Looking at the current boom in the solar industry, you’d be accurate in thinking Here Comes the Sun is more than just a Beatles’ track.
Here’s an interesting fact from the Solar Energy Industries Association—in Q1 of 2018, the U.S. installed enough solar power capacity to power 10.7 million homes, an increase of 13% from the previous year. Whether you’ve just got on board the solar train, or are a seasoned sun-worshipper, you are part of an industry that is only set to burn brighter and brighter.
While solar energy has long since been a part of the vocabulary of a number of people, it is still a foreign concept to a vast tract of the population. This throws up a complicated conundrum when it comes to solar marketing ideas. Is it a case of those who already know, already have, and those who don’t, don’t want?
If so, what does effective solar lead generation look like? How can you be part of the movement to ensure that more consumers are hit by the rays of solar growth? Most importantly, are there marketing strategies in place that are particularly relevant to the needs of the solar industry?
The quick answer is that a select number of digital marketing strategies have proven to be effective across the board, no matter which industries adopt them. White Hat SEO is still the most effective way to drive organic traffic and generate leads that matter—and it can be effectively employed in any sector.
But, like most things, the devil lies in the details. In this case, the details are how to employ solar marketing ideas that take into account the nuances of the industry.
Luckily for you, you don’t have to look too far. Here they are—9 ways to capture your piece of the sun through digital lead generation and solar advertising.
The Top 9 Solar Lead Generation and Marketing Ideas
1. Formulate industry-specific Solar Marketing Ideas
Having a look at the statistics of energy alternatives, it’s not hard to see that solar is on the rise in comparison to other players.
Added to this, incentive schemes are being employed throughout the globe that are only set to increase the uptake. This means that if environmental concerns are not a major factor in consumer decision-making, financial implications will be. The U.S. Department of Energy has set up Solar Powering America, which provides incentives to both individuals and businesses.
While the industry is undoubtedly on the rise, it is currently navigating some very real growing pains.
When it comes to solar advertising, the greatest challenge lies in an industry that, while growing rapidly, is somewhat betwixt and between. This means that you cannot simply adopt a blanket marketing strategy that is copy-pasted from other industries. You need to get specific.
You can only do this by understanding the unique characteristics of solar lead generation and marketing.
Which brings us to our next point.
2. Know that Solar Lead Generation Companies Must Cross the Chasm
Sometimes booms hurt a little.
Very broadly speaking, there have historically been two types of people who have solar installed in their homes:
- Those who adopted decades ago
- Those who were referred by those who adopted decades ago
Up until very recently, mass adoption was a pipe dream. The result is, we currently reside between two paradigms—the first of fringe adoption, and the second of mass adoption. A report by EnergySage has identified the current moment by referencing author Geoffrey Moore’s notion of “crossing the chasm”, an effective means of describing the tightrope between a climate of only early adopters and one of accepted standard practice.
While this “chasm” is exciting to cross, it’s a complex time for marketers, as it puts much of the onus on them to ensure that mass adoption indeed comes about. Marketers have to work that much harder to generate as many leads as possible and make sure that they are reaching the right people for long-term growth.
Unfortunately, as we will see in our next point, generating leads is sometimes easier said than done.
3. Make Solar Lead Generation a Top Priority
It may come as no surprise to you that according to Hubspot’s report on the state of inbound marketing, 68% of respondents agreed that generating traffic and leads was their company’s greatest marketing challenge. Added to this, 80% of marketers stated that their lead generation efforts were only slightly or somewhat effective. (BrightTALK, 2015) Wow. Look, we’re no Scientists, but in the words of a band that may need some sun themselves, “Nobody said it was easy. No one ever said it would be this hard.”
There is good news though—through hard, intelligent work and a focus on long-term solar marketing strategies, effective lead generation is possible. In fact, the reason our company centers around SEO is that we have found it to be the most effective means of generating leads that not only serve to bring in new clientele in the short term, but also ensure they keep coming in down the line.
4. Put a strong referral system in place
As we have mentioned, the solar industry has typically survived off a referral system. Your neighbour installs solar, you chat, then so do you. The next step is to take this kind of referral system into the digital world.
This can operate in various ways. The first is to make sure you have strategies in place to capture good reviews of your work and display them clearly on your homepage. The second is the modern day equivalent of a referral system—link building. If you can get authoritative sources to link to your company’s work, you immediately up your credibility. It’s the digital equivalent of word of mouth, and it works like a dream in solar marketing.
5. Favor education over advertising
It’s no secret that people do not want to be constantly advertised at. So much so that, according to Hubspot, 4 out of 5 people have left a webpage because of a pop-up or autoplaying ad.
So here’s the deal. Don’t inundate people with adverts. Rather, provide them with meaningful content that will serve to educate them about the benefits of solar installation. Make it concise and informative. This will be your greatest asset when it comes to generating traffic and getting people to engage with your business.
6. Use videos to garner trust and display your work
Videos work. It’s often as close as you can get to meeting a contractor before they begin work on your property. What’s more, videos can serve as a moving brochure for your work. By displaying some of your previous projects, you will be able to illustrate that you are a trustworthy supplier that has completed jobs successfully.
7. Intelligent keyword research
Yes, keyword research is necessary for all sectors who would like to launch or maintain a successful digital marketing campaign. What makes solar marketing different is that it is important to make provisions for people who don’t necessarily know they are looking for solar until they find it. This is one of the key characteristics of a market about to boom—you have to show people what they want before they know they are looking for it.
8. Don’t buy solar leads from a vendor
We won’t dwell on this one. Just don’t do it. Numerous solar lead generation companies offer lists of leads at a pretty penny. These leads are very often outdated, irrelevant and filled with the names of people who simply don’t want to be called by you. Don’t fall into the trap.
9. Master the SERPS
If you can get your company to the top of a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) through ethical means that take into the account the core mandates of the major search engines, you’ve struck marketing gold for the following reasons:
- The effort it takes to get there means that it will be incredibly difficult to be usurped by your competitors
- Once you are on Page 1, any other marketing strategies that you employ will be bolstered by your positioning.
- Between 70 and 80% of people simply skip past paid ads and go straight for organic results.
- Being seen as an authoritative source, particularly in a scientific field, will keep people linking to you in various ways. This will only serve to increase your leads and generate more traffic.
- The long-term ROI you will receive for focusing on SEO to get you near the top of a SERP will be invaluable as your business grows.
Before we leave you, congratulations!
We’re more than a little excited about the move to solar. As a company filled with big dreamers looking to change the world, an industry based on renewable energy is the kind we would like to engage with.
Our relationships with solar companies to date have been highly productive ones, as we have found that SEO can be of serious benefit to them, no matter what stage of development they are in.
Why not get in contact with us? We offer a free SEO strategy review that will give you insight into how well your lead generation efforts are working.