Solar Facebook ads are a great way to get a lot of solid solar leads. Learn how it all works with Facebook lead generation ad examples here.
Did you know that nearly 80% of marketers who utilize Facebook for lead generation see an average cost per lead of under $25? Not only that, but for many industries, the cost per click of Facebook ads remains well under a dollar.
So, what does this mean for you if you’re looking to generate leads with solar Facebook ads? If you’re a residential solar company, then it’s likely that you’re always on the lookout for new solar marketing tips.
With the above stats in mind, it means that if you’re not using Facebook ads and performing lead generation for solar, you’re missing out. In this article, we’ll show you how to create a Facebook ad campaign that effectively targets homeowners interested in solar energy and incentives.
I’m Jim Alamia from Invention Solar, making Facebook Ads was not only a business goal and personal goal, but it also became a “mission of mercy”. After working for about 20 years prior I discovered the business of residential solar. I was running my LinkedIn system and messaged a college friend who set me up as a marketing consultant for a home solar company in New Jersey. As their Chief Marketing Officer, I brought new talented employees to the company and managed the rebranding of the company, and eventually grew the company to one of the largest residential solar companies in the Northeast.
During my tenure as CMO, the team accomplished various marketing deliverables and helped to grow and energize the company. There are various distribution tactics that residential solar marketers can engage with, the tactics that we have found successful are door-to-door canvassing, call center outbound appointment setting, inbound digital marketing, buying various types of data, warm-transfers inbound, event marketing, and end-to-end CRM and lead flow systems.
One of the keys to success in solar lead generation is being able to execute marketing on all cylinders (omnichannel approach) and feed your lead and appointment data to a system that will monetize your lead generation and route calls, leads, appointments, and re-hash records to the appropriate call center team members in the company.
Having 100% visibility into lead flow with marketing automation, and marketing operations is a pivotal key to your success in growing and scaling solar marketing.
This article focuses on some of the key learnings related to generating inbound leads using Facebook Ads, remember we have spent thousands of hours executing Facebook Ads, and because their Ad platform is consistently changing, this article speaks to the strategies and tactics at a high level so that this information doesn’t become dated over time.
At the bottom of the article, I also talk about other distribution platforms that you should be testing and thinking about. This is really all about doing and execution, you can read all the articles you can and watch a ton of videos related to solar Facebook marketing but, you need to prepare and execute the ads in measurable and manageable pieces while exercising kinesthetic-tactile learning (by doing marketing hands-on).
How to Generate Leads with Solar Facebook Ads
Before diving into your Facebook Ads campaign, it’s important to start by formulating a cohesive Facebook lead generation strategy. This includes:
- Conducting competitive analysis
- Using tools to examine competition
- Creating a detailed strategic plan with the tactics to back it up
When performing competitive analysis, you should know that successful marketers use a lead generation brand to generate leads as opposed to marketing as their proprietary solar company. You need to do your competitive analysis on these lead-gen sites and brands. You will get more success as a 3rd party lead-gen and a lower cost-per-lead (CPL) over time.
Competitive analysis is critical to your success. Before you get involved with analyzing your competition’s Facebook and Instagram solar Ads, you should conduct an overall analysis from a business strategy and SEO perspective. Here are 2 videos we shot that give you a detailed guide and footprint toward conducting competition analysis correctly.
Strategy – Performing Competitive Analysis – Video 1
Strategy – Performing Competitive Analysis – Video 2
After you learn from these videos, then you can drill down and look at solutions to help you analyze competitor Ads and audience attributes to the extent that you can. Here is a review site with a list of Facebook competitor analysis tools for marketers.
For example, you might want to analyze top lead-gen competitors in your geographical market and see what kind of Facebook campaigns they are running. Remember to do your homework and use free trial programs until you find something that works well for you and your team’s process.
I remember having a Word doc on my computer and for every solar ad and landing page, when I would find a solar ad, I would take a screenshot of it and add it to my document, when I was done the document was like 200 pages full of ads, landers, and form widgets. My team and I analyzed the document for many hours and just kept reorganizing and testing and it helped me to formulate an overall strategy. I also spent time learning from other marketers and refining the process.
From my experience, you don’t want to overthink your ad and audience creation, keep it simple. Use video ads and show them things they have never seen before.
Use that knowledge to come up with your unique ads, messaging, and tactics to stand out. This might include targeting a specific demographic or offering a special promotion. Regardless of what you choose to offer, here are eight tips that can help you succeed.
The big idea in performing marketing is to deliver the right message to the right audience, give them the reasons and make it really clear for them to take the next step.
Create Your Own Landing Page Experience
When running FB solar Ads and Instagram ads, it’s important to make sure you have a well-structured landing page experience. This means using the AIDA formula to grab attention, create interest, make a decision, and ultimately take action. It’s a real-life sales funnel where page and data structure matter.
Your goal is to produce useful content that genuinely helps your audience. As your visitors scroll and read down the page, they will be guided to the form widget, the form widget is a form mechanism that will capture one piece of information at a time from the users in various steps. This information is then recorded to your lead database, one piece of data at a time, and then marketing automation will take over.
As you get more sophisticated with your lead form widget and lead flow into your CRM and marketing automation system you can engage with ‘progressive profiling’ where pieces of user data from various user sessions are aggregated together. For example, your lead widget can capture the homeowner’s utility bill amount in step 1, then in step 2 you can get their email, then in step 3, you can get their name, etc.
In this example if the user abandons after step 2 then at least you have their email address, then you can start an email drip and nurture the user with useful email content and then subsequently you will engage the user and ascertain other information that is needed such as a street address, phone number and so on.
The landing page is where your audience will “land” after clicking on your ad, so it’s crucial to make a good impression and guide them through the sales funnel. By following the AIDA formula, you can ensure that your landing page is engaging and encourages user action.
Always remember to point them toward a lead generation form at the bottom of the page. It’s very important to have your social proof right under the form. Social proof will assist the user (homeowner) to complete the form widget. Social proof is usually a testimonial pull quote from a customer or a text string of social media comments.
Make Your Landing Page Look Like Third-Party Lead Generation
As mentioned earlier in the article, when possible, make your landing page look like a third-party lead generation page. This simply means that it’s not too important to sell your business right now. Lead with federal initiatives and discuss the benefits of the ITC – Investment Tax Credit. You can also lead your messaging with state incentives if they are available in the markets you are focusing on.
What you’re trying to do is sell them on the benefits of what you offer first. Then, strategically incorporate a lead form widget that requests one piece of information at a time from the user. Using content as a news article with a good angle has worked well for my team. This content model and framework is also known as an Advertorial.
When you are running Facebook solar lead generation campaigns you would use the consideration lead generation tactics and make your CTA (call-to-action) the landing page destination.
In terms of Facebook and Instagram lead-generation ads examples, this example from one of our lead-gen brands; Utility Book is a great example of what a well-done 3rd party landing page looks like so you can put this strategy into context.
You should also evaluate using other lead-generation Facebook tactics, for example, you can use the Facebook lead form method where Facebook and Instagram Ads will have a pre-canned form that shows up under the Ad on the news feed and other locations on the platforms. Make sure you try both methods and keep testing. Never stop testing.
Send Leads to Your Internal Team
Assuming your Facebook solar ads are optimized, and your landing page is converting, it’s time to streamline the entire process.
It’s important to have a plan in place for what happens after someone expresses interest. How do you verify and qualify them as a lead? How do you set up an appointment for your sales team to follow up with them?
One solution is to have an internal team dedicated to confirming leads and setting appointments. This way, your sales team can focus on closing deals instead of spending time reaching out to unqualified leads or chasing down appointments.
There is really a science to delivering the right leads to your various internal teams. After you scale and start to figure things out on the solar coaster you will begin to understand that certain team members should be performing outbound cold calling and appointment setting, certain team members should be servicing the inbound leads, and certain team members should be performing call confirmations to ensure that homeowners are ready with their bill and spouse to meet with your solar specialist.
Lead flow is super important, you can do everything right and drop the ball because you are not using business sense. I have seen many companies screw up lead flow royally because they simply didn’t test enough and didn’t figure out that they had bugs in their lead flow and operational systems until weeks or months later. Pay attention, the devil is in the details.
Pay Attention to Your Facebook Audience
Are you not seeing the clickthrough or conversion rates you’d like? One of the best things you can do is build out your audience targeting to include different demographics and niche buyer personas.
Creating multiple audiences allows you to create targeted ad campaigns that speak directly to the specific needs and interests of each group.
It is good practice and standard practice to run awareness campaigns to your audience first, then after a period of time use that same audience and run consideration or lead generation Ads, you will see better lead results after you had a chance to “warm-up” your audience.
And don’t forget about Facebook’s look-alike audience feature. This allows you to broaden your reach by targeting users who have similar characteristics and behaviors as your current audience.
You will need to be highly organized and systematic as you test various audiences with your relevant copy. When you discover a variation that works well, begin to test around the topic by shortening the copy and getting clever and creative.
Back in the day, we used to build audiences by geographical area, for example, if we were marketing to a home solar company in Middletown NY, we would build an audience of homeowners in Middletown New York, and then create a video with messaging on it that said something like “The Federal Government is Paying Middletown NY Homeowners to Go Solar, See If Your Home Qualifies”, then lead them to a call-to-action to complete the form widget.
Since this time Facebook has updated its audience tools by eliminating the homeowner selectors so you need to be able to pivot and get creative but at the same time maximize your spending and eliminate low-quality leads. To be successful you really need to be on top of the latest trends and best practices and test, test, test.
Create Short Video Ads
Using short video ads with messaging on the video itself can be incredibly effective in capturing attention and generating more solar leads.
Movement is key. Think quickly changing scenes or text overlays that flash on the screen. And don’t forget about your messaging. Lead with incentives, less is more, and structure your ad copy like a Q&A or problem-and-solution scenario.
It may take a little extra effort but building Facebook Ad videos with these elements can help boost engagement and conversions. People like immediate gratification and WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) think of this when you are preparing your ad copy. What can you give them to get their information?
My team has used drone footage on home solar systems with messaging. You need to show them things they have never seen before. Video content is king.
Understand Your Budget
When it comes to running successful Facebook advertising campaigns, understanding your ad budget is crucial. It’s important to make sure you have enough funds to run your ad for the amount of time you want, and also to track any ad spend.
And when it comes to budgeting for your ad, experimentation is key. Try playing around with various times of day for ad placement and see what works best for your audience. Examine the data results and continually evaluate and refine your ad placements for maximum effectiveness. We have found that the afternoon into the evening is a suitable time to run Facebook and Instagram Ads, but this does depend on the geographical area.
You can do this type of marketing with hundreds of dollars in a specific location but, to make this work you need to spend thousands of dollars and run campaigns for weeks at a time. If you can get an appointment to sit for under $200 you are going down the right road. Remember these are leads with intent and these leads are exclusive to your solar company.
Our team does what it can to dial in leads at $25 and under but this does depend on the geographical area. Many US states are new to residential solar and in other states, solar has been around for 15 years already. Also, depending upon the size of your audience and budget will deem how quickly your ad is pushed to the user. After you circulate through the audience with the same ad a couple of times you will begin to see the degradation of ad performance. Therefore, it is important to have different ads and equitable audience sizes.
Track Your KPIs
When it comes to running Facebook ads for solar leads, tracking your statistics and key performance indicators is essential. Testing different variations of your ad will help you fine-tune your approach and find what works best.
To track all your campaigns and the overall lead-generation strategy you need to make sure you have your Facebook pixel installed correctly on your website. There are many details involved with installing the pixels correctly on your website and form widget step location. Make sure you really spend the time understanding how the tracking pixel system works and laying out the marketing funnel with pixels in the right locations.
Now it’s time to calculate your marketing spend alongside your sales. These are the major buckets you should be tracking:
- Marketing Spend – how much you have spent
- Impressions – the number of ads served to Facebook and Instagram active users
- Leads (CPL) – the number of complete lead form submissions
- Appointments Confirmed – the number of leads you were able to contact and schedule an appointment.
- Appointments that Sit – the number of appointments that sit/attend your solar presentation (in person or via Zoom track separately)
- Appointments that Close (CPA) – appointments that you sell. Also known as cost per acquisition
- Appointments in nurture – appointments that go ghost, trying to reschedule, put these through a nurturing process, and rehash these records into appointments that sit.
Calculate how much it cost you to get an email opt-in, what does it cost you to nurture these opt-in records into progressive profiling and what does it cost to build a complete solid full record solar lead? These are the types of things you should push to implement and improve upon as you grow your lead flow and marketing automation processes.
However, it’s always important to keep an eye on your cost per lead, as getting it in a good place will increase the longevity of your Facebook and Instagram marketing strategy.
Overall, finding the right formula for cost per lead in relation to cost per acquisition (CPA) will ensure that your investment in Facebook advertising is paying off. If you can get your CPA around $1500 consistently you are doing well. Again, this does depend upon the geographical area.
Get Creative and Try Other Distribution Tactics
Facebook ads are a helpful tool for driving traffic to your business but relying solely on them can have its drawbacks. Facebook algorithm changes can cause ad activity to decline over time, and it’s important to have a plan B in place.
Therefore it’s important to mix things up and try different forms of solar marketing as well. We had a client in Mount Vernon New York who made custom solar canopies, we made cool videos with visuals of this canopy solution and actionable messaging. Homeowners loved it and we crushed it with the marketing. Something like this goes a long way because the reality if it is that not every campaign is going to work well. You need to know when to test and when to cut bait on an idea.
For instance, creating an advertorial has value with other distribution tactics. Likewise, you might try exploring YouTube as it can also help drive traffic to your page. We have had success with Native ads and targeted banners, and real-time bidding (RTB) distribution while driving traffic to your Advertorial content-rich page.
Target Solar Demographic Ads on Facebook
Are you wondering how to target solar demographic ads on Facebook? First things first, try targeting a larger geographical area. This will give you more potential customers and prevent your ad from getting exhausted in a smaller target area.
You can also target geographical areas with high adoption rates of solar panels. You could also target people who have “liked” pages related to renewable energy or sustainability.
We have found that targeting individuals who have expressed an interest in home improvement or going green do not convert good leads. This selector has never worked for us but may be worth a test.
We hope that this article helps you to understand the terrain of running Facebook solar Ads and Instagram solar lead generation. Use this article as a starting point and contact us if you have any questions.
Get Help with Solar Facebook Ads for Lead Generation
Are you a solar company struggling to utilize the power of Facebook ads for lead generation? Trying to navigate the world of online advertising can be overwhelming, but that’s where we come in.
Our team has specialized experience crafting solar Facebook ads that yield results, from targeting the right audience to utilizing tracking and analysis tools.
Plus, with our help, you’ll have more time to focus on delivering top-notch solar services. Click here to schedule a free consultation today.
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