Most rooftop solar businesses operate locally, helping residents and businesses in their own area. Most of them get their business through references, word of mouth and local advertisements. Many of them are not fully utilizing the power of online marketing.
Online content marketing is especially a powerful and cost effective channel for rooftop solar lead generation.
Growing competition in rooftop solar
Out of all different types of solar EPC projects, rooftop solar installations are smallest in size, require less capital and much lower risks. Naturally, they attract most new solar EPC businesses.
This has resulted in intense competition in the residential (and commercial) rooftop solar EPC space. In turn, this competition has put a lot of pressure on the profit margins of these solar installers.
All other things remaining the same, success of your rooftop solar business would largely depend on two things –
- How cost effective are your operations? So that you can manage with the shrinking profit margins
- What is your customer acquisition cost? So that you can have better margins than your competitors
Now, let’s look at the second factor and see how a more efficient marketing and sales channel can give you the winning edge over the competitors.
How to differentiate your marketing & sales channel
Most rooftop solar installers operating locally, have few sales people to connect with ‘leads’. They educate these leads about the benefits of solar PV, commercial aspects, technical requirements etc. Most of the times they do the site survey for rooftop areas, coordinate with engineering team and then submit a proposal.
As you can see, each sales person in the field is doing many things in the sales and marketing process. The most important of these is to build trust and a relationship with the prospective customer. The likelihood of getting an order will strongly depend on the face time you get with the customer.
But, since your sales people are too busy with many things like – solar site surveys, documentation etc. they get little time to spend with the customer. Further, the more people they visit, the more their time is stretched thin.
So you should try to engage your sales team with ‘warm leads’, who are already sufficiently educated and convinced about the value of solar PV installation. If they already know the benefits, you only need to discuss with them on the commercial terms.
Your sales team will not lose any time in explaining the benefits of renewable energy. So they can meet with more leads per day. With a simplified sales process you will be able to double your sales pipeline, without hiring any more sales people.
Further, if your leads are already warmed up and if they are already convinced about the benefits of solar energy, they are much more likely to buy from you. Your sales conversion can be significantly improved if you focus only on the ‘warm leads’.
Generate warm leads with educational content
In summary, you need a steady flow of warm leads to sustainably grow your business. How do you get that?
Every customer has a few typical questions for a solar sales rep –
- How much of their electricity bill can be reduced?
- How much rooftop area would be needed?
- What is the expected lifespan for solar PV panels?
- What kind of monthly or annual maintenance is needed?
- How much investment is needed upfront?
- Are there any financing options available?
- Finally – what is payback period for the investment?
You can easily answer all these questions through videos, blog posts, posters, podcasts, pamphlets etc. before you even speak with the customer.
This way the ‘educational’ part of your sales process is automated.
When this educational part is automated, your sales team can simply focus on commercial details and closing the deals.
As an added benefit, when a consumer starts to read and follow your content, he starts to engage with your brand. To make it more engaging and responsive you can create and edit video using a quick video editor. The more he benefits from your posts and videos, the more he is going to trust your brand.
If you follow this approach consistently, you can build a following around your brand – which will be seen as a knowledgeable authority when it comes to solar.
In time, this will give you a steady stream of warm leads who are well aware about the value of solar energy.
Content marketing tips for rooftop solar
Now if you are convinced about the importance of content marketing for your rooftop solar business, how do you get started?
Here are a few tips –
- Focus on educational content rather than promotional – rather than focusing on your brand, focus your content on solar energy. Trust me, the audience will definitely notice your brand when they find your content genuinely valuable.
- Interview your customers about the reduction in their power bill, reliability of your system, easy maintenance etc. Promote these interview videos on social media – facebook and youtube. Tag your customers so their friends and family also learn about you.
- Make a comparison of technical aspects of different products that you offer. Compare efficiency, costs, lifespan etc. The tech enthusiast readers will be interested to read about this.
- Announce your partnerships with financing companies, write about available financing options. Use marketing newsletters to promote these new developments.
- Whenever a customer achieves payback, visit them. Take a few pictures and promote on social media.
- Start a newsletter for those who regularly engage with your content. Eventually your active readers will turn out to be your best customers. Use email marketing automation to personalize and humanize your emails, rather than sending a salesy looking bulk email from mailchimp. Mail merge tools connected with spreadsheets and Gmail are highly effective in creating personalized emails.