These things come in cycles. Right now, lead generation is pretty easy for residential solar and energy efficiency. But it won’t be forever.
Make sure you have a plan for when the market turns.
If you wait until leads taper and your timelines tighten, you’ll feel pressured to run ads and buy leads at the same time as your competitors. You’ll overpay for lower quality leads, frustrating salespeople and hurting your bottom line.
A marketing plan doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You just need a framework to help you make decisive steps when the timing is right. The specific steps and timelines will vary, but I’ll share a few best practices below. If you’d like help coming up with a responsive marketing plan, give me a call at (503) 383-1648.
If you don’t have a regular newsletter, start now.
The point is to stay in touch with the majority of your customers who get estimates but don’t complete projects. Your newsletter shouldn’t badger customers into doing projects. Instead, do your best to speak to their goals and challenges, so that you’re top of mind when they’re ready to do a project.
Imagine you’re a homeowner who gets solar estimates from three companies. You’re like most homeowners, so you take more than a year to make a decision. Throughout the year, one company follows up consistently, not to close the sale, but to keep you up-to-date about changing incentives and strategies to save energy at home. You look forward to reading their newsletters.
Which company will earn your trust and most likely your business?
A newsletter also allows you to stay in touch with your customers who completed projects. You’ll come to mind when friends or family ask for referrals. I helped one of my clients – a residential energy contractor in Portland, Oregon – increase referrals and repeat business by 40% in our first 12-months working together. Check out the case study.
When the market turns, you’ll have an audience of customers to cushion your conversion rates and support you with referrals to keep your sales team rolling.
Get started by downloading my solar referral email templates. It’s a series of four emails solar installers can use to automatically ask for referrals from customers who recently completed projects.
Solar Referral Email Templates
Make sure that your schedulers know to alert the leadership team when the your timeline for sales appointments begins to contract. Here’s an alert schedule with action items that you can use as a starting point:
Fees: If you were charging for appointments to control demand, consider reducing your fees or going back to free appointments.
Ads: For short term lead generation, it’s hard to beat Google Ads. When you’re four weeks out, you won’t want to do a full roll out of Google Ad campaigns, but I recommend running scaled down campaigns. This will allow you to start collecting data about which ad groups and ads to scale up when you need them. You’ll waste less money this way.
Ads: Start ramping up your best converting Google Ads.
Emails: In your newsletter, start to be more assertive with priority services. Don’t be overly salesey, but it’s OK to nudge people who are close to making a decision.
Ads: Increase Google Ad spend to historical levels.
Alternatives: Explore alternative sources of lead generation as needed. This is a bit vague, but there are a huge number of alternatives, and which ones make sense will vary from company to company.
RESPONSIVE MARKETING PLAN
A responsive marketing plan allows you to make confident decisions about when and how you’ll spend your marketing budget. You’ll definitely feel less stress with leads start to dry up.
This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive marketing plan, but rather, a specific framework to help you prepare for the inevitable ups and downs of the market.
Feel free to grab a time on my calendar if you’d like help setting up a responsive marketing plan for your company.