Renewable energy is experiencing a major boom in the industrial, commercial and consumer sectors, and solar energy is at the core of this uptrend. Now more than ever, solar energy companies have become appealing to a broader market segment thanks to robust federal policies, the affordability of solar cells and the growing concerns over sustainability and environmental conservation.
According to the SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association), American solar energy companies installed 3.8 GW worth of solar photovoltaic devices in Q3 2020. But with more than 250,000 individuals and 10,000 companies working in the solar industry across all 50 states, how do you distinguish yourself from everyone else and tap into this energy-hungry market?
For most companies, standing out may involve undercutting competitors at the expense of their profitability or establishing themselves as solar experts in their localities. While the former approach may work, we do not believe in its ability to achieve sustainable, long-term growth. Here are five marketing strategies you can implement to drive relevant traffic, generate leads and grow your solar energy business sustainably.
Use White-Hat, Industry-Specific SEO Tactics
Despite the incentives from Solar Powering America and solar energy being a buzzword for the past decade or so, a vast majority of the population still view it as an outlandish concept. Appropriating successful marketing strategies from other non-related industries is a recipe for disaster. That being said, the first step on your journey to acquiring and retaining customers is becoming discoverable.
Create and Optimize Your Company Website
A company’s ability to leverage digital marketing is quickly becoming a prerequisite for success in most industries, and solar energy is no exception. If done correctly, nothing attracts potential customers, generates leads and represents a brand as autonomously as a company website.
Your website is essentially an information hub, a lead magnet and the company’s storefront all in one. Creating a company website complete with an informative homepage, ‘About us’ section, FAQ page, smooth checkout process and SEO-friendly content designed to rank high on search engines is the bare minimum when it comes to digital marketing.
Create a Business Profile on Google
Creating a business listing on Google (the world’s largest search engine) is a free and easy way for your company to enhance its online presence, including appearing on solar-related searches and Google Maps. A Google listing makes your website more discoverable, and the verification process only takes a few days.
Prioritize Lead Generation
Hubspot’s annual marketing statistics reveal that 68% of marketers consider traffic and lead generation as their biggest hurdle. While this figure is a cause for concern, we cannot let a little bad news deter us from reaching new customers.
Through due diligence, intelligent keyword research and a long-term mindset, lead generation can take your business to great heights. If nothing else, most companies in the solar space center their digital and content marketing strategies around dominating the SERPS (Search Engine Results Page) due to its proven effectiveness at generating leads. New businesses, in particular, should spend more time and effort on acquiring leads.
Implement a Robust Referral System
Up until recently, the solar industry thrived off referrals – your uncle installs solar, boasts about how he enjoys free energy and convinces you of its benefits in the process. Digitizing such a referral system is not easy but worth all the effort it may take.
You can create a digital referral system in the following two ways:
- Positive Customer Reviews – Dedicate a section of your website to capturing and displaying positive reviews from satisfied customers. If possible, encourage them to say something nice on third-party review sites.
- Link Building – Building backlinks is the latter-day form of WOM (Word-of-Mouth) marketing. Getting authoritative websites to link to your site can give you an instant bump in credibility and search engine rankings.
Gain Trust through Video Testimonials
Videos are the closest customers have to meeting a potential vendor before accessing their products or services. If used properly, videos can introduce your company to potential clients, display your most successful projects and act as social proof through customer testimonials. Well-crafted videos prove your expertise to customers and instill a feeling of trust before any work commences.
Do Not Purchase Leads
As tempting as it may be, do not purchase cheap leads from lead generation companies to save on marketing costs. Unfortunately, many new companies learn this the hard way after acquiring outdated or irrelevant prospects who have no interest in solar products.
The current shift to renewable energy and the business opportunities it creates was a pipe dream for entrepreneurs less than two decades ago. We encourage you to establish your business on solid marketing foundations and focus on long-term growth despite the effort and time it takes.