White Paper Brief: How Jumping on the Solar Energy Lead Generation Bandwagon Now Can Help Illuminate Your Business

Overview

Go solar? With consumer awareness and concern for the impacts of climate change on the rise, and energy costs ever-increasing, consumer interest in clean, green energy alternatives is growing – now more than ever.

In particular, photovoltaic (PV) solar panels used for residential homes and small businesses are increasing in popularity as an alternative clean, green energy source to conventionally produced electricity. Many homeowners are thus choosing to go solar have begun generating their own electricity needs “off the grid”. In fact, it is estimated that a new solar project is installed in the US every two minutes!1

By harnessing the power of the sun, PV solar panels can effectively, and often efficiently, generate a sustainable environmentally friendly source of clean electricity power, saving homeowners potentially thousands in energy cost savings per year.2

Potential industry roadblocks to consider

While PV solar panel technology is very attractive to the average consumer as a means green energy production and average cost savings, one of the major set-backs for this industry is the cost of the initial investment for consumers to have these solar panels applied.

The average cost of solar panel installation to the consumer for the average residential home or small business can be anywhere from $10,000-$35,000 USD; this cost is based on various variables, for example, the size and energy needs of the structure and the average climate. Therefore, for many consumers, forking out the funds for this initial investment can be a significant hurdle.

However, in many states, cost for the installation of PV solar panel technology via residential homes or small businesses is often subsidized by various power authorities and various grants, incentives, loans and financing options are available from the US government at the federal, state and municipal levels. As well, the cost to install solar panels is decreasing significantly as this technology becomes more mainstream. For example, since 2012, the average cost of a PV solar panel project has decreased by nearly 45%.1

In addition, the effectiveness and efficiency of PV solar panel technology depends on the climate in which the consumer resides. That is, solar panel energy is not always 100% effective or efficient in generating energy needs for the average home or business owner. For example, climates that tend to have more frequent days of cloud cover and/or are experience more days of seasonal winter, tend to be less efficient in terms of generating solar energy via PV panels.

 

Target demographics

Currently, there exist two distinct targets in the PV solar panel industry: Consumers seeking Do-it-yourself (DIY) PV solar panels; and consumers seeking professionally installed PV solar panels.

As installing PV solar panels is a rather difficult project, requiring a higher level of skill and expertise, installation is recommended for professional solar panel contractors. As a result, majority of consumers prefer purchasing PV solar panels professionally installed.  

 According to, the largest number of solar panels purchase in the United States are installed in California, Arizona and New Jersey3.

Who purchases PV solar panels? The average consumers interested in PV solar panel technology tend to be males with the primary motivation of saving money. More specifically, approximately 68% of men make the decision to go solar. As well, while majority of current PV solar panel owners admire the environmental benefits of this technology, 74% had them installed primarily due to the energy cost savings.4

 

Lead Generation: Effectively Connecting your Target Population with
your PV Solar Panel Product

 

The million dollar question is: how can you effectively connect your target audience with your solar panel product to optimize sales?

The answer is simple: Solar Lead Generation through precisely targeted Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Management. Solar lead generation carefully targets potential consumers in the specified demographic to connect this audience with your solar energy product, generating hundreds, if not thousands of qualified leads for your business in the process. More qualified leads, tend to generate more qualified sales, increasing overall revenue for your business.

Solar energy lead generation through targeted PPC management is often a rather cost-effective method of connecting consumers to your product.

PPC keyword analysis

Research of the top keywords used in the generation of leads for the solar industry has revealed that PPC Management has the potential to be a cost-effective method for lead generation.

More specifically, upon further analysis of these keywords using Google data, competitor data and industry averages, the average cost-per-click (CPC) is predicted to be approximately $2.14. While using a predicted average conversion rate (CVR%) of 9%, based on the predicted industry standard, the average cost-per-acquisition (CPA), or cost per lead, will likely range from $12 to $20, the average being a predicted overall CPA of $18.5

With regards to predicted volume, it appears the average lead volume for this industry resides in the moderate category. More specifically, the average monthly click volume is predicted to be between 30 and 2,000 clicks per month, with the average keyword receiving approximately 600 clicks per month. Based on Google, competitor and industry data, it is predicted that the average keyword will yield an average of 60 conversions, or leads, per month.

Again, with the growing consumer interest in PV solar panel technology, this volume is predicted to only keep increasing.

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OptimalAd Technology: Maximizing Leads & Profit

The priority goal of lead generation PPC campaigns is to generate the maximum number of leads at the maximum profit. What is a successful way to do this? The more conventional method involves manually adjusting bids to maximize profit by analyzing conversions, CPC, and numerous other data variables. Below is an example chart depicting how profit correlates directly to bid value or CPC:

Plotting this type of data can certainly provide a conclusive measure of what optimal CPC and/or bid value will deliver maximum profit. However, it is not always this simple; three main issues with using this conventional method to draw conclusions about optimal CPC/bids to maximize profit include:

Problem 1 – The data on the chart will likely appear much more complicated, making it more difficult to decipher and draw conclusions; See an example of what a common chart might look like below:

Problem 2 – The number of placements required to be analyzed might be several hundred, thousand or even million in number, making this process cumbersome, time-consuming and even impossible.

Problem 3 – Competition is ever present, causing constant fluctuations in the PPC market numerous times per day. In order to keep profits maximized, prevent profit losses and stay competitive, quick reaction to these changes is required.

Solution? OptimalAd Technology provides the answer for all three problem scenarios above, and works to maximize conversions (leads) with optimization of profit as the number one priority. For example, machine learning algorithms we have developed at isoTree can accommodate any number of keywords, are self-learning and react quickly to various events. That is, this technology is event-driven, meaning it re-adjusts a placement after every click or after a certain number of impressions, if required.

Our OptimalAd technology can even disable unprofitable words, making PPC lead generation campaigns even more efficient. Moreover, our system can be fine-tuned via numerous different settings with separation to keyword match type, search/content/managed placements, specific campaigns or even specific placements, if they require special attention.

Solar Lead Buyers

Who buys solar leads? Generally, PV solar panel companies buy leads who are looking to grow their businesses and increase percentage of yearly sales, while being able to focus on what they do best – installing an/or selling PV solar panels. That is, solar lead generation using a third party allows PV solar companies to focus on the important intricacies of the business, while avoiding the time and stress involved with generating new quality leads and prospects.

PV solar panel lead buyers can have companies ranging anywhere in size from small to large. In addition, as stated previously, there exists two distinct PV solar panel industries: PV solar panel manufacturers who sell wholesale solar panel products to solar panel installation companies and DIY consumers; and PV solar panel companies who provide professionally installed PV solar panels to the average consumer.

Therefore, solar lead generation efforts should be customized to the characteristics of the lead buyer. For example, solar lead generation efforts used to target high quality leads for a small, family-owned PV solar panel installation company would likely use a strategy very different than that used for a large, corporate PC solar manufacturer company.

Based on average CPA predictions for the PV solar panel lead generation vertical, the average Price-Per-Lead (PPL) a solar lead buyer can expect to pay is anywhere between $17 - $20.

Optimizing conversion rate (%CVR)

Of course, by optimizing conversion rate (%CVR), the average PPL could potentially decline for a lead buyer. That is, through PPC optimization and landing page optimization strategy, increasing conversion rate can decrease the average CPA of a solar lead generation PPC campaign, potentially decreasing the average PPL for the lead buyer.

Current Industry Competition

Based on current competitor data, the average ranking difficulty for top keywords is approximately 48%. Essentially, the current competition within the PV solar panel industry for lead generation is rather moderate at this current time.

As this industry appears to be “emerging” rather than fully established, now is a good time to jump into the solar energy lead generation market, before competing becomes too fierce and more expensive.

With regards to competitors, the average number of competitors currently competing for the top solar panel industry keywords in PPC lead generation is 80. In fact, the top 10 competitors in the current solar energy PPC management lead generation industry include:

1.     RGSenergy.com

2.     Sungevity.com

3.     Nationalsolarprogram.com

4.     Solarcity.com

5.     Verengosolar.com

6.     Sunrun.com

7.     Solarworld-usa.com

8.     Directenergysolar.com

9.     Sunpower.com

10.  Gogreensolar.com

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, lead generation through precisely targeted PPC management is a cost-effective, efficient method of connecting target consumers with your PV solar panel product. That is, generating qualified leads can increase your number of qualified PV solar panel sales and revenue for your company, while allowing you to focus on what you do best – installing and selling solar panels!

There are various types of potential lead buyers available to purchase solar leads, ranging from small, family-owned PV solar panel installation companies, to large, corporate PV solar manufacturer companies. Thus, lead the strategy for solar lead generation can and should be customized to the characteristics of the lead buyer.

Currently, competition in the PV solar panel market for PPC lead generation is moderate and appears to be still emerging. Therefore, now is a good time to jump into the solar energy lead generation market, before competing becomes too fierce and more expensive.

Interested in solar panel lead generation through precisely target PPC management? Contact us today to discuss how we can help you succeed!

 

References

1. Solar Energy Industries Association. (2015). Solar Industry Data. Online Available: http://www.seia.org/research-resources/solar-industry-data

2. (March 2016). Solar Power in the US: Market Research Report. Online, Available: http://www.ibisworld.com/industry/default.aspx?indid=1914

3. Pritchard, Griffith (2012). Market Analysis for Solar Panel Companies. Available, Online: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/market-analysis-solar-panel-companies-77667.html

4. (2012). Solar Panel Technology: Who Are They? Online, Available: http://www.webpronews.com/solar-panel-demographic-who-are-they-infographic-2012-03/

5. Branson, Leah. (2015). Where to Find Solar Leads. Online, Available: http://www.inboundprospect.com/blog/where-to-find-solar-leads/  

Jennifer Schuman