Google ads are one of the most direct and effective methods of lead generation for solar.
Whilst buying leads from lead generation companies has its advantages, Google ads ensures that your brand is highly visible and and becomes more trusted.
At the same time, you’ll be generating some of the easiest to convert leads possible.
What is Google Ads?
Technically speaking, Google Ads is a load of different advertising platforms. The regular Google Search ads that you see at the top of the page when you search for things. From now on, when I talk about Google Ads, that’s the part I mean.
But, there’s also YouTube ads which are those skippable ads that appear before the video you really wanted to watch on YouTube. There’s also Display which is a network of millions of websites that Google can put your image ads on. And more recently they’ve also launched Discovery, which are Facebook style ads on the homescreen of Android phones, as well in Gmail and at the top of the YouTube homescreen.
All these different platforms integrate seamlessly with all aspects of the Google ecosystem. Advertisers can manage their campaigns and track their performance using Google Ads or via their Google Analytics.
For example you can advertise on Google search, for example when someone searches for ‘solar panel installers near me’, and maybe 10% of the people who click that will then call you or fill out a form for you to call them. That leaves another 90% of people that are interested but either got distracted or aren’t quite ready to talk. Because of how well Google Ads is integrated, you can then make sure they see a video introducing your company next time they head over to YouTube.
How Does Google Ads Work?
Google Ads work with a bidding system. Each advertiser sets a daily budget for the campaign and then specifies the amount they are willing to pay for each click. Google then matches the advertiser’s bid with the highest-paying keywords to generate a cost-per-click (CPC) amount.
The system then displays the advertisement whenever a user searches for the keywords matched to the campaign. The advertisement appears at the top of the search result, in the right-hand side bar, and/or above the site content if the advertiser bids enough to meet or exceed the first page bid minimum.
An advertiser’s selection of keywords for the campaign is crucial. Keyword research allows the advertiser to identify the most relevant terms for their business, as well as their potential search volume. This allows the advertiser to optimize their campaign for maximum exposure.
Why Should Solar Companies Use Google Ads?
There are many great reasons why companies should use Google Ads for solar companies. Some of them are:
– Brand awareness: Brand awareness is the first step towards generating leads for solar companies. If you buy solar leads you might be able to get them a bit cheaper than via Google ads, but the benefit of running your own Google ad campaigns is that leads see your brand right from the begining, so you’re starting to build a relationship and trust sooner in the process.
– Simplicity: Google Ads is a straightforward form of advertising. On Facebook you often need to come up with a creative way to get someone’s attention and sell them on solar. With Google ads people are already searching for ‘solar installers near me’ or ‘buy solar panels’. Plus, critical campaign metrics such as cost per click (CPC) and click-through rate (CTR) are easy to track and optimize.
– Relevance: Google Ads’s targeting options allow advertisers to choose the most relevant keywords.
– Cost-effectiveness: Google Ads are very cost-effective as compared to other advertising channels. They won’t be the cheapest per click or per lead, but they can be very competitve in the only metric that matters: solar sales and return on investment.
– Integrated with other Google Products: Whether you are using Google AdWords for search engine marketing, Google Display Network for visual marketing, or YouTube for video marketing, Google Ads is the central hub for all your advertising needs.
– Full control: Google Ads gives the advertiser full control over their campaigns. They can pause or pause the campaign, or change the budget or target location, at any time without having to rely on a third party.
– Flexibility: Google Ads can be used to promote products, services, or blog posts.
How to Set Up Google Ads for a Solar Company
Setting up Google Ads for solar companies consists of three steps: Crafting the campaign, setting the budget, and selecting the target audience.
– Crafting the campaign: The first step is to decide what you want to achieve with the campaign. Are you looking to generate leads or sales? Are you promoting your products and services, or do you want to drive brand awareness? Once the campaign objective is clear, you can select the appropriate campaign type.
– Setting the budget: The next step is to decide how much you are willing to spend per day on the campaign. Google Ads offers an automated bid option that enables you to set a daily budget and let the system decide the CPC amount.
– Selecting the target audience: Selecting the target audience is a crucial step. You can choose to target customers in particular locations or those whose interests match your products or services. The system will then show your advertisement to people meeting these criteria when they search for relevant keywords.
Pros of Using Google Ads for Solar Companies
- Brand exposure: Google Ads can help solar companies reach a broader audience, which in turn can lead to an increase in brand awareness.
- Inbound leads: Google Ads allow solar companies to generate inbound leads by promoting their products and services. This is a great way to drive sales and increase revenue.
- Lead quality: Google Ads allow solar companies to target their ads based on location. This feature can be used to target customers who are close to the company.
- Higher click-through rate: Solar companies can use Google Ads to promote blog posts or products. This can help them to increase click-through rate.
- Lower cost per click: Google Ads have a lower CPC than other advertising channels. This can help solar companies to save money and increase profits.
- Integrated with other Google Products: Whether you are using Google AdWords for search engine marketing, Google Display Network for visual marketing, or YouTube for video marketing, Google Ads is the central hub for all your advertising needs.
Cons of Using Google Ads for Solar Companies
- Difficulty in tracking ROI: Whilst it’s easy for solar companies to track leads coming through, depending on your sales tracking setup, it’s not always easy to directly track the ROI. This is more of an overal marketing problem however rather than something specific to Google ads.
- Dependence on Google: All solar companies using Google Ads are at the mercy of the Google algorithms. The change in the algorithm can adversely affect their Google Ads campaign.
- Negative impact on brand image: Google Ads can negatively affect the image of a solar company if the advertisements are not relevant to the company’s products or services.
- Negative impact on click-through rate: Poorly-written ads can negatively affect the click-through rate. Google Ads consist of two parts: the headline (25 characters) and the description (35 characters). Both these parts must be written in a compelling way to attract customers.
How Much Does it Cost to Advertise Solar on Google?
A better question to ask might be: what kind of return on investment can I get with Google Ads?
That said, I know many of you will want a rough guide to how much you need to spend to get resutls.
This does depend a lot on your location, how competitive the market is, what government incentives are availble, and a whole lot of other factors.
Minimum Monthly Budget
You’ll need to spend at least $1,000 per month (around £800) in order to get good results with Google Ads.
This is because the Google’s algorithms need to see how people interact with your ads and landing pages to be able to dial in results. If you don’t have enough budget to have a decent number of people clicking on your ads in the first place, it doesn’t give you or Google enough data to know if what you’re doing is really working.
How Much Does It Cost Per Click and Per Solar Lead?
If you’re used to the prices that Facebook charges per click, you might be concerned to hear that Google Ads for solar companies typically costs $7 to $16 per click. However, because Google Ads are ‘intent based’, the leads that do come through are often a lot easier to sell to compared to people who were randomly scrolling on Facebook and clicked your ad.
The leads themselves cost between $44 and $240 in the US, depending on the state and other factors I mentioned earlier. In the UK they can be quite a bit cheaper.
Whilst Google Ads require less creation of new ads on a regular basis than on Facebook, some of your competitors are focusing on optimising their ads, and making small consistent improvements. If you don’t have a system in place to do this, you’ll end up paying a lot more than they do per sale.
If you work with an agency or freelance Google Ads consultant, expect to pay between $1,000 – $1,500 a month to begin with, rising as you invest more into the ads themselves.
Or if you hire someone in house, the average salary for a Google Ads manager is $77,136. In that case they will usually need search engine marketing (SEM) software such as Semrush which starts at $120 / mo.
Google Ads can help solar companies achieve greater brand awareness and generate leads for their business. However, it is important to craft the campaign, set the budget, and select the target audience wisely. It is also important to monitor the performance of the campaign and make necessary changes where necessary.