In this tip we’re going to add another layer to your marketing foundation that will increase the effectiveness of your marketing.
A quick recap of the foundation
- Know your market!
- Have a Brand Story that portrays your customer as the hero, and as their guide, how you solve their problem.
The 5 Stages of Awareness in a Customer
This next layer is called the 5 States of Awareness, and carries your customer from the point where they don’t even realize they have a problem until they become your customer. It’s important because in order to be truly effective with your marketing, you need to be putting out messages that address each of these stages. Here’s an overview.
- Stage 1: Unaware
Applies to people who aren’t aware that they have a problem that they need you to solve.
- Stage 2: Problem Aware
Is for people who realize that they have a problem, but are clueless of the solution, or that you provide it.
- Stage 3: Solution Aware
Covers people who are in research mode, getting answers and identifying potential solutions.
- Stage 4: Product Aware
People now have a line up of solutions with yours on the list. But they may not know why your solution is the choice they should go with.
- Stage 5: Most Aware
These people, who now know you and trust that your brand will solve their problems, just need that gentle nudge to push them over the finish line..
So, how does this affect you? How can you market to each, and what do they need to know? Let’s dive in…
Stage 1: Unaware
People in this stage don’t have a clue that they even have a problem, so you have to start at the educational stage of the journey. They’re not looking for anything in particular; they’re more likely to simply “bump into” something that you post on social media, or one of your website pages that comes up in a search result.
Because you’re tuned into your target market, you’re going to know what resonates with them. Is it a short video, a simple infographic on a social media post, or a newsletter or webinar? And, if you’re not sure, experiment to see what catches their attention.
Your messaging and content for them at this point is simply to entertain and engage them in something enjoyable. Don’t give them a “buy now” call to action, they won’t know what to do with it because they don’t even “have a problem”.
Stage 2: Problem Aware
At this stage, the potential customer is now aware of their problem and is trying to fully identify and figure it out. They’re across the room, looking at the big picture on the wall and ready to explore.
They’re asking the big “W and H” questions… Exactly WHAT is my problem? WHERE did my problem come from? HOW do I fix it? And others like: Am I the only one with this problem? What are the effects of the problem?
Your message should clearly identify their problem and start answering their questions on every level. Dig in with content here because they’re going to turn to Google for answers. Having a page or post on your site that answers the question they are asking is brilliant. For example, if you sell pool liners, your posts could be “How long does a pool liner last?” or “What is involved in changing a pool liner?”
Stage 3: Solution Aware
Potential customers at this level of awareness know that they’ve got a problem and they are actively seeking answers. Along with the answers, they are also beginning to create a list of solutions. At this point, your solution to their problem may be on their list, but they’re still figuring stuff out and not ready to buy.
Now is the time to enter as the Guide in the story. They as the Hero have figured out they have a problem and know they need help.
With empathy and authority you need to introduce yourself as a solution that simply works. The perfect message here are testimonials or case studies.
Stage 4: Product Aware
At this stage, a potential customer has all of the solution cards on the table and is comparing them to figure out which one will be the best fit. If you’ve been doing your job in communicating to the first three stages, you are in position to finally shine.
As their Guide, you want to now show them the plan that will solve their problem. And, of course, because of leaning into your WHY and their WHY, you will be focusing on the core problem, not just an external widget. As you do this, your product will shine above your competitors that don’t focus on the WHY.
It’s important not to give a blatant pitch yet. Give them the proof that you truly have the solution by sharing how-to’s, demos or a walk through of your product.
Stage 5: Most Aware
At the ‘Most Aware’ state, the customer is fully aware of your brand, and now trusts that your product or service could solve their problem. Now it’s time to give them the call to action and fully paint the picture of success that they will enjoy if they do become your customer.
If there are any objections to be overcome, make sure that your content focuses on answering those objections. Make it super easy and painless for them to make that final decision.
Most people skip stages 1, 2, and 3 of customer awareness and speak to stage 4 by pushing their products. If you’ve followed the process above, you’ll realize that if you only speak to stage 4, you’re asking people to trust someone they have no clue about – which makes your success rate minimal.
Start by identifying what these 5 stages look like for your market. Grab a copy of our “5 Stages of Awareness” exercise, and work through it. This will help you get clear on what each stage looks like for you.
Next, look at your current marketing messages and identify which stage they are aimed at. Are you missing stages? If yes, put a plan in place to create messaging aimed at each stage. This is a process as it covers content on your website, social media content and perhaps some created collateral like a how-to guide.
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Your Online Partner… for Success
How’s your marketing message? If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed or have questions, book a focused “20” with Christy. You’ll get 20 minutes at no cost to take a focused dive into your question and come up with answers.