From pv magazine USA
The solar industry has seen unprecedented development as one of the top two renewable energy sources with continued growth in 2021. The future of solar technology remains bright, but as a solar business owner, you may be left wondering how to tap into the expanding market in order to grow your solar business.
YouTube videos are becoming a vital part of consumers’ solar-buying journey, providing a unique opportunity for solar marketers. The platform can be used to keep your solar business relevant by creating exclusive content and informational videos that establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Videos can then be used to direct potential clients to your other social channels, website, or both. Consumers are turning to YouTube to understand the process of going solar, and when they are ready to buy, they will turn to the expert they have come to trust – you.
My research into the ins and outs of solar marketing comes through years of placing my focus exclusively on solar, testing strategies for reaching quality leads, and investing time and money as I grew my marketing company.
There was a time when platforms such as Facebook provided multiple leads for very little cost. But, as time went on, my team and I found both the cost for solar ads and competition on social media was increasing. In 2019, a dramatic shift began to occur as thousands of solar companies began advertising on Facebook in all of the same markets.
Solar companies in California, Texas, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona were all directly competing to get leads on Facebook. The cost per acquisition began to steadily increase and at any given time there could be up to 150,000 solar ads competing for the same client base. In addition, Facebook began to increase its prices.
You might have found some success by following a marketing plan founded in Facebook advertising, but we aren’t here to discuss staying stagnant. You are looking to expand your business, and to do so you need to think outside the box. That’s exactly what we did, and our own solar company made the switch to YouTube. Our retention rate grew from 35% to 93%.
We switched our solar marketing clients over to YouTube as well, where their businesses began to grow while other companies were still relying on Facebook for cheap clickbait. But why exactly is YouTube so successful for solar marketers?
The platform has more than 1.9 billion monthly users, and those considering solar projects are turning to YouTube for research. YouTube ads create an optimal balance for high-quality leads and appointments at cost-effective price points. When we switched our marketing clients, we began to see lead costs similar to five years ago because the majority of solar companies are not marketing their brand on YouTube.
YouTube is your chance to make your business stand out. The digital market is flooded with many solar companies in any given market, but few are taking the time to educate their consumer base on the ins and outs of solar energy.
Separate yourself from the competition, whose only concern seems to be catching the eye with gimmicks and slogans, by explaining the value of investing in solar. In doing so, you will find high-quality clients ready and capable of spending money. This results in your business growing and profit margin increasing.
A few points that you may want to address with potential customers through your videos include:
- Lowering utility costs – teach your clients the clear-cut benefits of solar hedging utility prices.
- Taking advantage of incentives – the government continues to incentivize the growth of the solar industry, and consumers need to be aware this could change at any moment.
- Reducing environmental impacts – customers need to be informed how going solar can reduce their home’s carbon footprint by more than 3,000 pounds annually, helping to combat gas emissions and reduce collective dependency on fossil fuel.
There are numerous topics within those categories that provide a foundation for you to generate content. The possibilities are endless: financing options, how panels protect a roof, the effects of solar panels on a home’s value, or whatever your heart desires.
Don’t stop at just a few videos. Make use of YouTube to clearly communicate your expertise and stay on trend with a series of videos. Consumers are seeking bite-sized segments they can watch quickly and understand easily. Create videos separately in subcategories that keep viewers engaged and wanting more.
A series of videos also will help your company take advantage of how YouTube works. Its recommendation algorithms are set up to promote your other videos after a viewer has watched the first one. By creating a series of videos, you are more likely to hold the attention of the viewer once they discover your first video.
Call to action
After creating captivating and educational content, you are ready to start driving highly qualified clients to your social media and website. Making use of all platforms is important, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google listings, a website, email, blogs, and even podcasts.
The goal of marketing on YouTube is to use it as a vehicle to drive traffic to your other social channels. YouTube makes this easy to do by adding highly visible links at the bottom right-hand corner of your channel.
However, it is important to take it a step further and ask your audience to continue to interact with your video channel, otherwise known as a “call to action.” There are several ways you can do this, from asking your audience to click on your video to suggesting they post any comments or questions they may have. It is hard to know which call to action will work best until you give a few of them a try.
Investing in the right marketing plan can pay dividends in the long run. Marketing is the key to every successful brand, business, and organization. If done correctly, it addresses the value of your product in a compelling way. And educating your clients on the benefits of solar energy through YouTube offers a great base for a valuable solar marketing plan.
The time is ripe for those of us in solar energy to break away from door-to-door marketing and embrace YouTube strategies. Before you know it, your business will be thriving through high-quality leads that result in growth for your company.
Rich Feola is the founder of Solar Exclusive, an advertising company that generates unique, qualified leads and appointments for solar companies, primarily from YouTube and Google. Solar Exclusive works with solar companies in more than 39 states. Feola's work has been featured by Digital Journal, Yahoo Finance, and NBC, among other outlets.
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