The solar industry is hot!
The residential solar market experienced its fifth consecutive record year in 2021, growing 30% over 2020.
While the surge in demand creates ample opportunity, it also creates a surge in competitors. As of 2021, the U.S. has more than 10,000 solar companies.
Local markets are becoming inundated, so it’s critical for solar companies to stand out from the crowd and firmly establish themselves as the go-to company for solar.
Now is the time to put together a solid marketing plan to generate more solar leads and connect with potential customers. To help, here are three proven marketing strategies and real-world examples of how solar companies can stand out from the crowd and dominate local markets, including:
- Direct mail marketing for solar companies.
- Print marketing strategies to generate more solar leads.
- High ROI promotional products and solar swag.
Direct Mail Marketing for Solar Companies
Just like the solar market is inundated with competitors, inboxes and social media feeds are overflowing with ads. While email marketing and social media are fast and cheap marketing tactics, neither channel is ideal for standing out in crowded markets.
Email open rates average around 21%, and click-through rates average 3%. Social media conversion rates average 3%, as well.
Kind of underwhelming when compared to direct mail.
Direct mail achieves open rates as high as 90% and comes out on top for conversion rates at 5.3%.
While direct mail practically ensures your business gets noticed, prospective customers won’t convert if you launch a “spray and pray” type of campaign. In other words, sending out 250,000 generic mailers won’t convince prospects to convert, it will only convince them to put your mail piece in the trash.
Direct mail is extremely effective but it must be personalized.
- 84% of consumers say they’re more likely to buy from brands that treat them like a person, not a number. (Salesforce)
- 70% of consumers are more likely to buy from companies that understand how they use their products/services. (Salesforce)
- Consumers are more than twice as likely to view personalized offers as important than unimportant … and 52% expect offers to always be personalized. (Salesforce)
And just look at the impact on your bottom line:
- Personalization results in returns of $20 per $1 spent. (Liveclicker)
- Personalization reduces customer acquisition costs by as much as 50%. (ADWEEK)
- Personalization increases marketing spend efficiency by as much as 30%. (McKinsey & Company)
Modern printing technology makes personalizing direct mail easier than ever, thanks to something called variable data printing. Variable data printing allows businesses to personalize the content of each mailer in a single print run. In other words, you can print 250,000 personalized mailers in the same amount of time as it would take to print 250,000 of the same mail piece.
Nearly everything can be personalized, including names, neighborhoods, images, colors, copy and more.
Here are some real-life examples of how our solar customers have powered up their marketing efforts–and revenue–with personalization:
- Using photos of the entrance to the recipient’s neighborhood, with copy that references their street name.
- Including a testimonial from a homeowner in the prospects neighborhood who recently had their panels installed.
- Sharing the pain points of energy costs based on demographic information (a family of six versus a retired couple).
- Highlighting the average energy bill costing savings in the recipient's local market.
- Sharing misconceptions about solar panels i.e. (“Solar is only practical in very sunny climates” or “Solar panels are an eyesore”) with an image of a beautiful home in a close by neighborhood.
Print Marketing Strategies to Generate More Solar Leads
Printed marketing is equally effective at building brand awareness and winning new business. People have become immune to digital advertising, but the inherent trustworthiness and tangibility of print ensure your brand stays top of mind and in the hands of target audiences. The comeback of the QR code has made print marketing even more effective and easier than ever to track your marketing ROI. We’ll share our top tips for print marketing materials below, but first, let’s take a look at an often-overlooked print marketing strategy for lead generation.
Yard Signs with QR Codes
Neighbors can’t help but notice yard signs when walking or driving by. While you’ll build brand awareness by sharing standard information, like your company name, logo tagline, and phone number, there’s a better opportunity to generate solar leads from yard signs with QR codes.
QR codes can link to just about anything:
- Your website (homepage, custom sales page, testimonial page).
- Videos (explainer, testimonials, company intro by the owner).
- Special offers or coupons.
- A brochure or presentation.
- Review sites.
- Social channels.
One of the biggest benefits of QR codes is their flexibility. Want to change where the QR code links after printing the signs? It’s beyond easy. Simply update the link in the platform you used to create the QR code and voila!
Plus, QR codes allow you to track your print marketing ROI. You can track the number of times a QR code has been scanned, as well as the demographics of scanners, including location, time, device, and more.
You’ll want to include QR codes on all print marketing materials, including presentation kits and brochures, too.
Speaking of presentation kits and brochures, here are the key ingredients for creating high-converting print marketing materials that stand out from the crowd.
For prospects who are close to converting but might be on the fence, a customized and beautifully packaged presentation kit will showcase the quality and professionalism of your business, which is critical for prospects in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey.
Presentation kits typically include:
- Print marketing materials: brochures, guides and business cards.
- Promotional products: reusable cotton tote bags and coffee mugs.
- Company information: business overview, history and customer testimonials.
Regardless of what’s included in your presentation kit, don’t throw it into a manila folder or yellow envelope from Staples. As mentioned earlier, this is the time to show your professionalism and convince prospects that the quality of your services is the best in the business.
You’ll want to use branded folders or envelopes when meeting with prospects in-person and professionally kitted and assembled boxes when mailing.
Because brochures are tangible and shareable, they are still one the most effective ways to build brand awareness and influence the decision-making process.
Consider this: 61% of people buy products or services after seeing them in a brochure.
To ensure you create a brochure that converts, make sure to address the specific needs for each of your target markets. A one-size-fits-all approach to brochures won’t be nearly as effective.
For example, the cover of the brochure should include imagery and copy that will immediately resonate with prospects and evoke emotion. One of the best (and easiest) ways to do this is by tailoring brochures to the neighborhood of the recipient. Use images of the neighborhood and a headline that calls out the community, such as “The Morrison Ranch Homeowner’s Guide to Saving with Solar.”
On the inside, explain the benefits of working with your company through testimonials and images of customers in the community.
Don’t forget to include a strong CTA in the brochure. If there is a specific neighborhood or region where you want to take market share away from the competition, consider offering a neighborhood-specific discount or promotional item that can be claimed by scanning a QR code.
Promotional items are an extremely effective lead generation tactic, but you’ll want to have a well-developed strategy for swag in place to ensure a high ROI.
High ROI Promotional Products and Solar Swag
In addition to direct mail and print marketing, promotional products are an extremely effective tactic for building brand awareness and converting new customers. The ROI is pretty impressive, too. According to PROmotion Marketing:
- 90% of people who receive a promotional product can recall the name of the brand.
- A single promotional item averages 344 impressions per month.
- 85% of people who received a promotional product did business with that company.
- 82% of people have a more favorable impression of a brand after receiving a promotional product.
- Promotional products draw up to 500% more referrals than just a review.
And just like direct mail and print marketing, a one-size-fits-all strategy won’t work when it comes to promotional products.
For example, high-priced items aren’t ideal for top funnel leads that are early in the buyer’s journey. Swag for top funnel prospects needs to be carefully thought through, or you may incur high costs and a low ROI.
Move top funnel leads down the funnel with useful, small-ticket items that won’t get tossed, including:
- Mugs and insulated lunch bags.
- Notepads, pens and wall calendars.
- Small toys or coloring books for prospects with young children.
You may want to consider upping the ante for prospects that are further along in the buyer’s journey. For example, if a lead has scheduled a consultation or estimate, they are much closer to purchasing than a prospect who has recently filled out a form on your website for more information.
As mentioned above, if there’s a lucrative neighborhood or region that you want to dominate, it makes sense to opt for a higher-priced promotional item.
Generate More Solar Leads with Jet Mail
Since 1993, Jet Mail has created custom solutions for businesses looking to stand out from the crowd and win more business. With all-in-one marketing fulfillment services under one roof–including a commercial mail-house, state-of-the-art print shop, 80,000-square-foot fulfillment center and a global distribution network–you can rely on the Jet Mail team to supercharge your solar marketing ROI!