We'll go over all of the different ways to produce commercial solar leads in this blog post.
If you want to drive 300 kW – 1 mW+ ventures, cold email and Linkedin are the most effective ways to set up meetings with prospects.
We looked at a variety of lists, ranging from big industry aggregators to individual contractors. We've found an AMAZING list maker who has been putting us in contact with Fortune 500 executives, starting conversations and presenting proposals. We are using LinkedIn in a slightly different way than you would expect.
This week's meetings of our technologically sluggish clients range from breweries to Fortune 500 firms with multi-state locations. This is just a week. We are scheduling 1-2 new meetings every week for this client alone, concentrating on 500+ kW ventures.
We'll keep quiet about a few more industrial lead generation strategies we're using for the time being. However, you get the idea.
When a prospect responds, we automate our outreach and manually book calls.
Facebook Ads and YouTube are perfect choices for something under 100-300 kW or if you serve non-profits.
SEO is also a marketing channel with a guaranteed return on investment.
While commercial keywords have less search volume than residential keywords, there is still volume and value to be ranked for state-wide searches, as well as substantially less competition.
We currently manage our own commercial solar lead generation assets as well as advise commercial solar companies and sales organizations on how to use our tools to develop their own commercial solar lead generation systems.
Due to territory restrictions, we are limited in who we work with in the commercial space; however, if you are interested in our systems, we offer 1v1 coaching programs.
The Commercial Solar Leads System for Simple Trees
April 2011 Updated Summary:
We're using a mix of networks that are all linked together. We start by defining our target audiences and creating industry-specific assets like video testimonials, case studies, and a landing page template that we can reuse across campaigns.
1) Cold email – To ensure deliverability, response time, and list consistency, several steps are required to drive an evergreen framework. The benefits are enormous once this is perfected.
2) LinkedIn – We use Linkedin Sales Navigator to export lists of specific industry decision makers we want to target in our geo (charter schools, hospitals, etc), create an industry-specific lander + case study, and automate our outreach using connection invites. For the time being, our trade secret is how we continue the discussion until they interact.
3) SEO - ensuring that our clients' websites are ranked in Maps and organically for searches such as "commercial solar + state."
4) Facebook advertising – We target a particular sector, but we suggest targeting a specific niche so your ad creative, copy, and offer resonate with a larger audience. We have seen success with a general campaign targeting business owners for smaller states, but we recommend targeting a specific niche so your ad creative, copy, and offer resonate with a larger audience.
5) Expensive Google/Bing Ads - If you have the funds, put it to the test. However, we spend more money on the other platforms listed above for our own clients and properties.
6) YouTube Advertising – We're now experimenting with YouTube ads for commercial purposes. I'll keep you updated.
Keeping in mind that our FB pixel is built on all of our landing pages and websites, allowing us to retarget all of the traffic that has visited our site or landing pages.
Do you need help with your commercial lead generation system?
Visit our Commercial Solar Lead Generation Program for more details.
While it has been difficult for us to meet the CFOs and operations managers at large scale facilities at scale, we have still had the occasional large one come through FB advertising if you are focused on local businesses in the 30-100kW range.
In the first two weeks, we produced 18 commercial solar leads for our client at a cost of $9 PER LEAD, and within 1.5 months, we closed a 100 kW project from a $8 lead.
Since then, we've produced 88 Commercial Solar Church Leads in less than three months and closed three jobs totaling 341 kW.
When targeting churches for PPAs, these are the leads that arrive in the inbox.
Apply here or schedule a call with me to learn more about our Commercial Solar Leads Program.
Having trouble contacting them? It's no problem. That's why we've integrated them with our Email + SMS Lead Nurture drip automation, which includes ratings, testimonials, case studies, and call booking calendar CTAs.
Any business vertical can be extrapolated from this.
The key is to use Facebook's native ad targeting preferences to find the right "vein" of relevant audience members. This necessitates a lot of Facebook ad experience as well as knowledge of how to reach B2B decision makers. It's not an easy job! Expect to go back and forth with budgets before you find the winning combination. If you've done that, the potential is enormous, as it can often outperform SEO with a monthly search volume limit. Through Facebook Ads, you can reach a huge number of people who are interested in what you're selling.
It gets even better. We can create custom scaled audiences by uploading this to Facebook and having its algorithm create a similar-looking audience based on its massive database of user data. It is important to be able to open the targeting window as wide as possible. Unless you're targeting the entire state, the Facebook audience for B2B would be too limited.
Both FB lead forms (shown above) and landing pages are put to the test.
Keep in mind that this can be applied to any industry.
We send them to the same landing page and retarget the traffic (who didn't turn to a lead) on Facebook once you've piled on various outreach platforms (LinkedIn, cold email).
When and channel is integrated for multi-touch brand and give visibility, you're optimizing your adspend and your investment.
This is something we hear all the time. "Create an identity." It's a cliche, but it's a crucial exercise that solar companies either miss or hurry through. This marketing 101 exercise will later assist us in developing highly targeted content and deals that will better align with our target audiences and differentiate us from our competitors. “We are California's #1 Solar Energy Provider for Water Districts,” it says, which could spark repositioning ideas.
Internalizing their perspectives, schooling, backgrounds, habits, political leanings, and other characteristics lets us better understand their risk aversion and how to overcome it in our marketing. It forces us to imagine and comprehend the emotional toll and obstacles that these business owners and CFOs face when their operations spend so much on rising energy costs. Our personas will become more accurate as we become more precise. The more accurate our personas are, the more likely we are to convert prospects with our messaging.
When someone comes across our brand for the first or tenth time, these visualizations help us provide better targeted messaging, collateral, and incentives to drive some kind of action.
Your sales team is well-versed in the most popular objections and pressure points. Make a list of them on paper and create a page for each one. Take a senior executive to lunch. Learn more about the challenges these industries face, why some are more capital-constrained than others, and how you can help them solve the challenges.
*Tip – Conduct a survey of all of your previous clients to generate hard data for your marketing.
The simple part is that we should look at our top rivals and see who they're already segmenting and targeting. Commercial solar personas to begin developing messaging and collateral for include:
The second step is to create marketing collateral for our personas.
These moves, as you might have noticed, build on each other. We can begin to imagine and of their consumer journeys and craft marketing collateral that provides value at each point of their journey now that we've developed common buyer personas and a simple value ladder.
Let's return to the government/municipality persona. The truth is that the top commercial companies in the solar industry have already done the majority of the legwork for us in terms of determining who to segment and target. Let's take a look at all of SunPower's marketing collateral and industry-specific pages aimed at local governments.
Let's start with a quest for "solar for water districts."
Two video case studies are available, one for a county and the other for a water district.
3 case studies involving the government
Three PDFs were created: one for their Roof mount product, one for their Ground mount product, and one for their Government group solutions sales flyer.
This is just a quick look at their assets for government commercial solar, without even getting into their other ten commercial segmentations. Is a lead generation company willing to match this level of marketing expenditure in content tailored to your brand and customers? No, it's not true. Is this a significant amount of effort? Both yes and no. Is it worthwhile to make the investment? Without a doubt. However, we can save a lot of time by copying what our rivals are doing and enhancing it with our own editorial production system and a straightforward direction for placement and delivery.
We love ClickFunnels because it makes it so simple to replicate high-converting landing pages across industries and test which ones convert.
We've done the same thing for churches, obtaining testimonial videos tailored to their needs for use in our advertisements, newsletters, and landing pages.
Content That Can Be Used for a Variety of Purposes for a Higher Return on Investment
These industry websites, videos, PDFs, and case studies, in reality, can be used for multiple purposes to increase traffic and leads. Our SEO is aided by robust topical pages (Google favors sites with page depth). Repurposed assets may be used for retargeting ads, lead magnets, display ads, guest posts for link building, and so on. It's as simple as having a system in place for creating similar content that's specific to your business, as well as a plan in place for ranking and distributing that content to generate leads. This is a client of ours who produced some very good testimonial videos from their Church members.
We then used these video testimonials to create a landing page with a clear call to action for churches.
We usually concentrate our clients' resources on one of two forms of content:
Low-hanging Fruit: Common topical content that can be easily copied by competitors. Again, we want our website to serve as a comprehensive resource for all things commercial solar. Google favors pages that have a lot of page depth and are relevant to a specific subject.
The Low-hanging Fruit: The most important tools for link building and lead magnets are unique brand-specific research pieces like case studies or reports. We recommend using these high-value patented forms of material as lead magnet bait or a combination of the two.
We create a content calendar for our clients that serves two main purposes:
a) content that responds to and captures search terms at various stages of the buyer's journey
b) Solar-related topical content that makes our website more important.
The Beginner's Guide to Commercial Solar Financing (for which we created both an infographic and a blog post) is just one example of creating content that serves multiple purposes. The infographic can be used for a variety of purposes, including:
Prospects on solar financing for companies are being trained.
I'm contacting industry sites to see if they'd be interested in sharing our article + infographic in exchange for links.
For comparisons, we're submitting our infographic to infographic pages.
Here's an example of a Lead Magnet we helped REC Solar create and distribute, which has resulted in the generation of hundreds of new email leads from both prospective businesses and students. Their team created the e-book, and we created a targeted landing page that needs a user's email address in order to access it. We then shared this content with our Facebook Pixel's past website visitors as well as a Look-a-like Community made up of our current past website visitor audience. We then used Linkedin Ads to market the same e-book to companies in the manufacturing industry.
Great content and connections are inextricably linked. Our connect outreach is much easier when we have great content to pitch as guest posts. Google rewards sites that produce new content on a regular basis. Every month, create consistent links and you'll have impenetrable rankings. Although an active outreach strategy is required to create links with this material, the process is straightforward. (a service that we offer)
For both residential and commercial solar leads, Facebook ads are fantastic. Commercial solar is a more difficult animal to tame on Facebook. All it takes is a well-targeted demographic and a large enough service area to accommodate our target audience. Apart from the very large states like California, we need multi-state efforts in general. Additionally, we need to be more strategic about the industries we target on Facebook. It will be much more difficult to threaten city leaders on Facebook than it will be to target Church pastors. So it's a mix of picking an easy-to-target industry that will give us the largest audience possible while letting Facebook do the heavy lifting of determining which groups will turn into commercial solar inbounds and leads.
These are some of the most important solar inbound platforms we use after we've finished developing our marketing collateral based on our personas and value ladder.
This is the best long-term investment you can make, and it's still our most popular service for commercial solar companies. With the right website conversion design, you can rank on the first page for high transaction purpose searches like "commercial solar city" or "commercial solar state." You'll get consistent leads over time. When you broaden these search terms for longer tail keywords to cover all stages of the buyer's path, from recognition to analysis to transactional purpose, you'll get a guaranteed return on investment for this long-term exposure without spending any money on advertising. Since there is so much information overload online, people make SEO much more complicated than it needs to be. The four steps are as follows:
On-Page Optimization is the second step.
All of our SEO strategies are predicated on keyword testing, which ensures that our platform is a reliable, long-term lead generator. We can create and optimize pages for specific industries, such as "Agriculture Solar," "Solar for Schools," "Solar for Hotels," and so on. Sure, the number of searches for residential solar is smaller, but so is the competition. We can create regional service pages that target high-volume search terms like "commercial solar orange county" and so on.
It's simple to advance quickly if your marketing team has a basic understanding of SEO best practices and has seen them applied, then you'll know how and what kind of content to create in the future.
Google Maps is one of the most critical channels to invest in whether you're a local or regional provider. The organic rankings of your website often operate in tandem with your GMB page. Your GMB listing would be ranked higher if your website has a higher rating, and vice versa. Getting ratings and ranking in the top three for B2B solar keywords necessitates a unique collection of niche + geo-reinforcing strategies. We created easy city pages for REC Solar to target big metro areas like San Diego and Fresno. Since their backlink profile is so good, it took less than a month for these pages to hit the first page. They're city pages are now in the top three of organic results without providing any physical office or local address data after modifying the page copy for over-optimization and bringing in other geo communicators including embedding a Geo + KW Titled YouTube videos and outbound links to Chamber of Commerce sites or other geo-oriented sites to help express geographic relevance.
In return for a bribe, an email drip scheme is essentially a sequence of emails that predicate the voluntary exchange of contact information (email). Generally speaking, this is a focused piece of material. This can help convert cold leads into call appointments or form fills by allowing you to subtly communicate relevance and knowledge that solves their problems (or alerts them to a problem they didn't know about).
Email narratives create a connection right away because they express a personality and tone. When we offer a tasty carrot that our personas can't refuse in return for an email, this method allows us to get something out of all of our traffic sources. We then have a sequence ready to send to these segmented recipients (we segment our B2B solar email lists by industry) to keep delivering targeted value with low-sell call to actions in between.
When we have our personas/lead magnets and email drip system in place, we can get a lot more out of paid quest. For attractive keywords like "industrial solar" and "commercial solar financing," targeted landing pages with useful sitelinks and ad extensions will help drive more conversions and lower CPC.
*Tip – Targeting rival brands is a quick way to get in front of prospects who are already interested in buying, at a lower cost per click.
I'm very impressed with how effective this outreach process is for reaching out to B2B decision makers. These men, many of whom have the LinkedIn app on their phones, love to hang out there. LinkedIn Sales Navigator can help you build targeted lists based on your personas. This is a relatively new method that many solar companies aren't taking advantage of, but it's incredibly effective for targeting highly focused B2B prospects. We can, for example, use Linkedin Sales Navigator to look up Water Districts, save decision-maker leads and their emails (contact us for more information), and launch a cold outreach campaign. However, we are in a fantastic position to sell our services because we have industry-specific case studies, testimonials, deals, and so on ready to send out from our cleaned-up LinkedIn lists. We may often reuse or slightly change the same email drip series to speak to our target personas. Contact us to learn more about this extremely effective technique that few commercial solar companies are employing.
These are less effective at generating direct in-bound leads, but they are still essential for increasing brand recognition and touch points.
We can retarget current visitors based on unique pages they visited or even import an email list to push ads against and reinforce touch points if we have enough traffic coming to our website. We've discovered that reaching B2B solar leads via cold interest/demographic forms of audiences is extremely difficult. However, if you put the right offer in front of the right people, Facebook advertising will help you grow your email list.
LinkedIn Ads are a perfect way to target unique industry types and personas with your lead magnets (complete with an email drip system). It's similar to Facebook Ads in that we're interrupting a user's surfing (rather than them actively looking for a solution), and we need to persuade them that we're worth their time with highly targeted content that speaks directly to them.
Running YouTube advertising for our retargeting traffic follows the same idea. Generally not direct lead generators, but if funds are available, they can be a valuable complement to brand awareness.
Podcasts are becoming increasingly common as a way to raise brand awareness and generate leads. They need at least a few months of new shows to gain traction, as well as a willing host in your company who is well-spoken and educated to produce interesting shows, as well as the management aspect of attracting interviewees and getting people to come to your show. However, the effects can be huge, as a highly qualified lead might come across one of your previous shows and decide to contact your company.
We could go on and on about each channel, delving even deeper into each one. But hopefully you have a better understanding of how we are able to get more out of and traffic channel to drive and nurture in-bound leads while remaining competitive.
Are you interested in learning more about our commercial solar leads program?
Make an Appointment!