…without spamming LinkedIn or ‘networking’ to the point where it becomes creepy…
Growing an audience is the most important, yet most difficult, part of growing a brand – especially when it comes to content marketing. Why? Because an audience means authority, authority means contracts, and contracts mean real opportunities to make meaningful change in the world. And revenue, too.
A renewable energy company’s audience is of paramount importance to its ability to be at the forefront of the future. A voice is only powerful when it has an audience listening to it, and in the renewable energy market – a market revolutionising the way that we, as humans, live – the human connection is as vital as facts, figures, and science are.
Audience isn’t artificial. Audience is real. If you want to get booed off the renewable energy stage, pelted with tomatoes and chased out of the arena, then be sure to rely solely on packing out uninformative blog posts with cheap SEO and generic keywords.
But, if you want to grow and nurture a loyal, reliable audience – both online and in real life – then the work begins here. A renewable energy company’s audience will anchor it in a highly competitive emerging market. Finding and targeting the right audience will allow you to go one further, and help you change the world.
That sounds like a pretty loaded phrase, but if anything is truly world-changing, saving the planet probably qualifies, right? We think so.
At Bridge Studio, we’ll help your audience grow, so you can get on with helping the trees grow.
Identifying a renewable energy company’s audience
Ever heard the phrase: ‘you could sell ice to an Eskimo? Well, although this saying is normally used in a positive context, it illustrates exactly how poor audience identification works. Try to sell ice to an Eskimo in real life, and not only will it be chilly, but you’ll also get a frosty rejection. Why? Because what Eskimo needs ice?
To identify a renewable energy company’s audience, we need to define three things. Firstly, who needs renewable energy? Secondly, who is receptive to the idea of renewable energy? And thirdly, who is willing to pay for renewable energy sources, equipment, or installations?
Once you have identified these three types of people, you can create a Venn diagram. The users in the middle of the diagram are your target audience. You can then create something called a ‘user persona’. It’s even better if we do it together at one of Bridge Studio’s brand workshops for renewable energy companies.
A user persona is a data-driven OR theoretical character that helps your brand visualise the needs, frustrations, demographics, and more of your target client or customer. By visualising this person, you can begin to tailor your brand messaging and communication strategy to these people.
Creating a messaging strategy optimised for a renewable energy company’s audience
The second step in growing a renewable energy company’s audience is creating a pin-point messaging strategy that touches the pain points of your ideal user and offers digestible insights into the solution you provide.
Messaging in any industry follows a similar pattern. It’s important to identify the problems your audience faces – and let them know that you know what these problems are. Then, make sure they understand why these problems negatively affect their lives. When it comes to energy-related matters, science can sometimes cloud insight. People may not understand why it is that the changing climate scene is affecting them.
Your messaging strategy should then move towards the solution you offer. Again, this communication should be simple and digestible, especially to optimise engagement across social media. A renewable energy company’s audience will likely span ordinary consumption and corporate partnerships. Therefore, plain, short, and formal language is often the best way to communicate ideas, facts, and statistics especially.
Finally, it’s vital that we help the client dream. Climate-related matters are very much relevant today, but it is the next generation that renewable energy work will truly benefit. By helping customers empathise and remain forward-thinking in their attitudes to climate-saving matters, we can ensure our messaging is inspirational and progressive, reflecting the attitudes of a renewable energy company’s audience.
Being honest as a renewable energy company
Some see business as a murky world of cut-price dealing and cut-throat firing. If you’re a fan of the popular US-turned-UK reality show ‘The Apprentice’, Donald Trump and Lord Sugar may appear to be representative of the tense and cold atmosphere in the corporate universe.
The amount of ‘truth’ these programmes portray is heavily debatable. However, we can be certain that a renewable energy company’s audience won’t want drama or bureaucracy. Businesses working in the sustainability sector may be working for profit – and there’s nothing wrong with that – but ultimately, they are playing a pivotal role in something much bigger.
When you think of ‘eco-friendly’, you think of bright, green, and fresh. The shadiness of oil conglomerates polluting planet earth sits under the seabed; a renewable energy company’s audience wants to see their brand shimmering on the surface. As such, honesty is truly the best policy.
Be honest about your story – your ‘why’. Make sure your products and technologies are as reliable as you claim they are, backed up by facts, stats, and reviews. Keep your customer service human oriented. In summary, be transparent, and your audience will feel a real, ideological connection with your brand.
Focusing on where a renewable energy company’s audience hangs out
To identify and target the people you need to grow your business, it’s important to discover where your target audience ‘hangs out’. This can be both on and offline. For example, online, your audience may spend a large amount of screen time on Twitter. In real life, they may enjoy shopping in eco-friendly stores, or going to climate conventions.
Data is a big part of identifying where a renewable energy company’s audience hangs out. It’s always worth investing in proper analysts – and analyst software – so you can target your advertising to those who will be receptive to it. This can be as simple as setting up a Google Analytics tracking tag on your website, sending out customer surveys and conducting ‘field research’.
It’s all well and good having user personas that help you personalise your branding to your audience. But to close the gap between brand awareness and brand loyalty, you need strong marketing signals that are cost-effective, focusing on the people who are most likely to be interested in your product or service.
In-person events for a renewable energy company’s audience
Conferences. Rallies. Conventions. Seminars. There are countless opportunities for your brand to get in front of real people, face to face. Naturally, COVID-19 is continuing to play the devil’s advocate when it comes to socialising. However, if you can market your brand at in-person events, you’re not only enticing buyers in the now, but also putting a real face on your brand, humanising it.
‘84% of event attendees say that they have a more positive opinion about the company, brand, product or service being promoted after the event. (EMI & Mosaic, 2016)’
In-person events can be nerve-wracking for businesses because they require raw sales ability. You can’t hide behind clever copy or intricate data at these events. Yet, in truth, in-person events aren’t about putting on a show. They’re about connection.
As discussed earlier in the article, honesty is a big part of growing a renewable energy company’s audience. At in-person events, the power of your brand is portrayed through people – and consumers can tell when somebody is twisting their ‘facts’. Alongside getting your physical brand in front of people you know are interested in what you provide, in-person events help hook customers into the meaning behind the brand, forging stronger, more personal consumer-company ties.
You can kill three birds with one stone at in-person events. You can test the accuracy of your user personas, collect qualitative data about your customers, and convert leads there and then. What about putting an event on yourself?
If you don’t have a blog on your website, you’re doing it wrong. Sorry.
‘It’ is content marketing, and according to the CMI, ‘digital content marketing stats show that 72% of marketers say content marketing increases engagement. In addition, 72% say it has increased the number of leads’.
Well thought out and engaging content marketing, such as a blog, YouTube channel, or longer-form social media posting, gives your brand layers. It allows you to show your expertise, gain traction on social media, and, in turn, expand your ‘brand universe’.
By this we mean that you can move beyond your product and a limited word-count product description. You can tell your story, making your brand more powerful through current, relevant, and often personal content that reflects your mission. When it comes to brand transparency, showing the inner workings of your business and its product or service will increase your ability to grow your audience.
But it can be a difficult task to know where to start with growing a renewable energy company’s audience. Workshop with Bridge Studio to make sure you and your audience click.
Want to properly portray the power of people in your branding? Get in touch today.
By Sam Hudspith - Bridge Studio content writer