As any marketer knows, the longer and more complex a sales process, the more difficult it can be to track ROI. This challenge is especially acute in the field of solar marketing. The typical solar sales process lasts three-to-six months, making it particularly challenging to measure ROI and identify failure points across the process.
The key to ROI for solar marketing, therefore, is to break down the process into discrete parts. By tracking returns at the sub-process level, marketers can more effectively tweak the larger, multi-month process.
Establish a Strong Foundation: Solar Buyer Personas
And so we begin at the foundation of your sales process: your buyer personas. One poorly aligned buyer persona can throw your whole marketing cycle off. (Click here for deeper insights around how to create effective solar buyer personas). In the meantime, keep the concept of buyer personas in the back of your mind because you'll meet them again at the end of the sales cycle. With your buyer personas set, we'll now dive into the solar purchasing funnel.
Measuring ROI Across the Solar Purchasing Funnel
First up, you need to attract and educate leads at the top of the funnel. In fact, it's this lack of education, coupled with your sales team's inability to effectively articulate the simplicity and value of solar that will be a drag on conversions.
Since your inbound marketing approach will be built on rolling out educational content, make sure you track analytics around blog readership, keywords, and social media engagement. Measure traditional metrics like leads generated along with things like social media metrics that reflect your brand's ability to educate and attract would-be customers.
Next up is the phase in the funnel where leads need to be converted. Again, by employing an inbound marketing approach, you can track lead behavior across areas like forms, calls-to-action, e-mail marketing and landing pages. The goal here is simple: to show that your team is converting leads.
Identify Trends and Failure Points
Let's say your engagement metrics in the educate/awareness stage are strong. Leads are reading your blogs, sharing material on social media, and your keywords are aligned to your target audience. So far so good, until the next stage, where conversion lags. A closer look can reveal, for example, that eBlast conversions outperform landing page conversions. This is useful information that can inform future marketing plans.
Here is the point where we loop back to buyer personas. Track your performance metrics — leads generated, conversion rate, cost per campaign, average time between start of campaign and close — across your buyer personas and rank them. You may find that " Northern California homeowner" had a 12% higher conversion rate than "Environmentally-Conscious Small Business Owner." Then ask yourself why? You may find that your marketing push for the homeowner persona is centered around cost savings as opposed to environmental impact. Logic suggests a similar approach may, therefore, prove effective in marketing towards small business owners in the future.
Ultimately, a sub-process approach towards measuring ROI for solar marketing will provide greater clarity, precision, and transparency around the multiple moving parts that constitute the solar sales process.
What do you think? How does your firm measure the ROI for your marketing efforts? What tactics have proven particularly effective? What are the handful of metrics that your superiors use to evaluate your performance?
Looking for more assistance in measuring your marketing efforts? Download our Tracking ROI eBook.