The spike in the number of solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in recent years has been remarkable.
Until 2018, the total installed PV capacity in the world reached nearly 512 GW.
Despite the total solar power installed, the industry has achieved just a fraction of its true potential.
In the US, for example, the total installed PV capacity represents less than 0.1% of energy production in the country.
Simply put, solar companies need to increase their solar sales for a sustained future.
It is a reality that driving more solar power installations is a challenge for solar installers.
To make the matter of solar marketing easier, we have put together this blog with some smart ways to increase solar sales. Here we go.
Removing the Obstacles to Solar Sales Growth
First of all, to increase solar sales, it is important to address and remove the major obstacles to its market growth.
To make solar sales efforts successful, first, you need to create a desire among consumers for the product. As a solar installer, you should understand the following:
- Gauge the perception of consumers about solar energy and products and chalk out action plans to improve those perceptions.
- If pricing or value propositions are not appealing to consumers, rethink pricing, and USP to create more appeal.
- Which sources of product information consumers believe to be credible, and use those sources for marketing communication.
- Marketing channels to use for placing key information for promoting or advertising so that it will reach the target consumers.
The pointers listed above are both obstacles and opportunities for solar installers. If you can successfully integrate all of these elements, marketing connects with consumers, it will create a desire for the product, and result in a sale.
Developing a Solar Marketing Plan
Currently, some of the major barriers to the growth of the solar market are the pricing of solar systems and the lack of confidence of customers on solar technology.
Understanding customers’ pulse in terms of their rational and emotional decision about solar technology will help formulate an effective solar marketing plan.
Action Plan 1: Improve the Value Proposition
1. Identify the financial options available for customers in the local market
- Are solar loans, lease arrangements, PPAs, and other financing options available?
- Are there any new approaches that you should offer?
2. Evaluate how can you promote the current financing options to potential customers
- How can you reach out to a larger audience with these options?
- Can you utilize the resources of strategic partners to create more awareness?
3. Create an outreach plan
- Promote the affordability message in collateral material, public relations, and advertising that go beyond the website.
4. Educate homeowners and commercial customers.
- Work with local utilities to promote the value of combining solar with energy efficiency for optimum financial effectiveness.
5. Convey an Assuring Message of Affordability
- Use your website to show monthly payment options for buying or leasing a solar system.
6. Organize Solar Financing Events and Workshops
- Host workshops and solar seminars to highlight financing as a key element, keeping in mind that this is the biggest obstacle to solar adoption.
Action Plan 2: Reduce the Complexity
1. Reduce delays in providing estimates to potential solar buyers.
2. Create a solar ambassador program to connect existing solar customers with potential customers for social proof and ease their complex decision-making process.
3. Offering free solar quotes/estimates on an energy program to guide prospects through the incentives of installing a solar system.
Action Plan 3: Help Customers Get Over Buyer Inertia
1. Create a list of “hot” solar leads and have a communication strategy in place to continually engage them during their decision-making process.
2. Offer promotional incentives and prospect mailings to encourage the prospects.
3. Create a sense of urgency about limited-time offers driving customers to make a buying decision.
Action Plan 4: Convey the Right Message to Customers
1. Identify the “right” message for the target audience and make sure that it is clear, consistent, and addressing the customers’ needs.
2. Carry out an audit on solar marketing materials to evaluate the effectiveness and consistency of the content.
3. Review your solar website to ensure its focus on prospective customers.
Ways to Increase Solar Sales by Implementing Marketing Campaign Plans for Real
1. Get the Pulse of Customers in the Local Market
Many solar companies jump straight into direct mailing and promoting via their websites even before understanding what they should be talking about and what customers think about solar energy.
Customers in different local markets have different beliefs about solar energy.
To understand what customers think, conduct focus group surveys. These survey results can vary from one market to another. In one market, the prospects may think solar as expensive, and in another, it may appear complex to them.
When it comes to cost, for example, prospects may like the idea of solar but did not want to invest an average of $25,000-30,000 on it.
In such a scenario, you can educate customers that they actually do not have to purchase the solar system as various lease options are available.
Understanding the prospects’ needs and desires is a necessary first step towards creating your key message.
Related article: Solar Buyer Personas: How to Profile Your Ideal PV Customers?
2. Identify Your USP to Make Your Brand Stand Out
In the clutter of so many solar companies, imagine how hard it is for prospective customers to identify the one that suits them the best. It means you need to make your brand stand out and attractive to the right audience.
First, focus on the unique selling proposition of your solar brand with that “special” feature or features that will provide economic value and long-term benefits to consumers.
For example, is the solar brand you are promoting has a high capacity, more output, or durability? Explain this to your prospects how these features will benefit them more than other solar brands.
Also, consumers want to buy from companies who they feel connected to in terms of their beliefs. Your solar company, for example, could state their mission as “to provide affordable electricity to every citizen in the region.”
You can spread awareness of your company’s mission by introducing a customer referral program, aiming to provide free solar power to low-income groups.
Approaches like this create a lasting USP for an organization.
3. Stop Being ‘Salesy’ and Help Customers Make their Buying Decision
Before consumers buy a product, they gather as much information as possible. For example, asking family members, friends, or colleagues or doing online research before purchasing something is common.
Most solar companies tend to forget that there is still a considerable knowledge gap in the industry, especially among potential consumers. Mostly, during a web search, things that come up are just sales offers. But the sellers are not guiding local customers to make an informed decision.
A huge opportunity lies for a solar company to develop and publish customized content that appeals to people in the local community.
As a solar installer, you can provide free downloads of an eBook in PDF format with content, illustrations, and web links customized for your local city or area. In such a document, you can provide in-depth information about various solar options.
This way, things would be more about providing information rather than a typical sales pitch.
Related article: Solar SEO: The Ultimate Guide for the Solar Energy Industry
4. Follow Up with Your Leads without Delay
Do not let your solar sales to cool down. To drive new solar installations and increase revenue, follow these best practices for converting solar leads:
- Make a call within a minute: Making calls fast is one of the biggest drivers of lead conversion. On average, 64% of cases, making the first call has an advantage.
- Send an Email within 20 minutes: Send your first email 20 minutes after getting the lead to appear more personal. Some prospects do not want to talk at this stage, so send an email to engage them in a different way.
- Do a Follow-up Call again and leave a voicemail within 30-60 minutes: On the second attempt to call, leave a voicemail message to increase the chances of conversion by 31%.
- Make the third call within 1-2 hours: Nearly 53% of leads never receive more than one call. So, by making the third call, you can increase the number of lead conversion by 67%.
- Make the fourth call within 5 days: To increase the chances of conversion by 73%, leave a second voicemail on your fourth attempt to call a prospect.
- Be Persistent but do not annoy the prospects: Many times, frequent follow-ups may annoy a prospect. Making more than six calls and five emails are likely to result in wasting time and resources, and they reduce the brand value.
The follow-up methods listed above can ensure that you use the best possible process to understand your prospects and eventually convert the leads.
5. Get More Ad Clicks with Ad Extensions
If you are selling products online, use the ad extensions feature available in Google AdWords and Bing to get more clicks on your ads. Ad extensions also allow you to make your ad bigger with a more “clickable” place without having to pay anything extra.
6. Use Customer Testimonials and Trust Signals
Using social proof is a tried and tested technique that works in marketing, including digital marketing. Particularly, in today’s social media environment, customer feedback has become even more important.
Your satisfied customers can provide you with the social proof and trust signal to the prospects through testimonials and can help convert the leads.
In fact, satisfied customers are always more influential than even the best sales copy. Publish the testimonials on your landing pages, pricing page, or even on your homepage.
Also, if your business has any professional accreditation like the ‘Better Business Bureau’ (BBB), it will give a strong trust signal and provide assurance to your prospects.
7. Create a Sense of Urgency
Creating a sense of urgency is an age-old marketing technique and a proven one. Things like “limited time offer” and “end of discount” often persuade prospects to make a quick buying decision.
Many prospective customers respond positively to time-sensitive incentive offers. For example, you can offer a discount on the installation cost, free shipping, or provide some other financial incentive to persuade customers to purchase a solar system.
8. Offer a Money-Back Guarantee
More often than not, customers hold their buying decision to avoid the risk of financial loss. Why should prospective customers buy your products? What if their purchase does not work for them? Even small purchases may have the risk of “buyer’s remorse,” and here we are talking about investing somewhere around $25,000 plus. Overcome this obstacle by offering a complete money-back guarantee.
When you remove the potential risk factor from the prospects’ buying equation, they are more likely to buy from you.
9. Target Lookalike Audiences on Facebook
Another effective way to increase online sales is to use the data or your buyer persona information of your existing customers to find people similar to them. On Facebook, you can apply this tactic to the target of lookalike audiences.
All you have to do is to upload your buyer information to Facebook, which cross-references its own data create matches based on your specified criteria. This method allows you to expand your reach significantly with minimal effort and use targeted ads to persuade Facebook users who are similar to your existing customers.
10. Optimize Your Landing Pages for Call-only Ads
Optimize your online ads to align with your website’s landing pages for call-only ads to encourage customers, who actually browse the web and shop online.
Call-Only campaigns on Facebook and AdWords can be more effective than traditional landing pages. Many prospects do not have the patience to spend several minutes to browse pages on their mobile devices; they just want to access the products that interest them.
Call-Only ads make it easier for prospects to reach out to your business and are likely to increase the volume of calls to your business.
11. Add an Opt-In Pop-Up Offer to Push Them Over the Edge
Opt-in leads are another effective lead generation strategy because these leads are not cold. Opt-in offers encourage people to sign up for your newsletter, mailing list, or loyalty programs.
When prospects fill out a form asking for more information on solar panels and installations, it may indicate that these leads are more likely to convert, and they are actively shopping for solar services.
Related article: 9 Free Marketing Tools that Solar Installation Companies Can Use
12. Use Remarketing to Close More Deals
Remarketing your content to push a time-sensitive promotional offer often prove to be effective for increasing sales online. It is because remarketing keeps the “brand recall value” in the prospects’ minds.
Also, remarketing closely aligns with how consumers these days prefer to shop online — they want to do it wherever and whenever they choose.
There is a range of strategies that you can implement to increase solar sales. However, the methods listed in this post are proven, time-tested and can effectively boost your sales.
Some of these ways require more specific strategies to get the best results, whereas others are more generalized in nature. Try these to have a more competitive edge in the market in terms of persuading prospects and increasing sales.
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. If you want to publish your articles on SolarFeeds Magazine, click here.