A recent survey found that when asked what technology would be "very hard to give up," 17 percent of Americans listed their landline. And who can blame them? There's an element of nostalgia attached to the landline. It reminds people of simpler times. Oh, and one other thing: landlines still work.
While the analogy may not be perfect, the same logic can apply to outbound marketing. Sure, things like social media, the Web, and mobile computing have positioned inbound marketing as the preeminent sales strategy at the moment, but that doesn't mean outbound techniques are useless. Some of these tried-and-true strategies can still deliver value to your marketing team, particularly for those in the solar industry. Therefore, let's take a look at ways outbound advertising for solar companies still make sense.
eBlasts. Eblasts alone may not prove successful, but if they're tailored toward the lead's position in the solar funnel they can help push them towards conversion. For example, you shouldn't send an educational white paper to a lead that's close to converting. Also make sure the eBlast has strong call to actions (CTAs) and effective landing pages.
Brochures. Why doesn't your local supermarket hand out a brochure explaining what a loaf of bread is? Simple: because people understand what a loaf of bread is. However, most people have misconceptions about residential solar, and it's easy to see why. Your typical lead may be confused by the technology, financing options, and how the system will interact with their current utility provider. Therefore, an information brochure, which includes customer testimonials, can go a long way to educate leads and build trust around your brand.
Trade Shows. If you were a web designer, would you attend a trade show for "California Start-Ups?" Possibly, but it wouldn't prove fruitful. You'd walk into an enormous room with thousands of tables and booths. The sheer amount of attendees would be overwhelming, and besides, as a web designer, you can find work through other, more targeted online outlets. But what if the trade show is "Northern California Solar Energy: Powering the Golden State for 21st Century?" Immediately you can sense the value. First, all attendees will be from Northern California. Second, while you may run into competitors, you'll also meet other industry players and would-be leads. Bottom line: the solar industry is a service-based one, predicated on personal relationships and network building. This makes trade shows an effective outbound option.
LinkedIn Prospecting. Now at first you may think, "Oh, this involves a social network; so it must be inbound marketing?" Not so fast. Any time lead generation involves a sales associate researching individuals, whether it is on LinkedIn or by flipping through a business directory, is more aligned towards the outbound model. And generating leads by leveraging sites like LinkedIn can be especially effective for solar firms. After all, there are solar-related communities and groups to join as well as your own professional network with links to countless leads and prospects.
Last but not least, you, as the marketing manager at your solar firm, know what outbound marketing techniques work. Analysts and experts may tell you that cold calling is invasive and antiquated, but if it has traditionally worked for your firm, why change? The trick is to measure the performance of both inbound and outbound marketing techniques and keep what works.
What do you think? Does your firm still embrace outbound advertising for solar? Which have proven particularly effective?
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