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Marketing to SMBs Why Utilities Need Facebook

Reaching small and midsized accounts represents a major challenge for just about every utility team. Whether you’re an energy efficiency program manager looking to promote incentives, a customer experience professional focused on engaging underserved segments, or a utility 2.0 strategist trying to change the way customers view their energy provider, the problem remains the same. 


Why Utilities Should Advertise Programs On Facebook


At Agentis, we pride ourselves on being experts on the ways non-residential customers interact with their energy providers.  We don’t sell any products related to Facebook or charge for any money for marketing consulting, we simply want to share our learnings from 10+ years of expertise in non-residential engagement.  Through our work with utility customers we’ve developed some clever tips that can help utility marketers reach small and mid-sized business consumers.


You need a cheap, scalable way to reach SMBs.


Marketing budgets for SMB programs are tight, expectations are high, and priorities at most utilities shift frequently. Instead of spending your limited resources on traditional channels like mailed postcards, print ads, or promotional call centers, you should invest in Facebook.

When we suggest digital ads to our utility clients, they often have some reservations. Most have never tried social platforms before, and for many groups, bread and butter techniques like post cards or radio ads offer low risk consistent returns.



If you want to market to SMBs though, you need to do something different and Facebook offers several key advantages.

Reach – First of all, nearly every one of your customers spends time there. Facebook has 80 million pages for small businesses in the US alone and over three quarters of small and midsized businesses have an account page on the site. As of 2019, Facebook is the number one marketing and communications tool for a 34% of businesses across a huge number of segments.

Targeting - Secondly, the vast majority of those pages are run by the SMB owner or principal. Small business owners are notorious multi-taskers. Chances are your neighborhood café has a Facebook business page, and chances are the person in charge of energy decisions (the owner) also manages that page.


fb ad impressions 

Effectiveness - Facebook makes it ridiculously easy to serve ads to page admins, which means Facebook makes it easy for utilities to advertise directly to the energy decision maker at SMB accounts. You can even set the geographic area where you want your ads to be displayed so only page admins for small businesses in your service area see the ads.

Reporting - Unlike mailed postcards or radio spots, digital ads allow for real time analytics into performance, allowing you to track impressions and interactions with the click of a button. Plus, digital ads don’t have a minimum start-up cost like print campaigns, and you can shut the promotions off anytime you want, freeing up budget flexibility.


Tips For Setting Up A Campaign


It’s possible to create extremely sophisticated marketing programs with Facebook ads, but for the sake of simplicity we will just walk through the basic steps in this post.

SMB owners – Page Admins

In the “detailed targeting” section within your Facebook ads business manager, you can target people who are business page admins on Facebook.



Geographic Area

To bolster their location targeting, Facebook now lets you target users based on a specific zip code. In the Locations field, you can enter a physical address or geographic location and target users who are around that area.

Suppose that you want people in metro Seattle. Simply type the zip codes within your service area into the location field and press save.


Segmented Campaigns

If you want to get better results you can segment your ads to target specific business types. For example, if you want to promote on-site energy audits to office buildings in your service area you can set up the filters discussed above, then add another for business type.



Lookalike Audiences

Finally, if your utility has a list of accounts that have completed programs in the past you can upload that information to Facebook to create a lookalike audience. You'll need a minimum of 1000 account profiles and the details with lookalike audiences are a bit more complicated, but they can be incredibly cost effective and powerful.


We hope you found this helpful! 


Agentis is the leading technology solution for non-residential customer engagement and we pride ourselves on being experts at all aspects of B2B customer experience. Learn more about how Agentis can help you deliver a better customer experience for SMB and C&I customers.