Are you a solar installer looking to up your marketing game?
Are you a solar installer and looking to spruce up your marketing in a budget?
Do you want to take advantage of online marketing and reach out to your customers using various marketing channels and generate quality leads?
The question is, however, how will you do all that? Well, the answer is by using some great free marketing tools that can make your business competitive.
In this post, we have listed 9 awesome marketing tools that have been creating quite a buzz in the digital marketing industry for some time. You too can use these tools to boost your solar business. Here we go.
HubSpot CRM is an excellent tool with free features that will help improve your business’ productivity and efficiency.
As HubSpot CRM has simplicity, it is easy to set up, and you can start using it right away. The tool’s user interface (UI) has been designed, keeping in mind the daily schedule of sales representatives.
So, typically, you can feed in contacts, align those with sales deals, rev up your sales funnel, and calculate their value. You can do all this stuff in an automated way.
Also, Hubspot CRM will easily integrate if you are using HubSpot Marketing. Whenever you add contacts to the free CRM, they will automatically go into the Marketing tool. On HubSpot Marketing, you will get 100 free contacts.
Now, if you want to add contacts beyond 100, there will be a charge of $100 for every additional 1,000 contacts. It means you can get 1,100 contacts to the CRM by paying just $100 per month.
Other key features of Hubspot CRM are:
- Integration with Website: The website integration feature will notify you when a lead comes to your site.
- Integration with Social Media: Hubspot CRM integrates with different social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google Plus and fetches important details from the profiles.
Also, the tool integrates with the Hubspot Sales Chrome extension that gets you easy access to all the information in your inbox. Based on that, you can draft and send emails to those contacts.
- Tracking Communications: The tool helps to track all the communications with the prospective clients by allowing to send emails to them by logging the correspondence within the contact record. The CRM also has a feature to record phone calls.
Overall, Hubspot CRM is an amazing tool that will get your business all the benefits of inbound marketing without any budget.
HubSpot Personas Builder
Do you know your customers?
Do you know where and what they buy?
Do you know their average yearly income?
Or what kind of lifestyle they have?
You can get answers to all these questions by creating a ‘buyer persona.’
Why is it important to create a buyer persona? Because it will help your business attract ideal prospects by understanding their behavioral patterns.
This is where Hubspot Personas Builder really handy. It will help you create semi-fictional profiles of your ideal customers based on market research and collecting data of your existing customers.
The personas builder can enhance your digital marketing efforts by:
- Helping you stay focused on your customers’ needs.
- Making your content and campaign connect emotionally with the prospects.
- Creating a greater user experience for your website design and copy.
- Allowing you to make your content and email campaigns tailormade for customers.
- Enabling you to see things and solve customers’ problems by putting yourself in their shoes.
How Hubspot Personas Builder helps you create Buyer Personas
The Hubspot Personas Builder will help you create buyer personas with a simple walkthrough mode:
Step 1: Create Your Avatar – Choose an avatar from various animated images of people in different age groups. Name your persona in the blank field.
Step 2: Fill in the Demographic Traits – Select the age group under the “How Old Are They?” section. Then select the qualification of your buyer under “What is the highest degree or level of school your persona has completed?”
Step 3: Choose Their Business – Select the industry your buyer works in from the dropdown. Also, fill in the size of their organization.
Step 4: Their Career – Fill in the information about your customers’ job title, how is their job measured, and who do they report?
Step 5: The Characteristics of Their Job – In this step, enter information under the sections “What Are Their Goals or Objectives?” “What Are Their Biggest Challenges?” and “What Are Their Job Responsibilities?”
Step 6: How They Work – In the first part of the section, there are a few checkboxes about some work platforms. Check the box that applies.
In the next part, it says, “How Do They Prefer to Communicate with Vendors/Other Businesses?” You need to select the modes of communication (e.g., Phone, Email, Text Messaging, etc.) that apply.
Step 7: Their Consumption Habits – This is the final step where you can fill in the customers’ habit of information feed in or any training.
In the next part, to answer the question “What Social Networks Do They Belong To?” choose the social media platforms the customers use such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others.
After filling in all the information, once you click the next icon ( > ), it will take you to “Make My Persona Overview.” You can either save the data or download the report.
Through this step-by-step process of Hubspot’s persona generator will help you create one or multiple buyer personas. This way, it will help you target your ideal prospects and improve conversions.
Related article: Top 7 Research Findings Available about Solar Customers
Yoast SEO (on-site SEO tool)
Yoast SEO is a popular WordPress plugin for search engine optimization or SEO, and it is free. This WordPress plugin has more than 1 million active installations.
Yoast SEO has three major settings for your posts:
- Meta description, and
- Meta keywords.
The primary features of the Yoast SEO tool are below:
Using Yoast, you can write your custom text and keywords. The plugin also notifies if the optimization is weak or strong. In the free version, you can use only one keyword or keyphrase.
Let Google know about your page:
You let Google and other major search engine platforms know about your page by adding schema.org code to your pages. It is a new feature in the Yoast tool.
Checking the preview of your page in Google
You can check how your page looks like in search engine results with the help of the snippet editor. Accordingly, you can decide what changes are required to make your pages more user-friendly.
Check the readability of the content
It is already a well-known fact that readers do not read everything online; they scan content. The Yoast SEO tool tells you if your sentences are hard to read. Based on that, you can make the content snappy by adding subheadings and using connecting words for better readability.
Updated for Google’s algorithm
Besides major updates every year, such as Panda and Penguin, Google also makes a minor algorithm changes nearly 500-600 times a year.
The Yoast SEO tool makes sure that all the updates are included by optimizing for Google’s latest version of the algorithm.
You can download this plugin on WordPress by going to Plugins >> Add New >> Putting ‘Yoast SEO’ in the search plugins.
Google Keyword Planner
Doing keyword research and choosing the right keywords is crucial while rolling out an effective marketing strategy.
That is where the free Google Keyword Planner tool is handy. It is the most popular tool that marketers have been using successfully over the years.
The primary benefit of Google Keyword Planner is that you can fetch data directly from Google, which will help you optimize your website.
The other major advantages of this tool are below:
Finding new keywords
Using this tool, you can find new and relevant keywords. Once you identify the keywords, you can use them to improve and optimize your onsite SEO content.
To use this tool, first of all, you need to create a Google Ads account. On the Google Ads dashboard, click the tools icon in the menu located on the top right corner. The menu will expand where all five categories will show up.
Select “Keyword Planner” from the list on the left side of the menu.
Now, you will see two options.
- Find new keywords.
- Get search volume and forecasts.
Select the “find new keywords” option.
Subsequently, enter a keyword into the search bar, and Google will find all the relevant keywords.
Analyze the generated keywords
Once the keyword planner generates keywords, you can analyze the search results and sort out the most relevant keywords for present and future campaigns.
Sometimes too many keywords are generated, and you will not need that many. The search results are based on the last 12 months’ search data. However, you can pick the most recent keywords.
Narrow down your search
You can narrow down your search and save time by simply changing the filter settings to “closely related ideas” from “broadly related ideas.”
This filter will leave out a lot of keywords that are not useful. Once you narrow your search, you will get only the keywords that are most relevant to your website and will help optimize your SEO well.
In addition to keywords, from this tool, you can also get average monthly searches, competition, and suggested bids for AdWords.
Google Analytics (website analytics tool)
Google Analytics could well be called the “giant” among all the free analytics tools. It is vast and comprehensive.
You can use the free Google Analytics tool for tracking your website visitors’ data. You can use this data to optimize your SEO and increase your year-over-year revenue growth.
The back end of Google Analytics has eight major sections:
- Intelligence Events
Out of the listed sections, three sections are most useful for your SEO strategy:
- Acquisition: In this section, you can get detailed information about how people are visiting your website. Checking out the “All Traffic” tab will show whether visitors are arriving at your site via a search engine or social media platforms.
- Audience: The Audience section can get you comprehensive data about the visitors to your website. It has various subsections that provide data about the age, gender, and location of the visitors.
- Behavior: This section will help you understand how the visitors to your website are navigating and checking your site. In simple words, you will get to know which pages on your website are attracting maximum visitors.
To get the behavioral data, click the “Behavior” tab >> the Site Content dropdown.
By analyzing these sections within Google Analytics, you can understand in details about your audience, what are their needs, and how they can find you.
Buffer is another free tool that helps you schedule social media posts on all social platforms.
Why is Buffer so useful?
The simplicity of Buffer makes it a popular tool. As soon as you connect a social network to Buffer, you can start writing new posts and add to your post queue.
Each new post in your queue is scheduled to post automatically in your account in consecutive order. You can also share the post now or to schedule a particular date and time to get posted.
So, the primary features of Buffer are:
- Easy composition of posts: As mentioned earlier, you can easily compose posts and can add images, links, GIFs, and videos through Buffer.
- Deciding your post schedule: You can set your date and time to publish your social media posts.
- Statistics: After publishing a post on Buffer, you can go to the “Posts” tab to view statistics related to visitor engagement, including likes, clicks, replies, comments, and shares.
When using Buffer, you can schedule your posts around peak times when the most number of people check social posts.
According to Hubspot, Facebook and Twitter have maximum visitor engagement at 9:00 a.m, whereas 5:00 p.m is the best time to post on Instagram. In this way, you can maximize your social presence.
Google My Business (local SEO tool)
Google receives more than 100 Billion searches per month. So, to get visibility in the clutter, your business needs to be discoverable on Google. This is where Google My Business comes to the rescue.
Google My Business is a free tool that enables you to list your local business on Google. It will help to create your online presence and generate more leads.
Once you verify and edit your business details, you can help customers find you. Subsequently, you can give them your product or service information:
So, the key elements of Google My Business are below:
- Managing how your business information will appear Google, which also includes Search and Maps.
- Interact with both existing and new customers and tell them about your business.
- You can start at google.com/business.
- Follow Google’s guide to getting started.
MailChimp (Email marketing tool)
When it comes to emailing and newsletter tools, MailChimp’s the first name that will pop up in our mind. This tool has been creating buzz for several years now, and still going great guns.
According to MailChimp, they send more than 600 million emails every day through emailing platform. That is a whopping number by any standard!
Here are some of the key features available in MailChimp.
- E-Commerce Integration
- Landing Pages
- Flexible Designs
- Marketing Automation
- Data Insights
- Social Media Advertising Features
- Mobile App
- Advanced Analytics
Advantages of MailChimp:
- Comprehensive Reporting: You can get detailed data about clients, geo-tracking, social media, as well as Google Analytics integration.
- Free Plan: MailChimp offers most of its features in the free plan. In a month, you can send 10,000 emails and add 2,000 subscribers.
- Excellent Template Editor: MailChimp has an excellent template editor and clean interface.
How to Import Email List
If you already have a list of customers or subscribers, you can import their email information on MailChimp.
To import the email list, select “Add contacts,” and select “Import”:
You can import using any of the three options below:
- Import from file: You can import using CSV or text file format.
- Paste in contacts: You can paste email contacts under this option.
- Integrations: If you are using software like Salesforce, you can automatically import the customers’ information.
Managing Email Campaigns
There are four types of campaign options in MailChimp:
- Regular: This is a standard email format. You can create an email by choosing and customizing a template.
- Plain-text: This is just like a regular text-only email without images or formatting.
- A/B test: This option is for creating a single email, but with different versions. You can also do split testing for elements like subject lines and content.
- Automated: This allows you to create emails that are only sent when specific events happen. You can also create autoresponders here.
As you can see, the free MailChimp has nearly all the features like a premium tool. It can fulfill all of your business needs without putting a dent in your business budget.
ClickUp (project management to manage remote workers)
The final free tool in our last is ClickUp. This project management software has become extremely popular for its innovative and useful features.
ClickUp integrates with Google easily via Chrome extension. Once you add the extension, you can use the features such as:
- Notepad: You can scribble your notes or list items on the integrated notepad and need not switch to Windows notepad or any other application for taking notes.
- Email: You attach emails by clicking the ClickUp logo in your Gmail.
- Screenshot: This is a handy feature. Once you click “Screenshot,” you will see two options — Entire screen and Select area.
By clicking the Entire screen, you can select the entire screen, and then click “Done,” the whole screen will be captured. Now clicking “Attach to task,” you can attach the screenshot to ClickUp.
Now, if you click the Select Area option, you can select particular sections of the screen. Once you select the screen, you will see a few more options in the top menu bar such as “numbers” for numbering highlighted sections, “blur” for blurring certain sections, and “text” for writing descriptions next to the highlighted areas.
There are also features like “arrow,” “rectangle,” and “brush.”
- Time Tracking: By using this option, you can track time for a particular task.
- Bookmark: In this section, you can save a ClickUp task as a bookmark under a specific destination. You can even add a description to the bookmark.
These are extremely convenient features of ClickUp that makes managing a project a seamless process.
Related article: How To Make VAs Work for Your Solar Installation Business?
Now you know what you need to do to beef up your digital marketing strategy by using these great tools with actionable features. There are hundreds of other tools that we have not included in our list because many of them are free only for a limited period.
The tools in this post have comprehensive features like premium tools but do not cost you a dime. So, use these tools and stay ahead of the competition in the solar industry. Also, let us know if this post is useful for you by commenting below.
In the fight against the climate crisis, Willie Jiang believes that content marketing can push the energy revolution along at a faster pace. Having helped countless brands grow their organic traffic by 10X and became the CMO of SolarFeeds.com, he is sharing his insights with the solar energy industry. Read his story here