Solar is becoming one of the fastest growing and largest industries in America and around the world. Despite a lot of noise and perhaps bigger and more widespread rebates and tax credits a few years ago, solar it really just gaining traction now. This is a combination of increased housing and energy needs and uses for solar, reduced costs, peer pressure and new regulations requiring solar to be installed as a mandatory building code.
It is also a hyper competitive industry. Lots of people have wanted to get involved for a variety of reasons. Some very noble reasons. Others were just in it for the money they could make. It’s so competitive that even Solyndra with the backing of the government and billions in contracts, managed to blow through over half a billion dollars and went bust. No one wants to be the next Solyndra.
So, how can solar marketing be done well to secure a large enough base of paying customers at market rates that will ensure a profitable business and a sustainable business?
Big Branding & Creating a Need
Tesla effectively reversed engineered its solar business by creating the need and leveraging big branding.
Elon Musk’s Tesla has become an iconic brand. While building the car brand, Elon was simultaneously working on SolarCity. Then made his solar company a subsidiary which adopted the Tesla name and appeal.
Tesla vehicles are amazing. There is lots to love and admire about them. Safety, beautiful design and eco-friendliness. Until Tesla, solar really wasn’t that sexy. It was green. It may have offered some long term savings. It makes people feel good about their impact on the planet and their neighbors. Yet, we all know that people are far more likely to buy into a fashionable brand, regardless of the price.
The problem with Tesla as a vehicle is that no matter how appealing they are, they haven’t been practical for everyone. You may not have to pay for gas, but you still have to pay for electricity and have a way to get your home electricity to charge your vehicle. That’s a big problem.
Then comes the Tesla Powerwall. A beautiful, sleek looking, heavily branded wall battery that stores and channels your solar energy into not only your Model Y, but the rest of your home as well. If you are using solar then you don’t need to worry about the electricity bill either.
That’s cool, right? Though where are you going to get your solar from? Oh, Tesla now has solar roofs you can buy too. How convenient, right? Even Tesla’s solar roof website is all about the brand, the beauty and the status. You just happen to be getting solar panels in the process.
Content Marketing & Storytelling
Obviously not every solar company has Elon Musk’s visibility or budget. If you can’t instantly pitch and blow up your orders just based on your personal influence or drop a million on commissioning designs, then content marketing is probably one of the best tools at your disposal.
There are lots of ways to use content marketing today. How effective it is in converting and spreading the word will also heavily rely on the strength of your storytelling.
Mesocore is a good example of this. Mesocore is really a manufacturer of shipping container based homes, that happen to run off-grid using solar. These homes can be used in the US anywhere, even without plugging into public utilities. Or as off grid vacation homes in tropical locations. They’ve also been positioned as a great solution to solving housing and energy crises overseas in places like Africa.
Mesocore’s story has gotten out, leading to being featured on the Discovery Channel’s Innovations TV series, and winning the Telly Awards.
Fast growing nonprofit Acumen is also a fantastic case study in storytelling in solar, and how to use personal stories to bring emotion to the table.
Ringless Voicemail Messaging
Even if you have a sizable solar marketing budget today, marketing in general is becoming much more difficult. One after the other channels have fallen. Radio, TV, cold calling, email and social. If it’s not lack of audience, it’s new regulations, or just booming costs and lower returns. In person door to door sales isn’t going to be any cheaper or lower risk. Even outbound calling isn’t always practical due to the scale required, and size of teams.
A huge part of the problem is attention and creating urgency. Solar still has a lot of myths and misconceptions to overcome.
So, imagine you could get your message right into the ears of your most ideal prospective clients for a few cents, and they would call you interested and ready to take action. That’s what ringless is all about. You can send thousands of your messages to voicemail boxes in moments, without fear of being bounced by caller ID. In that message you can peak their interest, dispel myths, or prompt them with alerts to rising gas and electric prices, new regulations and tax filing deadlines. It’s far faster, more affordable and efficient than the other options. Or you can integrate it into what you are doing now and see how it lifts all of your results.