Cost vs. Environment: What’s Your Solar Marketing Approach?
September 14
Industry: Solar

Cost vs. Environment: What’s Your Solar Marketing Approach?

Because of the complexity of clean energy markets, permitting, and solar tax credits, people often need a solar 101 tutorial during initial sales calls. You arm your sales teams with all the important information, but wouldn’t it be great if leads came in with some of this basic information in hand? To get leads up to speed and shorten your sales cycle, marketing for solar companies should start with educating your target audience.

Solar marketing materials should include basic information about each step of the solar panel installation process, including the environmental and cost benefits they’ll see after installation. In this post, we’ll focus on how to talk about these two benefits, whether emphasizing one works better than the other, and when to use each approach.

But before we dive in, let’s lay the groundwork on solar marketing best practices.

How to market solar

When building your solar marketing campaign, it’s essential to have strong branding. In other words, establish your place in the market. Identify competitors and the things that set you apart. Because the market is growing rapidly and new players are getting into the solar installation game all the time, it’s important to understand how your business stacks up against the competition.

Step one is confirming your brand is properly positioned. Annually it’s important to assess shifts in the market, your target audiences and competition to determine if you brand is effectively making the case for why prospects should work with you.

One tool to help assess target audience year over year is buyer personas. These profiles identify challenges, needs and other motivations on a personal level – making it easier to see opportunities for the brand to make a lasting emotional connection.

Further these personas help group audiences segments by these needs. For example, some homeowners want to install solar panels to reduce.

Next, define your target audiences with buyer personas. Get to know these audiences, their values, and the common questions they might have. Really get in their head and think about the messages that resonate with them, touch on their concerns, and answer questions to help move them toward a sale.

For some homeowners, they want to install solar panels to reduce the use of fossil fuels and protect the environment. They see the cost savings as an added benefit, but are primarily focused on leading the way toward a more sustainable future.

Others are driven by cost savings. Not that the environment doesn’t matter, but to these homeowners, that’s a secondary benefit.

When building your solar marketing campaign, you’ll want to mention both benefits, but should one take precedent over the other?

Cost saving benefits of solar

With the high cost of energy today, some want to install solar to reduce their monthly homeowner costs. Others have heard of the solar installation tax credit in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and want to take advantage of the lower upfront costs.

These leads, driven by cost, make up the larger of the two solar marketing target audiences. If we’re being honest, cost is the driving factor for most purchase decisions, especially with big ticket home improvements, like installing solar panels. Addressing this issue and ways people can save should definitely be part of your marketing–noted on your website, emails and social media.

Solar marketing messages about cost

Here are a few talking points and messages you can include in your solar installer marketing pieces when talking about cost.

  • You can save 30% on your solar panel installation costs yy taking advantage of the solar tax credit.
  • Did you know the solar tax credit applies to battery installation as well, even if you already have solar panels installed on your home?
  • Energy policy experts have estimated that by taking advantage of the many benefits in the IRA, households can save between $1,800 and $3,000 on annual energy costs.
  • Book now to ensure installation begins in 2024 and you can take advantage of the solar tax credit next tax year.
  • The solar tax credit isn’t just for homeowners. A new “direct pay” option lets non-profits, churches and local governments take advantage of the tax credit as well.
  • Find out if you’re eligible for the solar tax credit. Contact us today.

When talking about cost, it’s also important to mention timeline to be transparent, but also create a sense of urgency,” said Carrie Mayo, founder of MAYO Marketing & Design. “While the tax credits are available until 2032, most solar installers are booking months in advance. A lead who contacts you today might be disappointed to find out they can’t take advantage of the benefit until the following tax year. Telling them about your timeline helps prevent disappointment, and it also pushes potential leads to act now to get their benefit sooner.”

Marketing tip: Carrie suggests sending alerts when bookings for the year are nearly full. It not only provides transparency, it can give your sales team a bump of activity during slow months.

When to talk about cost

Because the majority of your leads will be driven by cost and will likely find the solar tax credits enticing, these benefits should be a top-line message for your company. For example, your branding will likely emphasize quality, trustworthiness and expertise on your website home page. Make sure to also include a section on your home page or banner CTAs that tell leads about cost savings, too.

Offer your leads an easy-to-understand handout about the solar tax credits. Get our free Solar Tax Credit Infographic.

Environmental benefits of solar

Here at MAYO, we’re driven by our commitment to the environment and we believe the environmental benefits of rooftop solar are huge. You shouldn’t ignore the power of this message.

Yes, cost is a big part of the decision, but highlighting environmental benefits can be a differentiator,” said Carrie. “Many people today are drawn to purpose-driven businesses and want to hire or buy from companies that reflect their values. If protecting the environment is important to your company, let them know!

Marketing tip: Carrie suggests mentioning your environmental values in the same spaces you discuss the solar panel environmental benefits. By showing you share their values, it gives customers permission to trust you and your work.

When done authentically, it will set you apart from other builders and installers and show you’re more focused on the planet.” said Carrie.

Solar marketing messages about the environment

Here are some messages that highlight the environmental benefits of solar.

  • Each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of solar you generate at your home will substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions like CO2.
    When tied into your heating system, solar can provide 40% to 80% of the home’s heating needs.
  • Solar panels also improve the air we breathe by reducing air pollution from fossil fuel power plants, such as sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.
  • Solar also reduces water consumption and withdrawal needed for the production of fossil fuel and solar energy.

When to talk about environmental benefits

As noted above, if your company believes caring for the environment is a core aspect of your values, mentioning this is a great way to align with other environmentally conscious homeowners.

It can also be a great added benefit to cost-driven leads. Talk about the emotional aspects of solar. You’re saving money and can feel good about your choice. Use images of families, reminding people that solar is improving the world for future generations.

Marketing tip: Create an email drip campaign for new leads, using the first two emails to focus on cost and the quality of your service. Then dedicate email #3 to environmental benefits, using that feel-good messaging and images to inspire leads.

Leveling up marketing for solar companies

As we mentioned, the solar installation market is getting crowded with solar installers. Even if you feel like your company has plenty of work right now, you’ll need to invest in some marketing for long term sustainability. Set your company up right by creating a great website and marketing strategy that highlights what you do best and entices leads with all the benefits solar has to offer.

Make Your Solar Marketing Shine

Our 2023 Solar Tax Credit Playbook is a comprehensive guide to using the federal solar installation tax credit in your marketing.

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