Today Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and many other social media sites determine and control the way information is passed from one individual or entity to another. These sites pull in a very wide array of age groups who visit for different reasons. Circulating information or making a firm presence on these sites has now become one of the most powerful marketing tools that exist in the 21st century. Being present on these sites also influences what is known as “Search Engine Optimization” or SEO as it is commonly called in the tech world. SEO simply is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's un-paid or “organic” search results (wikipedia).
Although solar energy is popular amongst those who frequent these social media sites, convincing them to make a purchase is still a very tactical issue. The main challenge sales personnel face is determining how to educate the public on the true cost of installing a solar system and differentiating it from the price on a sales contract. Solar energy can easily be affordable if it’s integrated in a mortgage. This will of course increase the mortgage but with State, Federal, and various tax incentives available – they may even start witnessing a positive cash flow, if the right parameters are implemented, from the first day the system starts producing energy.
A recent study demonstrated that the cost of marketing solar energy vs. the sale of an installed system will keep increasing and may reach unsustainable highs in the near future. In order to market solar energy without ‘robbing the bank’ will entail the use of other sources of getting the word out and not just social media. It is vital to reach out to local governments, concerned groups, religious institutions, schools, local businesses, and the owners of residential apartments or units to educate them about the numerous programs that are available to them, the various deadlines, and how they can benefit from these programs depending on their goals.
Points to remember when building a solar energy marketing campaign include: how to convey information on the cost of the systems, the reliability of these systems, the complexity that exists within the different technologies, and how these technologies can be easily integrated with other existing power supply to a home or a facility. The campaign should also clearly include the efficiencies of the system while mentioning improvements currently in research and development, the different installations, and the panel types available to the potential client. Also, depending on their geographic location and building orientation, solar may not be a good fit; they should be advised clearly on the existence of other renewable energy technologies that currently exist that might be an option for them. Explaining these points effectively and providing the customers with the correct information reinforces the integrity one has come to expect from this new and emerging technology and the companies that sell the product.