieve this is by putting together a solar marketing strategy for your company.
Whether your business is brand new or you’ve been in the industry for years, implementing a solar marketing plan can be as small and cheap or more robust and involved as you like or have the budget for. Here are 7 solar marketing strategies for your business that you can implement today.
7 Marketing Ideas to Grow your Company Efficiently
If you want to grow, you need your business to be front and center in as many ways and places as possible, but this doesn’t always mean that you need to spend a lot of money or hire an entire marketing team for your company.
While we’ve put together a list of 7 steps to implement a complete marketing strategy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to get started with all of them at once to start seeing an increase in engagement or lead generation. Starting small and adding to your strategy as you grow is an excellent way to get started!
Why Solar Needs Marketing
Solar power is no longer a niche investment for the rich anymore, yet anywhere you go, you’ll find people who may not think that they can benefit from or afford it. Solar marketing can achieve two things: increase lead generation/sales, but also increase awareness in the product itself.
Not everyone understands the true costs and benefits of solar, and a good digital marketing strategy can help to increase awareness of not only your solar business specifically but also the benefits of solar panels themselves. This is a net positive for everyone in the solar industry and can be a huge benefit for your specific business as well if done right.
Another reason for marketing is the benefits that your business can see. Nowadays, the solar industry is dominated by a few large installation companies who often have entire marketing departments with what may seem like infinite budgets.
Smaller companies tend to have to rely on word of mouth and door-knocking to get the word out, but that doesn’t have to be the case. There are a myriad of ways for small solar businesses to get the word out without breaking the bank and work towards the same level of growth that these major solar companies are benefiting from.
7 Efficient Steps to Help You Grow
An efficient and effective marketing plan can be put together in as little as one and as many as seven different steps. Here are all the ways you can start to build a solar marketing plan for your business.
1 – Know Your Audience and Build Buyer Personas
Regardless of how far you take your solar marketing strategy, the first thing you need to do is to outline who your audience and potential customers are and build some buyer personas to match.
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. These can be created through customer interviews, chats with your customer service and sales teams, and other forms of engagement such as emails and social media comments. For example, you could build a persona for the type of client who wants to go solar for environmental reasons, one who is interested in savings, and another who is simply interested in increasing the value of their home.
Each one of these personas can then help you when you’re creating content and building marketing campaigns since they enable you to drill down to the exact type of customer you intend to target and help you work on your messaging.
2 – Create, Maintain and Update your Website
No marketing strategy is complete without a website built to showcase why your business is the right choice for interested homeowners. A good website should be clean, easy to read and navigate, and have clear calls to action.
Work on filling your site with information about your business, photos and videos of your team and your solar installs, and most importantly, include a “contact” page with a form for homeowners to fill in their information to request a quote for your services. A call to action (CTA) button that links to this page should be visible on every other section of your website, somewhere near the top of the page, at the bottom, and even in the top banner.
If you’re planning on implementing a content marketing and SEO strategy, which we’ll outline in Step 7, you can include a “Blog” or “Resources” page, as well as make sure that the copy on your website includes some relevant keywords and search terms that can help potential leads find you through search results.
3 – Prepare an Organic Social Media Strategy
Taking advantage of organic social is a great way to build a community around your business and your work. Use your social media pages to showcase some solar projects that you’re particularly proud of, post any blog articles you have up on your website, run polls, ask questions, and inform your followers about solar and your services.
Looking to grow your pages and don’t know where to start? Try joining some local environmental, industry, and neighborhood groups. Get chatting with like-minded people, put your name out there and build some trust; the followers will start coming!
4 – Run Paid Social Media Ads
Organic social not getting you the results you need? Try running some paid social media ads to fill in the gaps. There are two strategies for social ads. The first is to create ads through the services ad manager, and the second is to “boost” your existing posts.
Put together some visuals and copy to sell your services, and make sure they have a clear CTA and link directly to a contact form on your website or a landing page created specifically for the purpose of the campaign you’re running.
Advertising in this way will allow you to target very specific groups of people (think your buyer personas), and will not be visible to anyone simply visiting your page and scrolling through your posts.
Boosting Organic Posts
Boosting your existing posts will increase their visibility to your network and your chosen audience. You can boost any posts you’d like, but we’d suggest boosting content that is already doing well organically.
If you notice that one of your posts is getting a lot of engagement from your followers, this likely means that it’s resonating with people in some way. Consider boosting it to increase its reach and keep the momentum going for as long as possible.
5 – Run Paid Search Engine Ads
Just like paid social media ads, running paid search ads is another way to increase your company’s visibility to the people you’re looking to target. Consider where you want to show up on the top of Google search (think searches for “best solar company New Hampshire” or “solar installer New Jersey”) and run ads for those keywords so that you show up at the top of people’s search results.
Since paid search and paid social are two separate services showing up in different places, you can often repurpose copy from either to run on each service if you don’t have the time or energy to create entirely separate ads for many different formats and locations.
6 – Set Up an Email Marketing Strategy
Once you’re generating leads through your website, social media pages, and search ads, you’ll want to put together a few emails to make sure that you close all the new potential deals you’re creating.
If you use a CRM like HubSpot or Salesforce to manage your leads, clients, and projects, you already have access to some email and workflow tools. You could also consider other options such as Mailchimp or Constant Contact for your email marketing needs.
Build an email to send as soon as someone fills out your contact form with some additional information and links to book a meeting with you to discuss the proposal you put together for the lead. You can also set up triggers to send subsequent emails if you don’t hear back from the homeowner after a set period of time for the best chances of getting a response.
You can also set up a second set of emails to go out to older, cold leads that may not have closed after a set amount of time to remind them that you’re available for their solar project. Sometimes people get busy, they forget to respond, or the time might not have been right when they originally requested information. A simple, automated reminder can do wonders for re-engagement.
While setting up these emails and workflows can be a bit of a time investment to get started, they will continue to run on autopilot for as long as you’d like them to, only needing occasional updates and refreshes when you decide to change your offers or messaging.
7 – Take Advantage of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Content Marketing
The final step to completing your solar marketing strategy is to take advantage of search engine optimization and content marketing to build trust in your business and increase the visibility of your company.
SEO and content marketing harness the power of keywords and education to get people to visit websites and generate leads for companies. The best way to put this together is to use relevant keywords on all the pages of your website and to maintain a blog section that answers the most popular questions your potential clients have.
Content marketing is yet another place where you should consider your buyer personas and build content around their needs. For example, you could write an article for your “environmental” persona that outlines the benefits of going solar for the environment. People interested in saving money might enjoy an article like “Top 3 Ways Solar Energy is Cheaper than Gas”.
You could also work on creating content for everyone, such as articles about why everyone should go solar or “How do Solar Panels Work” to get them interested in what you do and find ways to have them consider reaching out to you to find out if solar energy might be right for them.
As a solar professional, you’re the expert, but if you don’t have the time to write articles on top of all of the other work in your day-to-day, you can consider hiring freelancers, a marketing agency, or an in-house team to write articles for you and manage your company’s blog. It all depends on how much time and money you’re looking to invest in content marketing.
Challenges of Selling Solar
Even with financing, incentives, tax credits, and discounts, solar systems are still a large investment for most people. For this reason, most homeowners will often shop around and ask for quotes from multiple solar energy companies to make sure that they’re getting a fair price for the work and system. This is why you need to consider ways to make sure that your company outshines the other guys.
Another challenge of selling solar is how complex it can be, to begin with. Solar sales and installs are time-consuming and require a lot of work. From generating proposals, revising them, meeting with clients, applying for permits and financing, and purchasing and installing solar isn’t as easy as buying a new appliance or car. Make sure your ads and content are as relevant, helpful, and educational as possible, so homeowners can know what to expect and feel confident in their choice to go solar.
Converting Clicks into Leads
Once you’ve implemented the strategies above and you’re starting to see an increase in clicks on your ads, articles, posts, and website. It’s time to make sure that those interested homeowners are turning into leads and those leads into sales.
Keep an eye on your website and make sure that it’s running smoothly. Make sure that loading times are as short as possible, it’s easy to navigate, and it’s optimized for different browsers on both desktop and mobile. Content should be easy to read on the page, pages should all link together where relevant, and your images and colors are displaying correctly.
Next, you should develop a unique value proposition (UVP) and make it clear to the visitor. What makes you different from everyone else in the market? Do you offer special discounts, options, or additional services? Make your company stand out and leverage customer testimonials to prove it.
If you’re noticing that a lot of people are finding your website, but they aren’t staying on the page for very long or filling out a form, this might be a sign that your content might not be relevant to them and could use some optimization. For example, people might be searching for “how to install solar panels” for a DIY project, finding your page, and realizing that as a solar company, you’re not really what they’re looking for.
Take that opportunity to write or optimize an article to explain why DIY solar projects aren’t what they are cracked out to be and educate them on why they should trust a professional solar installer to handle their job instead.
Finally, provide your visitors with multiple resources to get information and get in touch with you. Put together an FAQ page, make sure your phone number and email are easy to spot and consider adding a chatbot or a live chat widget on your home page. This will help people get in contact with you and ask any questions they may have before they hand over their information and move forward with getting a quote.
Having a good solar marketing strategy in place is imperative for any solar business looking to grow nowadays. While it might seem complicated on the surface, implementing even one of these solar marketing ideas could generate excellent results for any solar company. Take your time, anticipate and answer questions, provide value, sit back, and watch the leads roll in.
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.