According to Solar Energy Industries, the use of solar energy has increased by 183 percent among America's top corporations in the last four years, with a 59 percent increase in solar installations since last year. However, despite this expansion, consumer acquisition remains a difficult task for energy manufacturers.
Prospective customers nowadays do more online research before speaking with a salesperson. So, how can you persuade them that “going solar” can reduce carbon emissions, generate thousands of healthy, professional manufacturing and R&D jobs on American soil, and is a low-cost, long-term energy solution? How can you persuade them that your product is the best fit for them?
To help tell your story, build an effective message blend, also known as content marketing.
According to Heidi Cohen, content marketing is the practice of engaging with clients and prospects without selling. It provides a multi-channel blend of valuable knowledge that both educates and entertains potential customers in order to help them interact and create confidence while making emotional connections.
Before you can begin a sales pitch as a renewable energy manufacturer, you must first inform investors and potential customers about who you are, what you do, and how the technology works. The majority of ongoing content publishing is often focused on business news releases tied to the most recent government incentives or regulatory changes. However, this is just a small part of a broader content marketing campaign for solar energy.
To focus your strategies and most efficiently use your capital, start by identifying your preferred client base. Creating buyer personas to help you understand the motivations of potential customers is one of the best ways to do this. Begin by posing the following questions:
What are the issues that my buyer is having?
What role does my product play in resolving this issue?
What kind of details can I give you about:
His or her sore spots
The answer is
How do those options stack up?
Costs are also a stumbling block for solar power buyers. To alleviate this problem, the following details may be useful:
Alternatives to solar financing
Solar panels: buying vs. leasing
A long-term cost-benefit analysis is needed.
Buyers are attracted to, interested in, and motivated by content marketing.
Interactions that build trust are created by a strong content marketing plan that includes a diverse mix of knowledge to meet people's needs at and point of the purchasing journey. As buyers progress from knowledge to consideration, they are looking for solutions to business challenges and want to make secure investments that will yield a healthy return on their investment. And, in this day and age of linked networking, the persuasive knowledge you create is likely to be exchanged by their associates. Content that is worth sharing is created with two goals in mind:
Can this demonstrate to a potential customer how a business need can be met?
Is the reader ready to share this with their online connections?
Each item should have a call-to-action that invites customers to sign up for more information. Leads created by content can then be monitored in your customer relationship management system, along with a summary of the content that generated the lead, allowing you to monitor and close the purchasing cycle.
While the platforms you use will depend on the personas you create, Changes in B2B Content Marketing Tactic Usage, a 2015 study from Content Marketing Institute, shows the most common formats. The first place went to social media.
Social media is a term that refers to the use of These networks entice people to learn more because messaging is brief. They often serve to supplement the extensive knowledge provided by other strategies.
Email and online newsletters Create a schedule for these educational items, which may include both current business news and technical advancements.
Articles and e-books are available. These adaptable formats can be used to cover a wide variety of topics. Turn your customers' most frequently asked questions into articles that include answers to common issues, and then compile the articles into a shareable eBook that will help your company develop itself as an industry leader.
Blogs are a form of online diary. When optimized with keywords and connections, a combination of educational and product-specific topics keeps readers interested and helps you rise to the top of search results. Be certain that several are planned ahead of time, and once a plan is set, stick to it.
Print and other offline options are available. Make use of these to round out your digital speech. Speaking at live events like conferences helps to solidify your credibility. Your impact grows as a result of related media attention and blogs.
There's a video. A short video customer success story demonstrates how a customer dilemma was solved. Videos, like the one below from Walmart, can be posted online or sent directly to customers, shortening the purchase time.
Case studies are a form of case study that Walmart is one of the many big-box stores in the United States that has switched to solar power. According to the Renewable Energy Industries Association, the organization has deployed more than twice as much solar power as the next nearest competitor. Make a powerful testimonial out of your customer's performance.
Be clear about what you want to accomplish, the numbers you want to reach, your long-term objectives, and how to put out any fires that might arise along the way. Prepare for business growth once you've grasped the potential benefits of solar power.
Elizabeth Wagner started her career as a photojournalist and now focuses on "message marketing," which she defines as "marketing that matters to create company and brand awareness." Elizabeth has produced campaigns for NASA's space program, sustainable farming, elearning, and, most recently, solar energy manufacturing. She also oversaw an international rebranding program for a big US registrar, which included entry into the Chinese market. She loves travel, outdoor sports, and running with her Sheltie when she is not working, which helps to balance out her PMP lessons.