Purple and orange illustration of the complicated nature of attracting and retaining customers, with a woman looking at a search screen and various other processes in view behind the screen.

10 Energy Marketing Strategies to Attract and Retain Customers

The energy sector is in transition. Customers have new expectations, and traditional marketing techniques can’t compete. In a deregulated energy market, customers are free to switch providers at any time, which creates more challenges for energy providers and more opportunities for effective energy marketing strategies. 

Keep delighting your current customers and win over new ones with these energy marketing strategies.

1. Embrace Digital Marketing

Millennials are positioned to become the largest customer demographic in the United States this year, and their digital fluency means they are less likely to respond to traditional marketing approaches. This generation has lived most of their lives connected to the internet, and an Accenture study found that 52% of 25-to-34-year-olds feel that their digital experience with their energy provider is worse than interacting with other types of providers.

Research from J.D. Power and Associates confirms this: the energy sector was found to be one of the lowest-performing industries in terms of digital marketing, leaving a large market of potential customers to win over. This gives brands and energy marketing agencies an opportunity to stand out to younger customers by embracing the digital marketing strategies they respond to, including SEO, PPC, social media, video, content marketing, and reputation management.

Customer Experience Tip

  • Look for a marketing agency that understands digital marketing strategies and the needs of younger demographics.

2. Create a Customer Journey Map

Effective energy marketing doesn’t end when your customers sign up for your service. To maximize retention, your marketing strategy needs to engage your customers at every stage of their relationship with your services. A customer journey map diagrams this relationship from start to finish, so you can identify pain points and find new ways to develop long-term relationships. A journey map will also help you determine whether your energy marketing strategies are working effectively or if you need to adjust.

Customer Experience Tip

  • Use market research, analytics, and other digital tools like website heat maps to determine how customers are finding and interacting with your brand—and why they might decide to leave. 

3. Unify Your Touchpoints

Now that you have outlined your customer journey map, every interaction is an opportunity. To be successful in a competitive deregulated market, energy companies have to take advantage of every customer touchpoint by delivering a consistent, streamlined experience. According to the Harvard Business Review, 73% of customers are “omnichannel”—they use multiple channels during their research and shopping experiences. And according to Demand Metric, the average revenue increase attributed to brand consistency is 23%. Inconsistency confuses customers and hurts your credibility. Effective energy marketing strategies will unify each touchpoint with consistent branding and quality customer service.

Customer Experience Tip

  • Make sure your branding is consistent across all platforms—and across your sales, marketing, and support initiatives—to create a seamless customer experience

4. Identify Your High-Value Customers

Long-term customer relationships have the highest impact on your business’s success. Use your customer journey map, data gathered from your connected touchpoints, and NPS information to identify high-value customers that engage with your brand. Acquiring new customers is between five and twenty-five times more costly than retaining an existing one, so appealing to existing high-value customers is essential. For example, NPS can help you identify promoters, who have a CLV between six and fourteen times greater than detractors.

Loyal customers are five times as likely to buy again and four times as likely to refer your brand to others.

Using other customer data, look for customers who engage in transactional, two-way relationships with your brand, building loyalty and trust over time. According to the Temkin group, loyal customers are five times as likely to buy again and four times as likely to refer your brand to others. 

Customer Experience Tip

  • Identify other potential customers to target using key demographic and psychographic indicators of your existing high-value audiences.

5. Personalize Your Offerings

Today’s energy customers want personalized information and offerings, tailored to their preferences. J.D. Power’s digital experience study indicated that easily viewable usage data is the top driver of a positive web experience for energy consumers and drives significant improvement in overall customer satisfaction. Accenture found that 33% of consumers who abandoned a business did so due to a lack of personalization. And it’s not just residential consumers—Accenture also found that 42% of SMBs consider personalized offerings as a prime satisfaction factor. Similarly, certain segments of consumers are more likely to sign up for additional offerings if the company provides personalized customer service.

Customer Experience Tip

  • Provide personalized customer service and product offerings, including access to personal usage data, suggestions for gaining efficiency, and geotargeted information and alerts.

6. Embrace Text and Chat Features

Millennial customers prefer two-way communication with businesses and are most comfortable interacting over SMS messages and chat. In fact, a recent McKinsey survey indicated that 60% of consumers are not completely satisfied with the communication channels that retail energy companies currently offer, and 45% of consumers prefer to use digital channels of communication. If you’re looking to optimize your customer experience, meet your largest demographic through the communication channels they prefer. These two-way conversations need to be meaningful in order to be effective, so look for ways to make your customers feel heard.

Customer Experience Tip

  • Incorporate a customer support and sales app that uses a live chat feature to give your customers a way to engage with your sales and marketing teams at their convenience. 

7. Become a Trusted Advisor

More than ever, customers are looking to be informed about their energy choices. Providing reliable and unbiased information is a great way to meet this need. A dedicated content strategy that targets common search terms can turn your website into a recognized resource, which will bring in more customers through organic searches.

According to Aspect Software, 71% of consumers want to be able to solve customer service issues themselves. Microsoft’s recent State of Global Customer Service Report found that 12% of consumers consider not being able to solve problems on their own as the most frustrating aspect of a poor customer experience. Resolve this frustration by providing the information customers need to answer their own questions right away.

Customer Experience Tip

  • Use reliable data to determine the search terms that are most likely to reach customers in your region. Then create customer care content that allows customers to solve problems without calling in to your service or sales center. 

8. Let Your Customers Do the Talking

Your loyal customers are one of your strongest marketing tools. Messaging from your company can only go so far with new audiences. But reviews and recommendations from happy customers can be extremely compelling. In fact, BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey found that positive reviews make 68% of consumers more likely to purchase from a company. You can turn your customers into loyal brand advocates by catering your services to meet their specific needs. BrightLocal’s survey also found that 70% of customers are willing to leave a review for a brand if asked, so don’t be afraid to ask customers who regularly engage with your brand to leave a review.

Your loyal customers are one of your strongest marketing tools.

Customer Experience Tip

  • Give customers a platform to speak honestly about your services and performance, and respond quickly to any negative feedback.

9. Think Local

Improve customer retention by embracing corporate social responsibility (CSR) and cementing yourself as a positive member of your community. Sponsor events, donate to local causes, and support local organizations to increase your visibility with your customers and local community leaders. When you build a positive presence in your community, your customers will have a chance to see your brand’s CSR firsthand. This can create lasting, meaningful impressions, especially with under-40 demographics. McKinsey’s deep dive into CSR programs found that, in addition to increased employee retention, promoting CSR builds brand awareness and customer loyalty, driving increased sales and goodwill. 

Customer Experience Tip

  • Partner with local organizations or groups that can amplify your brand’s visibility with the audiences that matter most.

10. Incorporate Renewable Energy Initiatives

The growth and proliferation of renewable energy is a big priority for millennial consumers—according to Nielsen, 73% of millennials would pay more for sustainable offerings. And it’s not just millennials. According to UtilityDive, 41% of consumers indicate they are willing to pay more for access to clean energy and 82% favor clean energy if there is no additional cost to them. Overall demand for energy supports these consumer preferences: despite a growing number of households in the US, net electricity demand is not increasing proportionately. Americans are becoming more environmentally conscious and are gravitating toward energy-efficient appliances and energy-saving lifestyle choices.

Energy companies need to look forward and invest in renewable technology to bring in this key demographic. You can leverage this change in behavior to your advantage by demonstrating shared values through your offerings. By aligning with their desire for energy-efficient options, you can build long-term relationships through messaging around energy conservation and efficiency. 

Customer Experience Tip

Energy Marketing Strategies for High-Value Customers

Attracting and retaining energy customers means embracing digital marketing techniques and shifting your energy marketing strategies to target the needs of millennials and other high-value audiences. If you’re ready to maximize your visibility and reach emerging markets, we can help.

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Jason Kol

Jason joined Clearlink’s partner strategy team in 2016 and currently oversees the home services partner strategy team, driving results for our partners in the energy industry. Prior to joining Clearlink, Jason spent 18 years in franchising and held various roles, including executive vice president of information technology and, most recently, executive vice president of sales and marketing. In his free time, you’ll find Jason on his mountain bike enjoying Utah’s great outdoors. 

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