How We Generated 88 Commercial Solar Leads in 3 Months
341 closed kWs & $800k in Revenue
I’m going to share you the thought process I used to get powerful results with Facebook advertising for our commercial solar clients and hope you gain some valuable insights and ideas to help you do the same for your commercial solar operations even if you have:
- No online reviews.
- No customer list.
- No seasoned Facebook pixel.
- No special offers.
- No unique selling point (USP).
In this case study, between May and Mid July, we’ve generated 88 commercial solar enquiries for less than a quality large pizza ($25 USD) that resulted in 3 closed jobs, at 341 kW total at just under $1m in new revenue, with more jobs pending and dozens of appointments in the pipeline.
We don’t claim to have some sort of magical sauce, just a proven framework.
Commercial solar company (EPC) who build solar systems for municipalities, schools, universities, non-profits, small-medium businesses, and churches with operations across multiple states in the southwest. Average customer life value (LTV) is $500,000.
Prior to working with us, they did cold calling and walk in canvassing. They had never tried any digital marketing, and their website didn’t even rank for their own brand if you Google’d for them. However, they do great work, have a great reputation, rely heavily on referrals, and are good closers.
Upon on-boarding, we encountered a few challenges – they do not have any existing online reviews; customer list or seasoned Facebook pixel, images/videos, USP and running special discounts, incentives or giveaways, as you may be aware, are tough to spin for commercial solar jobs depending on your location.
Find out if Facebook Ads can be a financially viable source of commercial solar enquiries.
THE 5-STEP WINNING FORMULA:
- Understanding the Target Market & Choosing a Niche.
- Developing Niche Specific Marketing Collateral.
- Hyper-Specific Interest Targeting.
- Lead Form vs Landing Page.
- Lead Nurture Follow Up Systems.
Using this framework we can consistently generate new business.
UNDERSTANDING THE TARGET MARKET
Knowing your target market (and customer avatar) is the absolute key with any Facebook Ad campaign so the first thing I did was conduct an interview with the client to learn more about their target market and ideal customer avatar by asking the following questions:
- What problems/pain points do they solve?
- What is their unique selling point (USP)?
- What is their best service offering?
- Who are their competitors?
- Who do you have an exceptional track record with for providing results?
- Can we develop case studies and testimonials from these customers?
- Is there an industry we can show off our work to and scale with?
Next, I conducted competitive research to learn what their competitors are doing/not doing. Depending on market sophistication, you will need to hone in your targeting and/or differentiate your ad/offer from your competitors to rise above the distractions.
Fact is, very few other commercial solar firms are leveraging digital marketing let alone niche specific funnels to develop scalable inbound lead systems that run on autopilot.
CHOOSING A NICHE
Successful B2B lead gen comes down to niching down. When you pick a specific industry to target, your messaging and offer resonates that much more.
As I said earlier, the client (and most commercial solar firms) couldn’t provide any discounts, incentives or give-aways, had no online reviews, pixel was none existent, and they hadn’t defined a clear USP or specific industry.
Their ideal customer avatar are non-profits, schools, institutions and small/medium/large businesses who use a lot of electricity for their daily operations, where both cost savings on electricity and taking advantage of solar rebate and tax incentives makes clear financial sense to research.
So I asked them, what clients LOVE you guys?
“Well we’ve worked with quite a few churches..”
From the information and constraints provided, I decided that the best approach is to start off by targeting churches.
Developing Niche Specific Marketing Collateral
Now that we had found a niche to target, we then set to work on developing our branded marketing collateral that will clearly show prospects we are the industry leaders for helping churches save millions over the years in electricity costs.
We aimed develop the follow assets to build our Facebook campaign around:
- Customer Video Testimonials
- FAQ Video – Rep or Owner addressing frequently asked questions about solar for businesses
- Niche Specific Case Studies
- Niche Specific Landing Pages
- Lead Nurture Follow Up System Using Email and SMS
Luckily one of the sales reps here had video production experience, and were able to develop well produced video testimonials with clean visuals and good sound.
If you are a novice at video production, don’t stress over production value. Something as simple as an smartphone video gets the job done. Just need to communicate expertise, credibility and trust.
If you’re going to prioritize anything in the video you want to have clear sound so investing a lav mic is a great investment, or shoot in a quiet, well lit area. (We love shooting outside with trees, shade, vegetation so you don’t have to worry about lighting)
Next we had them send over some stats and numbers, and a summary a job. Our designer whipped up a clean, branded PDF that summarized what our church prospects needed to know.
HYPER-SPECIFIC INTEREST TARGETING
We used a special strategy to help us uncover new interest targeting B2B opportunities and compiled a list of 10 suitable interests with audience size between 1,000 to 30,000.
These audiences are smaller than most FB ad folks would prefer, however when dealing in B2B audiences it’s common of having small audiences, the trade off is high ticket sales.
We decided to launch with just two smaller audiences targeting our audience in specific geographic areas.
Hyper-specific interests allows us to tailor our message to that segment of the market. Although, we may expect to pay a higher CPM, or higher ad frequency, we’ll convert more with a higher relevancy score, ultimately driving down cost per acquisition.
The strategy here is to use the hyper-specific interest audiences to prime the ‘new’ Facebook pixel with as much conversion data as possible so I can build out Lookalike audiences (LLA) later on.
LEAD FORM VS LANDING PAGE
Typically, we will test both lead form and traditional landing pages to identify which perform better. Even if the lead forms perform better (which in many cases they do), we can still use our landing page to direct other traffic to (cold email, linkedin, youtube…etc)
We are big fans of long form ad copy that tells a story and communicate proof of why we are credible and trust worthy to solve our market’s problems. Writing good ad copy is a massive competitive advantage we bring to our clients in being able to write compelling creative to speak with our audience and really separates our clients’ ads.
Things to note:
- We use emoji’s sparingly.
- Capture their attention by calling out target audience.
- Establish relevancy by asking a question; addressing their pain point(s).
- Since we are targeting a specific niche, we reiterate how many other businesses we’ve help save money just like them.
- Proper use of paragraphs and formatting to make it easy to read.
- 88 leads in 3 months days with $20/day Ad Spend.
- Average Cost per Lead (CPL): $24
- Relevance Score: 9’s and 10’s.
- 3 Closed Installs (one more set to close, many more in the pipeline)
- 341 kWs
- ~$1 million in new revenue
- $2,136 in adspend
The stellar success of the campaign has led to the client adding a new salesperson to their team and considering a CRM system build out to help them keep track of their pipeline as they are getting more work than they can handle right now.
In my Client’s own words “the campaign has worked too well! Let’s take this to new verticals!”