Last week we met a solar pro who has been working in the Arizona solar market for 15 years. This fellow has forgotten more about solar installation than we’ve ever known, so imagine our astonishment when we asked what marketing automation he uses in his business operations, and he told us “none.” In fact, he had never even defined his buyer personas.
Now clearly, this solar professional was doing decently well without these marketing hacks. However, as we continued to talk about marketing, it became clear that investing in a marketing plan earlier could have helped him grow his business even more effectively. After all, by defining his buyer personas, he would have been able to set up marketing automation to re-engage his customers at scale. By the end of the call, this solar pro was convinced he needed to completely revamp how he thought about marketing.
In today’s solar industry, it's critical to have a solid marketing plan for your solar energy company if you want to effectively reach and engage your target audience. A well-crafted marketing plan can help you to define your target market, set marketing goals, and identify the strategies and tactics that will be most effective in promoting your solar energy business.
But where do you start? What are the most important considerations you should explore? Some practical tips for building a marketing plan that will help you to effectively draw customers to your solar energy company may be in order. As sales of solar installations continue to climb based on high demand, we have four top tips to help you build a strong marketing plan and tap into that growth.
1. Figure out your internal bandwidth for marketing
Assessing your team's marketing capabilities is important when developing a marketing plan for your solar energy company. It's important to have a clear understanding of what your team is capable of handling well in terms of marketing efforts and then allocating tasks accordingly.
If you don't have the necessary expertise or resources in-house, it may be necessary to focus on just a few marketing avenues, outsource tasks, or hire additional help to ensure that all of your marketing efforts are being managed effectively. This could include hiring a marketing agency to handle certain tasks, outsourcing specific projects to freelancers, or hiring additional team members with the skills and experience needed to support your marketing efforts.
Prioritize your efforts
One important aspect of building a successful marketing plan for a solar energy company is prioritizing tasks and allocating resources efficiently. It's important to focus on the strategies that will have the greatest impact and return on investment rather than spreading yourself thin by trying to do too much. By monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs), you can learn where your marketing efforts are best spent. Setting clear goals and priorities will make it easier to focus your time efficiently.
Use social media wisely
Social media can be a powerful tool for engaging with your target audience, but it's important to be realistic about the time and resources you can commit to maintaining an active presence on each channel. Instead of trying to be active on every social media platform, focus on the channels where your audience is most likely to be and where you can commit to regularly posting content and interacting with followers. It's better to be accessible only on Instagram and Facebook than to have channels that look dead or on which customers will contact you and then get delayed responses.
2. Understand who are your customers and who are not
Researching your audience is a crucial step in building a marketing plan for a solar energy company. By understanding the needs, preferences, and behaviors of homeowners in your area, you can create marketing messages and strategies that are more likely to convert. Here are a few tips for researching your target market:
- Identify your ideal customer: Start by defining who your ideal customer is and what their needs and preferences are. This might include factors like their age, income, location, and level of sophistication when it comes to solar energy.
- Use market research and customer data to inform your decisions: Utilize market research and customer data to understand more about your target market and inform your marketing efforts. This might include conducting surveys, analyzing customer data, or performing market analysis to understand trends and patterns in the industry.
- Understand that solar customers vary by region: It's important to recognize that solar customers can vary significantly by region. Some markets may be more sophisticated and require less education about solar energy, while others may require more education and support. Make sure you tailor your marketing efforts to the specific needs and preferences of your target market in each region.
- Research your competition: Understanding what sets your company apart from the competition can help you to create a marketing plan that differentiates your business and positions you as the best choice for solar energy products or services. Conduct a competitive analysis to understand what your competitors are doing and how you can stand out in the market.
- Create buyer personas: Another useful tool for understanding your target market is creating buyer personas. A buyer persona is a fictionalized representation of your ideal customer based on market research and customer data. By creating buyer personas, you can get a more detailed and accurate picture of your target market and use that information to inform your marketing efforts. When creating buyer personas, consider factors like homeowner demographics, goals, pain points, and the types of products or services they are most interested in.
- Customize proposals based on what you've learned: The proposals you've put together should reflect what you've learned about your target audience. Which add-ons will benefit customers in your area the most? Which will your specific buyer personas be more likely to purchase? By closely aligning proposals with your target audience, you can increase your job acceptance rate and reduce cancellations.
3. Have a clear brand voice
Having a clear brand voice is crucial for a solar energy company. In a competitive industry, it's important to differentiate your business and stand out from the competition. But it's not just about selling your products or services – you're also selling your brand and building trust with your audience. A strong brand voice helps to establish your company's identity and create a cohesive message that resonates with your target market.
Figure out your brand's story and differentiators
One key aspect of building a clear brand voice is figuring out what sets your brand apart from the competition. What is your brand's unique value proposition and what makes you different? By identifying your brand's story and differentiators, you can create messaging and content that resonates with your target audience and helps to position your brand as the best choice for solar energy products or services.
Consistently communicate your brand values and messaging across all channels
Once you have defined your brand voice and messaging, it's important to consistently communicate those values and messages across all channels. This includes your website, social media accounts, email marketing, and any other marketing materials or channels you use. Consistent branding helps to build trust and credibility with your audience and ensures that your message is clear and cohesive across all customer touchpoints.
To effectively communicate your brand values and messaging, consider creating brand guidelines that outline your brand's tone, messaging, and visual identity. These guidelines can help to ensure that your marketing efforts are consistent and aligned with your brand's values and messaging, regardless of the channel.
4. A website is nonnegotiable
For a solar energy company, having a professional and user-friendly website is non-negotiable. Your website is often the first point of contact that potential customers have with your business, so it's important to make a good impression. By investing in professional design and development services, you can ensure that your website is an effective marketing tool that helps to drive growth for your business. A well-designed website can help to establish your credibility and showcase your products or services in the best light.
Your website must be easy to navigate and provide a positive user experience. Solar customers have a lot of questions. The more answers they can get from your website or app, the less frustrated they'll be and the fewer support communications your staff will have to respond to. If visitors to your website have a hard time finding what they're looking for or encounter technical issues, they're likely to leave and look elsewhere.
5. Build a solar referral program
Marketers and solar sales pros alike are always thinking about the cost of customer acquisition (CAC) and how to get that number as low as possible. That's why thriving solar businesses seek to maximize their positive reviews and referrals. While there are plenty of tips and tricks to generate more positive reviews, scaling up your referrals can be more difficult. A solar referral program can be difficult to get right, but there are a few key things to consider as you're setting yours up:
- The structure. Do you want to do a single-sided or double-sided referral program? What will the pay-out or incentive look like? These decisions will impact both the efficacy of the program, as well as your CAC.
- The logistics. How will your customers submit their referrals? Who manages the payout process, and how are you going to manage the cashflow associated with this new part of your marketing and sales channel?
- The marketing itself. Who within your customer base will you market to and how often? What we've found is that the majority of your referrals will come from the minority of your customers, so it's really about finding the champions of your business.
How Bodhi can help
Bodhi's unique platform can play an important role in your marketing plan and help maximize its effectiveness. The Bodhi platform provides your customers with instant and automated access to common questions customers have, both about the process in general and the progress of their installation specifically. Bodhi's referral program software will help you turn existing customers into powerful marketing partners. To learn more about how Bodhi can help your solar business succeed, schedule a demo today.