Top 3 Useless Online Marketing Tactics Used By Solar Companies

28 February of 2013 by

definition of insanity 447x350 Top 3 Useless Online Marketing Tactics Used By Solar Companies

Ever wonder who comes up with marketing strategies?

OK, i don’t claim to know EVERYTHING there is to know about marketing, but I can tell you who’s wasting big bucks on useless crap.

I’ve seen more than a dozen marketing campaigns from various sized solar companies.. multi billion dollar solar panel manufacturers, regional solar distributors with multi million dollar marketing budget, and small mom/pop solar installation companies who’s primary marketing channel is word of mouth.

And to be frank, I’ve seen better marketing executions that blow my mind from smaller innovative guys  than I have from bigger corporate types.

But no matter how big the size, they almost aways seem to make the same mistakes when it comes to online marketing.

So without pointing any fingers, here’s the top 3 that I see that makes NO ROI sense..

3) Pay to be Listed in Trade Organizations

I’m sure you’ve heard the sales pitch…

“We’re XYZ Solar Group. Our readers include top 50 solar companies in the world, including John Doe from ABC Solar, Peter Smith from DEF PV Inc, etc. If you buy a placement for your company in our directory, your company is GUARANTEED to get exposure to the top industry players.”

Umm.. right.

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Ask yourself this question: when was the LAST time you ever picked up a directory and ask yourself “hmm, I need something.. let me look up through a thick 2inch book and look through THOUSANDS of people that do the same thing, and maybe I’ll buy from a guy in page 27, column 3, row 48 in the most boring 10 point font that I can BARELY read”.

No, that never happens.

People go to this thing called.. the ‘in-ter-net’.

Blogs, social networks, search engines, mobile apps…heck.. TV!

NOW you get the idea.

But I don’t want to totally poo poo on trade organizations.

If the solar trade organization’s website has tons of traffic, maybe it is worth it.

What would I do? Test to see if being placed in a solar trade directory for 2-3 months and see if it brings any business.

2) “Free XYZ with Your Home solar Analysis”

Ever walk down home & garden show or farmer’s market and see this?

(By the way, if you’re targeting these 2 event categories.. kudos to you. This is where potential solar buyers hang out. Men, 40+, $50k+ income. SHAZAM! Ninja marketing 101!)

Ok, I see where the marketing ploy comes from.. but there’s something wrong with this.

If you offer them a physical product that costs you money and people really want it, they will just take advantage of it.

false-advertisement-free-beer

For example, a solar company out of San Jose used $50 gift cards to Starbucks with a free home solar analysis.

Did they get a lot of leads? Yes.

Did they get a lot of customers? No.

Does it ALWAYS not work? Probably not 100% failure rate, but im guessing a pretty dismal success rate.

This is the problem with INCENTIVIZED lead generation is that sometimes people are more focused on the incentive than they are on the offer.

It CAN work (i.e. cost of incentive exceeds the net revenue to the company).. but like with anything in marketing, you MUST test.

What makes a better sense is to offer a GIFT with purchase of a solar system.

That way, you ONLY spend if your company makes a sale.

1) Buying Co-Reg, Incentivized, and Over Shared Leads

Ah yes..

If I got a quarter every time someone asked me if buying co-registered/incentivized/over-shared leads is a good idea, I wonder if I can be Bill Gate’s neighbor.

But since, no one will pay me a quarter to say “no” to his/her face, I might as well give you something just as comparable:

slap-some-sense-into-you

The answer is NOOOOOOOOOOOO….

Incentivized => Read point #2

Co-registered leads => This is a complicated topic, so instead, read this blog entry about what lead providers do.

Over-Shared Leads => Would you want to talk to a potential customer who’s been called by 10-15 of your competitors already? No, they’re gonna be cranky. And even if they are open to your sales pitch, now they are gonna scrutinize every part of your offer. This is what’s known as “sales pitch fatigue” and your ROI on these paid leads can suffer drammatically.

If possible, go for exclusive leads.. if not, shared leads sent to 2 or 3 companies MAX.

TaeWoo Kim is the founder of Solar One Media, a solar lead generation company specializing in solar (PV) leads. You can follow him on Twitter @taewookim

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