Case Study BuildDirect

BuildDirect was founded with a mission to empower homeowners by simplifying the home improvement industry and connecting sellers with buyers through a robust online marketplace. Today, BuildDirect is the leading online marketplace for home improvement products, selling manufacturer-direct building materials at substantial savings (without heavy retail markups) and shipping over 8.2 million pounds of products each month directly to consumers’ doorsteps.

As a company on the forefront of home improvement innovation, the team at BuildDirect knew it was also time to lead the conversation on clean energy and help homeowners improve their homes with green upgrades. Solar was the place to start. They needed a strategy to go to market in a short period of time, and hired Quietly to introduce this new category of products and guide consumers down the funnel from awareness to consideration and purchase.

Solar energy can be somewhat complex because there are many variables that affect how a customer purchases. How much sunlight does your house receive? How should you install or tilt your panels based on your geographical position relative to the sun? These are questions we needed to help them answer. And although the technology has been around for over 60 years (and is more cost-effective than ever before!), people are still unclear on things like maintenance and the expected lifetime of solar panels, let alone what you need in order to set up a complete system.

Quietly’s team of analysts looked closely at all competitors in the solar space online, reviewing materials from other wholesalers and online retailers in order to identify best practices and, more importantly, help BuildDirect capitalize on white space in the landscape and develop a unique go-to market strategy. This included looking at mainstream players like Tesla and Solar City, who are spending large sums of money to raise awareness. Quietly also looked at specialized trade publications, since they are competing for the same readers online when it comes to solar energy information. Paired with data-driven insights, such as search trends, Quietly identified where in the funnel content could play the strongest role.

The opportunity was clear: BuildDirect needed to educate both new and existing consumers while driving home their key points of difference — variety, abundance and affordability — and empowering homeowners to take solar into their own hands. Quietly’s extensive research uncovered a landscape that was verbose and cluttered, full of complicated terminology and confusing information. The key for BuildDirect was to arm readers with straightforward information and a “do-it-yourself” mentality.

Quietly created the overall information architecture and taxonomy plan for BuildDirect’s solar microsite, and also honed in on a style and tone that would be most effective, addressing these questions:

  • What are the key elements we need to communicate to prospective customers?
  • What is the right order in which to convey this info?
  • How much information is just the right amount? (Many of BuildDirect’s competitors provide too much, paralyzing the consumer.)

Quietly’s editorial team took complex stats and painted them into a picture the average reader could understand, and provided links to additional resources to help consumers make informed decisions about their energy bills and any local legislation they need to know. Quietly then worked closely with BuildDirect’s team to launch the site. The result is a comprehensive, straightforward guide. Check it out here—we think it’s one of the best resources out there.

“Working with the Quietly team was seamless. We were building out a comprehensive content hub that focused on a very niche area (solar energy) under extremely tight timelines and they didn’t miss a beat. The work produced was educational, well-written, on brand and delivered in a very digestible way for our audience. With very few revisions, this is definitely a turnkey service offering.”

Rob Banks, Co-Founder and Executive Officer, BuildDirect

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