9 solar marketing tips to grow your company

9 solar marketing tips

There are over 7000 solar installers registered with the Clean Energy Council. To win projects, you’re either going to:

  • Charge a lower fee than your competition
  • Be known as an expert in your field.

We don’t believe charging low fees to undercut each other is sustainable. So the only alternative is to be known as a solar expert. 

This article contains digital marketing tips on how you can market yourself and your company in a way that makes others think you are an expert.

All these tips are either low cost or free. 

These tips can be split into 3 separate buckets. 

Difficulty
On your website
On other websites

Too easy

Be discoverable,
Create a blog

Help a reporter out (HARO)

Need a little effort

Extract statistics,
Build an email list

Get featured on a podcast,
Guest Posting

Just a little harder

Develop online tools

Nominate for an award

I know some of these could *seem* hard. But that’s what all your competitors think as well. 

The harder the task is, the harder it is for others to catch up. 

Marketing our solar business difficult

Below is an overview of what we will go through in this article, and how they all fit together.

Hover over a section for a preview. Click to jump straight to the section. Or you can just keep reading 

HAROGuest PodcastingGuest PostingGetting awardsBlogging Getting a website basics
Online toolsStatistics
Email signup

5. Help a reporter out (HARO)

Help a reporter out is a resource where journalists pose questions, and these get sent to your email. 

Reply to the ones where you can offer expertise and insight. 

This is a great way to get your name out there.

8. Nominate yourself for awards

Do you know the secret to winning awards? 

Very few people know about it.

It's super simple. 

Just submit an application.

But many companies don't do it.

2. Create a blog

Posting blog articles on your website will allow your visitors to see you to be an expert.

The articles should be valuable in some way.

Either in giving information or by providing entertainment.

3. Develop online tool

Website tools such as solar array size calculator or payback calculator work really well. 

They offer information to your visitor without them needing to pick up the phone and making a call.

4. Extract statistics

Information that gets shared the most are statistics.

Don't copy others. Create your own. 

If you already have customers, dig into your data and dig up some gold.

If not, you can still go out and perform surveys on potential customers.

7. Guest Posting

Get in contact with established publications and blogs. Offer to write an article that provides value to their audience.

You will come across as an expert in your field.

Furthermore, you will most likely get a link back to your website.

1. Be discoverable

In order for others to find you, your business needs to be discoverable.

This starts by having a website and a Google business listing.

At least that way, customers can find you when they search for your business name.

6. Guest Podcasting

Similar to guest posting, guest podcasting will get your name out there.

Podcasts are always on the lookout for industry experts to chat to.

Contact these podcasters and pitch them your idea.

Be genuine. Be helpful. Be yourself.

Table of Contents

1. Be discoverable

The first part of the journey for digital domination is to be able for people to find you. 

For people to find you, you’re going to need to start off with a website.

Create a website

Your company’s entire digital marketing strategy comes down to having a storefront for your customers to find out more about you. 

The salesperson inside this storefront is your website.

This salesperson searches for leads, knows your products inside out, does not take leave and treats each customer equally. 

It also works 24/7.

24 hour meme

The better your website is, the more visitors will become a paying customer. When a visitor becomes a paying customer, we call this a “conversion”.

Your website’s purpose should be to acquire as many conversions as possible. 

If you don’t have a website, go here and learn how you can create one easily. 

Create a google listing

The section on the right is what will happen when we create a Google business profile. 

Sunrun Solar Google Business Profile

To create this, follow these steps:

  1. Go to https://business.google.com/create
  2. Sign in using your Google account, or create one if you don’t have one.
  3. Type in your business name. If Google can find your business, choose it. Otherwise, click on “Add your business to Google.”
Buiness Name in Google Business Profile
  1. Enter your business name and follow the prompts to completion. 
  2. As a minimum, verify your business and complete the listing.
Google Business Profile Verifcation

Now that’s completed, you will need to wait for a confirmation letter from Google to verify your address. 

After verification, your business profile should be visible within a few days.

Now that your website is discoverable, here are some low-cost ways for others to find you.

2. Create a blog on your website

You’ve heard of blogging. 

You’ve read many blogs before. In fact, you’re reading one right now!

Why are you reading my blog?

Are you getting any value so far? I hope so.

Would you like to give something similar to your audience? 

If yes, keep reading.

Benefits of a blog

A blog will give you the avenue to:

  • Teach people
  • Add value
  • Give your opinions
  • Show your expertise
  • Bring in leads

It’s hard to fool people into buying your services these days. It is all about giving value and building trust.

You can do that with a blog.

If you have WordPress, log into your backend. Hover on “Posts”, and click on “Add New”.

Wordpress Add New Post

And off you go.

Here are some successful blogs within the Solar Industry in Australia. Let’s look at what they’ve managed to produce.

MC Electrical

Mark Cavanagh from MC Electrical has been consistently writing articles on his website. His site boasts more than 100 well written and informative articles on solar panels. It contains content for both the residential and commercial market.

Here are some helpful articles he has written:

  • What size solar system do I need?
  • Solar voltage rise – why you should care
  • How do solar panels work?

It gives readers an insight to who Mark is as a person and what he stands for. More importantly, it shows that he is an expert in this field. 

Mark Cavanagh meme

Below is a diagram showing estimated traffic to the top 20 pages on his site. 

MC Electrical posts traffic

In total, his site gets approximately 5000 visitors per month across all pages. This data only counts for organic traffic. Organic traffic refers to visitors from a search engine. This is most likely Google. 

No doubt, they would get a never-ending influx of leads every month. They can then pick and choose the jobs that they take on. They can charge higher fees while ensuring delivery is top-notch.

Furthermore, these leads are free.  

Energy Matters

Energy Matters is another website that has written hundreds of posts. 

From the data, it looks like they receive approximately 30,000 visitors per month to their site. 

Energy Matters post traffic

Energy Matters looks like they have been around for a long time. It’s not unexpected that they have many blog articles. Yet, it is still impressive the traffic they can generate by blogging regularly. 

Now that you can see the power of a good blog, how do we get started?

How to start blogging?

If you are just starting, Google doesn’t know who you are, and what your credibility is. Until you start producing helpful content, Google will show more established and authoritative sites over a smaller site like yours.

As a result, it would be a waste of your time to create content in an attempt to rank for highly competitive terms.

For example, these are high traffic but extremely hard to rank for:

How do solar panels work?
How many solar panels do I need?
What is a solar inverter?

Instead, try and answer extremely specific questions that your customers might ask Google. 

For example:

Will a Fronius Symo Hybrid fit inside my garage?
What is the difference between Enphase IQ7 vs Enphase IQ8?

Choosing a topic is called “Keyword Research”. Here are some ways to do this:

Google Search

Go to your google search, and type in “why do solar panels”. 

Don’t press enter.

Wait for Google to show you their suggested queries. 

Why do solar panels google search

Have a look at each one, and see whether it is a question you can answer. 

If you can answer, let’s see the competition.

Choosing “Why do solar panels face north”, brings up the top 10 search results. 

Why do solar panels face north SERP

The top 6 results show that it is quite a competitive search term.

Unfortunately, even the 10th result is from solaranalytics.com, which is quite an authoritative site on Solar. 

You may need to try another less competitive search term.

Tips:

You can try wildcards such as:

Best * solar panels
Fronius * review

Whirlpool

Whirlpool is a fantastic resource to find out what questions the general public are asking. You’ve got enthusiasts, amateurs and experts all lurking in the same place. 

The thread on solar is here.

Scrolling down the page, you might find a question or two.

Whirlpool thread on solar

You can see that this person is confused whether they should add panels, or upgrade. 

Within the thread, they post a very specific question.

Whirlpool thread details on solar

You can write many articles in answer to these questions.

“What panels are compatible with 255w Black Hanover Solar Panels”?

“How many panels can Growatt5000MTL Inverter support?”

Some considerations

Consistent blogging is very hard work. It’s going to take a long time.

At the start, you’re going to feel like it is a waste of time. 

You’ll doubt why you ever started.

But if you want to get started, now is a good time.

Writing a blog Confusious meme

If you need help with creating your first blog post, get in contact with us, and we’ll be happy to guide you through.

3. Develop online tools

You’ve dipped your toes into blogging. Maybe you’re having some success with it, and want to get to the next level.

You want to give valuable content that drives a lot of traffic.

Online tools are your answer.

They are a bit like a toy that your visitors can play with on your website. The perceived value of these tools is higher than blog content on average. 

In the solar industry, these could be 

Solar System size calculator:

Solar System size Calculator

A solar system calculator asks you to put in details about your electricity usage. Given how much electricity you usage, this tool will tell you how big your solar array is going to be. 

Or a solar payback calculator:

Solar Payback Calculator

A payback calculator will give you information on how long it will take to get your money back. A solar system is a big investment. The faster the payback period, the better it is for your back pocket.

Generally speaking, the more energy from the solar panels you use, the faster you can earn it back.

Will my competitors see my prices?

Yes, your competitors will be able to use these tools to their advantage. 

But consider this.

Your main concern is offering value to your competitors. 

While your competition is busy copying your strategy.

Who do you think your customer thinks is the authority?

Be creative

Creating something that others have already thought of is not a sign of a real thought leader.

You may need to be a little more brave and creative.

Start brainstorming all the questions you usually get from customers. Are they asking about pricing? Length of installation? Solar eligibility?

Once you get a list of the most common questions, group them into similar questions. 

Do you get some that keep popping up?

Is there a way that you can help these people with a tool?

If so, do you want to get it realised? Get in contact.

4. Extract Statistics

Do you know what is most likely to get a link from another website?

Statistics.

Data that you have surveyed, extracted or researched is going to get others to link back to your site. When others link to you, Google treats this as a sign that you are the authority on the subject. 

Think about this. A scientific paper either conducts all their own experiments, or places all their sources at the bottom. If they cannot back up their findings, peer reviews will tear them up. 

When you want credibility on your article, you tend to link to a source that has statistics. 

Just for funsies, 73.6% of all statistics are made up

Don't use statistics meme

That was a joke. Don’t do that. 

Don’t make it up. 

Either look into your data or do the research.

Here’s an example of what I did.

Australia’s solar generation

I found some interesting data over at BP. The data showed how much each country is investing in solar energy. 

My disappointment, being from Australia, was that our investment was lacking.

It would’ve been easy to plot the data over a graph. But I went just a little further, and created this:

As a result, thousands of people watched it on Youtube and Linkedin. 

Many commented. 

Dozens liked it. 

The data was interesting, but the animation was what sold it.

I also received many high-quality backlinks to the post. 

It was a big success, and you can do it too. Follow how I did it here

If that wasn’t your cup of tea, here’s something else you can try.

Infographics

Infographics are data represented in an image form. Statistics are pretty dry. But infographics can bring life to them.

Infographics are highly shareable and have the potential to be viral. 

They don’t need to be flashy. 

Even something like this packs a ton of information. 

Just how powerful are solar panels infographic

It is very easy to see comparisons in energy creation and consumption. 

So long as you have the data, an infographic designer can create something meaningful for your visitors.

For the cheapest designers, you can find many designers over at Fiverr.com.

Fiverr search for infographics

A word of warning. A low-cost designer is unlikely to bring you a high-quality infographic.

If infographics are still a bit too complicated, you can try displaying a table.

Simple chart

Statistics is better represented via an image than in written words. 

Let’s say you wanted to find out the average payback period of a solar system in each state.

You can read a blog post that starts with:

Average payback of a 5Kilowatt Solar System is 4.0 years in Adelaide. It is 4.7 in Brisbane… etc. 

See how dry that is?

Alternatively, if you can show this in a chart, our brains can digest this much faster.

Payback calculator per state graph

5. Help a reporter out (HARO)

Help a reporter out is a website that connects journalists with industry sources. Three times a day, an email gets sent out from journalists to sources asking for their expert opinion. 

If you sign up as a source, you get the opportunity to respond to these queries. 

Journalists are usually on the clock in trying to get their article out. If your response was the earliest and / or the best, they may feature your article and name you as their source. This usually comes with a link back to your website and a mention of your name and company. 

This is how you get started. 

  1. Go to https://www.helpareporter.com/
  2. Click on “Sign up”
HARO sign up
  1. Follow the prompts to completion.
  2. When you reach this screen, check Energy and Green Tech. If you’re want to add value because you’re a business owner, you can check “Business and Finance” also. 
HARO preferences
  1. Press “Save and Update”, and you’re good to go.

You will start to receive 3 emails a day. 

Most requests will be in topics or niches that won’t interest you. But sometimes, a request might pop up that is in your niche. 

Example of a recent request

Here’s an example of a request that came up recently. 

HARO example of Green Tech

If you think you are an expert in this field, reply to the email with your response. 

If your response is top-notch, you will get a mention and a link back to your website from a reputable source. In this case, it is Greenmatch.co.uk

I responded to a request a few weeks ago. Because of my response, I was able to get a mention.

Few tips:

  • Choose topics that are an expert in. Don’t waste your time on other topics.
  • Answer the question succinctly. 
  • Try to give answers between 300 and 400 words. Too short and you’ll appear as not an expert. Too long, and the journalist will likely skip it. 
  • Offer clear bite-sized text that is quotable.
  • Give data and statistics. Back it up.
  • Don’t ask the journalist for clarification. They don’t have time.

6. Get featured on a podcast

Are you a good talker but a little introverted and scared of being in front of a camera? 

Scared of podcasting meme

Podcasting may be right up your alley. 

Podcasters are always on the lookout for interesting guests for their show. That is how they create their content. 

Building relationships

This is a great way for you to get more people to know about your company. Not only will you be able to build a relationship with the hosts, but you can also add value to their listeners. 

Being a thought leader

You probably have a lot of opinions about the state of things. Such as climate change, energy policy, market trends. You may also have some really good ways to solve these issues.

Give people an avenue to listen to your thoughts and opinions. 

Once you become a thought leader in their head, this opens doors for you, allow you to charge higher for your projects, and spread your brand. 

New Leads

The more you get your name out there, the more opportunities for others to know about you. These people may become leads for you. Those leads could turn into customers. 

Link back to your website

The podcast host will write an episode summary, and place that on their website. The summary likely contains a paragraph about you as the guest, and may even include a link back to your website.

Solar Insiders example

Here’s an example. Have you heard of Solar Insiders? It’s a fortnightly podcast hosted by Nigel Morris and Giles Parkinson.

Solar insiders podcast

Almost every episode, Solar Insiders interviews a guest. The guests are usually owners of solar installation companies. The companies range from small startups to well established large organisations. The interviews give an insight into the guests’ stories and opinions of the industry. 

For example, Solar Insiders podcast had Doug Fletcher as a guest on their podcast in September 2019. In that episode, we learnt a lot about Doug, his history, his values, his company etc. 

How to get featured

Type in google using the search terms:

Solar Podcast
Solar Podcast Guest
Energy Podcast

Or a combination of these. 

Once you find a podcast you like, send them an email with a pitch. Show that you’ve listened to them and offer something unique.

For example:

Hi (Name of podcast host),
I love your podcasts and I listen to them on my daily commute to work. Your last episode contained an interview of a large solar installer. Great insight! Your guest mentioned they were able to offer quotes over the phone. No site inspections needed. I was a bit surprised. 
I have a different opinion. I believe site inspections for all homes are critical because you can’t appreciate the difficulty of the job unless you see it for yourself. Do you think your listeners will appreciate a different perspective? If so, I’d like to be a guest on your podcast. 
Hope to hear from you soon.

7. Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is a method where you write a piece of content on another blog. In that article, you provide value to their readers in your particular niche. 

It’s a great way to:

  • Promote your brand
  • Build relationships with industry professionals
  • Increase traffic back to your website

There are dozens of ways to do guest blogging incorrectly. But there are very few ways to do it right.

Here are some ways to do this correctly.

Topic research

Research on a topic that you would like to write about. 

Is there a topic that has recently come up in the news? Have you uncovered interesting data? Do you have some helpful ideas for others?

Let’s say you want to write about the Victorian Solar Rebate, and how it has affected your business.

Go to google and search with these terms:

Renewable energy guest blog
Solar guest blog
"Victorian Solar Rebate” blog
Google search for renewable energy guest blog

I’m sure you can think of a few more.

As you scroll down the list, you may see something that interests you.

Renewable energy guest blog SERP

Let’s see what this brings.

Renewable Energy World guest blog

Fantastic. This looks like a reputable blog that accepts guest posts.

Let’s pitch.

Pitching your idea

Pitching is the process of introducing yourself to the owner of the blog and seeing if they would accept your blog post.

In order to do that, start sending them an email. 

Show that you’ve read their articles, and be helpful.

Here’s an example:

Subject: Victorian Solar Homes rebate guest post proposal

Hi Jennifer,
I run a solar installation company in Melbourne, Victoria. We have recently been hit by a lack of new leads due to the Victorian Solar Homes rebate. 
Residential customers are waiting for the rebate, but because there is a limited quantity every month, they tend to wait for the following month. This has hit our industry hard. I was looking around for stories of how other solar installers have coped with this, but I couldn’t find any on your website. 
I’d like to give my experience and opinion on this. Would you accept an article around this topic? Attached are 3 articles I’ve written in the past that shows my writing style.
Many thanks. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Pitch your article to as many blogs as you see fit. If you get multiple acceptances, ensure the article you’ve written for each blog is unique.

Writing your article

Pitching is the hard bit. Writing is the easy bit.

Depending on your topic, try to keep your article between 800 and 1500 words. 

Too short, and it feels like there is not enough substance. Too long and you’ll lose your reader.

Use statistics to back your claims. 

Use your own experiences to help as well.

Once completed, send it over and ask for their feedback and review.

8. Nominate yourself for an award

Are you more likely to hire someone who has won an award than someone who hasn’t?

Of course, you’re more likely. 

Your customers will feel the same about you.

Also, you are likely to get:

  • Coverage across media platforms. 
  • A link back to your website from the Award organiser
  • The chance to network with top industry leaders

But that’s not all. Getting an award is not about others. It’s about how you feel inside.

It’s the recognition of all the hard work you’ve put in. 

You’ve taken a lot of risks to start your own business despite your family advising otherwise. Winning an award will give you the confidence to know that you are on the right track. 

Clean Energy Council Solar Design and Installation Awards

The Solar Design and Installation Awards are held annually. They recognise the best solar installations in Australia that range from under 30kW and over 240kW. 

You can find criteria for selection here. But briefly, you are judged on:

  • How well you met the brief
  • How you overcame challenges
  • What innovative ideas did you come up with?
  • What was the outcome of the project?

Here’s an example of the winner under 30kW in 2019.

Nigel Phillips from Electrical Sensation designed and installed a solar system on St Anthony’s Catholic Church. The beauty of the installation can only be appreciated when viewed from above.

Award Winning solar design by Nigel Phillips

Such a simple, yet elegant design. 

Can you be as innovative and creative?

Of course you can.

Tips on getting that award

Do you know what all these winners have in common? They were nominated in the first place.

Who nominated them? 

Themselves.

Sometimes we are all a bit too shy to raise our hand for recognition. But on occasions, we should step back and be proud of what we’ve accomplished.

Is anyone else going to nominate you? No.

Do you need to spend time to gather up all the information and submit the nomination?  Of course!

If it was easy, everyone would do it.

So what are you waiting for? Get on it. 

Can't lose if you don't try meme

9. Build an email list

Not everyone who visits your website will call you for a quote.

Not everyone will submit an enquiry on your contact form.

Why? Because you haven’t had enough time to build trust with them yet.

It is like asking someone to marry you on the first date.

You could try it, but she is unlikely to say yes.

It's not going to happen meme

After they leave, that’s it. They’re not coming back.

How can we continue our conversation with them to build trust?

How to get a visitor’s email address

We try to get their email address before they leave.

But we need to give them something in return first. Something that is of value to them.

For a potential customer that is looking to get solar installed, they might be interested in any of these:

  • 10 tips on choosing the right solar company
  • Your roof may not be right for solar. Read this to find out more.
  • How shading on your roof can affect your solar output.

Once you’ve decided on a topic, create the document that will entice them to leave their email address. Usually, this is called a lead magnet.

Creating the lead magnet

It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. 

Be informative and deliver the value that you’ve promised.

Package that up into a nice looking ebook cover.

Solar power ebook

Something like this looks ok.

Here’s a great tutorial on how to put a drawing onto a cover and make it look enticing.

Afterwards, put it on your website, and wrap it up in a form so your visitor can submit the email address.

Make sure to send them the ebook when they give you their email address.

To capture these email addresses and to have the ability to send them emails afterwards, sign up to Mailchimp.

It is free and easy to use.

Mailchimp has a fantastic article on how to get started. Check it out. 


What do you think?

Now its your turn.

Which solar marketing tip from this list was your favorite?

Or maybe you have a tip that I didn’t cover here.

Either way, let me know and leave a comment below.

Lucian Wu

Lucian is passionate about fighting climate change. He is an engineer, husband, father of 2 boys, solar panel enthusiast and hopes to one day own a Tesla. Sometimes, he wakes up at 4am to watch Liverpool FC play.

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