With the cost to acquire a new home solar customer averaging $3,000 per installation according to GTM Research, marketing and sales have started to cut into the profits of residential installers.
The cost of solar panels has dropped 80% or more in the last few years, but the price of a solar installation hasn’t gone down a comparable amount. That’s because, along with more paperwork and government red tape, customer acquisition has started to add more and more costs to any residential solar project.
Soft costs including marketing and sales now account for 64% of the expense of a new residential solar project, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Maybe that’s because the old ways of selling solar — especially hiring lead generation vendors — are becoming less effective.
- More and more homeowners slam the door on canvassers.
- They hang up the phone on telemarketers.
- They throw out the direct mail unread.
- And they don’t go to home shows or free-lunch seminars the way they used to.
Rooftop solar installers are spending too much time on stuff that doesn’t work to sell solar anymore, which drives up their costs and makes each solar project less profitable.
So it’s no wonder that more and more residential solar companies are looking for new ways to do their marketing.
Even while solar marketing has been stuck in the 1970s with cold calling and door knocking, other industries, from real estate to financial services, have taken most of their marketing into the 21st century, by going online.
And they’ve had great success, cutting the cost of sales leads in half or more while building strong brands that help companies beat their competitors.
Solar companies have been slow to embrace the Internet. Maybe that’s because when they’ve tried to do their marketing online, they haven’t had much success.
But that’s not the fault of the Internet. It’s the fault of rookie mistakes. Find out how to avoid these mistakes in a piece I recently published in Renewable Energy World, “5 Ways for Solar Installers to Avoid Failure in Online Marketing.”