(First in a three-part series on Advocacy Marketing)
“The 80,000 lights and decorations covering the Gilfillan house causes their monthly electricity bill to skyrocket during the holiday season. They went solar to eliminate their utility bill and chose Baker over four other companies.” Baker Electric Solar
“My first Bergey 10 kW installation has operated for over 26 years with insignificant maintenance costs and has had a 100% availability factor. It couldn’t be more reliable.”
S. Chase, Shokan NY
“The solar revolution is here whether we like it or not. I came to this realization last year when it became apparent how many solar companies were going out of their way to annoy me by calling night and day.” Jack Oliveri
The clean energy narrative has traditionally been a conversation about the technical advances. But today, as it becomes mainstream, the general public is weighing in. They’re letting us know what they like, what they don’t — and why.
You may think technology drives the future of your renewable energy company. I’m here to tell you, that’s only half of it.
Here’s the costly part you might be missing.
Why You’ll Change The Way You Talk About Your Business
A Nielsen report stated that 83% of consumers place the most trust in the recommendations of friends, family and neighbors. And a healthy 63% trust the opinions of online consumers. That trend, studied in 2015, has surged, sparking resources like Influitive’s Advocamp which prides itself on being the “biggest customer experience, engagement and advocacy” conference on the planet.
Advocamp, by the way, grew an impressive 400% in the last two years.
Why should the clean energy industry care?
Because stories like the three excerpts above, and the growing popularity in resources like Advocamp are the crystal ball of marketing. They tell us what buyers are paying attention to, and how we can deliver exactly what it takes to win their business, all with pin-point accuracy.
And who doesn’t love knowing exactly how to win new customers, right?
In the renewable energy industry, for better or worse, the real-life stories your customers share about you carry more weight than all the technical web pages and glossy information brochures you can print.
Being able to recognize that and adjust your company policies will make a profitable difference in the future of your business.
Stories customers share pay off more than all the glossy information brochures you can print. Click To Tweet
Why Your Story Matters
More than two-thirds of the potential customers you talk to door-to-door, on the phone, at the trade show, on LinkedIn and on your website, prefer to hear about your company from someone else…not you!
And well over half still trust the experience of a guy online they’ve never met, more than they trust you!
But wait — traditional marketing is based on telling the public you have a product or service and explaining why they should love it.
That won’t work any longer. In fact, stop doing that. It’s time to ditch the door-to-door and telemarketing for good. It’s outdated, disruptive and way too costly. What’s driving our industry is the ability to gain trust and educate buyers. Consumers aren’t motivated to trust based on your say so any longer.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The key to motivating potential buyers is to provide the accurate information they’re asking for — and have your best customers provide it. Your story — what other customers are sharing about you — is what motivates buyers today.[/perfectpullquote]
According to the Nielsen study, simply engaging their inner circle and getting them to share their positive experience, together with making it accessible online, connects with an incredibly targeted percentage of your market.
I know some of you are thinking you already provide pages and pages of the same information on your website and in your sales material, you don’t need someone else’s words to say it for you.
That’s all important stuff, but you’re forgetting the crucial element.What you say about your company matters. What others say matters more! Click To Tweet
Success Story Tips You Can Use Today
Success stories are your best customers telling the story of how you solved their problems—in their own words.
These tips will help you get in the habit of looking at your business as more than a one-time service provider. The way to kick the door-to-door habit is to become a trusted source of information and education, long before you meet your potential buyer.
Improve Your Credibility
If you want to tell a great success story, start by changing your perspective. Look at your company from your customer’s point of view.
- What makes the information you provide worthwhile?
- What helps them trust you?
- What makes your company different?
- What makes them BUY from you?
The answer to all four is credibility. Your potential buyer is asking for information that goes beyond sales material. They want information they can understand and use. And they want to trust the people they work with.
A compelling success story is one that provides credible value to your reader, without industry jargon they don’t understand, so give them what they ask for. Give them an accurate picture of what doing business with your company looks like. Give them a story from someone they trust.
Skip the Sales Pitch
Never include a sales pitch in a success story. A success story only works when your potential buyer feels like they are talking directly to your buyer.
This should be one friend or colleague giving advice to another. If it seems like an ad, you’ve lost credibility.
Make Your Success Story Memorable
Everyone loves a great novel or a suspenseful movie. They’re memorable, right? A customer story is no different, so give your reader a story they remember. Choose quotes that highlight what you want them to know about your company, but make sure your story is focused on what’s relevant to the buyer.
It’s incredibly important that you learn to tell your story correctly. And there’s an added benefit beyond the ability to increase profits. When customers share their experience, it goes beyond marketing an individual company. When you share your story, you raise the public awareness of an entire industry with accurate and usable information they can trust.
It turns out it’s not what drives the future profits of your clean energy business—it’s who.
You do. It’s your ability to educate the general public and build trust that will have the most direct impact on your business.
Are you ready to get people talking about you?