How to Create an Effective Solar Panel Installation AdWords Campaign

by Aden Andrus March 26, 2017

Need more solar panel installation leads? Want to expand your solar panel installation business?

For many businesses in the solar panel industry, AdWords can seem like a waste of money. It can be hard to get the right people to click on your ads, convince them to become a lead and close them as a new client.

After working with solar panel companies for years, however, we’ve learned how to reliably produce click-through rates of around 5% and consistently turn a quarter of those clicks into highly qualified leads.

It all boils down to how well you can execute on the following principles:

1. Targeting

One of the major problems most solar panel companies face in AdWords is targeting the wrong keywords. It’s tempting to bid on every solar power-related keyword you can think of, but that actually causes more problems than it solves.

In most of the solar panel installation AdWords accounts we’ve started managing, less than 10% of their keywords produce leads. The other 90% of their keywords are just plain useless. And, to make matters worse, those useless keywords eat up about 3/4ths of these client’s budgets.

That’s bad news for your solar panel installation company.

The more money you waste on the wrong clicks, the more expensive your cost-per-conversion is:

Cost-per-Conversion vs Percent of Wasted Ad Spend | Disruptive Advertising

As you can see from this graph, every 10% increase in wasted ad spend increases your cost-per-conversion by around 50%. To put that in practical terms, say you’re currently wasting 70% of your budget on the wrong keywords and you’re paying $100 per conversion.

Hoping to improve things, you add a bunch of new keywords…but those keywords don’t perform well and you end up wasting 80% of your budget instead of 70%.

How will that affect your cost per conversion? In our experience, you can expect to end up paying $150 per new lead—instead of the $100 you were paying.

Do you see why targeting the right keywords is so important for solar panel companies? If you’re bidding on the wrong keywords, your ads show up for the wrong searches, get the wrong clicks and ultimately waste your precious marketing budget.

Targeting the Right Solar Panel Keywords

At Disruptive, we’ve spent years identifying the right keywords for the solar panel industry. We’ve tested almost every keyword you can think of to figure out which keywords deliver the best results for our clients.

To do this same thing for your solar panel installation company, you’ll need to test and analyze your own keywords. Open your AdWords account and set your time frame to the last 2-3 months. This is important, because if you don’t look at a broad enough time frame, your keyword data won’t be very insightful.

Next, click on the Keywords tab, click “Search terms” and create a filter for “Conversions < 1”. Run the report on your last 2-3 months of data.


From there, scroll down to the last row on your report to see how much you are wasting on non-converting search terms. These are all of the terms that people typed in before they saw your ads, clicked and didn’t convert on your site.

If you divide your wasted ad spend by your total spend and multiply by 100%, you can quickly see how what percentage of your ad spend is being wasted on the wrong keywords and search terms.

Take a hard look at your poor performing keywords and start making some changes. Depending on the situation, that may mean eliminating some keywords, adding negative keywords or rewriting ads and landing pages.

You’ll have to go through a few cycles of this to really get your targeting dialed in, but over time you’ll see massive improvements in the performance of your AdWords campaigns.

2. Time

Unfortunately, there’s a reason why so many solar panel companies waste so much money on the wrong keywords. They simply don’t spend enough time in their AdWords accounts.

Now, I get it. You’ve got a business to run. You don’t have time to hop into your AdWords account on a daily or even weekly basis.

In fact, that’s a big part of the reason why many solar panel companies hire marketing agencies to manage their accounts for them. However, even hiring a marketing agency often doesn’t mean that your account will get the time and attention it needs to perform efficiently.

In our experience, over two-thirds of solar panel installation AdWords accounts haven’t been tweaked in the last month. Just 10% have had a change made in the last 7 days.

No wonder your average solar panel company wastes so much money on AdWords!

To really get the most out of your AdWords account, you should be in your AdWords account at least once a week. You might not always make a ton of changes, but you should be tweaking things on a weekly basis (especially if you’re spending more than $10,000 a month). At Disruptive, we’re in our clients’ accounts multiple times a week to ensure that things are always improving.

3. Tracking

The final key to running an effective solar panel installation campaign in AdWords is high-quality tracking. After all, spending time in your AdWords account doesn’t mean much if there’s no good data in there to look at.

Now, high-quality tracking means more than just tracking clickthrough rates. If you really want actionable data, you need to be tracking conversions and new contracts.

However, less than 30% of the solar panel installation AdWords accounts we audit are effectively tracking conversions—let alone actual deals closed.

AdWords Account Conversion Tracking | Disruptive Advertising

To put it simply, most solar panel companies are essentially running their AdWords accounts blind. Is it any wonder that they’re wasting most of their advertising budgets?

Setting Up Tracking

Fortunately, setting up conversion and sales tracking really isn’t all that difficult. We won’t get into all the details here, but to get you started, check out this video on how to implement Google Tag Manager (free):

Once you’ve got Google Tag Manager set up, it’s easy to connect Google Analytics and AdWords (also free).

Here’s how:

Tracking all of your conversion actions (form submissions, phone calls, chats, etc) will get you part of the way there, but what you really care about is new contracts, not new conversions. To optimize for those, you’ll want to use a CRM like Salesforce to track your AdWords clicks all the way through to the revenue they generate.

Once you’re effectively tracking conversions and sales, you can use that data to truly set your solar panel installation AdWords campaigns up for success. It will still take some trial and error, but at least you’ll have the data you need to learn from your mistakes.

Growing Your Solar Panel Business with AdWords

After spending years helping solar panel companies with their AdWords accounts, we’ve found that running a successful solar panel installation AdWords campaign ultimately comes down to how effectively you can execute on these three principles.

If you’re targeting the right keywords, spending enough time in your account and effectively tracking your results, AdWords can produce amazing results for your solar panel company. What will it do for yours?

By the way, if you’d like help setting up or running an effective AdWords account for your solar panel installation business, let me know here or in the comments! Solar panel installation companies are some of our favorite clients, so we’d love to have the opportunity to help you grow.

You’ve heard my two cents, now it’s your turn. What are some of the obstacles your solar panel business faces? Have you tried AdWords? What was your experience?

  • AdWords

Aden Andrus

Aden Andrus

Over his career, Aden has developed and marketed millions of dollars of successful products. He lays awake at nights figuring out new marketing tactics and is constantly upping Disruptive's internal marketing game. He loves to write, dance and destroy computer monitors in full medieval armor.

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