Kevin Barber

Kevin Barber

Kevin is the Creative Director of Vybrary. He has created videos for some of the world's leading brands, like Gatorade, Budweiser, Mastercard, and Forbes, been featured by Ellen Degeneres, and has created video campaigns that have generated 30 million views (of a single video, alone!) for small businesses-2-3x-ing annual revenues. He has also taught Film & Media at Pace University and regularly holds commercial workshops in NYC. He currently resides in Nyack, NY.

3 Most Popular Types of Solar Facebook Ads and How to Improve Them

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In this post, we’re going to look at the three most common types of Facebook ads, and we’re going to look at why they’re not so great. Then we’ll look at a few ways that you can change it up and do things differently with what resources you have. You can view the video or listen to the podcast here, or read on!

The 3 Components of Solar Facebook Ads

When we’re looking at these ads, we’re going to be looking at the copy and we’re going to be looking at the creative, because those are really the two things that will stop people, grab their attention, convey your offer. And then we’ll also look at the call to action down at the bottom of the ad, because that, in combination with the other two elements, is what gives us our impression– makes a stop, makes us watch, or lets us keep going on by.

Most Common Solar Facebook Ad # 1

Creative: A House With Solar Panels
Copy/CTA: Save Money With Solar!

save money solar ad

The first most common solar Facebook ad is the ad of the house with solar panels on it and offering some kind of financial benefit of adopting solar, whether that is how much money they’ll save per month or how inexpensive their services are to implement. We are looking at financial benefit and we are looking at a picture of a house with solar.

The reasoning behind why people use this so much is instant recognizability. But it has a lot of problems associated with it, which we’ll now take a look at. 

 The first and biggest issue, and this is something that we see across Facebook ads for all kinds of solar install businesses, is that it is targeting the hottest, we can call, leads or the people who, in terms of the buying cycle, are very product aware. They are already in the market for solar. They’re looking at discounts and pricing, which is something that you only look at when you know that you want solar, you know, what your problem is, and you’re just trying to compare companies.

stages of customer awareness funnel

But the bigger issue is that you’re ignoring the other parts of the funnel. It’s ignoring the people who know the problem, or they’re not yet convinced that solar is the right solution. So what does that do? 

When we’re all competing for the same audience that smaller pool of people who already know solar, they know their problems, they know what they want, and now they’re just price shopping– that is a smaller pool of people than those who are problem aware. So Facebook charges you more because there’s more competition. There are more companies competingfor that smaller audience. 

So what I’d recommend to combat this is to look to those values, look to what people are really looking to save and make ads around those problems before making concrete offers.

Is the price important, or is the extra time that they’ll have, because they don’t have to work as much to earn that amount of money? Or is it  the emotional stress will be removed from having to battle with their spouses about what they spend their money, money on, or like the thermostat of the AC. That’s where you can connect with people and what’s important to them.

The money is just a representation of one of those values.

Talk to those values instead in a separate ad before the offer. When you start with the problem- aware phase or the solution- aware phase, you can speak to more people. You can develop a first impression. You can start to have brand alignment and awareness so that by the time they get to that product-aware stage they already know, like, and trust you. 

Connect with people ahead of time and then use retargeting in your Facebook campaign.  You’re pre-qualifying people who engage with that first problem-centric ad. So that, then, by the time you serve the offer, it’s going to be more relevant to them. It’ll probably cost you less because Facebook will recognize that they’re already interested. 

That’s the first thing: appeal to values and emotion at the higher stage in the funnel– the wider group of people– before trying to go to those few people who are already primed and ready to buy.

Most Common Solar Facebook Ad # 2

Creative: A House With Solar Panels (Same!)
Copy/CTA: State Rebates & Qualification Quizes

solar qualifying quiz ad

The second most common ad quite often has basically the same kinds of images. There’s that house, there’s that solar panel. But the offer– what they’re talking about in the copy– changes where they talk about the state rebates, and then they’ll most often say, “Hey, take this quiz to see if you qualify.”

And that’s a really popular way of doing it as well, because it helps people feel like they’re getting something for nothing, but I’m guessing you can see the first problem going to bring attention to here, which is that the state tax incentives are the same for every solar business. 

The only way that talking about rebates as the foundation of your offer would work is if you think that you’re the only people reaching these potential customers with ads telling them this, but that is not the case. 

You probably know that. In competitive markets, tons of solar businesses are vying for limited attention. When you talk about state rebates, what’s unique about that? What sets your business apart from any other of your competition? Rebates something external that are not specific to your business.

So then you have the “take the quiz” part of this kind of ad, and that’s helpful. That’s engaging. And I  hundred percent agree that having an interactive element is helpful. That brings them to your website and gives them a little more brand interaction with you.

Take qualification quiz

But where I think it wouldn’t be more beneficial is using the quiz in the solution-aware phase instead of the product-aware phase. Separate that out. In most ads that incorporate quizes, they lump the quiz in with the rest of the product offers.  Instead talk about how great solar is as a solution, not just your business. Then say, “Hey, you may qualify for this.”  They ‘ll be on your website, so you can funnel them that way. But then you could also serve a more offer- specific ad talking about  the rebates, the pricing, and  maybe a testimonial and things that we just talked about.

Which brings us back to the question: If using state rebates as our unique value proposition may not be the best idea, what can we do?

Bring attention to the rebate to highlight your additional value propositions. 

So you can  say , “Hey, our, all our competition has rebates. We all have the same rebates. It’s the state rebate. But now let me tell you what’s unique.”  You’re not using the rebate as the unique selling point. You’re using it as a way to position your actual unique selling point and make you seem different. All the while, you are making your audience aware of the rebates, in case they weren’t previous. You get the benefits of both approaches.

That that’d be my biggest recommendation. If you want to talk about rebates. It’s a great way of making your audience aware of them, but then also of showing how you’re different.

Most Common Solar Facebook Ad # 3

Creative: A House With Solar Panels (Same!)
Copy/CTA: General Mentions of Quality, Warrantees, and other Trust Indications

 The third most popular ad for residential solar is when businesses talk in generalities about their warranties, customer service, and how reliable they are. They tend to still use the same kind of creative with these ads.

Obviously, trust is a very important factor when installing something on a roof that’s going to be there for years. Trust is huge. But then  when we talk about trust, we talk in generalities. We say, “Hey we are the most reliable business. We have a great warranty.” And then we don’t talk about any particulars

Without those specifics, claims about being trustworthy mean nothing. That’s marketing speak that we’ve all been hit over the head with so many times. It’s like “high quality.” What does high quality mean? That could mean anything. We need to get really more specific. What can be done about this and that is a number of different things. So let’s break it down by some of the common generalities

Warrantees

If we look at warranties, get into the specifics of what your warranty is– how many years you cover it, what kinds of services are included under it. Then include a story about how some act of God happened to one of your clients and how you were there for them, and then have them say it in their own words.

Boom. So much more powerful.

Quality Workmanship

Next thing: the quality of the workmanship. Great, same thing. Couple it with a testimonial, but then also how about you profile one of your workers, get them on camera, and have them talk about their background, how long have they been working, how many roofs they’ve done– so much more powerful, because we put a face to a general claim. Then people will start to feel a more personal connection with your business, because you’re providing them that personal connection. 

Quality Materials

If you talk about the quality of the materials, talk about the specific solar panels, you use. Position them against the others. Talk about why they’re better, assuming they are. I hope so. But  get into the tech element of it. We all have different things that appeal to us. Some people will be very emotionally driven, very values driven. Some will be very pragmatic and financial. Some really geek out on solar. This is a new ish thing that they want to buy into and research the heck out of. Talk to the technical element of it. Talk about kilowatt hours, talk about the system capacity. Get really nitty-gritty and that will appeal to a different group of people.

Then you’re not just talking about “high quality materials, best warranty in the business, high- quality workmanship.” You’re putting faces to those things. You’re putting numbers to those things. You’re putting case studies, examples, testimonials.

None of these require any great production work. They require a phone call. And maybe a few minutes,. You can hire someone  to put those things together, if you want to make it more professional. But a lot of them can be done with phone recordings. It doesn’t have to be crazy fancy at this point.

In Summation

So there you have it, the three most popular types of ads. I hope you can take this information and run with it ,and, sure, you can still use those ads with the houses and solar. It is instantly recognizable. It is helpful, but using in conjunction with some of these other elements. Use it at the right place of the buyer’s awareness journey, and then it will give you a lot better results for a lot less money.

If you have any questions about any of this, especially about creative– how to make  stand-out creative at the top of the funnel, or to develop video solutions and different types of content throughout the customer journey, please do reach out to us. It’s what we do for clients day in, day out. We’d be happy to point you in the right direction, give you some pointers and help in any way we can. 

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