Top 9 Tips To Help Generate Solar Leads
Updated: May 5
As competition among solar companies increases, the ability to generate quality solar leads is more critical than ever before. Although this might be one of your least favorite business tasks, it is also one of the most essential for a thriving solar installation business.
If you aren’t effective in bringing in new leads, it is tough to close sales and grow as a company. However, marketing initiatives can be very costly, draining company resources. So let’s examine how to generate solar leads in a way that fits your company brand and helps create a positive reputation.
What Is Inbound Marketing, And How Can It Help Your Solar Business?
With inbound marketing, leads come to you by creating high-value content. It creates lasting relationships by delivering information and experiences tailored to your audience.
In fact, the solar energy industry is well suited for inbound marketing because your target market and potential customers likely want to learn more about renewable energy.
The difference between residential and commercial solar leads in the sales cycle is often lead time. Homeowners often take 6 – 9 months to go solar, while commercial clients can easily take more than a year. And both home and business owners typically research solar energy extensively before signing a contract.
This long sales cycle means that your PV business can benefit from effective content marketing to keep leads fresh and focused on your company. If you deliver the information they seek, such as how much money they can save on utility bills with solar or what the permitting process entails, this will build trust in your company.
However, it is essential to deliver accurate information and not sugarcoat it because it will create disappointed customers. For example, if you overestimate utility bill savings, your customers will know this after going solar.
Generating Your Own Solar Leads Vs. Lead Buying
Depending on who you ask, you will hear very different opinions on buying solar leads. Ultimately, it comes down to whether your business has the bandwidth to generate its own leads and if you can find a service that sells quality leads for a reasonable price.
Often, companies will sell leads to multiple solar installers, so you’ll be in a race to contact the potential customer before your competitors. Sometimes, you might pay for a lead only to find out the person has a completely shaded roof or is a renter. In some cases, lead service may be open to alternative arrangements, such as them getting a higher payment if you close the sale and no payment otherwise.
29 Marketing Ideas For Solar Lead Generation
Because content-based marketing can be very time-consuming, it is important to learn some tricks to make it worthwhile.
Get To Know Your Target Keywords
Have you ever noticed how some websites come up high in an online search without the company paying money to Google? You’ll want to optimize your Search Engine Results Placement (or SERP) so it will be among the first nonpaid links you see when you Google for a given search.
For your website to perform well in organic searches, you will need to know the keywords that your target market is using to learn about solar energy. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) giant Moz’s Guide to Keyword Research is a great resource for beginners.
Build A User-Friendly Website
The best solar company websites are well-designed, clearly organized, aesthetically pleasing, easy to navigate, and have a clear value proposition. You also want to have a clear call-to-action, such as a form where they can get a free solar consultation on each page. Ultimately, you want to convert site visitors into high-quality leads, so you want it to be easy and compelling for them to contact you.
A smooth user experience is essential for 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 put this advice into action here at GreenLancer by 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.
Share High-Quality Photos And Videos Of Your Work
Visually appealing photos and videos are critical to showcasing your work. Whenever possible, try to make these photos as professional-looking as possible. For example, tidy up the job site if you are taking action photos. Sometimes include other attractive elements, such as a sunset, the homeowners, or even pets.
If you are able to use a drone, this is an excellent way to photograph rooftop solar arrays. Also, videos of the installation (perhaps in time-lapse) or concise interviews with happy homeowners can also be very compelling.
Wherever possible, don’t zoom in on just the solar panels. Remember, you are selling a lifestyle and not so much about having black boxes on the roof.
Develop Educational, Informative Content
To create relevant content, think of who your ideal prospect is so you can home in on your target market. How old are they? Where do they live? What are their interests? When you create content, think about your target market.
You probably already engage a lot with potential customers. Think about what they are asking and what matters to them. Are they interested in solar primarily to save money, or is it more driven by concern for the environment?
Next, create high-quality content. It’s a good idea to add a call to action but beware of having all your content a long sales pitch. Rather, provide the information they seek and remind them that you are available to help.
Tailor Your Strategies For Residential And Commercial Solar Leads
Often, solar installers that serve both markets have separate sections on their website for residential and commercial solar. This is a very good idea because home and business owners likely have very different concerns and motivations for going solar. Also, some of the solar incentives and tax benefits are different for the two market segments. Remember, the more relevant your content is, the more likely they are to read it.
Extend Your Reach With Social Media
Although your website is the backbone of an effective inbound marketing campaign, your reach needs to extend further. Build your company’s online presence where your customers spend time: on social media.
If your social media presence isn’t strong, first determine 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, whereas commercial clients might lean toward LinkedIn.
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, post content on 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 source of solar information.
Supercharge Your Referral Pipeline
This may be the most powerful inbound marketing method of all.
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 likely trust their judgment. Plus, they have insider information. So, your prospects probably think the same way.
If you send out an e-newsletter to existing customers, ask them to recommend their friends. Some companies even set up a referral bonus, rewarding existing customers when their contacts sign a contract.
Recycle Old Leads
If you keep detailed notes on leads, it may be helpful to divide them up into hot, warm, and cold leads. Some prospects are interested in going solar but need to replace the roof first or trim a tree. Keeping in touch with these warm leads can be helpful, especially if it doesn’t involve spending a lot of time.
For example, periodically sending out an e-newsletter or a short check-in email is a great way to stay on their minds for when they are ready to move forward.
Claim Your 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 feedback will help your ranking on these sites go up, and online leads see that there’s good reason to work with you.
The Bottom Line
Like most things, attracting quality leads through effective online content will get easier over time. Start with a user-friendly website and then add relevant content, blog posts, and social media campaigns over time. Remember, it’s all about establishing your company as a trusted name in your area.
Once you get a steady pipeline of leads, ensuring you can fulfill on those projects quickly is the next step. GreenLancer can help you manage the permitting and engineering process with our marketplace of designers and engineers. Sign up for free and shop our network of vetted vendors to help you quickly turn projects around with less hassle.