This article was updated in November 2022 to reflect the most recent industry developments.
Video Marketing for the Renewable Energy Sector
We often hear from our clients and friends in cleantech that one of their biggest challenges is reaching and educating a wide and varied range of audiences. Whether it’s utility executives, corporate customers, policymakers or homeowners, an effective cleantech media communicator can usually get to a win, given the opportunity to sit across the table and have a personal interaction. But your team can’t be everywhere at once, and it can be difficult to reach these audiences at scale and educate them on your company’s value proposition.
Cleantech companies are regularly at the forefront of innovation in their field, pushing for maximum efficiency, performance and profitability. So why is it that when it comes to their marketing and communications strategy, they are often still operating the equivalent of an aging coal-fired power plant?
Creating videos for social media, TV, or other mediums can tap into a new audience and increase brand awareness for your company. Fossil fuel companies spent about $9.6 million in advertising campaigns in 2020; if the clean energy sector wants to compete in the eyes of consumers, they need to start putting in the same level of effort if not financing.
This article will cover:
- Why video marketing is important and necessary for cleantech companies
- What video marketing is and how it works
- Case studies of successful clean energy advertising
- Examples of video tools
Why Is Video Marketing Important in the Cleantech Media Space?
For cleantech B2B companies, the need for advanced marketing practices is just as strong as in other B2C industries, with some key differences:
- Many cleantech B2B companies are pioneers of their industry and have a unique burden to educate a variety of stakeholders new to their product.
- High-growth companies in cleantech spaces are often operating on lean budgets and need to clearly demonstrate ROI on any investment – before, during and after committing to spend.
- Some internal stakeholders might have mistaken assumptions that a small target audience means they can de-prioritize digital channels of communication.
What Is Video Marketing?
Video marketing consists of drafting, producing, and promoting video content in order to sell a product, service or brand image. Videos can provide a fresh perspective on a service, engage new groups of customers, and can create ‘stickiness’ for your brand in the minds of viewers more effectively than a text-only advertisement.
The Fundamentals of Video Marketing for Cleantech
With local video marketing, you can reach your audience exactly where they are with a wide range of cost-effective distribution options.
- Video can be distributed via Facebook, Instagram, Pre-roll, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, email and in-person.
- The narrow customer set of most B2B cleantech companies is an advantage because it means lower cost to distribute targeted ads.
Video performance is also optimally trackable.
- The variety of metrics available for video will allow you to measure customer behavior beyond any static content. This will help you to understand your customers’ needs and interests.
- As you continue to develop and refine your video strategy, you can optimize for specific types of desirable behavior – awareness, understanding, action, etc.
- Properly tracked, a video marketing campaign can tell you exactly where your customers are in the sales funnel so you can approach them accordingly.
Video Marketing in the Cleantech Media Space
Search engines value video — this is one reason why it is so important for cleantech companies to use video marketing. A video is an impactful way to get ahead of incumbent companies, and can be a quicker option than building up a steady stream of owned content or optimizing your website for SEO (although we certainly encourage both of those, too!)
- While no one is going to buy a wind turbine via a point of purchase website, research shows sales prospects are likely learning about your product online far before they reach out to start the sales conversation.
- Your website is not likely to rank highly on SEO without video. Search engines value pages with video as “quality content,” ranking them higher than those without.
Why Videos Can Be Beneficial in Ads for Renewable Energy
There are many reasons why video marketing is increasingly seen as a must-have for companies of all sizes. These benefits often interact with each other to multiply the value added. Here are a few reasons why video marketing is one of the most effective tactics available to the modern cleantech marketer:
Complex messaging can be made clear and simple, in image, sound and in text.
Cleantech companies often need to simplify their messaging for their various audiences, and video forces that simplification by nature of the medium. This gives you a space to smoothly deliver your value proposition and explain how your technology works in an engaging and fun way. Original graphics can help visualize technical concepts and music lends an emotional appeal. Oil and gas companies know this, as evidenced by decades of Chevron and Exxon Mobil videos. While we don’t endorse these commercials, of course, it is clear why they are successful; they connect their product to the consumer’s emotions, and illustrate how their product – fossil fuels – will impact the viewer’s life beyond what powers their home or car.
Customer prospects would rather watch a video.
Where both video and text are available on the same page, 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service. Video explainers of a technology can be easier to absorb, and they can be watched or listened to on the go. As our attention spans shrink each year, a compact video can be more compelling and capture attention for longer than a several page-long website or article.
Video enlists stakeholders in the storytelling process.
A client of ours recently told us, “often, sector folks will be more likely to listen to others in their sector. So using the video to turn current customers into messaging missionaries is very strategic.” She also pointed out that groups and individuals featured in a video will often share it to their networks as well, broadening the reach of the campaign.
Importantly, a video that is embedded on a page, such as LinkedIn, will have a higher engagement rate than a longer article that requires opening a new browser window on your phone or computer. Something that plays automatically as a person scrolls through their feed can automatically initiate engagement more easily than a static hyperlink to a new page.
Facebook is dominated by video.
Facebook is the #1 social media platform in the world, with best ROI for marketers – and its algorithm prioritizes video. Where people consume information has changed and continues to evolve. HubSpot’s 2017 “State of Inbound” survey found that Facebook users watch 8 billion videos every day. While currently only 38% of marketers share video content on LinkedIn, three-quarters of them reported it to be a successful tactic -- and comfortably more than half (55%) said they would continue, or start, in 2018. Whether your company’s primary home is on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or something else, many platforms are leaning towards video content — the recent rise of Tik Tok makes this case better than we can.
How do you develop a video marketing strategy?
Start crafting a video marketing strategy like you would with any other medium. Take stock of your customers’ personas, needs and obstacles to success. The video content you create should focus on solutions and provide insights to viewers – such as case studies or testimonials from previous clients. After scripting, shooting and promoting your content, it’s important to analyze your viewership statistics and revise your work as you start to receive feedback.
Benefits of Renewable Energy Success Story Videos
Customers are spending more and more time conducting preliminary research online before reaching out to a sales team. Presenting a polished and informative video of a renewable energy success story can do some of the educational legwork on behalf of your company while allowing you to regain some influence within the client’s research process. Additionally, hearing from a third-party source, such as a previous client, can help build trust between a potential customer and company.
Using Case Studies in Renewable Energy Advertisements
A case study video is a story that uses a previous customer’s journey to demonstrate the effectiveness of a business. In addition to quotes or testimonials, a cleantech case study can explain a client’s initial issue – whether it be gaining community acceptance for a project, increasing revenue, or entering the renewable energy market as a disruptor – and showcase the solution your business provided.
Sales video tools
There are a variety of sales video tools and services you can use to create content for your cleantech company, whether you do so in house or hire a vendor. Some of these include:
- Adobe Premiere Pro
- Quicktime Player
Advanced Strategies for Wind and Solar Energy Advertising
Courtesy of the phony Solyndra “scandal” and other disinformation efforts by incumbent sectors, renewable energy marketing can still be a politically and culturally charged issue. Potential clients may approach a solar power plant or wind farm pitch with ingrained biases about its viability and cost-effectiveness – even at a B2B level. Oil, gas, and coal companies spent vast resources to cement their position in society through both policy and popular culture. It’s time for the renewable energy companies to up their game, especially when it comes to community outreach.
A successful cleantech company could focus on:
- Developing a visitors center or program for students to visit a renewables factory or plant
- Communicating the local development opportunity from renewables projects
- Job creation and training programs in host communities
- Specific benefits from tax money generated by renewables’ presence in the community
As cleantech enters the mainstream, the companies leading the disruption can no longer afford to rely on legacy marketing techniques. A strategic inbound marketing strategy with video at its heart can take the educational burden off the sales team and draw customers in with original content that attracts, captures and delights. Video is a critical component to turn your inbound marketing program into a steady lead generation machine.