Buying solar leads can be expensive or even a scam, as some leads are ice cold or not even real. What are smart ways solar contractors can pick up new customers without spending money on risky, hard-to-qualify leads?
“[W]hen it comes to consistent solar lead generation, you really only have 2 options: You can buy solar leads. You can create your own. Both approaches have pros and cons. But for long-term results, in-house solar lead generation is usually the better (and cheaper) option.” —Commercial Construction & Renovation
Commercial Construction & Renovation (CCR) recommends generating your own solar leads. They cite the drawbacks of buying solar leads as quality assurance, exclusive rights, freshness factor, one-size-fits-all, and of course, expense. On the other hand, the benefits of in-house lead generation include forever traffic, better coverage, quality control, low-pressure sales, and less guesswork.
How expensive is it to buy solar leads? Quite expensive, according to CCR and a 2017 analysis by SolarReviews: “The average cost per solar lead is $578 nationwide. The average solar lead conversion rate is 5.98%. For this approach to work in the long run, your own profit margins and conversion rates have to be off the charts.”
To make matters worse, you may be generating enemies rather than customers when you cold-call a purchased lead. Curren Media Group describes the following scenario: “You buy a list of leads from a vendor. That vendor compiled the list by calling around to homeowners and asking them to do a phone survey—‘Do you drive a Prius? Do you own your own home?’”
Respondents were probably not made aware that they were being added to a cold-call list, so they will be quite irritated the first time they get a cold call from a solar sales rep.
“After 18 more calls from other solar companies that purchased the same solar leads list, the homeowner’s patience will be running thin.”
Basically, don’t be the nineteenth caller!
So, if purchased solar leads are out, what is a solar contractor to do?
SureOak has listed its “Top 9 Solar Lead Generation and Marketing Ideas” (including, “Don’t buy solar leads from a vendor”). The other ideas are:
- Formulate industry-specific solar marketing ideas.
- Know that solar lead generation companies must cross the chasm between early adopters and mass adoption.
- Make solar lead generation a top priority.
- Put a strong referral system in place.
- Favor education over advertising.
- Use videos to garner trust and display your work.
- Do intelligent keyword research.
- Master the SERPS (Search Engine Results Page).
Speaking of the SERPS, Solar Power has an excellent two-part series: “World Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for solar contractors: Choosing the right keywords” and “Search engine optimization (SEO) for solar contractors: Best practices.”
Curren Media Group, in its “Stop Buying Solar Leads and Start Making your Own” article, details six additional tactics for in-house lead generation:
- Build buyer personas.
- Find out buyer personas’ searched keywords for solar.
- Write blog posts using those solar keywords and offering content about solar power.
- Attract online traffic to those blog posts.
- Put a call to action in each blog post, offering additional content.
- Ask web visitors to fill out a form with their contact info.
Curren concludes, “Once you have a web visitor’s contact info, you’ve now got a truly qualified lead—someone who’s interested in solar now and who gave you their contact info by choice.”
Most importantly, while evaluating solar lead gen options, do not overlook your past customers. The best predictor of future solar is installed solar. When folks see their neighbors with solar on their homes and businesses, they are more likely to purchase solar themselves. Read more at “Past Customers Are a Contractor’s Secret Weapon Lead Provider.”
Solerus Can Help!
Solerus Energy offers two solar permit services: a full solar design and permit package and solar single line diagram (free of cost with any residential system order up to 25kW or $50 with on order) for any residential and commercial solar installation in the USA. That includes battery back-up and off-grid solar installations and small and large commercial installations! Solerus also offers top-of-the-line equipment at a discount, support services, and stellar customer service before and after installation.
Solerus is a trusted solar energy equipment supplier, empowering contractors to develop agile solutions for commercial and residential clients. We provide a range of best-in-class solar products that are backed by an industry-leading 25-year warranty, designed to provide you with unparalleled peace of mind.
To learn more about reducing solar customer acquisition costs and the equipment you’ll need to have happy customers at a price that you’ll love, feel free to contact one of our knowledgeable specialists today!