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You’ve dipped your toes into blogging. Maybe you’re having some success with it, and want to get to the next level.
You want to give valuable content that drives a lot of traffic.
Online tools are your answer.
They are a bit like a toy that your visitors can play with on your website. The perceived value of these tools is higher than blog content on average.
In the solar industry, these could be
A calculator asks you to put in details about your electricity usage. Given how much electricity you usage, this tool will tell you how big your solar array is going to be.
A payback calculator will give you information on how long it will take to get your money back. Hiring solar companies can be a big investment. The faster the payback period, the better it is for your back pocket.
Generally speaking, the more solar energy from the solar panels you use, the faster you can earn it back.
Yes, your competitors will be able to use these tools to their advantage.
But consider this.
Your main concern is offering value to your competitors.
While your competition is busy copying your strategy.
Who do you think your customer thinks is the authority?
Creating something that others have already thought of is not a sign of a real thought leader.
You may need to be a little more brave and creative.
Start brainstorming all the questions you usually get from potential customers. Are they asking about pricing? Length of installation? Solar eligibility?
Once you get a list of the most common questions, group them into similar questions.
Do you get some that keep popping up?
Is there a way that you can help these people with a tool?
If so, do you want to get it realised? Get in contact.
Do you know what is most likely to get a link from another website?
Data that you have surveyed, extracted or researched is going to get others to link back to your site. When others link to you, Google treats this as a sign that you are the authority on the subject.
Think about this. A scientific paper either conducts all their own experiments, or places all their sources at the bottom. If they cannot back up their findings, peer reviews will tear them up.
When you want credibility on your article, you tend to link to a source that has statistics.
Just for funsies, 73.6% of all statistics are made up.
That was a joke. Don’t do that.
Don’t make it up.
Either look into your data or do the research.
Here’s an example of what I did.
Infographics are data represented in an image form. Statistics are pretty dry. But infographics can bring life to them.
Infographics are highly shareable and have the potential to be viral.
They don’t need to be flashy.
Even something like this packs a ton of information.
It is very easy to see comparisons in solar energy creation and consumption.
So long as you have the data, an infographic designer can create something meaningful for your visitors.
For the cheapest designers, you can find many designers over at Fiverr.com.
A word of warning. A low-cost designer is unlikely to bring you a high-quality infographic.
If infographics are still a bit too complicated, you can try displaying a table.
Statistics is better represented via an image than in written words.
Let’s say you wanted to find out the average payback period of a solar system in each state.
You can read a blog post that starts with:
Average payback of a 5Kilowatt Solar System is 4.0 years in Adelaide. It is 4.7 in Brisbane… etc.
See how dry that is?
Alternatively, if you can show this in a chart, our brains can digest this much faster.
Help a reporter out (HARO) is a website that connects journalists with industry sources. Three times a day, an email gets sent out from journalists to sources asking for their expert opinion.
If you sign up as a source, you get the opportunity to respond to these queries.
Journalists are usually on the clock in trying to get their article out. If your response was the earliest and / or the best, they may feature your article and name you as their source. This usually comes with a link back to your website and a mention of your name and company.
This is how you get started.
You will start to receive 3 emails a day.
Most requests will be in topics or niches that won’t interest you. But sometimes, a request might pop up that is in your niche.
Here’s an example of a request that came up recently.
If you think you are an expert in this field, reply to the email with your response.
If your response is top-notch, you will get a mention and a link back to your website from a reputable source. In this case, it is Greenmatch.co.uk
I responded to a request a few weeks ago. Because of my response, I was able to get a mention.
Are you a good talker but a little introverted and scared of being in front of a camera?
Podcasting may be right up your alley.
Podcasters are always on the lookout for interesting guests for their show. That is how they create their content.
This is a great way for you to get more people to know about your solar company. Not only will you be able to build a relationship with the hosts, but you can also add value to their listeners.
You probably have a lot of opinions about the state of things. Such as climate change, solar energy policy, industry trends. You may also have some really good ways to solve these issues.
Give people an avenue to listen to your thoughts and opinions.
Once you become a thought leader in their head, this opens doors for you, allow you to charge higher for your projects, and spread your brand.
The more you get your name out there, the more opportunities for others to know about you. These people may become leads for you. Those leads could turn into potential customers.
The podcast host will write an episode summary, and place that on their website. The summary likely contains a paragraph about you as the guest, and may even include a link back to your website.
Here’s an example. Have you heard of Solar Insiders? It’s a fortnightly podcast hosted by Nigel Morris and Giles Parkinson.
Almost every episode, Solar Insiders interviews a guest. The guests are usually an owner of a solar installation company. The companies range from small startups to well established large organisations. The interviews give an insight into the guests’ stories and opinions of the industry.
For example, Solar Insiders podcast had Doug Fletcher as a guest on their podcast in September 2019. In that episode, we learnt a lot about Doug, his history, his values, his company etc.
Type in google using the search terms:
Solar Podcast Guest
Or a combination of these.
Once you find a podcast you like, send them an email with a pitch. Show that you’ve listened to them and offer something unique.
Hi (Name of podcast host),
I love your podcasts and I listen to them on my daily commute to work. Your last episode contained an interviews of some large solar installers. Great insight! Your guest mentioned they were able to offer quotes over the phone. No site inspections needed. I was a bit surprised.
I have a different opinion. I believe site inspections for all homes are critical because you can’t appreciate the difficulty of the job unless you see it for yourself. Do you think your listeners will appreciate a different perspective? If so, I’d like to be a guest on your podcast.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Guest blogging is a method where you write a piece of content on another blog. In that article, you provide value to their readers in your particular niche.
It’s a great way to:
There are dozens of ways to do guest blogging incorrectly. But there are very few ways to do it right.
Here are some ways to do this correctly.
Research on a topic that you would like to write about.
Is there a topic that has recently come up in the news? Have you uncovered interesting data? Do you have some helpful ideas for others?
Let’s say you want to write about the Victorian Solar Rebate, and how it has affected your business.
Go to google and search with these terms:
Solar energy guest blog
Solar guest blog
"Victorian Solar Rebate” blog
I’m sure you can think of a few more.
As you scroll down the list, you may see something that interests you.
Let’s see what this brings.
Fantastic. This looks like a reputable blog that accepts guest posts.
Pitching is the process of introducing yourself to the owner of the blog and seeing if they would accept your blog post.
In order to do that, start sending them an email.
Show that you’ve read their articles, and be helpful.
Here’s an example:
Subject: Victorian Solar Homes rebate guest post proposal
I run a solar installation in Melbourne, Victoria. We have recently been hit by a lack of new leads due to the Victorian Solar Homes rebate.
Residential customers are waiting for the rebate, but because there is a limited quantity every month, they tend to wait for the following month. This has hit our industry hard. I was looking around for stories of how other solar installers have coped with this, but I couldn’t find any on your website.
I’d like to give my experience and opinion on this. Would you accept an article around this topic? Attached are 3 articles I’ve written in the past that shows my writing style.
Many thanks. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Pitch your article to as many blogs as you see fit. If you get multiple acceptances, ensure the article you’ve written for each blog is unique.
Pitching is the hard bit. Writing is the easy bit.
Depending on your topic, try to keep your article between 800 and 1500 words.
Too short, and it feels like there is not enough substance. Too long and you’ll lose your reader.
Use statistics to back your claims.
Use your own experiences to help as well.
Once completed, send it over and ask for their feedback and review.
Are you more likely to hire someone who has won an award than someone who hasn’t?
Of course, you’re more likely.
Your potential clients will feel the same about you.
Also, you are likely to get:
But that’s not all. Getting an award is not about others. It’s about how you feel inside.
It’s the recognition of all the hard work you’ve put in.
You’ve taken a lot of risks to start your own business despite your family advising otherwise. Winning an award will give you the confidence to know that you are on the right track.
The Solar Design and Installation Awards are held annually. They recognise the best solar installations in Australia that range from under 30kW and over 240kW.
You can find criteria for selection here. But briefly, you are judged on:
Here’s an example of the winner under 30kW in 2019.
Nigel Phillips from Electrical Sensation designed and installed a solar system on St Anthony’s Catholic Church. The beauty of the installation can only be appreciated when viewed from above.
Such a simple, yet elegant design.
Can you be as innovative and creative?
Of course you can.
Do you know what all these winners have in common? They were nominated in the first place.
Who nominated them?
Sometimes we are all a bit too shy to raise our hand for recognition. But on occasions, we should step back and be proud of what we’ve accomplished.
Is anyone else going to nominate you? No.
Do you need to spend time to gather up all the information and submit the nomination? Of course!
If it was easy, everyone would do it.
So what are you waiting for? Get on it.
Not everyone who visits your website will call you for a quote.
Not everyone will submit an enquiry on your contact form.
Why? Because you haven’t had enough time to build trust with them yet.
It is like asking someone to marry you on the first date.
You could try it, but she is unlikely to say yes.
After they leave, that’s it. They’re not coming back.
How can we continue our conversation with them to build trust?
We try to get their email address before they leave.
But we need to give them something in return first. Something that is of value to them.
For a potential customer that is looking to get solar installed, they might be interested in any of these:
Once you’ve decided on a topic, create the document that will entice them to leave their email address. Usually, this is called a lead magnet.
It doesn’t need to be anything fancy.
Be informative and deliver the value that you’ve promised.
Package that up into a nice looking ebook cover.
Something like this looks ok. Afterwards, put it on your website, and wrap it up in a form so your visitor can submit the email address.
Make sure to send them the ebook when they give you their email address.
To capture these email addresses and to have the ability to send them emails afterwards, sign up to Mailchimp.
It is free and easy to use.
Mailchimp has a fantastic article on how to get started. Check it out.
Internet marketing for solar companies doesn't have to be hard.
Now its your turn to create something magical for your solar installation company.
Book a Free Strategy Session and find out how your solar company can be more profitable