Get Your Solar Power Company Noticed with Strategic Marketing
The solar energy industry is growing at a very fast pace, but that doesn't mean all solar power companies have it easy. Several businesses have been venturing into solar power because of the growing demand and profitability. But despite the incentive packages in several states for those who start solar power businesses, the market is still tough.
Finding the first customer is often the hardest. But even established businesses have to market themselves well and consistently to get noticed and acquire new customers. You need to be loud, but you also need to be different and better than the competition to get noticed. And, unfortunately, even when you start getting customers, you may still find it a struggle to keep up sales.
Industry insiders have wondered long and hard about what could make sales so hard to come by despite the growing number of people seeking solar power. One of the biggest reasons is the failure to use the right techniques to market the business. It’s not the lack of interest from the customers, but it's the lack of ability of businesses to close the sale.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. With effective marketing strategies, it is possible to get your business in front of your target audience. Like every product or service, the solar industry has its own specific marketing techniques that work best. For example, people interested in solar energy are likely to be highly environmentally conscious, so you’ll need to step up your green energy web design efforts to get noticed.
Challenges of Solar Marketing
As with any industry, the solar energy industry is not without its challenges. Here are some of the industry’s biggest challenges:
Cost: Installing solar often has high up-front costs with long payback periods, which can deter people from investing in it in the first place.
Reliability: Solar isn't widespread, and most people don't believe it's capable of fulfilling all our electricity needs. Those who have never used solar or haven’t seen it in work anywhere may have serious doubts regarding its reliability.
Complexity: The process of purchasing and installing solar is often complex and time-consuming. Most people don't have the time or desire for such a complex process and hesitate from installing solar.
Best Solar Marketing Strategies
Despite the challenges, solar power could be the way to generate electricity on a large scale in future. Now that we know the challenges of solar marketing let's discuss the best marketing strategies for solar power companies.
Focus on the customer
Any product or service needs customers to be able to make money. Therefore, your primary focus should be your customers. Do not market your company by screaming aloud how great you are. It’s not about you. It's about the customer.
Why should they buy your product? How will they benefit from it? One easy way to do this is by tailoring your marketing strategies to your customer's pain points. Why do we buy food? To satiate our hunger. Why should someone get solar power? Because they have certain paint points that only your product will help resolve. Some pain points could be:
- High utility bills
- High fuel price
- Concern about global warming
- Jealousy (over the neighbor saving more on bills)
Even though people know the benefits of solar power, they stay away from it because they think it's expensive. But that isn’t necessarily true, because solar power prices have fallen considerably in the last few years. Educating people about the product is also part of an effective marketing campaign. The more people know about something, the more encouraged they will be to purchase it.
Research your industry
The industry comes a close second to the customer. Knowing your customer is important, but knowing your industry inside out is also important. Without knowing your industry, it isn't possible to market your product to the right audience or keep up with what your competitors are doing. Therefore, having a thorough knowledge of solar industries is vital to running a successful marketing campaign.
You must know what's latest in the industry, the current events that are taking place, what your competitors are up to, and how you can present your product to your customers. This is more important if you have other products besides solar. For instance, if you are an electrician who offers solar among other things, customers may not be willing to trust you as an expert in solar power. This is when you need to show them that you have decades of experience in solar and provide the best service.
Even though the market still seems small, there are actually some solar power businesses around, and several new ones are coming up. Therefore, you must never think that you don't have competition. Like every industry, you need to market yourself as different from the rest to be able to get attention and taste success. What are you doing differently from your competitors?
For instance, your competitors may be offering only cheap, less productive solar panels, but you provide customers with the option of cheap panels as well high-quality panels. Although not all customers will be able to afford the higher priced panels, there will always be takers. And since your competitors offer only the cheaper option, your customers will clearly notice the difference - that you have their best interest in mind.
Advertising and traditional marketing will only take you so far. In an industry where people are skeptical of the results, referral marketing becomes crucial. For example, a company may offer customers $500 if they refer someone who later ends up making a purchase. This technique has helped many companies get more customers, as well as to create a network of customers who keep referring new people to the brand and its products.
Although most will be in this for the money, it also helps the business spread the word fast and get more customers in a short time. After all, nothing speaks louder than a monetary incentive. While advertising also generates leads, it takes some time for the results to show. Referrals are instantaneous. If you give a new customer an offer of $500 if they refer another customer, they will be excited to do it. Your customer base will keep growing as the word spreads with the help of solar power marketing strategies.
Partner with trusted names
When you're new and unknown, not many people will trust you. This is because solar is a big investment that requires a certain level of trust. Partnering with trusted companies is a good way to boost your credibility. For example, you could partner with organic food co-operatives or energy auditors, as these businesses have access to a large number of people and have earned the trust that is required in the solar business.
When you get a referral from such a company, customers think highly of you. They think since you were referred by a reputed, trusted company, you must be trustworthy. That's how more customers get to learn more about your business, and eventually, start showing interest in your products. Even if the companies you partner with aren't into solar energy, getting referred by trusted names will still be a big boost to your credibility.
A big part of your solar marketing strategy is to engage and inform your customers. Solar is still a very new thing to most people. There are a lot of misconceptions about solar power that often keep people from trying it. Your job is to educate people about what is actually true. But this should be done in a fun, entertaining way, not in a boring, preachy manner.
Social media is the best platform to engage with people. Be it Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, directly engaging with your customers will let you get close to them and find out their thoughts on solar. Facebook discussions, YouTube videos and live streaming, and Twitter Q&A are some of the popular methods to form a connection with your customers. But connecting isn't enough. You also need a strong message to motivate them into action.
It has been found that environment isn't a strong enough message anymore. Everyone knows about the environmental benefits of solar power. You need something more motivating to encourage people to invest in solar power. Saving on electricity bills, increasing the value of the home, and getting tax incentives are some of the other messages that can be used to motivate people.
Solar is also a very complex subject that many people still don’t understand. Because of this complexity surrounding solar, the decision-making process sometimes takes up to two years. You can address the complexity issue by becoming a trusted advisor and guiding prospects through the whole process. You can work with installers to cut down on delays in providing estimates. You could create a program that connects existing customers with prospects to help guide them through the decision-making process. The possibilities are endless.
Need help? At Smile MEDIA, we can provide solar power marketing services to help you address the challenges facing your business. Get in touch with the experts and get your solar business the recognition it deserves.