Solar Marketing Strategies That Work - I Spent $1353.43...

Cut through the noise and discover solid, successful solar marketing strategies that work from someone who has done the research for you.
December 26, 2022
Kyrill Krystallis

As a growth hacker, I consistently run numerous pilots on a variety of industries to discover what’s worth doubling down on, and what’s worth skipping on.

My strategy is simple.

I see what’s currently trending on the market or is at least worth a test or two.

I create an MVP for that offer, meaning that I buy a domain, create a website using fast builders like the ones I mention in my top growth hacking tools list, spin up some social profiles, and go straight to the market to test whether there's demand for the idea or not.

As of recent, Solar has been trending like crazy.

So I decided, screw it, why not test it out myself and see whether it's worth doubling down on or not.

Best case, I discover a new line of business worth offering services in as a part of my lead generation agency.

Worst case, I waste my money but at the same time, I also LEARN through my failures and possibly release a few post-mortems within our Growth Hacking Course that might benefit others.

And so I tested it.

But before I proceed further, I also want to further highlight the importance of constant testing in Growth Hacking.

That's literally all growth hacking is; constant testing left & right until you discover strategies that are able to generate hockey stick-like results.

Never stop testing.

The Solar Industry Explained

Solar Installation Search Queries
Solar Installation Search Queries

The Solar industry is relatively simple.

Solar has been booming like crazy over the past couple of years, and I even covered a sub-derivative of the industry in my Trending Businesses of 2023 analysis.

The industry is relatively simple.

Some people own properties, and all properties require energy to run.

Some people get their energy from the grid.

And some get it from the sun.

That's exactly what the Solar Industry is about, helping homeowners decrease their monthly energy bills by installing the setup necessary to convert the energy from the sun into energy that can be used (and stored) within a household.

Some households just install Solar Panels.

Some install Solar Panels and a solar battery to be able to store the excess energy they produce.

Some install Solar Panels and a net metering system that sends the excess energy back to the grid in return for credits that can be redeemed for "free" electricity when your panels are not producing any power.

And lastly, some install the panels, the battery & the net metering system.

The installation firms make the difference from the (solar installation fee - (product cost + human resource cost)) equation.

On average, within the UK at least, a full Panel + Battery installation can cost around £12,000 which can also be financed over a five, ten, or fifteen-year period with no upfront cost whatsoever.

And that's exactly where marketers like me come into play.

We generate the leads using the strategies I'll be mentioning below and sell the leads on a cost-per-appointment basis, meaning that we keep the difference between the price of the appointment minus the ad spend.

Simple stuff.

The Target Market:

Before you look into Solar Marketing Strategies it's very important that you have a clear understanding of the applicable target market when it comes to people that are not only interested in installing solar panels but that are capable too.

To install something as significant as solar panels on a property, the person must own the property.

Meaning that you can't just target anyone.

Ideally, you're looking to target homeowners that are capable of five-figure transactions.

Alternatively, if financing is among the options that you or your installation partners are offering, then you can also target homeowners that are either employed or retired, as they'll typically have the cash flow necessary to pay off the debt over the specified period.

Now the thing is that most advertising platforms don't let you target homeowners specifically as a targeting option.

Facebook used to, but it stopped offering this option. (I think after the Cambridge Analytica scandal)

Therefore it's important to know how to target by proxy, through options like age, gender and interests.

As per age, here's a distribution graph showing the rate of UK homeowners against their age.

Most homeowners are pretty old
Most homeowners are pretty old

This graph clearly tells us that if we want to target homeowners, we need to target those above the age of 25.

For optimized results, we can even target those above the age of 35.

As per interests, we need to target interests that most homeowners would have.

And no, Solar unfortunately isn't one of them.

Instead, we need to target options like gardening, home security, home improvement, etc. as these are general interests that require a house & overall homeownership to pursue.

TikTok Ads for Solar Marketing

Once you've laid down your target market and understand who you'll be targeting, it's important to consider the platforms that you're going to be using to advertise.

I personally tested out TikTok Ads & Facebook Lead Ads, though Google Ads also seem like a decent option for good quality leads with high intent.

TikTok Ads seemed like an interesting platform to test out as a start because Solar Installation is considered to be a mass-market product, and mass-market stuff typically performs well on TikTok.

My procedure for rolling out the ads was simple.

I hired a spokesperson with a British accent on Fiverr to read out a script that I had written.

The spokesperson was paid to discuss how she decreased her overall monthly energy bill by going Solar and inviting the viewers to sign up for a free eligibility check using the TikTok lead form. (You can see the ad in the video below)

Once they'd signed up & filled out some pre-qualifying information regarding their property and ownership status, somebody would give them a quick call from our team to further pre-qualify them and close them for an appointment with the installation team.

That's essentially the part where I'd make my return my on investment.

I'd generate the leads & sell them off to installers on a cost-per-appointment basis.

TikTok Solar Ad Results

Here's the exact strategy I used to create a killer TikTok ad that converts.

The results from TikTok were good as you can see with leads coming in at 22 Euros CPA but there was one problem: TikTok doesn't let you target cities & towns, mostly countries.

This means that TikTok works well for companies that are able to complete the installation nationwide, but not too well if you're only able to do the installation within a certain town or city.

This was a slight problem for me as the partners that I had onboarded could only service very specific locations within the UK.

Therefore I decided to move to the Facebook Ad Platform.

Facebook Ads for Solar Marketing

Facebook is an excellent platform for marketing anything home improvement related primarily because of the platform's mature audience.

Your typical 45-year-old homeowner doesn't necessarily enjoy scrolling on TikTok & Reels as much as they do scrolling on the Facebook Feed and catching up with old family & friends.

Additionally, unlike TikTok, Facebook allows granular location targeting allowing me to generate leads from the specific locations that my partners could service.

My targeting was simple.

I created two ad sets with different targeting.

One targeting homeowner-related interests like Home Improvement, Gardening, Home Security, etc.

And the other, giving Facebook a blank slate to do the targeting for me. I only gave it a constraint of age, meaning that Facebook could target ANYONE within the age range of 30 – 65.

Note: I chose that age range based on the preliminary research I did at the start regarding the average age range of homeowners.

As per the creative, I also tested out two variations.

One was the pre-existing TikTok ad which I still had due to the TikTok test.

And the other was a custom-created Facebook Ad with an image and bullet-point copy focusing on decreasing overall costs.

My Text Solar Ad.
My Text Solar Ad.

Both ad sets performed equally as well.

But the lead quality was significantly better on my Facebook Image + Text ad.

Here are some results:

Facebook Solar Ad Results

If you're looking to understand our Solar Ad setup better then I strongly recommend you check out the Facebook Lead Ad module in our Growth Hacking Course, the Growth Hacking Bootcamp.

Calling & Retaining the Solar Leads

Generating the leads is just 50% of the game. The other 50% depends on your ability to call the leads & nurture them.

Keep in mind that with Facebook & TikTok-based leads, the lead quality can vary greatly.

They're not like Google Ads, where someone wanting Solar services goes on their laptop, types in "Solar Installation (Their Location)" and then hops on a call with a relevant team.

Instead, the customer's journey is more relaxed and less intent-driven.

They see your ad on the Facebook Feed.

They fill out their details because they were simply interested in finding out more.

They hop on a call with you, or they don't.

If they pick up the phone, they ask a couple of questions and then decide whether an appointment is necessary or not.

Overall, the average appointment close rate from Facebook & TikTok ads that I've seen myself was around 20% to 25%.

It can be pushed a little higher if you call the leads AS SOON AS THEY SUBMIT THE FORM.

The more you wait to call them, the lower the pick-up rate and the lower the results of your campaign.

My Solar Retention Setup

Building a system to retain the leads is relatively simple.

My integromat flow
My integromat flow

For my CRM I simply used Integromat + a Google Sheet that was directly synced to my Facebook Ad platform, feeding the leads almost instantaneously from the Facebook Ad platform to my sheet (for calling & texting) and then to the email marketing sequence I had set up for them using Convertkit.

Conclusively speaking

All in all, this was a very interesting test to run.

I made no return on investment despite spending close to a thousand on ads primarily because I wasn't too confident billing my partners for leads I wasn't too certain about in terms of quality.

At some point, my Facebook Ad Manager also got blocked for a weird reason, hence, stopping my pilot dead in its tracks.

I might continue this pilot in the future but for now, I am rather happy with the fact that I was able to crack the home improvement space with pretty decent results.

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