Solar Marketing 101: Walking Visitors through Solar Energy Incentives, Pt. 1

Solar Marketing 101 - Solar Energy IncentivesFor the past few days, we’ve discussed some of the solar cost myths that continue to hamper widespread renewable energy adoption – especially within the residential market.

In a previous post, I pointed out that 97% of Americans grossly overestimate the cost of installing solar PV on their homes.  In many cases, they’re off by as much as $20,000.

And in a follow-up post, we looked at how solar calculators can boost your marketing efforts as you educate potential users on the true cost and savings of installing solar PV technology.

Today, I want to explore solar incentives, rebates, tax credits, feed-in tariffs, and other awesome goodies that can help dramatically reduce the upfront and total costs of installing solar.

Solar Incentives Exist – But Do Your Customers Know How to Use Them?

As a nation, we’re very fortunate to have access to so many different local, state, and federal green incentives.

I’ll be the first to admit that we don’t have nearly enough – especially when you compare the subsidies and tax breaks that fossil fuels receive.  But after living in places like Malaysia, the Dominican Republic, Russia, and Costa Rica, I’ve developed a very measured appreciation of how lucky Americans truly are.

Unfortunately, too many solar firms out there don’t market these incentives effectively.  They make passing mention of the “unbelievable savings available,” but they fail to walk users through the actual steps.

This is a wasted opportunity – and one that is so easy to fix.  I’d love to see more solar stakeholders explain:

  • What solar rebates, credits, coupons, and programs exist
  • Who qualifies for these incentives
  • The potential savings and cost reductions (especially when coupled with a solar calculator)
  • The exact application process, including deadlines, contact info, etc.

And of course, we should include downloadable forms to make the application itself as easy as possible.

These steps not only make your site more user friendly, but they also create opportunities to gather leads.  For example, you could publish a handy Step-by-Step Solar Incentive guide that users could download IF they fill out some simple contact details:

“Want to learn how this young couple cut the price of their solar installation in half using state funding?  Click here to learn more.”

This discussion about solar incentives and cost reductions should be front and center on your site (along with solar calculators).

It’s important that you make this information as accessible as possible so that the 97% of Americans who believe solar is too expensive can finally learn the truth.

How To Educate Your Users about Solar Energy Incentives

The big question isn’t whether or not to share this information with visitors.  It’s how BEST to share it.

I see 3 options – only 2 of which are winners in my book.

Option 1: Rewrite the Info and Make It Your Own

As a solar SEO junkie, I naturally see the world through search-related opportunities.

If you’re market is small enough (geographically), you probably have the resources to gather all of the incentive information out there, rewrite it, and then publish it directly on your site.

There are a couple of major advantages and disadvantages of this approach:

Advantages:

  • You have unique index-able content that adds greater weight to your SEO efforts.  Not only will you receive traffic for your unique solar products, but you’ll also receive traffic anytime someone Googles [insert name of solar incentive].
  • Your site becomes more useful and keeps people on longer.

Disadvantages:

  • You’re 100% responsible for the content you publish.  This means that you have to really research the subject matter and present information that is factually accurate and legally sound.
  • You have to keep up with changes.  Incentives evolve, devolve, split, merge, and die.  Something you published yesterday may no longer be relevant today (this is actually a fairly strong argument against publishing a downloadable eBook or guide that captures leads).

One way to manage these changes is to set up Google Alerts for whatever local, state, and federal solar energy incentives you cover.  You’ll know as soon as a program has new rules or deadlines – and you can update your marketing copy appropriately.

If you’re looking for handy resources to get started, check out Solar Power Rocks and the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.

In the next post, we’ll continue our discussion about solar incentives and how to walk your Web visitors through all the options out there.

 

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