Every solar marketer wants their company to have a beautiful website that boosts the company’s brand. And these days, the site has to be mobile responsive too, to capture the growing number of website visits (as much as half) that come from mobile phones and tablets.
But solar website design that’s truly brilliant goes further than an updated version of a company’s sales brochure thrown up online. The smartest solar companies are using their websites to generate leads through inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is when you forgo the traditional outbound techniques of ads, direct mail and cold calls. Instead, you use the Internet to attract your ideal customers to come to you. This works by posting helpful content to those customers on your website — blog posts, white papers, e-books, infographics — and then getting that content out to the audiences who want to read it through search engines, targeted email blasts, social media and other services of Web 2.0.
A brilliant homepage has seven components, according to inbound marketing company HubSpot:
- Clearly answers “Who I am,” “What I do,” and/or “What can you (the visitor) do here.”
- Resonates with the target audience
- Communicates a compelling value-proposition
- Optimizes for multi-device usability
- Includes calls-to-action (CTAs)
- Always changes
To help the solar marketer see how these apply to their company, below are three quick examples of brilliant solar website design — all with clean, minimalist design optimized for mobile devices, but each with different strengths.
1) Vivint Solar
Why It’s Brilliant
- It’s economical. Right above the fold, it tells the potential customer everything she needs to know in the 8 seconds that she’s likely to spend before she decides to stay or go: this company does residential installations for people who look like you (young professional families with a decent-sized home) with the benefits you care about (money saving, choice and going green).
- It’s easy to consume. At only three screens, it’s quick to see everything. If you want more, it’s easy to click inside the site.
- It gives a choice of calls to action for people at each stage of the solar buyer’s journey. For those just exploring, there’s a video further down the page. For those ready to decide, there’s the button at the top to get a price quote.
Why It’s Brilliant
- It’s trustworthy. The top graphic establishes credibility right away by showing real, satisfied customers. The implicit message to an unsure potential customer: “Come on in and join us, the water’s just fine.”
- It invites interaction. It’s hard not to enter your Zip Code into the little box to check availability — there’s so little risk or effort required and it’s always fun to get feedback right away. And once you see that you qualify, you feel like a winner, part of a select group, which encourages you to take the next step.
- It appeals to different audiences well. Without adding clutter that might turn off the main audience of residential solar customers, the site menu offers options for other audiences too in the first screen — business and government as well as investors.
Why It’s Brilliant
I’ve discussed SunPower’s homepage before in terms of the 12 must-haves for a clean energy homepage. Here, I’ll focus on what SunPower does that makes their homepage stand out from other great solar website designs.
- Big customer success story makes it human. Solar is not about technology but about people and the picture of a smiling mom daughter is warm and inviting. The message: SunPower is about people too.
- Smaller case studies offer something for everyone. Well, maybe not exactly everyone, but key types of target customers for residential solar, from New York to Colorado, in houses with traditional construction and modern design whether located on big yards or small yards.
- Makes it easy to take action. Even though the customer stories are half-way down the page, a fixed top navigation menu makes it easy to click on the well highlighted “Get Started” button.
Does your solar homepage match up to these brilliant designs? If not, perhaps it’s time to refresh your site. If your site needs to be made mobile responsive, that might be your best reason to do it now. Then you can make sure that your new design does all the 12 things that a solar homepage needs to do to attract strangers as visitors and help turn them into leads, prospects and ultimately, new customers.
— Erik Curren, Curren Media Group