Originally published on the ECOreport.
Colin Walsh was a marketing executive for Mosaic before he became the CEO of Wave Solar. Though the two companies are now partnering to work with Mosaic’s clients, he insists they are separate entities. Wave Solar is a highly successful DOE SunShot Initiative project, whose target is reducing residential solar’s acquisition costs.
Reducing Residential Solar’s Acquisition Costs
Wave Solar uses its own proprietary software to track customers, from the first time they are served with an ad until they sign a contract. This enables Wave Solar to better qualify leads and profile potential customers. The goal is understanding what a “solar-ready” homeowner looks like.
“There is a set of data points that the homeowner expresses to us and a set of data points about the customer’s home. We try to get a better sense of what drives a customer to go solar and then try to make sure installers are using that data in an effective way,” said Walsh.
The results are impressive. The cost of acquiring customers is rising. Installation companies normally spend around $3,000 to sell a 6 kW system. Wave Solar claims that it has repeatedly shown it can reduce this to less than $1,500.
Non Intrusive Marketing
“A lot of installers rely a lot on door knocking and telemarketing. This can work, but is also intrusive. Some customers end up not having a good impression of the solar sales process,” Walsh explained.
“We feel that allowing people to have more control is a better approach. Some people find us through SEO. Some will find us through search marketing. Some social ads, some content advertising. All these different channels are doing a combination of allowing people to find us through searches and advertising.”
“Using digital is much more scalable and we get more favourable views of solar in the homeowner’s eyes. People express interest in solar on Wave Solar’s website and we match them with one of Mosiac’s nearby installer partners.”
[Editor’s Note: This is basically the same thing CleanTechnica does through solar partners like Cost of Solar, and I have written a couple of times that I think this is the most efficient way for solar panel installers to attract rooftop solar customers. Via geotargeting, this even works for small installers focused on a specific state or region. I haven’t seen rigorous, in-depth research on the pros and cons of the different methods, but it seems that everything I’ve seen favors efficient, internet-based advertising. And I’m happy to say that I’m confident we’ve helped thousands of homeowners go solar through this approach. That’s my 2 cents. –Zachary Shahan]
Founding Wave Solar
Walsh started doing this while he was still employed by Mosaic. He partnered with Wade Hobb, of Between Ads, to found Wave Solar late last year.
“We own and operate a number of solar websites that give people information about the value proposition of solar,” he said.
Prior to working for Mosaic, Walsh ran a digital marketing agency, in San Diego, for 5 years.
Hobb has been working in solar marketing and acquisition since 2009.
“We both have deep experience with different ways to market online, ranging from search marketing to social advertising, programmatic advertising, and content marketing. Each of those serve a different niche in the customer acquisition funnel,” said Walsh.
He added, “We basically serve the solar installers and give them a set of software tools that can propel their business forward. One thing we are finding is that a lot of businesses are very sophisticated with the installation process. Many are very skilled on the customer service side. But many do not have the core competency, in house, of being sophisticated with customer acquisition software and digital marketing tactics. We are trying to fill that need.”
All images courtesy Wave Solar | Top Photo Credit: A 16.9 kW solar system which Trinity Solar installed in Morganville, NJ.; Bottom: Wave Solar’s Headquarters is in the heart of San Francisco