How to Market Effectively to Specific Prospects: The 5 Levels of Customer Awareness

by Corey Philip
September 21, 2019

If you’ve ever tried to sell anything, online or offline, chances are you have experienced getting no responses at all your first time. The Internet is home to an infinite amount of audiences and yet not one person reacted.

Those odds would seem absurd until you see it from a different perspective. If you were to take that scenario in real life, provided you were talking to one person, would you have said the same thing you did in your copy?

The thing is, you’re talking to a lot of people at once. If you’re trying to talk to everyone, you’re talking to no one.

Just like in one-on-one conversations, you have to alter what you say depending on the person you’re talking to. If you aim to inspire a direct action in your audience through your copy, you need to know your market’s level of customer awareness in order to resonate.

These are same principles that I apply when marketing my local screen enclosure business and my instructional program on contractor marketing to ensure I'm always speaking to the right audience.

What are the 5 Levels of Customer Awareness

In his book, “Breakthrough Advertising”, Eugene Schwartz identified 5 levels of customer awareness:

  1. Most Aware
  2. Product Aware
  3. Solution Aware
  4. Problem Aware
  5. Most Unaware

These categories determine how knowledgeable people are of your products. People at different levels of customer awareness require different marketing approaches and strategies to be marketable.

In the next sections, we’ll go deeper into every level and share the ways that you can market to customers of different levels of customer awareness.

Level 1: Most Aware

People at this level are the easiest to sell products to. They’re the ideal clients and customers. Most likely they’ll become your repeat customers.

They are aware of their problem or struggle and are aware of the solution to it. Most importantly, these people are knowledgeable about your product and they have a desire for it. They know it could be the solution to their problem.

People at this level are ready to buy your product. They’re just waiting for you to offer it to them and spell out the steps for them to get it.

Marketing Tips

Since these people already know what they’re lacking, what they need, and want what you have to offer, you don’t have to do much convincing to make them buy your product. You can offer your product right away and they will jump at the first opportunity to get it.

Level 2: Product Aware

A market that’s product aware is knowledgeable about your product. They know what it is, what it does, even its features and benefits. However, they’re not yet ready to make a purchase for various reasons.

They may not be convinced yet that your product could resolve their problems. They might not even know that they have the problem your product resolves.

Marketing Tips

Magnify your product’s superiority. Make it the highlight of your copies on whatever platform or medium.

Prepare responses to objections and negative feedback that could be thrown at you about your product. Make sure it leads to a positive remark that circles back to the best aspects of your product, positioning it as the best with little room for doubt.

Level 3: Solution Aware

Solution aware people are those that have a desire. They know what they want and need, and they know a solution exists out there. They may know about your company, but they don’t know you offer a product that could solve their problem.

Marketing Tips

A solid content marketing strategy, and by that we mean a consistent flow of content to your audience at the very least, could be good to attract people at this level. They’re close to being aware but they need a little direction. Valuable content will lead them to your company and product.

It’s important to note though, that it’s best to lead with the common desire that they have. Don’t go mentioning the product immediately. Once they have responded or reacted to a few of your marketing efforts — whether visited your website, liked or commented on a post, or clicked to a page — only then is it the right time to make your offer.

Level 4: Problem Aware

People who are aware of their problem are even harder to reach than those who are solution aware. They need their problem solved, but they don’t know your company and product exist at all. Introducing your company and product should be done in a slow but sure manner because at the same time, you’ll have to build trust right away to compel them to act.

Marketing Tips

As for your content, you have to lead with the thing you know they’ll relate to, their problem. Create standalone content that can be consumed and marketed on its own without putting focus on your company or product. Lead with valuable content that will compel them to know more, thus the prospect will direct themselves to your product.

Level 5: Most Unaware

This type of market is totally unaware of the problem, of their need or desire for a solution, and definitely they’re not looking for any product pertaining to your particular niche or industry. People at this level are the hardest to sell to. It’s wiser not to target people who belong at this level if you’re a small business owner, and you’ll know why in the next section.

Marketing Tips

The marketing strategies required to make the most unaware market marketable will have one aim: to resonate with people. In traditional marketing, it would be the relatable gimmicks or extremely creative ads that capture people’s attention.

Simultaneously, it could mean that the ROI wouldn’t always come immediately. People are simply reacting to a piece of content coming from you, but they will need to see you constantly in their feeds to really make an impression.

These levels of customer awareness can be used to guide you in how you present your company or product. It can also be your basis for what kind of content to show your audience based on their level of awareness.

Regardless of the hindrances, it’s best to offer up something that is of value whether they’re at the most aware level or totally unaware. Good content is rare to come by nowadays with our clickbait culture, so by bringing value in everything you put out will almost surely capture your ideal audience and market.

About the author

Corey Philip

Corey Philip is a small business owner / investor with a focus on home service businesses.

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