Small local companies can compete against the big installers, especially with the shifting US solar market and the renewed focus on residential. Because of some key advantages, smaller companies are well positioned for the growth in home solar in 2017.

Small and mid-sized installers will grab a big chunk of the market over the next few years in large part because they’re local. People trust their neighbors and as their neighbor, you’ve got the advantage when it comes to hyper local marketing and referral lead generation.

Big installers are going to win the mass market with mass market advertising. They can throw big at budgets at radio, tv and google. This shotgun approach to marketing casts a very wide net and paired with heavily incentivized referrals ($1,000) and a solid sales effort, it works. It also costs a fortune.

Even without a fortune, local SMB installers have a key advantage; you’re real people, in the community, you are neighbors. The whole Shop Local / Buy Local movement adds visibility and momentum to this marketing strategy. Word of mouth is the best marketing of all and neighbors talk to neighbors. By putting this into action, by becoming the local resource about solar, you become the go-to solar guy in the best neighborhoods.

In a world where most solar marketing is all focused on “Want a Quote?” many people just aren’t ready yet. You have the opportunity to reach people before they’re ready, as they’re curious. You can be the source of their education and inspiration about solar and that puts you front and center when they are ready to buy.

Social media becomes more practical and profitable when it’s local focused. You can provide that ‘social proof’ people are looking for to validate their decisions, you can be there when they go looking to ‘check you out’ and you can be a resource of articles and videos when people want to tell their friends about solar and how it works and share something. This is the big end of the referral and recommendation funnel.

Customer referrals are the best sales funnel of all and as a local, you’re in the most natural position to motivate happy customers to recommend you to their friends. It’s safer, you’re more dependable, you’re more trustworthy because you’re a member of the community. It’s just human nature to think that way. You put a face on your business and that makes people more comfortable.

As the Go-To Local company, it’s easier to communicate your experience and expertise. People are often willing to pay more for that level of quality because we’ve all learned that the cheapest price often costs the most in the long run.

As the Solar Expert in your community, what can you do to help educate people as they go through their decision making process? How can you best share customer reviews and testimonials? Where can you best show videos of happy people and beautifully installed systems? It’s all more relevant and believable to people because we are all more open to doing business with people like us and if you’re from around here, you’re probably like me in some way. Build your reputation and influence neighbor by neighbor and soon you’ll own the neighborhood.

As a small business, you’re nimble, you can test marketing ideas and strategies for nickels and dimes, learn what works, do more of that and then roll out big. It’s not all about marketing or even sales. It’s about communication. The better you learn to be communicating, the easier it will be to talk to prospects, to customers and to the prospects they turn you on to. Communication builds relationships and relationships build business.

 

If you’d like some help tuning your marketing so it gets results, we’ve got your back, just get in touch!