Capturing and then maintaining market share in the residential solar market is a never-ending process. From the customer prospective, installing solar is a substantial investment and there are a good number of installers to choose from depending on where you live. The challenge is guiding users through the buying journey and communicating. It’s critical to keep up with competitive developments in your service areas, whether you’re expanding into a new geo or have been operating within the area for a while.
In either case, you need competitive insight into the content that other installers are creating so you can develop a content marketing plan that will help you capture leads and more effectively steer customers through the sales funnel.
Identify the websites of each of your competitors and examine the largest and most successful businesses first. It’s best to begin with a site’s navigational elements, noted a recent report at Hubspot. Here, you will find links to standard pages such as “About Us,” “Company Mission,” “Pricing,” “Case Studies” and so on, typically located in a navigation bar at the top of the page.
Open each page to see what your competitors are talking about, taking note of search engine optimization (SEO) terms, including “solar installation,” “solar tax incentives,” “residential solar” and the names of nearby cities, the region and state.
Study the Competition’s Blog Posts
Another treasure trove of information about what your competitors are doing to drive leads or incentivize potential customers can be found from their blog. Take note of the titles of each post, the tone of the blog, CTAs, promotions, testimonials, eBooks, infographics, videos, images, meta descriptions, title tags or any unique ways they’re using content to educate users about solar or entice users to the next phase of the funnel.
By doing a quick analysis of their blog you will be able to find out what they perceive themselves as having a competitive advantage in – are they focusing on quality, price, speed, customer service, warranty or something else? Are they going for the hard sell or positioning content with a softer message that educates customers?
Monitor Social Media
It’s likely that your competitors will link their blog posts to their social media, which are the next digital content channels you should be assessing. Find the competition’s Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest and YouTube accounts.
When it comes to social media competitive intelligence, you want to consistently watch your competitor’s messaging to see what they are telling current and potential customers about their business and what they’re promoting. This will be a wealth of information to share with other departments and internal stakeholders as well.
You will also want to watch what their followers are saying. It’s possible that one of your competitors is not doing a very good job with responding to questions, comments or criticism. If you see more complaints than praise, you can turn this information into a plan to attract potential leads away from competitors with deeper knowledge of customer concerns, needs and wants.
SEO Tracking Tools and Alerts
It would be too time-consuming to manually monitor what your competitors are doing with their search engine optimization and keywords. You’ll need to harness software automation to help you get the job done faster and comprehensively.
It’s a good idea to use competitor tracking tools, which will show you details such as backlinks to their websites, details on their organic keywords and the resulting traffic their sites are getting, ranked for easy comparison.
A great way to get started is by setting up Google Alerts for residential solar power keywords, including city, region and state. It’s important to set up alerts for the names of each of your competitors too, so you can see how many mentions they are getting. The details will be sent straight to your email inbox so you can be assured you won’t miss a thing.
Audit the Content
After getting a good overview of the digital marketing materials being put out by your local competitors, you’ll need to thoroughly audit the content. In particular, you should note how much material they are offering (from helpful tips on web pages to case studies and product detail sheets).
Check how often they publish blog post articles (once per week? 12 times per month?). At what time does the business typically tweet? They might have discovered that followers are most receptive in the morning or the afternoon, for example. How often do they tweet and post updates on other social channels?
Getting these details straight will be enormously helpful when developing your own marketing efforts.
The more information you can gather on what your competitors are doing, the stronger your own marketing campaigns will be. As your knowledge of the competitive landscape increases, you can expect to see a similar rise in your bottom line. In many cases, savvy marketing managers and owners will outsource SEO marketing and competitor analysis to third party professionals so they can focus on driving other needs of the business.
Want to talk about creating a competitive content analysis with Palmer? We’d love to learn about your challenges and work on a game plan to help you land more leads. Send us an email and let’s get started today.