Top 8 Tips For Generating More Solar Leads
Your favorite part of the job might be the thrill of closing a big sale, the satisfaction of working hard on a solar installation, or the look on your clients’ faces when they see a beautifully completed solar panel array. If you’re like most professionals in the solar industry, it’s probably not lead generation.
But of course, the sales, projects, and happy clients only happen if your company generates enough solar leads. Not just any solar leads, but interested and unique leads who are in a good financial position to go solar.
So, although it’s easy to farm lead generation out to third-party solar lead generation companies, relying on this strategy alone soon gets inefficient (if they're cheap, low-quality leads) or too expensive (if they're unique, high-quality ones).
It isn’t enough in 2021. Especially since everyone's first instinct to "Google it!" when they think of anything (including solar energy) means that a robust digital marketing plan can make a company ... and a neglected one can break it. To fill your pipeline with well-qualified solar leads, you’ll need to choose an effective combination of smart lead generation tactics.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the eight most effective inbound solar lead strategies.
Solar Lead Generation With Inbound Marketing
In the sales cycle, the difference between residential and commercial solar leads is often time. Homeowners often take 6 – 9 months to go solar, while commercial clients can easily take more than a year. Either way, both homeowners and business owners typically research solar energy deeply before making a decision.
This long sales cycle means that both residential and commercial solar sales are boosted by effective content marketing. From the initial “could going solar save us money?” to seeing their new solar panels, potential customers seek honest and detailed information about solar installation's benefits and risks. Whether they’re a retired couple or the five decision-makers in a company, they’ll spend months searching online for accurate and accessible sources on their area’s solar finance options, permits, reputable solar installers, and more.
If your business is that honest, in-depth, reader-friendly source, your lead generation process just got a lot easier: these high-quality solar leads will come to you.
This is why inbound marketing is so powerful.
So here are our eight ideas for an effective solar inbound marketing strategy.
8 Inbound Marketing Ideas For Solar Energy
Inbound marketing is what happens when clients search for “how to go solar in Massachusetts” and see ReVision Energy's “Going Solar” Guide for Massachusetts in 2021 at the top of their search results.
Since they’re researching solar already, many people who search for that term will be good prospects for ReVision Energy’s solar offerings. To take advantage of this opportunity, ReVision Energy planned and implemented an inbound marketing strategy that puts them right in front of their ideal prospects’ eyes with the first four of these eight tactics:
1. Solar Keyword Research
To bask in the top few results of Search Engine Results Placement (SERP, or, the first nonpaid links you see when you Google anything) you must know the words and phrases your ideal prospects use when they search solar-related topics: for example, "how to go solar in Massachusetts." Search Engine Optimization (SEO) giant Moz’s Guide to Keyword Research is a great resource for beginners.
2. User-Friendly Solar Website
ReVision’s website is professionally designed: it’s well-organized, aesthetically pleasing, easy to navigate, loads quickly, has a clear value proposition on its homepage, and suggests a call-to-action ("fill in your information for a free solar evaluation") at the end of every page.
This smooth user experience is pivotal in keeping prospects on your website. And the longer they stay there, the more Google assumes your content is helpful and moves you up in search rankings.
In fact, we've experienced this here at GreenLancer after investing in a user-friendly website design that makes it easy for solar installers to find the information they need. For example, visitors looking for a solar project manager are directed to our project manager marketplace, while those seeking permit design partners easily find them here.
3. In-Depth, Relevant Solar Content
ReVision’s “Guide to Massachusetts Solar'' gives clear and well-organized information on going solar, particularly for state-specific incentives and policies.
The rest of their expansive website is similarly relevant for New England solar leads, especially their blog. Google rewards websites that frequently publish helpful content (judged partly by how many visitors come and read the entire post). ReVision’s post explaining the recent Solar Credit Extension, which is quite relevant to solar prospects, fits the bill.
To create relevant content, think of who your ideal prospect is (age, location, income level, interests) and create 2 – 3 “buyer personas” based on that. This will help you focus on the same things your solar leads are, and to reach them more effectively.
4. High-Quality “Proof” Photos And Videos
One difference between residential and commercial leads is the scope of their projects. ReVision not only has two tabs with extensive information for both types of customers (homeowners and businesses) but also helps both types of leads find similar installations with its multipart project gallery. Residential prospects can look at home solar installations, while commercial prospects can view ReVision’s industrial arrays.
In addition, ReVision offers valuable “social proof” of their professionalism with video interviews of their happy clients – a highly recommended practice.
Combined, these four tips helped ReVision’s website become the first source their ideal solar leads see when they Google “how to go solar in Massachusetts.” For a powerful and engaging online presence, put these into practice on your website as well.
5. Email Campaigns Segmented For Residential And Solar Business Leads
Once prospects have browsed around your website, you don’t want them to be briefly impressed, then shuffle you into the back of their mind “for later.” You want to build the relationship – but only in a nonintrusive, no-pressure way.
How can you accomplish this?
“Gate” an item of value. While you need them to willingly give you their email, most people won’t do this unless they get something of value in return. We recommend that each webpage ends with a banner asking visitors to sign up for a free solar consultation and quote.
IF (and only if) visitors check the box to accept emails, have an email drip campaign triggered by their signing up. After the initial welcome email, these should show up in your prospect’s inbox every week or two.
What should be in these emails? First of all, NOT a hard sell! While you can occasionally inform them of solar systems' financial benefits and suggest they contact your sales team, the majority of your emails should build trust and authority with helpful clean energy content.
Such content could be as simple as a link to one of your most popular blog posts (the longer the visits you get, the better your SEO ranking) or as detailed as sharing the five most efficient ways to save money on A/C.
It's best to have a different drip campaign for residential vs. business solar leads, tailored to that group's specific concerns.
Both types of solar prospects will appreciate such actionable advice, which will keep you in their mind as a trustworthy option.
6. Solar Social Media Campaigns
While your own website is the backbone of effective inbound marketing, your reach needs to extend further. Build your company’s online presence where your customers are: on social media.
If your social media is underperforming, first see if your ideal prospects spend more time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn. Residential clients may be more likely to be on Facebook and Instagram, while commercial clients might lean toward LinkedIn. GreenLancer focuses on our LinkedIn page since that’s where our customer base is; however, many installers have found success in reaching both types of clients with Facebook, so it's certainly worth researching.
Once you know where to focus, review your ad strategy; for example, here's a thorough guide to a successful Facebook Ads outreach. Once that's in place, update your accounts two or three times a week with a mix of your own content (your business’s blog posts, videos, and testimonials) and shared content from local businesses and solar news sites. This social media strategy will help establish your brand as a valuable solar information source.
7. Claimed Business Review Sites
Claim your company’s pages on Yelp, Google My Business, SolarReviews, and EnergySage. Since most people now look at online reviews before making major financial decisions, it’s essential that you manage your brand on these popular sites. Respond quickly and professionally to any customer complaints that crop up, so readers will see that you’re proactive and ready to make things right.
Most importantly, ask your happy customers for a review. Their objective third-party feedback will help your ranking on these sites go up, and online leads see that there’s good reason to work with you.
8. Solar Referrals
This may be the most powerful inbound marketing method of all.
Think about it: when you consider a major purchase or home improvement, aren’t you most likely to trust the word of a friend or family member? You already know them personally, and know that they have nothing to gain – they’re just honestly sharing what worked for them. Your prospects think the same way.
GreenLancer's own Director of Marketing, Matt Rea, does a deep-dive into referral building with experienced solar marketer David Murphy in our second Growing Solar podcast.
Your Motto For Residential And Commercial Solar Lead Generation
These inbound solar marketing ideas will pay off in higher-quality, eager solar leads. And they all have one thing in common: they'll come to you.
So the final tip for inbound solar marketing?
Education Beats Hard Selling.
Even though it's tempting to focus on getting that big sale ASAP, remember this when planning your content, email, and social media strategies: You’re here to talk about what the customer wants to know, not what you want to sell. Paradoxically, this attitude will help you fill and keep a high-quality pipeline of residential and commercial solar sales.
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