Solar energy companies and SMS have always been quite close largely because it allows solar companies to not only generate quality sales leads but also manage customers after the sale.
In this article, I’ll cover how solar companies are using SMS marketing to grow their business.
1. Generating Solar Sales Leads With SMS Marketing
Lead generation is at the heart of any good customer acquisition strategy.
The goal with solar marketing is to ensure that you’re spending the majority of your time in front of people who are close to making a buying decision but all too often companies send leads to their salespeople that are just not ready for a sales conversation.
For example, email lead generation is good but generally speaking that lead is gathering information.
They’re in information seeking mode.
The power of email marketing is sending the subscriber information that is designed to educate and build demand for your specific solutions which then advances that person down the buying process to the point of being interested in having a sales conversation.
As you may have guessed this does require a little bit of marketing skill.
SMS lead generation works fundamentally in the same way as an email with the key difference being that the people who subscribe to that SMS list have a higher likelihood of openness to having a sales conversation about your solar energy solutions.
The reason for this is that they’re giving you their mobile number.
When they give you their personal mobile number they are expecting you to contact them via SMS or even by phone.
Setting Up Your SMS Lead Generation Machine
This is simply setting up the online SMS service so that it can collect the leads for you.
There are 3 parts:
- Contact Group
This is the place where your leads (mobile numbers) will be stored.
- Key Phrase
This is a short key phrase that identifies the offer.
- Short/Long Code
This is the phone number that they text the key phrase back to.
Let’s imagine that we’ve set up a contact group named “Solar December Leads” to collect lead information.
Next, we put our promotion together:
Text “SOLARDEC” to 04xxxxxxxx to see our December Solar Energy Deals. Up to 42% off solar system solutions during December only!
SOLARDEC is the key phrase and 04xxxxxxxx is the long code – a shortcode is a short version of the long code for example 9999.
When anyone texts SOLARDEC to 04xxxxxxxx our system will store that sales lead into the Solar December Leads contact group for you to follow up with.
Uploading Existing Leads
You may already have a spreadsheet full of mobile leads which is great because all you need to do is upload them and you can start sending out SMS messages right away.
Just like email, you’ll need to get this promotion in front of as many people as possible which means integrating this into your existing marketing channels which may include:
- Email newsletters
- Direct mail
- Social media
- Showroom etc.
Now you will begin to get leads coming into your contact groups to follow up with.
2. Lead Follow Up
The money is in the follow up as they say.
The goal in this stage is to move them off the SMS channel and onto a phone call using a bulk SMS campaign.
Due to the nature of solar products buyers will be happy to discuss possible options.
You can use something like the following:
Thank you for your inquiry with ACME Solar solutions and our December offer. Wondering if you’d be open to a quick 10 minute consultation to find out what you’re after – When would be the best time to call? Regards, Mike Acme Solar
If you get no response then follow up again 1-2 days later with a similar text message but with an urgency trigger.
Hi, just following up about your inquiry into our solar energy systems. Please note that our December offer is ending on the 31st. Are you available this week for a quick 10 minute call to discuss exactly what you’re after and if we have the right solutions available? Regards, Mike ACME Solar.
Each day that goes by that lead gets colder so you need to get them on the phone as soon as possible
If you still receive no response then they could still be looking for options and not quite ready to commit to a direct phone call.
In this case, move them to a general leads contact group so you can follow up every month with a new promotion to get them onto a call.
3. Installation & Payment Reminders
Efficient communication between your company and the customer is critical to make the whole process smooth.
While calling is a good option, most of the time it’s not necessary or appropriate so a less intrusive, yet equally effective method is to shoot them a quick text.
For example, couriers use SMS for inform customers about deliver times and set up reminders which help in 2 ways:
- This reminds the customer of the delivery and gives them time to reply back with availability options.
- Helps the courier improve their efficiency by not wasting time showing up to the home with no one there to receive the goods.
In solar you can use SMS to confirm and remind the customer of installation times by using something like the following:
Hi Jill, a quick text to remind you that our ACME Solar team will begin installation on the 12/01/19. If you need to reschedule then this must be done by 31/12/18. Jack, Acme Solar.
Once you sign up a new customer and confirm the installation dates schedule your reminder or send this back to your admin person to organise.
This means you can forget about it and move on to the next task if the customer needs to reschedule you’ll get the notification and you can either reply or call them back to set a new date.
Chances are your customer’s are on a payment plan so you’d want to set up automated reminders letting the customer know when each payment is due to come out.
There’s nothing worse than a payment defaulting because it creates added costs for your company.
A simple text like the following is all that is needed:
Hi Jill, a friendly reminder to let you know that your next payment will be direct-debited from your account on 12/2/19. Kind regards, Jack at ACME Solar.
If a payment was unsuccessful you can send the following:
Hi Jill, yesterday’s payment was unsuccessful please reply to this text today to let me know when we can deduct the funds to get your account up to date and help you avoid penalties. Kind regards, Jack ACME Solar.
4. Team Communication
Internal communication amongst teams is essential for efficiency and customer management.
If the customer is unable to confirm an installation time then you can let your team know so that they can fill that day with another customer.
If the customer had a poor experience then it’s helpful to let your team know before calling the customer to discuss.
The common mistake many businesses make is they use SMS in only one area when in fact it should be integrated into any area of your business that requires immediate attention from your prospect or customer.
There are a lot of marketing tools that are more passive in nature like email marketing and social media etc. that are good for updating but people give higher priority to text messages than these other media so if what you need to say is urgent then SMS is ideal.
SMS has a 98% open rate making it very much a grab ‘em by the shirt-collar type of tool so is best used for mission-critical areas like:
- Generating high-interest sales leads
- Confirming installation times
- Payment reminders and defaults
- Handling customer complaints