By Melissa Cavanagh, Marketing Manager, Trina Solar US
Capacity addition projections from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that cumulative solar deployment across all sectors could range between 536 GW to 1.4 TW by 2050. This surge should translate into an unprecedented expansion of established solar companies and a wave of new ones.
In an increasingly competitive residential solar sector, a well-executed digital marketing strategy can be the determining factor in positioning your company as a trusted brand to attract customers. Compared to traditional marketing, like commercials or printed advertisements, digital content marketing can be easier, faster, and provide more customer data. Plus, you don’t necessarily need an entire marketing team.
While a cost-effective content marketing plan will require time and resources, the payoff can be more than worth it. Studies show email marketing can generate a 3,600% return on investment (ROI), while SEO marketing has an average ROI of 2,200%.
I’ve compiled 10 tips to help residential solar installers create a cost-effective content marketing strategy that we’ll explore in this two-part series.
1. Define Your Target Audience
Search engines drive the digital world and can provide access to new potential customers. These are people looking online for local installers and the benefits of solar, and it’s a cohort growing by leaps and bounds. For example, searches for “Solar Installers Near Me” skyrocketed from a monthly average of 5,400 hits in 2022 to 18,100 in 2023. Meanwhile, the phrase “Solar Installation Company” jumped from averaging 590 monthly searches in 2022 to 3,600 in 2023.
To reach these people, you’ll need to define your target audience to create the content they’re seeking. This involves understanding their needs, pain points, preferences, expectations, and motivations, while also factoring in demographics like ages, professions, neighborhoods, and education levels. Also, consider creating a negative customer persona composed of characteristics and traits of someone who would not make an ideal customer.
You’ll use your target audience to tailor content so it resonates with them. This step may require market research and customer data analysis, but having a defined target audience is vital for an effective campaign, so you’re not wasting resources on an audience outside of your market.
2. Develop a Content Calendar
A well-structured content calendar is the backbone of any successful content marketing strategy. It helps you plan and organize your content creation efforts more effectively than a piecemeal approach.
Start with topics and themes that align with the interests of your target audience and address their pain points. For residential solar installers, this might include creating educational material about the benefits of a rooftop solar system with high-powered modules and industry-leading warranties. Or it might cover financing options and timelines for a return on investment (ROI) on the PV system.
Use this list of topics to outline a schedule for publishing the content across various channels, including your website, blog, social media platforms, and email newsletters. This ensures consistency, avoids last-minute rushes, and maximizes your content’s reach and impact.
3. Leverage Different Content Formats
Diversifying your content engages your audience, caters to different preferences, and incentivizes them to return for more.
While written blog posts are a staple, videos, infographics, podcasts, case studies, and ebooks are also popular formats. Videos, for example, can showcase your successful solar installations or offer testimonials from customers. Infographics are visually appealing and can simplify complex concepts, such as n-type technology or degradation over time.
Additionally, high-quality, easily shareable content can transform passive audiences into active brand ambassadors. The more diverse your formats and offerings, the more likely your social media followers will share your original post, reaching more people at no extra cost.
4. Optimize for Search Engines
Search engine optimization (SEO) boosts the chances that your target audience will discover your content, which increases organic traffic to your website and, ideally, generates more leads.
You want your content to rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs) — the pages that return a list of results when you conduct an online search on sites like Google or Bing. A high ranking is crucial since 33% of all clicks go to the top three spots on Google’s first SERP.
Conduct keyword and key-phrase research to identify the terms and phrases your target audience is searching for, and incorporate these strategically into your content. As noted above, key-phrases like “local solar installers” or “solar installers near me” are surging.
But keywords are just the tip of the SEO iceberg. Modern search engines use advanced algorithms that also scroll each webpage’s subheadings, outbound links, metadata, and the content’s relevancy to its title, which means on-topic and to-the-point content is essential. You should weave your keywords and key-phrases organically into the content. Cramming keywords into a page — a practice called “keyword hacking” — may result in the search engine penalizing the page’s SERP.
On your website’s back end, SEO involves completing meta tags, headings, and image alt tags to improve your search engine rankings. Additionally, backlinks to reputable solar or industry sources enhance your website’s domain authority, an aspect search engines recognize and reward.
Check back in the next edition of Solar Power World for part 2, where we’ll cover pay-per-click ads, how to measure ROI, and more! And visit us to learn more about the new 430W Vertex S+, a dedicated residential module with n-type TOPCon technology.
Sponsored Content by Trina Solar US