1. Low intent inquiries
It’s a simple fact: The leads you purchase from many lead generation companies don’t provide you with leads that have a high level of intent. They are simply shopping! Which is fine, because it is part of the process in finding the right installer, but unfortunately it makes it much more difficult for you to close the lead into a sale. These types of leads are lacking other key steps in the buying funnel that will lead them to a higher likelihood of purchasing from you.
To really understand this we need to look briefly at the Hierarchy of Effects Theory.
Most lead generation companies implement a number of different marketing strategies to generate their leads. Most encourage the consumer to click on an ad that then directs the consumer to a landing page with very little content. Typically the page has strong calls to action and has very little options other than filling out the lead generation form. There is nothing wrong with this process at the surface, but it does have the tendency to generate leads that are not “Hot”.
These companies that implement this process are hoping that the consumers visiting their page are already aware of the details of a solar installation and have full knowledge of all the options. Unfortunately, many consumers are simply not at this point yet. They require further education and that education is going to have to come from your sales staff. This means added time, more marketing materials, and a higher chance of losing them after they are educated to another company. The perfect scenario is calling on a lead that has received the education and is ready to make a decision based on the services you provide. A consumer that has the education and is ready to buy has moved from the Affective Phase into the Behavioral Phase. They have become a Hot lead!
2. Uneducated buyers
The leads you receive do want to find a solar solution, but they simply don’t have enough information to make a decision. As I mentioned previously, most websites that you purchase leads from simply don’t provide the proper information for the consumer to make an educated decision. An uneducated consumer will either become an uninterested consumer because of the overwhelming amount of information they must consumer to fully understand the options or an impulsive buyer who may later have a higher return or cancel rate (buyers remorse). Inexperienced marketers may believe that you need to race users to the finish line as quickly as possible by shortening inquiry forms to be as time saving as possible or providing the fewest amount of alternative content options. These actions could result in more leads, but unfortunately low conversion rates.
3. Oversold leads
Not only might the solar leads you receive have low intent and usually be uneducated consumers, they can get sent to 4 (or more) other companies! While we are an advocate of comparison-shopping and believe it provides a ripe marketplace for people to receive the best deals on products and services, there is a line that if crossed can create a negative experience for all parties. In this case, there IS such thing as ‘too many choices’. Behavioral Economist, Dan Ariely, the author of a phenomenal book called Predictably Irrational, argues that consumers given too many choices simply won’t make a choice at all. They freeze up! A consumer who has multiple companies calling them will likely not convert at all. The purchase of leads that are oversold are not going to produce closing rates that your efforts deserve. Overselling is bad for the consumer and bad for the buyer. Beware!
4. Low quality traffic sources
Facts are facts, when comparing other vertical industries where marketing companies generate leads in; The Solar industry is very limited in marketing scale. Simply put, it’s difficult to generate a significant amount of good leads. There are only a dozen or so states that make sense for installers and marketers to advertise in. This means marketing companies don’t get to benefit from economies of scale, unless they are using tactics that leverage multiple offerings.
Quick example: A marketing channel that is typically very affordable to manage, when compared to other channels like Search Marketing, is the Email channel. However, to effectively run an email campaign you really need to have a campaign that does not need to limited by geography. What some companies will do is promote multiple products on a single landing page or conversion funnel. This allows the marketer to increase their chances of monetizing the broad traffic that may come from the email campaigns. Unfortunately for you, this means that again, leads have low or confused intentions and are generally very uneducated in a single product line.
Additionally, because of the limited geographic coverage many also participate in co-registration campaigns. A co-registration campaign is where the consumer is allowed to sign up for multiple offers in one simple process. I don’t need to explain the inevitable quality of leads generated from this strategy, but in general: NOT GOOD!
5. Blind consumer to company matching
Many lead generation companies blind match consumers to solar installers. What does this mean? It means when the consumer completes their lead generation form they have no idea which company they will be receiving a call from. The good news for you is that the consumer has showed interest in learning more about a solar installation and completed a form, but unfortunately for you it is not far off from a cold call. Have you ever had a prospecting conversation like this:
Installer: “Hi, this is Mike from Best Solar Experts “
Installer: “You recently completed a form on ABC website and they sent your information to me and I am now calling regarding your interest in installing solar panels on your home.”
Consumer: “Oh, yes. I actually just got off the phone with another company. Oh wait, can you hold one second, I have another call coming in….” (consumer is getting bombarded with calls. Good luck closing it because apparently you were not the first to call and certainly won’t be the last)
We all know how that phone call typically ends. Typically, not well.
2 ways to receive hot solar leads:
These 5 reasons can burn a whole in your budget unless you make a change or at the very least adjust your budget allocation. Will you close deals from these types of leads? Yes, not all hope is lost! Are they your best investment? No! There are better options out there! Here are just two:
1. Build and manage your own campaigns that generate leads for only you via your own branded landing pages. This is arguably the best option, however probably the most difficult unless you have a solid marketing team that is highly proficient at paid search and online media management. They should also be very well versed in Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and landing page design. Unfortunately, it is unlikely you have a team with these skills, but again, all hope is not lost. If you don’t have these in house you can certainly out source the tasks to an Agency experienced in marketing to solar panel consumers. Rock 9 Digital is a company that specializes in these expertise and has been a leading digital marketing agency in the Solar Energy industry. With over 10 years of experience managing performance marketing campaigns across multiple industries and over 4 years specifically in the Solar industry, they provide an unparalleled level of expertise and service.
2. Look for directory sites like www.BestSolarExperts.com (also run by Rock 9 Digital) that allow you to leverage their marketing prowess and education content to generate leads via your own brand. This gives you the opportunity to attract consumers high up the Hierarchy of Effects pyramid and that are ready to buy. Best Solar Experts educates consumers on the benefits of going solar, drives interested consumers to pages that display your brand and content, and does not over sell leads. This puts you in the best position to close more leads.
To make a long story short, producing quality leads is completely possible, but not all lead sources are created equal. If a lead source uses poor marketing tactics you will undoubtedly suffer from poor quality. On the other hand, finding a source that will provide you with consumers in the purchase phase or the Affective Phase will give you a higher likelihood of closing more sales.
Hopefully this helps you navigate the industry and grow your business!