Why you need to understand the 5 Stages of Customer Awareness in order to sell

Why you need to understand the 5 Stages of Customer Awareness in order to sell
Legendary copywriter Eugene Schwartz wrote a book. It’s now out of print. But you can pick up a copy on Amazon for about £800 – when available!

A key component of selling, according to Schwartz, is understanding how aware your target audience is of your offer.

The good news is this: it’s not your responsibility to create desire when you’re promoting your business.

Not at all.

In fact, desire cannot be created (unless you have squillions of $$$ to create it).

But awareness of a solution related to those desires can. And with that, your job as a marketer becomes so much easier. Sales starts with awareness. In a landscape where marketers are too busy debating buzzwords, it’s easy to lose sight of something as simple as whether or not your audience truly understands what you have to offer.

And more to the point, your prospects are oversaturated with more ads and marketing messages than they can possibly handle. The solution to breaking through the noise is tapping into your audience’s sense of how much they know (or don’t) about what you’re selling.

Schwartz understood that a customer’s awareness of a brand or product directly correlates with how that buyer behaves. He tiered customer awareness into five distinct levels which I’ve outlined below. By understanding these levels, you can optimize all aspects of your marketing, from emails and ads, to social posts and beyond, to ensure that your messages are on point.

Don’t waste any more time writing emails, ads or sales letters that miss the mark by speaking to the wrong level of awareness. Instead, figure out how to speak to each of the following types of customers differently.

1. Unaware

Your unaware “suspects” probably aren’t worth your time.

Who are they?
These are people who are, for lack of a better word, clueless. They have problems (we all do, after all), but they’re not aware of them as actually being a problem. Maybe they don’t like their job but are resigned to working there. Maybe they’re overweight and out of shape, but blame their metabolism.

Or maybe they have aches and pains but think there’s no hope for improvement. These problems are “the way things are,” and there’s no point in trying. Note that these are the folks that so many traditional network marketers try to prospect, which is terribly inefficient.

Where are they?
The shopping center. The library. To your left, to your right. Everywhere.

How to talk to them?
You don’t, typically. Not actively, anyway. It’s just not worth your time or energy.

2. Problem-Aware

Your problem aware cold prospects are in need of a clue.

Who are they?
These people know they have a problem but have no idea what to do next. They’re flying blind. They have no idea where to turn. Perhaps they hate their job, or want to lose weight, or fix their achy joints, but have absolutely no clue what to do next.

These people need your help!

Where are they?
Problem aware prospects are also everywhere, but they’re likely receptive too, and perhaps in search of, a solution. Maybe they’re Googling alternatives. Maybe they’re clicking on an ad or two.

These folks could encounter your business via organic search or on Facebook.

How to talk to them?
Again, these people have no idea what you’re selling, nor do they know anything about your industry. But, they have a problem (and they know they have a problem). And once you’ve identified that problem, they’re going to assume that you know a thing or two about their solution. So your job is to introduce your solution and persuade them to take a closer look by promoting your business.

Schwartz would advise you to make some BIG promises in your ads to this level of awareness. To use over-the-top, benefit-driven language. To give them the “one weird trick” to success.

Again, this is a COLD market, so you need to get their attention!

3. Solution-Aware

Your solution aware market are warm prospects, hungry for answers.

Who are they?
These people have a problem and are actively in search of a solution. Think of them as investigators doing detective work. They have desires and they’re sniffing around for clues. They want answers and they’re actively seeking for them; however, they haven’t quite put your products under the microscope yet.

Chances are they’ve seen others like you in your space, but don’t understand what separates “Brand A” from “Brand B.” For example, someone who is solution aware could have the desire to make money online but is searching for the best way to go about it.

So he or she starts Googling and bounces around some blogs to learn about affiliate marketing, and winds up signing up for some email lists in the process. This is a great prospect!

This person is already “sold” on your market and now just needs to narrow down on a particular solution.

Where are they?
These are the prospects you will primarily acquire through targeted ads. They might pop up in your social feeds or stumble on your blog from time to time too. How to talk to them? Again, play the role of teacher.

How to talk to them?
These people are looking for advice and need to understand your product or brand’s value before they’ll pull the trigger. These prospects are prime for free offers and lead magnets (think: ebooks, action guides, an autoresponder boot camp, etc). They need to be nurtured, not strong-armed.

By giving them the necessary attention and information, they’re more likely to connect the dots and understand how you can help them reach their goals.

4. Product-Aware

Your product aware market are hot leads in need of a compelling hook.

Who are they?
These are the people that know what you’re selling but perhaps are on the fence.
Perhaps they’ve been burned in the past by a similar product and are naturally skeptical toward new faces.

These types of people are commonplace in many of the mass desire industries such as making money online or weight loss, where there are plenty of snake oil salesmen and flavor-of-the-month schemes. Product aware prospects just want to know that you can actually help them.

They need to know that you empathize with their plight and provide the solution they need. They know about your industry and maybe they know your product; however, they just require a bit of a push to take action.

Where are they?
They’re on your email list. They’ve opted-in. They’re your fans on Facebook and your followers on Twitter. Again, they know about you and your product or service but haven’t taken the next step.

How to talk to them?
To turn these people into customers, you’re going to need to build trust. Again, educating leads is a surefire way to build credibility when you’re promoting your network marketing business. Then again, so is social proof (think: your testimonials and other satisfied customers who can vouch for you).

This is where consistency comes into play: by regularly sending offers and information via email, for example, you’re more likely to catch leads who’d otherwise sleep on what you’re selling. Nurturing leads is a marathon and not a sprint, so keep going!


5. Most Aware

These are your customers and biggest fans.

Who are they?
This is your highly receptive audience that is sold on your product and looks forward to your every word. These are your brand evangelists. The customers that “know” you on a personal level.

For example, imagine the Apple fans with Macintosh stickers on their cars, camping out in the freezing cold in anticipation for the next iPhone launch. Similarly, they could be someone who consistently flies Delta and is waiting on a flash sale to get away.

This group is rare and you might not have very many of them, but they’re oh-so-valuable. They’re willing to hear from you time and time again, regardless of what you have to say.

Where are they?
They’re hanging out on your private Facebook group or anticipating your next email broadcast. They’re the ones commenting on your webinar and watching the replay over and over again. These are the people who aren’t afraid to spend serious time and cash on your products.

How do you talk to them?
They’re your followers, right? So don’t be afraid to play the role of leader. “Wow” them with statistics and case studies; teach them on how they can grow and meet their goals. As is the case of any sort of influencer or attraction marketer, education is key.

They listen to you, they trust you – to be direct.

Treat your knowledge as insider information—top secret, “for your eyes only” content that’s exclusive to your inner circle. If you have excited customers, match their enthusiasm through education when promoting your network marketing business.

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