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Nov 3, 2023

What’s Different About Marketing IRA Rebates to Low and Moderate-Income Households?

Learn what's different—and what's the same—about marketing new Inflation Reduction Act rebates for insulation, HVAC, and solar services to low and moderate income households.

By: Cory Allyn

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Two new forthcoming Inflation Reduction Act rebate programs were designed to favor low and moderate income (LMI) households, with either higher rebate amounts or exclusive rebate programs. Recently released state guidelines go even further and require states to allocate a certain amount of their total rebate funds for these audiences.

Low and moderate-income is defined by the IRA as 80% of area median income for low income and 150% for moderate. Those numbers will change depending on the part of the country, but for example, in Sacramento, moderate income is $122,000. That could mean that a lot of households will qualify.

Home performance, HVAC, and solar contractors who decide to target these audiences have a real opportunity to book more jobs and grow their business. But is there anything different about marketing to LMI audiences that contractors should keep in mind?

What’s the Same About Marketing to LMI Customers

1. Priority messaging for low and moderate-income households includes:

  • Reducing energy costs
  • Fixing comfort problems
  • Adding home values

Most contractors will recognize that none of the above motivators are exclusive to LMI—they are probably the same messaging that you’re already using to target your average customer. So, marketing to LMI doesn’t really require a big shift in your messaging.

2. You’ll need a good incentives landing page on your website that mentions all available incentives, including IRA rebates and tax credits, as well as any local state or utility incentives and financing opportunities.

That page should be supported with good content related to incentives and the services that qualify for them. Contractors should be offering a planning process for multi-step home upgrades.

3. The new IRA programs are trying to incentivize larger whole home overhauls and electrification upgrades, not just one-time box swaps. Many homeowners won’t be able to do everything at once and will need help from contractors in planning out their upgrades in stages.

What’s DIFFERENT About Marketing to LMI Customers

1. Many LMI Households Will Need to Know They Qualify as LMI for Extra Savings

Many households already don’t realize that rebates exist. That’s the same regardless of income level. But many also don’t realize that they meet income guidelines for higher moderate income-level incentives.

Contractors will need to raise awareness both of the existence of incentives and also that, because of their income levels, there are even greater rebates available to many households.

2. Create an Income Self-Qualification Page

Contractors targeting LMI audiences should have a separate self-qualification incentives page connected to their main incentives landing page. Having to ask customers how much money they make can be awkward. By letting customers self-qualify through your website before any 1:1 conversation, you can make things easier for the customer as well as your sales team.

3. Geographically Identify LMI Audiences Based on Income

The best way to speak to LMI audiences is by identifying specific zip codes in your service area that have higher concentrations of households in those target income ranges. You can then use those zip codes to build online ad campaigns.

The website Income By Zip Code is great for quickly finding all zip codes with AMIs in the specific ranges you’re looking for.

Then, you can run Google Ads specifically to people in those zip codes. This includes:

  • Search ads (the text ads at the top of search result pages)
  • Display ads (image-based ads shown across different websites)
  • Video ads (ads that run before YouTube videos)

You can also adjust bids in Google Ads down for higher income and up for lower income. Some of these ad types, like display ads, are very inexpensive and a good way to raise general awareness, even if you aren’t getting clicks to your website.

You can target specific zip codes with Facebook and Instagram advertising, too.

Nearly $9 billion is allocated for these new IRA rebate programs, and it’s estimated that close to 75% of that can only be claimed by low and moderate-income households. Contractors who plan to go after this audience will need a well-thought-out plan to reach these homeowners.

This article was originally published in the Energy Circle Blog and is republished with permission.

Cory Allyn
Energy Circle Associate Director of Content & Strategy

Cory has been with Energy Circle since 2019. Previous jobs include small town newspaper reporter and science fiction book editor. In 2021 he and his wife sold their old Maine farmhouse and moved to Los Angeles, where they now subsist largely on tacos and sunshine.

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