Important: This article is a part of our lead generation guide for home services, where we cover the most profitable lead generation opportunities in construction, roofing, cleaning, HVAC, painting, plumbing, moving, construction, and some other avenues. Check it out to learn more about how to get high-intent leads for home services in the United States.
In the second-biggest solar market – only China is ahead of the United States in the total PV capacity – generating solar leads is an idea that comes naturally, even to businesses on the market’s periphery or not related to solar directly.
And why not? Generating solar leads is potentially extremely profitable.
Solar is growing with an incredible 24% CAGR in the United States, accounting for 45% of new electric power capacity additions. Whether you are a solar panel manufacturer, installer, consultant, or real estate developer, the right solar lead generation strategy can get you tons of high-intent customers – you only need to find out what exactly this winning strategy is.
And this is what I’d like to help you with.
In this all-encompassing guide, I’ll cover solar lead generation through and through so you can confidently adopt free and paid solar lead gen strategies that fit your business case. Buckle up – you’re just a few paragraphs away from knowing how to generate solar leads online in bulk.
Three Major Solar Lead Generation Options, Free and Paid
Let’s put things in context so you can understand possible lead generation scenarios in the first place (the next few paragraphs easily apply to other lead generation avenues, not just solar leads).
So, you can get solar leads – and any other leads, for that matter – in three principal ways:
- General solar leads for free using earned media
- Generate solar leads using paid advertising
- Buy solar leads from solar lead generators
Every existing lead generation strategy falls into one of the mentioned categories.
Here’s a quick overview of these three major solar lead generation strategies:
|Growing your online presence is a great long-term strategy that, alas, works immediately only if you’re an established brand. For smaller companies, though, it may take considerable time and effort before their content can generate solar leads. This is why many aspiring solar businesses refer to paid advertising or buy solar leads from lead generation companies.
|Paid advertising allows you to quickly tap into the stream of solar leads, but it’s quite short-lived (customers are there only until ads are there) and requires a budget and almost as much knowledge as organic solar lead generation. That said, solar businesses of all scales actively use paid advertising to acquire customers.
|Buying solar leads is immediate: you get solar leads you’ve paid for, choosing the target demographic and purchase intent level. On the other hand, buying solar leads always means considerable expenses, so you must have a decent conversion rate to make profits.
Combining all three lead generation strategies is usually the best choice, allowing you to diversify risks and acquire solar leads from different traffic sources. For now, though, you still lack information to make a well-grounded choice.
And it’s fine. You will grow confident as you read this guide.
Let’s explore the three solar lead generation strategies in detail, starting from organic lead generation using earned media.
Solar Lead Generation Strategy 1: Earned Media
If you want to get solar leads for free – a tempting idea for every solar business – you can generate them using earned media, with the audience reach being the most important (the bigger your traffic channel, the more customers you can acquire).
Here are the 5 major free traffic channels for solar leads:
- Content marketing
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Referral marketing
- Offline marketing
Before I dig into each of these channels, allow me to mention the common challenges you may have to overcome before you can generate solar leads sustainably, free or paid:
|Locations with different amounts of sunlight have different solar lead generation potential, even though solar panels don’t need direct sunlight to operate. It’s always a good idea to compare the sunshine hours for the states in question before taking action.
|The competition in the solar market is extremely tough in some states and inviting in other states, so it’s worth factoring it in before targeting specific geography. For example, California is the absolute leader in residential solar systems, having seven times more installations than the runner-up state of Arizona.
|Different states have different solar energy standards, tax policies, and incentives, shaping the demand for solar panels. If you want to target several states at once, you need to understand the solar regulations of every state in question.
And now to traffic channels for organic solar leads.
Traffic Channel for Free Solar Leads #1: Content Marketing
High-quality content – spearheaded by a unique selling proposition – is your number one weapon in generating free solar leads. Not only does it help generate organic leads, but it also serves as a solid ground for paid advertising if you decide to go for it.
To come up with such content, you must address the key aspects of content marketing:
- Unique selling proposition (USP)
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
More on these below.
To create impactful content that reaches the right solar lead at the right time, you need to define your ideal buyer personas. Geographic, demographic, and behavioral segmentation will help you understand your customers and what content they crave.
Here’s how to track your website visitors to learn more about them.
For example, homeowners living in rural areas will likely prefer larger, ground-mounted solar panels, whereas those from downtowns of big cities will likely be looking for solutions that fit a limited space and comply with building regulations.
Here are examples of buyer personas:
- Group 1 – urban apartment owners from the sunny cities of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, and Sacramento.
- Group 2 – small business owners seeking solar solutions for commercial buildings with limited roof spaces and high energy consumption.
- Group 3 – retirees looking to reduce their energy costs
Here’s how you can step up your solar lead segmentation with HitMetrix:
Unique Selling Proposition
When crafting a unique selling proposition, think about what makes you better than the competition: is it advanced technology, quick installation, unmatched durability, affordable prices, or flawless feedback? Play to your strengths.
Here are a few USP examples for various buyer personas:
- Eco-conscious solar leads: “Halve your carbon footprint and utility bills in sunny California while enjoying ultra-efficient 22% solar panels.”
- Rural property owners: “Produce 30% more energy, even in rainy weather, with our affordable large-size solar panels for urban areas.”
- Urban apartment owners in Seattle: “Rain or shine, Seattle’s high-performance compact solar panels will grow your energy yields by 20% while halving the maintenance costs.”
- Retirees in Arizona: “Secure your future by saving up to 45% on energy bills with our affordable, no-maintenance solar panels.”
You can make your USP more attractive with statistics, properties, or achievements that back up your statement. And yes, always live up to your promises if you want to sustain your business in the long run.
Search Engine Optimization
Accurate segmentation and a well-crafted UPS can make your content shine, but it won’t mean anything until potential customers find it on the web.
Nothing will boost your search engine ranking as much as proper SEO practices:
- On-page optimization – title tags, meta description, image optimization, and URL structure
- Off-page optimization – backlinks, local SEO like Google My Business, and social signals
It goes without saying that your website should be well-structured, mobile-friendly, load quickly, and – no less importantly – optimized for short-tail and long-tail keywords.
Take, for example, the most popular keyword on the topic – solar panels:
As you can see, the volume is there – 117,000 requests per month in the United States alone is a huge market – but the keyword difficulty makes it extremely hard, if not impossible, to rank in the top 10 for companies with small online presence.
Now take a look at the goldmine of a keyword for companies selling used solar panels:
According to Ahrefs, the “used solar panels” keyword has low competition and trending volume. If you sell used solar panels, even if it’s only a small fraction of your products, it would be unheard of not to capitalize on this keyword.
Traffic Channel for Free Solar Leads #2: Social Media Marketing
Solar energy might not be a fit as good for SMM as, for example, fashion, food, or entertainment, but the right SMM strategy can grant you some solar leads all the same and also boost your search rankings.
Here are the 7 most popular social media platforms for solar lead generation:
|With around 3 billion active monthly users, Facebook is an unambiguous leader in solar lead generation when it comes to audience reach and diversity. The platform is a middle ground between business-focused LinkedIn and more easygoing Instagram or TikTok, with solar panel seekers of diverse demographics and psychographics.
|The unanimous leader in B2B solar lead generation, LinkedIn unites thousands of solar enthusiasts and millions of professionals from related industries. One effective way to generate solar leads on LinkedIn would be to cater to a knowledgeable audience: in-depth research, case studies, profound guides, and unique market insights can drive tons of high-intent, solvent individual leads to your business and enable potent business partnerships.
|Instagram is where you can unleash your creative potential to the fullest, for example, by showcasing real-life solar panel installation, manufacturing, or maintenance processes. You can go even further and interview your employees and customers about how it feels to be a part of your brand and the experience with particular solar products.
|Pinterest is a digital scrapbook that you can use to share ideas, inspiration, and tips regarding solar energy. Pinterest is one of the few social media networks where females dominate by a clear margin – around 76% of Pinterest users are females – which you can leverage when advertising your solar products.
|YouTube can become your library of educational content, solar panel showcases, and customer testimonials. You can collaborate with other YouTubers and organize live shows to increase your reach and make it fun and personal for your leads while nurturing them.
|The former Twitter can become your X factor in capitalizing on trends and news, especially if you are open to personal engagement with potential solar customers.
|TikTok allows you to tap into younger audiences and create fun video content. If TikTok continues growing – and its audience ages a bit – it has every chance to become one of the best solar lead sources.
Overall, social media marketing for solar leads is very similar to SMM for other traditional industries like insurance or real estate. None of these industries is a good fit for social media marketing, but you can make it work by posting compelling content at the right time for the right audience and engaging in personal communication.
Example of generating solar leads on Facebook:
As the winter (spring, summer, or autumn) knocks on the door, you might want to explain to potential solar panel owners why NOW is the best time to switch to solar. The idea is that it usually takes several months to get a solar system installed, inspected, and powered up against the utility. On top of that, solar incentives won’t last forever.
Example of generating solar leads on LinkedIn:
The most knowledgeable B2B and B2C audiences appreciate in-depth case studies and data-backed information on specific solar solutions. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel – just post your most informative content pieces.
Example of generating solar leads on Instagram:
Even if you don’t use groundbreaking technologies in your solar panels, spreading solar awareness can definitely win you some solar panel buyers. Solar energy is developing at breakneck speed, so there’s always some new tech to build your content around.
Example of generating free solar leads on Pinterest:
Sharing creative ideas via educational infographics is a great strategy to generate solar leads on Pinterest. As is in the example, you can make some basic solar energy calculations for several groups of solar leads and represent them in a visually appealing way.
Example of generating free solar leads on YouTube:
YouTube is the platform where you can elaborate on every aspect of solar energy and even conduct field studies in real-time. The more expertise you have, the bigger the room for creating content that will resonate with solar buyers.
Example of generating free solar leads on X:
Known for short informative messages, Twitter can become a powerful magnet for customers looking for solar news, trends, updates, and how companies react to the mentioned. Speaking of trends, you might be interested in the trends that will shape lead gen in the next few years.
Example of generating free solar leads on TikTok:
@future_explored Where would you put one of these? #futuretech #ecofriendly #sustainability #solar #tech #technology #ecotok ♬ original sound – Future Explored
TikTok is home to the most amazing content you can find online, and solar energy is no exception. Younger audiences are harder to impress with facts and hard data, but the right emotional appeal can do wonders.
Traffic Channel for Free Solar Leads #3: Email Marketing
Email marketing seems to be a natural fit for the solar industry, and rightfully so. The numbers don’t lie: half the marketing professionals doubled their email marketing profits in just one year, with 12% generating four times more profits.
Here are some of the emails you can use to get free solar leads:
- Educational emails: Emails about solar energy, installation processes, and savings can work for the awareness stage of the solar lead funnel. You can start with a beginner’s guide on solar energy and warm up your leads by explaining why installing solar panels is the right choice in their case.
- Drip emails: Automatically triggered by a specific action, drip emails can help you hit the right solar lead with the right message when they are most susceptible to it.
Here are some drip email examples based on the user’s action:
|Email To Send
|Welcome email with a brief company overview and what to expect from your emails
|Guide or app download
|Follow-up email with detailed information on the downloaded materials, including specific suggestions for the subscriber
|Pricing page visit
|Engagement email with highlights on why purchasing your solar panels is cost-effective and a special offer – for example, a discount – for this very lead
|Lack of engagement
|Re-engagement email that reflects the last engagement. For example, if the user abandoned the cart, you can offer free shipping, installation, or a discount.
- AMP emails: Google’s AMP technology enables emails that users can interact with in real-time – for example, get an update on the solar panels’ availability or price or even make a purchase right in the email.
Solar Lead Generation Email Examples
|Sales Funnel Stage
|Subject Line: Change the Future with Solar
Wonder whether going solar will pay off?
Here are some key advantages:
Uncover more fascinating facts about solar panels in our beginner’s guide.
|Subject Line: Debunking Egregious Solar Myths
Here are some of the most discouraging myths about solar panels:
Lack confidence in solar energy? Give us a call or schedule a free consultation.
|Subject Line: Get a 20% Discount to Switch to Solar
You’re one step away from changing your life and making a huge environmental impact.
Here’s our exclusive deal to boost your confidence:
Claim this special offer now – join the solar movement!
Traffic Channel for Free Solar Leads #4: Referral Marketing
Referral marketing has traditionally been a powerful solar lead generation instrument in both B2B and B2C, and it doesn’t require much effort in the long run. You only need to create an attractive referral program and promote it across your media channels.
Like any other referral program, a referral program for solar leads must provide:
- Flexible incentives: To motivate all groups of solar leads to promote your products, you need a huge pool of rewards: cash, discounts, credits on solar energy bills, etc. Another helpful addition would be referral tiers and rewards for referred customers.
- Simple referral process: The most straightforward way to refer solar leads is usually the most effective. Make sure referring a customer involves no more than sharing a referral link, a code, or a form.
Here’s an example of a referral program for solar leads:
|Solar Neighbor Referral Program
|Join our referral program to help your family, friends, and community go green, earning $350 for your first successful referral, $200 for every subsequent referral, and a $1,000 bonus for every 10 referred customers
|How It Works
For free promotional materials, CTAs, and more information, navigate to terms & conditions.
Traffic Channel for Free Solar Leads #5: Offline Marketing
In addition to generating online solar leads, you can tap into offline marketing: direct mail campaigns, local events, trade shows, workshops, partnerships with local businesses, and advertising in local media like newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV.
Face-to-face interactions with the local solar community are crucial to building trust, establishing local partnerships, and – most importantly – showing yourself as a legitimate player who is not shy about making public appearances.
Solar Lead Generation Strategy 2: Paid Advertising
I’ve only covered the first solar lead generation strategy, but you already have the basis for generating solar energy leads using paid ads.
Absolutely, and here’s why: all the solar lead generation principles for paid advertising are the same as for organic traffic, which you’ve just covered. Segmentation, customization, unique selling proposition – everything repeats, plus you must learn about paid ads and platforms.
And here’s another pleasant simplification: paid advertising for solar leads repeats all patterns of paid for any other home services leads, so I’d rather direct you to my guide to generating mortgage leads with paid ads than repeat the same information here.
Solar Lead Generation Strategy 3: Buying Solar Leads
Buying ready-to-convert solar leads is the path of least resistance: You “only” need to know what leads you want to buy, the price you are willing to pay for these leads, and where to get them – which is not much at all compared to massive knowledge you need to acquire to be able to generate solar leads from earned media.
Nonetheless, I feel like elaborating on the intricacies of buying solar leads would be too much to digest for now, not to mention the topic is worth a separate blog. Long story short, I’d recommend you process what you’ve just read in the first place and then – fresh and full of vigor – proceed to this complete guide to buying solar leads.
Automate Your Solar Lead Generation with Phonexa
Whether you generate leads from earned media, paid advertising, or buy solar leads, you can grow your business much faster if you automate your solar lead acquisition and management with a comprehensive software suite from Phonexa.
Uniting eight proprietary lead management solutions, Phonexa’s software suite covers lead generation, distribution, conversion, and analytics from top to bottom at a laughable $100 per month. Everything is under one roof, and you don’t need to juggle systems or providers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are solar leads?
Solar leads are potential customers who have confirmed their interest in solar products and services by filling out a contact form, attending a webinar, visiting a local showroom, or engaging with marketing materials (marketing-qualified leads) in any other way.If a marketing-qualified lead is also qualified by a sales team for a follow-up (for example, a sales call), it becomes a sales-qualified lead. Sales-qualified leads are typically contacted via phone calls, personalized emails, or text messages.
How do you generate solar leads online?
There are three ways to generate solar leads online: generate free solar leads using your owned online traffic channels (your website, blog, or social media accounts), generate paid solar leads using paid advertising (Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, etc.), or buy solar leads from a lead generation company.
How do you get more solar leads?
You can get more solar leads in several ways, depending on your solar lead generation strategy:
- If you generate solar leads from earned media, try to increase the quality of your content and the accuracy of targeting
- If you generate solar leads from paid advertising, increase your budget, change the advertising platforms, or change the type of ads you use
- If you purchase solar leads, increase your budget, change your lead provider, or buy cheaper leads to get more of them
How do you buy solar leads?
Here’s how you can buy solar leads in three steps:
- Identify your best place to buy solar leads using the criteria from our guide.
- Estimate what solar leads you need and how much you are willing to pay for these leads.
- Proceed with the purchase or place your order if you’re on a lead market.
Buying solar leads will ensure an uninterrupted influx of high-intent customers, but you must have a great follow-up to convert these leads to stay profitable.
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