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January 2021

WHY CONTENT MARKETING IS CRITICAL FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY COMPANIES

WHY CONTENT MARKETING IS CRITICAL FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY COMPANIES 900 600 Kari Switala

In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly created a list of 17 worldwide sustainability goals as a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.” U.N. Sustainable Development Goal #7 exists to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.” This goal intersects the rising costs of crude oil and gas and growing frustration over the drastic price fluctuations in this arena. 

Consequently, consumer demand for sustainable energy is increasing. While this is great news for renewable energy companies, it also means that each company is up against an increasing amount of competition as more and more players are entering the field. That’s why it’s critical that renewable energy companies differentiate themselves through a solid marketing strategy. 

And what is at the heart of a solid marketing strategy? Content. 

Here are three steps to get your content marketing strategy off the ground: 

1. State your differentiation factor

content marketing

Your differentiation factor is your company’s unique selling point. It answers the ultimate question, Why would an environmentally-conscious consumer choose my renewable energy company’s services over the next guy’s? To determine this answer, there are a few preliminary questions you need to ask yourself: 

  • Why is our service the best on the market?
  • Who would benefit the most from our service? 
  • What advantages does our service offer over similar services from industry competitors?

Once you pinpoint these answers, you can weave together your differentiation factor. 

If you are unsure about what truly sets your company apart, here are a few ideas:

  • Survey your employees, collect their feedback and look for common words/themes/trends.
  • Take a look at your Google reviews and see what your customers are saying about you.
  • Reach out to recent customers and ask why they chose you.

Now you’re ready to move onto the next step: defining your target audience. 

2. Define your target audience

content marketing

In the process of crafting your differentiation factor, you spend time analyzing the exact person or people your service is best suited for. These people are your target audience. Every single piece of content you create should speak to this audience. Defining your target audience increases the likelihood that your prospects will recognize the need for your service and stay engaged with your messaging, eventually investing in your renewable energy offerings. Want some help? We recommend this user-friendly tool by HubSpot!

3. Craft valuable content 

content marketing

Content is the meat and potatoes of your marketing strategy. Once you clearly identify what sets your renewable energy company apart from your competitors and you know who your target audience is, you’re ready to create relevant content that educates prospects, warms them up to your offerings and convinces them to make a purchase. Does that sound daunting? It doesn’t have to be. There are a few key pieces of content you should be creating that will help you with this process:

Blogs: Did you know that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads? That’s why blogs are non-negotiable. The best way to educate your prospects about your company and your service is through long-form content that is highly shareable. 

When you create blog posts, you focus on offering your target audience value by addressing their pain points, questions and concerns and showcasing how your product can intersect their journey and make their life better. Once you add blog posts to your webpage—SEO enabled so search engines can find them—you can link to them on your social media channels and in your newsletter, directing your prospects back to your website to learn more about you. Plus, creating consistent, valuable content enhances your brand image and paints you as an expert in your industry which can help set you apart from the competition.

FAQ’s: Chances are, when prospects first land on your website, they will have a lot of questions:

What is renewable energy? Do you work directly with consumers? How do you calculate energy savings? 

Provide them with value by creating an FAQ page that answers the most common questions your sales team hears. Be sure to include links to your other valuable content such as blogs and whitepapers where you address these questions and link to your Contact page so they can easily reach out if they’d like to speak directly with a member of your sales team. 

Did you know that you can optimize your FAQ page for SEO? By making each of your answers to your list of frequently asked questions SEO-friendly, you make it that much easier for search engine spiders to find your content…which makes it that much easier for potential customers to find your website!

Testimonials: In this information age, few people make purchasing decisions without reading reviews. If they’re just learning about your company, prospects want to know you’re credible before giving you their money. Capitalize on this powerful source of social proof by incorporating testimonials into your website and adding them to your blog posts, newsletters and campaign content. Testimonials will increase consumer confidence and drive sales for your company. 

Lead nurture campaigns: Long sales cycles are typical in the renewable energy industry. From the time your prospects first learn about your company until they make a purchase and you deliver the service, months or even years can pass. That makes lead nurture campaigns, as opposed to drip campaigns, an effective way to educate your prospects. 

The goal of a lead nurturing marketing campaign is to deliver pertinent emails at crucial points in the sales cycle. These emails are triggered by certain prospect behavior such as visiting a webpage, downloading a piece of content, performing a specific search on your website, etc. These emails coincide with the actions they engage in and help grow a sense of trust as you “nurture” them along their journey. 

If you want help devising a marketing strategy and creating content for your renewable energy company, Wild Fig Marketing would love to speak with you. Contact us here to schedule a complimentary 15-minute exploratory call and learn how we can partner with you to launch your content marketing efforts and grow your business!

shorten a long sales cycle

STRATEGIES TO HELP RENEWABLE ENERGY COMPANIES SHORTEN A LONG SALES CYCLE

STRATEGIES TO HELP RENEWABLE ENERGY COMPANIES SHORTEN A LONG SALES CYCLE 900 600 Kari Switala

The goal of the sales cycle is to move a contact from prospect to client as quickly and efficiently as possible. But you don’t just want to close a sale—you want to build relationships with those prospects with the hope of making them long-term clients, right?

What if we told you that you can improve the sales cycle in ways that allow you to build better relationships with your prospects and keep the momentum going toward closing a sale, all while shortening the process? Well, you can. Here are our best strategies to help you shorten a long sales cycle.

Implement a Regular Call Cycle

shorten a long sales cycle

If you haven’t already done so, start implementing a regular call cycle. “Call cycle” refers to how often and how many sales calls you make to stay in contact with your key accounts and prospects within a certain time period. Instituting a regular call cycle helps you stay in touch with prospects on a consistent basis, keeping you top of mind with your prospects and keeping them primed for a sale. Think about it: if you’re already checking in with them on a regular basis, you’ll be there when they’re ready to buy—they won’t need to work to seek you out. 

How often you contact your prospects will depend on your business model, your sales goals, and the needs of your prospects, but a regular call cycle is sure to maximize your sales and shorten a long sales cycle. 

Set a Goal for Each Sales Call

Setting a goal for each call and clearly communicating that goal to your prospect will enable you to work together to meet that goal by the end of the call. Having a clear goal gives you a guideline to follow in case the conversation veers off track. Once you set your goal, you know exactly how to guide the conversation and your prospect understands where you’re headed and what their role is in getting there.

Setting a goal for each call also makes the point of your call very clear—no one needs to wonder where things stand at the end of the call if you’ve worked together toward the end goal you agreed upon. It helps avoid confusion and time spent correcting misunderstandings. At the end of each call, schedule your next call and set your goal for that call too.

Build Trust by Being Authentic

shorten a long sales cycle

In your interactions with your prospects, skip the generic sales pitch and make an effort to personalize the experience. We know it can be easy to slip into “sales mode”, especially if you are passionate about what you are offering. But if you do that, you’re missing the opportunity to get to know your prospective clients, build relationships with them, and hear directly from them what their pain points are. Your prospects need to feel heard and understood before they will consider a purchase. Don’t hesitate to offer your expertise, but don’t be pushy. Ask good questions, listen, then respond with your expert advice.

Another way to be more authentic with your prospects? Always be transparent about pricing. No one likes to find out at the last minute that something costs more than they thought it would…or worse, that certain services are not included in the price that was quoted. Hiding the price of your services almost always causes frustration and adds time to the sales cycle. Make clear what is included in your service from the get-go. Being transparent about your pricing will help build trust with your prospects, making them that much more likely to buy from you.

Don’t Wait for Objections to Surface—Address Them Early On

Avoiding your prospect’s objections and reservations won’t make for a smooth sale…or a short sales cycle. The longer you wait to address their concerns, the stronger those concerns will get and the less open they will be to buying…which means you’ll have to work harder to make a sale.

Consider diving into your prospect’s reservations early on in the sales cycle (as soon as right after the discovery call!). And be the one to bring them up—don’t wait for your prospect to object. This helps you seem more confident, engaged, and relevant. Also, it’s important to not only listen to your prospect’s objections, but to seek to understand the root of each concern. For instance, rather than launching into a sales pitch when they say they don’t have time to implement your solution, ask them questions to find out what their main pain point or objection is. What is it that they really need, and how can you address that need?

Make Scheduling & Signing Easy

shorten a long sales cycle

These two seemingly small administrative tasks can make a world of difference in shortening your long sales cycle. The average salesperson spends 12% of their day scheduling calls: In an eight hour day, that’s almost an hour of your time that could be put to much better use! Using a scheduling tool takes the back-and-forth communication out of the equation. All you need to do is send the scheduling link to your prospect—from there, they can choose an available time on your calendar, and your meeting is set. Here at Wild Fig we use Hubspot Meetings, and it has revolutionized the way we manage our call schedule. 

Contract signing, if it’s not simple and accessible to your prospects, can be a time sucker as well. Online contracts that can be signed easily from any computer, tablet, or smartphone are a must in today’s mobile world. There are several options available for online contract signing—we’ve used SignNow and Docusign, and recommend them both. Keeping these tasks simple will not only cut back on time you spend communicating back-and-forth, it will make the whole process a lot less painful for your prospects.

Routinely Weed out Your CRM

Yes, another dull admin task—we know, they’re not your favorite. But this one is important. Keeping your CRM up to date with contacts who are actually interested in hearing from you will make your sales cycle much more effective. When most of your calls or emails are to people who want to hear about your products or services, you will naturally have a higher rate of success.

Delete any contacts whose emails have bounced or who have unsubscribed. Arrange your contacts by when they last opened an email, clicked a link, or replied to an email. If a contact hasn’t had any type of response for several sales cycles, it may be time to let them go and move on to fresher prospects.

Start Using Automation Tools

shorten a long sales cycle

The average salesperson spends 21% of their day writing emails, and 17% of their day prospecting and researching leads. If that sounds like you, it may be time to consider automation. Sales automation tools can take on some of these tasks or make them easier for you to do, allowing you to spend your time working on more important things like building relationships with your prospects.

To begin with, go through your day-to-day tasks to determine which you could automate. Start with the simple ones like call scheduling, then move onto the more complex options like automating your prospecting and email responses. 

According to a study done by the Harvard Business Review, companies that responded to prospects within an hour were 7 times more likely to have a meaningful interaction with a decision maker than those who were slower to respond (and more than 60 times as likely than those who took 24 hours or more to respond!). Clearly, responding to prospects quickly and efficiently is crucial to making sales. 

Automation tools allow you to follow up faster and more easily, while maintaining the level of personalization you need to keep your prospects engaged. These tools can also play a crucial role in educating your prospects by helping you deliver relevant content that will not only answer their questions, but help move them along the sales process, priming them for a conversation with you. And this is only the tip of the iceberg of what automation tools can do for you. If you aren’t already taking advantage of automation, it’s time to start.

Wild Fig Marketing has the knowledge and tools to help you engage new audiences, automate your sales process, and convert more leads. Schedule a call with us today to learn more about what we can do for your business!