Purchasing clean energy is a complex decision. Consumers and business decision makers need trustworthy information to address the many questions that come up on each customer’s journey. And it is a journey. As a clean energy provider, you can be an indispensable resource by crafting highly credible content for every stage of the sales cycle.
Your challenge is to cut through the clutter and reach qualified potential buyers with the information they need – when they need it.
Presenting your company as a helpful guide along the way, rather than using hard sales tactics, will attract a more qualified audience. You can help your prospects make informed decisions by providing relevant content with impeccable timing.
75 percent of customers prefer salespeople who act as advisors.
Credibility is critical. If your company is viewed as unreliable or untrustworthy, it will affect not just your reputation, but your sales.
The Role of Clean Energy Content Marketing
Despite the rising visibility of solar and other forms of clean energy, many people still don’t understand it. Content designed to educate and inform is one of the most effective marketing strategies you can employ.
Executed well, clean energy content marketing attracts qualified prospects to your business and is a proven strategy for creating brand awareness, educating audiences, and most importantly, building trust and referrals.
Effective Content Must…
Break through the clutter
Consumers and business decision-makers are bombarded with information. Relevant and engaging content is necessary to cut through the noise and increase engagement.
Trust is critical to engage an audience. Provide credible and valuable information that showcases your expertise. For instance, explaining in plain language the incentives available through the Inflation Reduction Act or other local utility programs shows that you understand the nuances of solar finance as well as your customer’s local market.
Visual content is a powerful part of any story. Orbit Media reports that articles with images get 94% more views than those without images. Hire a local photographer to shoot your solar projects or for stock images, buy a pack of images from iStock or Shutterstock.
Incorporate SEO keywords
Enhance your online discoverability by strategically using words related to your company and your market. There are many SEO tools that can help you; some are free, and others have a fee. Geo-targeting is crucial for local installation companies; for earlier stage climate tech companies, SEO can be a game of chess. Hiring a good SEO expert is worth it.
Maintain a consistent publishing/posting schedule. Have a content calendar that is flexible and timely, but also includes evergreen posts that can be planned in advance and utilized when news is light.
Include a call to action (CTA)
CTAs should lead the reader to take the next step with you, whether it’s to subscribe to your newsletter, schedule a consultation, ask for a proposal, or buy.
Types of Clean Energy Content Marketing
- Social Media posts: Create engaging posts with personality. Show who you are!
- Blogs: This should be your go-to resource for education along the sales cycle. Blogs should also link to other pages on your site to enhance SEO and keep visitors engaged.
- Email marketing: This can be a combination of single-topic pieces or a newsletter with more extensive info. With smart targeting through your CRM, you can peg the information to your prospect’s stage in the sales cycle.
- Case studies: Especially valuable for demonstrating how your service resolved specific challenges, and for later in the sales cycle to reinforce the decision.
- Video: Consumers and business decision makers alike are much more likely to invest in a product if they can see it with their own eyes. Use product videos, video testimonials and other kinds of video across your social platforms and web site.
- White Papers and E-books: Better for B2B audiences, but even consumers like to dig deep. Topical examples include: solar panel performance; how batteries work; or how to transition your business to clean energy.
- Infographics: SEIA (Solar Energy Industry Association) is a great resource for informative content that can be turned into infographics and frequently publishes infographics to share. Use them well!
- Podcasts: Don’t be afraid to step up to the mic! We can help you define your strategy, timing and approach.
- Press Releases: Consistent news updates about your company, particularly about projects and partnerships, are essential to build credibility.
What should your content ‘do’?
Every piece of content you create should have a purpose, targeted to specific stages of the sales cycle.
Stage 1. Awareness
At this stage, prospective customers may have a basic awareness of how clean energy might apply to their residence or business, but they have questions. They may have identified issues such as the rising cost of energy or the risk of grid outages. This is the information-gathering stage.
Your Objective: Engage and establish credibility as an authority on clean energy.
Type of Content: Educational content that will inspire customers to ask questions and be curious about your company.
- B2B Content:
At the awareness stage, your B2B audience may want a guide to commercial clean energy options, with the costs and pros and cons for each. Consider utilizing webinars, blogs and case studies for the C-suite, and white papers for a more technical audience.
- B2C Content:
Social media posts can capture consumers’ attention but they should be linked to useful content. A “beginners guide to solar” tailored to homeowners is useful at this stage. A “how to go solar” blog could list the criteria they should look for to determine what their home needs.
Infographics are an excellent way to use content and graphics to better visualize and explain the benefits for both B2B and B2C audiences.
Stage 2. Consideration Stage
At this stage, prospects have a basic understanding of clean energy and are considering options for their home or business. They may be actively researching companies and incentives, with energy cost saving and company reputation being essential to them.
Your Objective: Engage your prospects with information that goes a bit deeper. Provide background on your company and show how you’re different. Give the audience a reason to follow up.
Type of Content: Information that will deepen understanding and help evaluate solutions.
- B2B Content:
B2B content at the consideration stage may include case studies with clear explanations of the financial benefits or a “how to” guide for transitioning to clean energy. Highlight both quantitative and qualitative benefits, and emphasize the role of tax incentives and how to “get it done” from a financial perspective.
- B2C Content:
Position yourself as a trusted guide for consumers by providing simple guides to going solar or checklists of “questions to ask a solar company.” Begin to present information about the tax benefits and other local, state, or federal government incentives. Videos with customer testimonials are also powerful. Testimonials should emphasize financial gains, as well as personal and environmental benefits.
Stage 3. Decision Stage
A more informed customer has decided to go solar and may have received a proposal from you, but they have not yet pulled the trigger. A concern might be cost. They need reassurance to make the right decision.
Your Objective: Demonstrate that your product is the best solution. This content should work hand-in-hand with sales.
Type of Content: Content that builds trust in your company by demonstrating reliability, quality, value, and stellar customer service.
- B2B Content:
At the decision stage, B2B customers need to see “proof of concept” content that shows customers they can trust your company. Customer testimonials, case studies and installation videos are critical at this stage. Content should differentiate your company by addressing concerns about buying, particularly with regard to warranties, financing and service.
- B2C Content:
B2C customers at the decision stage need to see customer success stories that highlight satisfied customers and their positive experiences. Emphasize your attention to service. Installation videos showing the speed and ease with which solar is installed are also reassuring. Blog ideas could cover topics like include: “What to know before signing a solar contract” or “What to ask about the solar installation process.”
Stage Four: Purchase
Once the customer has made their decision, the conversation is not over. Cultivating your relationship over time will keep your company top-of-mind for your new customer. Great communications during and after the sale is key for referrals, too.
Your Objective: Build Loyalty and Get Referrals
Type of Content: Press releases, videos, photos and customer testimonials that validate the solar decision
- B2B Content:
It takes time to close a commercial solar sale, so when the deal is done, be prepared to celebrate it with visuals that showcase a highly successful installation, and content that communicates the project’s financial and environmental benefits.
Ribbon-cutting events are great if the customer is interested in inviting local dignitaries or stakeholders but not every customer needs to have an event. If your customer is open to a press release, get professional help in crafting the release, complete with high-quality photos or videos.
- B2C Content:
For residential customers, the best time to ask for a customer testimonial is right after the sale, when the customer is excited to share their experience. But don’t forget to ask customers who have been with you longer and can speak to the long-term, actual cost savings vs initial projections.
Referrals from happy customers can go a long way toward filling your pipeline, over and over again. There are a number of helpful tools in the industry to build referrals. Our favorite of late is Bodhi Software, which enables you to automate the customer communications process and leverage your customer experiences into reviews, referrals and even follow-on sales.
Building credibility as a clean energy provider starts with the very first introduction of your company and continues throughout your relationship. For more on this topic, check out the following blogs:
And as always, reach out to us for help with your clean energy marketing efforts.