Brand Building Secrets for the Ultimate Solar Company Profile
Day by day, renewable energy and especially PV solar are gaining momentum and popularity.
In its early days though, solar was an insider’s movement much like the computer industry. It was a world of, for lack of a more tactful term, tech geeks. It was even hard to wrangle your garden variety hippie or environmentalist into the game as they were scared away by the giant battery banks and cumbersome systems.
Nowadays, the solar industry is booming, gathering energy and finally starting to come into the mainstream. And with competitive countries around the world seeking a greater global presence in the industry, the race is on for which nation has the vision to come out on top.
So it’s surprising that residential and commercial installers still find such resistance in the market
Take me for example. I was born and raised in North Carolina, but I’m sitting here in Yokohama Japan as I write this post. I am so passionate about helping the solar industry grow that I am willing to work throughout the night if necessary to make a call and help a new business out with their marketing plans. This is a sacrifice I love to make because I see that even now, when things are looking better than ever for the solar industry, companies are still having trouble breaking into new markets and closing the sales they know are possible.
Solar is booming here in Japan too. Here’s a solar farm we saw on our weekend camping trip out to the mountains of Yatsugatake in the southern Alps of Japan this weekend.
But there’s a unique asset that every solar business has: and that’s a story.
How to Switch up Your Marketing Strategy
Now, some paths for getting your story out there.
Use social media to get your message out there. Gone are the simple days when websites could exist autonomously and get traffic. Nowadays, if you are looking to grow your brand, you want to invest time, efforts and funds into social media. Developing a social media strategy and consistent presence is an essential piece for any business seeking growth in 2017.
Use pictures and video. The video is the vanguard of social advertising in 2017 and there is a laundry list of psychological reasons why it works so well. The Savanna Principle aside, Facebook is prioritizing video on its platform this year, which means cheaper costs for advertisers who take advantage of the powerful medium by producing appealing video ad content. You’ll be helping yourself out too. Video is top shelf advertising when it comes to engagement and branding. Email is still the king of sales conversions, but video is a close second.
Make your website a habitable destination. A mistake I see across the board in the solar industry is that the development of many a website suffers from a form and function imbalance. Drone footage abounds, but effective, conversion focused UX is lacking.
Site visitors, especially potential customers, do not want to make a lot of effort to gather the information on your site. The easier and silkier you can make it for a visitor to take an action, the more memorable you will become. Your new leads will think of your site and will be enthusiastic to return when they’re ready to take the next step.
Making yourself and your company visible online will help people who are interested in solar to find you, wherever they look. This includes listing your company on relevant citation sites and developing a realistic and focused social media strategy.
How are you branding your company from a socio-economic perspective? Do you want to focus on how having solar panels elevate social status or do you want to reach out to people interested in community solar and make your company a champion of getting the benefits of solar out to the most people? Status and emotion- Every person has some emotions and based on income level, a sense of status. As a seller of solar energy products, you will need to tap into that aspect of the mind of consumers! You have to convey the message through your brand’s marketing, social media and online promotions that going solar is the way to gain an elevated status in society. Include the message in campaigns, how embracing solar energy means enhancement in lifestyle.
Either way, or something in between, status and the way you position your company around that emotional trigger can make a profound difference in your marketing approach and should be well-considered. As a seller of solar energy products, you will miss an opportunity if you fail to realize the need to tap into that aspect of the mind of consumers! You ought to convey the message through your brand’s marketing, social media and online promotions that going solar is the way to accessing the image of self that your customer desires. Identify a customer profile and include the message you have chosen in your campaigns and allow it to permeate your content marketing and social media efforts.
Anyone interested in solar power is well aware of the environment factor- compared to the last decade, people have become way more aware of the accelerating realities of climate change. This is no longer limited only to the NGOs and environmental watchdogs alone. The increased focus on global warming by media, including TV and internet have made the masses enlightened about the need to adopt measures to reduce pollution and sustain human life on earth. All you need is a push from the seller’s side to strengthen the impetus in the buyer’s mind, but a word of warning: fear-based tactics to close the sale are probably not the best hand you can play and negativity generally is not a good look for your brand. Personally, I feel that focusing on what can be made better by harnessing the energy of the sun is much more appealing than all that doom and gloom.
The nuts and bolts of crafting your brand identity.
One of the spiciest of these ingredients has to do with sales psychology and tapping your customer’s primal emotions.
Your brand story includes your origin story, but your brand is much broader than that.
You want to think of your customer’s hopes and fears and build a message that plays these notes in an honest and ethical way.
Speak to your customer’s concerns. It’s best to ask your customers directly, but especially in the first few years after forming your company, it can still feel like a challenge to isolate what causes a consumer to make the decision to buy.
In that case, you can also speak to some obvious points such as:
Cost savings. Savings are an obvious benefit of solar, but it is amazing how many solar installation companies fail to convey this powerful message. Everyone needs to use electricity to run appliances: to light up homes, study, cook and do many household chores, right?
So as a solar products and installation provider, you should emphasize the energy costs that switching to solar can provide. You also need to stress the fact that the installation cost of solar panels and products have come down a lot compared to previous years. In your advertising, don’t miss the chance to use graphs and comparison charts showing cost saving statistics for your state
Present the various rebates and subsidies available to customers on both the state and federal level. These incentives are great news for both solar product manufacturers and buyers, but the reality is a lot of buyers are still not aware. As a seller of solar energy products, you should highlight these extra savings opportunities. Simplify your message, reduce buyer anxiety and encourage your customers by being the company in your space that makes this all look easy.
The long-term cost factor- When you promote your company’s solar products, it is also wise to stress the long-term cost benefits. The conventional energy services that most people still rely on are based on fossil fuels. But the global supply of fossil fuels is becoming more difficult to access (not to mention destroying the planet) and with time this bottleneck will only get worse. It only follows that the price of fossil fuel-based energy will continue to go up with time. As a result, the consumers using them will have to put up with rising energy bills in the near future. As you know, since solar energy is not diminishing, its usage cost will not skyrocket. Since solar is technology-based, it should get even cheaper with time, even as state and federal incentives expire.
Know your industry trends – You know what you want to do with your company, but marketing is a different animal. Every year, the solar product manufacturing and installation sectors are changing. So, it is important that you explore the nuances and trends of the industry and update your branding whenever starting an aggressive marketing campaign. Keep track of changes in your industry by following. Sites like SEIA, greentech media, solarpowerworld online, pvmagazine and others.
Where it all leads to…
There is no hard and fast rule regarding the ways to develop a strong brand image for a company selling solar energy products. You can actually use any of these techniques to boost sales and grow your customer base without too much extra effort. Keep in mind that it is ok to be bold and take some chances to stand out for the sake of your promotions and for marketing your brand products. Observing strategies of rival brands in your own and adjacent segments will help you with ideas. The bottom line is that “tried and true” works great to a point, but unique means to woo target buyers and consolidate brand image give you form and definition. Analysis of customer mindset and keeping an eye on trends in the industry will also be helpful in this regard.
Most importantly, take stock of who your client avatar is and who you are and where you came from. Implement your story responsibly across all online media and watch your kpi to measure the results. Always keep growing!
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