Despite solar water heating being a 100year, plus, solar technology, it still plays second fiddle to PV, whichis more expensive and less efficient on a per watt basis.
Better, more aggressive marketing, ofcourse, is the solution to getting more attention for residential solarhot water. As a distributor, your success is our success, so Free HotWater would like to offer a few tips to generate more residential solarhot water leads.
1. Have a great looking web site. A good web designer costs money, and yet, the investment is worth it.You can only make one first impression, and if your website looksrinky-dink and home made, then that makes you and your service lookrinky-dink and home made. So, spend the money for a professional webdesigner. Make sure there are attractive photos of your installs, brief descriptions of how solar water heating works, FAQs, the blog, and an“about us” page with the smiling faces of your team. Residentialcustomers want to trust and connect with people more than a brand, sohighlight who you are and why you care about solar hot water and yourcustomers.
2. Start a blog. Next toWikipedia, the rest of the internet is America’s default source forsolar hot water information. The yellow pages are essentially kaput.Whether you’re marketing solar hot water for pools or homes, become anauthority by writing an informative blog post at least once a week.Sprinkle in “solar hot water” and other key words, like your city andstate, and Google and other search engines will reward your websitewith more web traffic. Keep in mind that when people search for thosekey words, they’re researching solar hot water for their home. Becomeyour local authority through a well-written and informative blog.
3. Use Google Adwords and/or banner ads. Google Adwords is paid, targeted advertising. Once again, when people click on those little ads next to their web searches, Google (and you) knowthere’s a great chance they’re looking for “solar hot water” or whatever search term you’ve purchased. Hopefully, you have an informative andattractive website that captures those Google visitors and encouragesthem to contact you for more information. Here’s the link to Google Adwords. Google has great people who will guide you through all the steps and costs.
4. Run a local solar hot water give-away contest. Sometimes, you have to yell “Free!” to get people’s attention. Irecommend a Utility Independence Day contest for July 4th. Put thisannouncement on your home page with a link to a form. Have people fillout that form with contact info, and follow up with a phone call toverify the information and start a conversation about if solar hot water is right for this customer and the benefits. On July 4thweek, do the drawing and give away that system, as promised. Make sureyou tell the local press about it. In fact, in June, a month before thecontest ends, tell the local press the contest is almost over. Includethe potential savings over 20 years and emphasize the utilityindependence. There will of course be a cost, but all advertising costssomething, and this is an interactive way to educate the public andgenerate leads. If you want to be cheap about it, don’t include theinstallation, but I don’t recommend this.
5. Contribute articles to local newspapers and web sites. More than the green benefits and technology, residents want to know first,“How much?” Don’t hide it. Write a case study article based on a recentclient and be honest about the costs. If you have a local rebateprogram, explain that program, as well as the Federal 30% tax credit for homes (not pools.) People want to do the right thing by going solar, but they want to be assured about its costs. As a professional, you can be an honest guide and show them solar’slong-term financial benefits, as well as the costs. If no one publishesyour article, you can always use the material for your blog or as aWhite Paper.
6. Co-Market with local businesses. Roofers, hardware stores, pool designers, architects, general contractors,plumbers, electricians, landscape architects, HVAC. All of thesebusinesses are related to solar hot water. Call them up, cater a lunchor coffee and donuts with the owner and sales staff. Give them a solarhot water demonstration and explain the financial benefits. In addition, be sure to ask them for a presentation so that you can be areferral source for them, as well. Exchange brochures, pamphlets, andwhere appropriate, co-advertise on the radio or in magazines and homeshows. Of course, you can offer a referral fee, as well. Don’t be shy.If you believe in your services and product, these relationships willsee that and you both will prosper.
Hope that helped. Now, go sell some solar.