Twin Cities Marketing Agency

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!

WHAT WE’RE THANKFUL FOR THIS YEAR!

WHAT WE’RE THANKFUL FOR THIS YEAR! 900 600 WildFigAdmin

We were inspired by our friends at Showcraft to share what we’re thankful for this year…and what a year it has been for all of us. We hope you enjoy this article and that it encourages you to pause and take a moment to count your blessings and think about all you have to be thankful for this year.

Amy – Marketing Coordinator

What have you learned this year?  

That I can do hard things, even when it might seem like I can’t.

What are you grateful for?  

I am grateful for my beautiful and healthy kids, my strong, close-knit family that sticks together and leans on each other in the good times and in the dumpster fire that is 2020 and for the amazing team at Wild Fig Marketing!

Jamie – Content Writer

What have you learned this year? 

I learned, like many others, to bake sourdough bread (and to make my own sourdough starter from scratch—I named mine Norbert). And through the increased isolation that came with COVID, I learned three main things: 1-to enjoy my own company more than I ever have, 2-that I have even better friends than I realized, and 3-to take time to appreciate the little things that make life so beautiful.

What are you grateful for? 

I’m grateful for so much. At the top of my list are: my health and that of my friends and family; having a job I love that has allowed me to easily work from home; the always rejuvenating beauty of nature; books and tea; the constant love and support of my close friends; and creativity, which has kept me sane throughout this crazy year—writing, baking, cooking…creating something new always makes me feel more alive. I really have so much to be grateful for—I have a feeling that when I look back at 2020, I’ll have more good memories than I now realize.

Jen – VP of Sales

What have you learned this year?   

This year I learned you cannot take anything for granted. Jobs, loved ones, health, what you have – any or all of it can be gone in the blink of an eye so never lose sight of what you have.

What are you grateful for?   

More than I ever have been, I am grateful for the health of my family. After a scary Covid outbreak in our house, I am grateful we are lucky enough to celebrate Thanksgiving together unlike so many people who have lost loved ones this year.

Jenna – Graphic Designer

What have you learned this year? 

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t take anything for granted, even the small things. Also, if you lose yourself, you can always find yourself again 🙂

What are you grateful for?   

I’m grateful for the incredibly strong support system surrounding me. This includes friends, family, coworkers and of course pets 🙂

Kari – Chief Creative Officer

What have you learned this year? 

Whew…where do I even begin? I feel like I’ve learned SO much this year.

  • We’re not in control – It doesn’t matter how much you plan or prepare, we’re ultimately not in control of what happens around us. However, the one thing we can control is how we respond!
  • Time is our most precious asset – I feel as if I’ve been on a Coronacoaster ride since last March. At times, I was so crazy busy I could barely catch my breath (which is my modus operandi by the way), and I found myself saying, “If only I had more time to work on this or that” while longingly wishing for the day when that would be true. Then a week later, it would be so quiet I could literally hear crickets chirping, and I finally had the time I was wishing for. But instead of doing something with it, I found myself paralyzed, unable to accomplish anything because there was no stress or pressure to motivate me. After riding this mentally and physically exhausting rollercoaster for the past 9 months, I think I’ve finally found the perfect balance. I no longer feel the need to work insane hours. I work smarter, not harder, and I take time during the day to incorporate more of the things I love: walking my 3 dogs, doing my paint by number projects, reading, audible-ing, and hanging out with family, friends and our Figgy team. Don’t wait for tomorrow to become the best version of yourself, my friends. Time is precious. Choose to make every second, minute and hour of the day count!

What are you grateful for?

My family, my friends, my Figgy team and for all of the beauty that surrounds us and the time spent enjoying it!

Kevin – Chief Propellor Head

What have you learned this year?

I’ve learned that I really LOVE dogs especially living with 3 of them in a 38ft. RV this summer while we remodeled our cabin. I also learned that my wife is incredibly brilliant, she’s right 100% of the time and she really deserves a 2-week trip to Italy in 2021.

What are you grateful for?

I’m grateful for my wife and her willingness to write this for me!

Maddi – Marketing Coordinator

What have you learned this year?

Over the last year, I’ve learned a lot about what really matters (and what doesn’t), the importance of putting faith and hope over fear, and even learned more about myself and what I like to do! Since buying a State Park pass at the beginning of COVID, my husband and I have hiked 13 of Minnesota’s State Parks. We never took the time before COVID to do things like spending a Saturday hiking, and now it is our favorite way to spend a weekend. 

What are you grateful for?

So so much right now. A supportive husband, my health, and the health of my family and friends, the ability to get lost in nature, a roof over my head and food on my table, my sweet fur-babies, and a supportive team at Wild Fig. 

2020 has reminded me to be thankful for the little things and the big things, each and every day. 

Mindy – Content Writer

What have you learned this year? 

I have learned that, when you face the unknown with hope, you pass on hope to the people around you. Conversely, when you face it with fear, you pass on fear. But the beautiful thing is that you get to choose. 


What are you grateful for? 

I’m grateful for my family and that no matter how crazy life gets, we have each other to walk through it with. I’m also profoundly grateful for the privilege of being able to homeschool our son this year. 

Pssst…Marketing Doesn’t Have to Suck!

Pssst…Marketing Doesn’t Have to Suck! 900 600 WildFigAdmin

“Ahhhh . . . This is so refreshing!” We’ve heard that a lot over the past couple of weeks. We’ve had several new clients who, after completing a Strategic Marketing Session with Wild Fig Marketing, have commented that they are once again excited about their marketing. More specifically, they’ve realized marketing can be fun, and it doesn’t have to suck!

Here’s what we recommend our clients do to make marketing fun again:

1. Infuse your hobbies and interests into your marketing content. If you love to downhill ski or fly-fish, think about how you could tie that hobby/sport into your business. For example, if you were a financial planner who loved to fly-fish, you could write a blog about the correlation between preparing to fly-fish and preparing for your future. What lures/financial tools do you need? How much time should you allot? How do you find the best fishing spots/right mixture of financial products?

You get the idea, right? Take something you find fun or enjoyable and incorporate it into your marketing content. It will make content writing much easier. It’ll also help you connect with your customers and prospective customers. Who knows? Maybe it’ll help you land your next big client who also happens to love fly-fishing!

2. Tell a story. Stories are incredibly powerful and memorable. Think about it: How many stories have you heard already today? I consider myself a master at taking everyday stories and turning them into opportunities to educate and connect with my customers and prospective customers.

For example, a blog article I’m working on right  now is about my dog, Steve, who’s incredibly persistent and a bit naughty, too. But it’s also about  about the importance of persistence when following up with prospects. I’m going to tie it to the story about how Steve conquered our garbage due to his persistence. Stay tuned–this will be a funny one, I guarantee!

See, marketing really can be easy and fun when you tie it to your everyday stories! Think outside-the-box and use your stories to educate people in a more meaningful and memorable way.

3. Incorporate your personality and voice. This is SO important to remember when it comes to all of your marketing content. So often we forget that people do business with people, not businesses. If your marketing content sounds just like everyone else in your industry, what will set you apart? Make it easier for your prospective customers to identify with you by infusing your personality as well as your company’s personality into your content. Don’t hide your larger-than-life personality or your calm, soothing tone of voice.

EMBRACE it and USE it!

Want to test how effective this idea is? Go find one of the brands you follow or buy from on a regular basis and read their home and about us pages. Then go to their competitor’s website and read their home and about us pages. Which one drew you in? Which one would you buy from? I’d bet that you’d choose the first brand again because you connect with them and their messaging. There’s nothing wrong with the other brand. They are simply appealing to a different audience.

Marketing doesn’t have to suck. If you incorporate your interests, stories, and personality, it can even be fun! If you’re still feeling uninspired, Wild Fig Marketing can help you find a fresh perspective.  Contact us today to get started.

Every Good Story Has a Villain

Every Good Story Has a Villain 900 600 WildFigAdmin

As a business, do you know yours?

When you think of the components of a great story what elements come to mind? Plot, setting, conflict, resolution – all important elements, right? But there is one central story element that underlies each of these elements and that is the relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist – the hero and the villain. Without a struggle between the two any potentially good story will otherwise fall flat. This is also true in terms of content marketing. Let’s take a look specifically at the important role of the villain and how this element of story can propel the success of your marketing efforts.

First off, why do we love a villain? David Robson, in his blog British Psychology Society, describes how when we witness the good vs. evil tension in books or film the empathy network part of our brain displays the greatest response. We long to see our hero shine brightly and triumph over his/her adversary. What is a hero without an adversary to overcome? Marketing expert Donald Miller has some thoughts on this, “Villains deepen our love for the hero of the story and captivate our attention – we keep watching because we want to see our hero take the bad guy down.”

In the same way, incorporating a villain into your marking efforts gives you the opportunity to position your brand as the shining hero that saves the day. As a business owner you are well-acquainted with the hero of your story – the product or service your business provides. In the hands of your customer this product or service equips him/her to do battle against the villain of your story. But who exactly is your villain? What is it that your brand goes to battle against and triumphs over? Is it a competitor, a nagging problem, a lack of knowledge or expertise…? Or maybe it’s crummy customer service, a confusing process or a safety hazard…? This is your story and you can tell it exactly how you want. You may even consider creating a piece of company lore about your brand’s place in the world.

One company that has knocked this ball out of the park is REI. In 2015, the outdoor gear giant took a marketing leap with their #optoutside campaign. They pitted holiday consumerism as the villain, closed the doors to all their retail stores for a day and encouraged consumers to rally against this big bad villain by spending Black Friday making outdoor adventures and hashtaging them on social media. In doing this REI discovered that there are literally millions of people out there who want to join this fight. Long after the Black Friday campaign is over consumers continue to feel a strong sense of brand loyalty to REI by choosing to #optoutside (5.5 million hashtags and counting!) in this worthwhile fight.

Utilizing “the villain” in your brand’s content marketing strategy will not only give your audience something to rally against therefore increasing brand loyalty but it will also make your brand stand out from the competition by highlighting its unique attributes. Mac pulled this off successfully in its series of Mac vs. PC commercials a number of years ago. Mac strategically pitted itself against the PC by personifying PC as boring, nerdy, clunky and irrelevant while casting it alongside of its own hip and progressive image. While the villain in this marketing campaign wasn’t inherently evil, Mac portrayed PC as something many consumers want to rally against – convention for convention’s sake. This campaign won over countless consumers who want to embrace a hip, progressive and more user-friendly personal technology experience as reflected by Mac’s 36% increase in overall sales the first year of the campaign.

Strategically incorporating a hero-villain dynamic into your content marketing strategy can ignite a passion for your brand’s cause and give consumers something to stand behind – increasing brand awareness and loyalty. If you want help clarifying the villain in your brand’s story, sign up for one of our Cultivator Strategic Marketing Sessions. One of our marketing experts will help you identify the villain you’re trying to overcome and help craft a perfectly detailed strategy to help you attract and retain more clients and generate more revenue!