Imagine the following four scenarios, all revolving around making a common household purchase:
#1. Your current mattress is shot. It’s so old you’re afraid one morning you’ll be unable to get out of bed you’ll be so embedded into the crevice created by lying on one spot for the past decade. Your back hurts. Your doctor tells you it’s your saggy mattress.
#2. You start shopping for mattresses. You compare prices online and start researching your options.
#3. You’ve narrowed your selection to three brands. You weigh the pros and cons of each.
#4. You decide on one brand. You look at all the styles and types, decide on the most viable finance option. You buy.
Each of these scenarios represents a different stage of customer awareness (SOA), a concept from Eugene Schwartz, the OG copywriting king, in his book, Breakthrough Advertising.
When your customer goes to your website, he or she is at one of these stages.
Their SOA determines:
- The information they need
- How you talk to them
- How quickly you make an offer on your sales page
- What kind of offer will likely work best
Using the example above, here’s how the stages break down:
These people don’t know they need your product or that it even exists. In the mattress example, they are not interested in a new mattress because they have no problem with the one they own. It’s most difficult to convert someone at this stage. Most websites don’t address unaware customers.
- PAIN OR PROBLEM AWARE (#1 example)
Most websites address customers at this level of awareness. The person feels pain or has become aware of a problem and is starting to research ways to resolve the issue. They’re in the market.
- SOLUTION AWARE (#2 example)
They know a solution to their problem exists somewhere, but they’re not settled on any one in particular.
- PRODUCT AWARE (#3 example)
At this stage, your potential customer knows your product is one option that may work for them. But they’re not yet convinced yours is the best solution.
- MOST AWARE (#4 example)
Your prospect has decided on your offer. They’re now figuring out how to get the best deal.
BONUS LEVEL: MOST AWARE WITH HIGH INTENT
While not among the traditional stages of awareness, most aware with high intent refers to situations where you start at unaware and reach most aware within a very short time. For example, you wake up to the smell of smoke and realize you left a candle burning on your nightstand and your mattress is up in flames. You no longer have a mattress. In this case, you need a new mattress STAT.
This rapid rise up through the levels of awareness occurs in real life with a burst pipe in the house, a hornet’s nest you didn’t know existed until the gardener accidentally hit it with a hedge trimmer and set loose a rampage of stingers… or any other abrupt chaotic situation where the problem wasn’t known until it was out of control. There’s no time for a relaxing stroll through Google, calling friends and reading reviews. The first solution that sounds reasonable is IT.
This latter is not the way decision making typically works. Thankfully.
So how do stages of awareness come into play when writing a page or email offer?
You want to reach your customer where they are right now. They need time to know, like and trust you before they enter their credit card number.
A person who’s only recently realized they have a problem is in a vastly different mindset from someone who’s been searching and weighing options.
The former, for example, will be turned off by a BUY NOW! Button too early on the page. They have no reason to trust you yet. They need more information before they can make a decision.
HOW TO MARKET TO EACH STAGE
(Let’s skip the unaware stage people, since they’re not even aware or need your product.)
PROBLEM AWARE: They’re in pain but are cold prospects at this stage.
You want to give them plenty of reasons to see you as the solution to their discomfort. Emphasize the benefits of your offer. You’ll need to get their attention so you’re above the noise of everyone else.
SOLUTION AWARE: They’re weighing their options.
Why should they choose you over your competitor? Nurturing through free guidebooks, eBooks, etc., gives them more intel to consider. Help them connect the dots to see your solution as the best one to help them achieve their goals. They want answers. Be sure to provide them.
PRODUCT AWARE: They know you and/or your product.
They’re hot leads but need a gentle push to convince them you’re the real deal solution. They likely follow you on social networks. Nurturing them by consistently sending them information and offers via email keeps you top of mind. The long game pays off with this customer. Testimonials and case studies can also be effective in helping them realize you’re the best choice for them.
MOST AWARE: These are your raving fans.
They already see you as a leader. So simply confirming their trust in you with a special offer, insider info or pre-sale special for them only is enough to let them know their trust in you is well-placed.
Where is your focus? Do you know which stage of awareness your customer is likely in when they reach your website? Leave a comment below to start a discussion!
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