There is perhaps no construct or philosophy that has had more impact in our daily marketing activities at Hemon Media during our meteoric rise to prominance moreso than Eugene Schwartz’s 5 Levels of Awareness.  They both give us context on the consumer’s point of view and help inform our go-to-market strategy.  Since we’d love everyone to be able to have the level of success that we have had, we figured we’d unpack the 5 levels of awareness and how to best communicate with each level. 

The first level of awareness is ‘Unaware.’

Individuals who are “unaware” are those who don’t even notice that they have a problem and are unfamiliar with potential solutions. Although they constitute the largest portion of the awareness spectrum, they are also the most challenging group to target in marketing.

How does one market to those who are not cognizant of their problems or needs?

The initial encounter with your content presents an opportunity to alter their state of “unawareness.” This initial interaction may occur when they discover you on social media, view one of your advertisements, or accidentally come across one of your pages via search results.

(Tip: Make a concerted effort to identify how people first encounter you, as you can direct “unawareness”-focused content through these channels.)

Regardless of how they come across your content, demonstrate to them that they have an issue, not in a fabricated or deceitful manner, but in a way that informs and enlightens them.

This could involve pointing out how poor posture while sitting at a desk may cause the initial twinges of a sore back, or how inadequate sleep can lead to weight gain and other health problems.

How to reach them:

The goal is to enlighten potential clients about an issue they may not have recognized or acknowledged yet. Although it is preferable to tailor the approach to their preferences, the format is less crucial than the overall message and direction.

For this purpose, short videos and other easily digestible content that provides a step-by-step explanation of the problem are highly effective, as the audience may not yet be willing to invest a lot of time in researching the subject.

For the next level, we have Problem Aware consumers. 

Once your potential client acknowledges that they have an issue, they embark on a journey that has only just begun.

At this stage, they will likely have numerous inquiries and concerns regarding their problem, such as:

● What is the problem precisely?

● Where did it originate from?

● Are there any implications that they are unaware of?

● Do others face the same issue?

● What solutions are available?

Typically, most individuals, like 99% of the population, begin their research by utilizing search engines such as Google. However, this does not imply that they will terminate their quest there.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, and Quora provide an excellent opportunity to conduct research on specific problems. Niche forums and groups dedicated to their subject matter are another common source of information.

How to reach them

Research around the web, jump on forums and find out what people with the problem you solve are talking about.

Your content should accomplish two objectives:

  1. Pinpoint their problem: If your content does not immediately grab their attention and help them understand their problem, they will likely move on to other sources.

  2. Provide solutions to the problem: At this stage, it is not appropriate to promote a specific product or service as the solution. Instead, focus on creating informative content that addresses their initial inquiries.

Potential clients are perceptive and can recognize valuable content that illuminates their problem. If they find your content helpful, they are more likely to seek out additional information from your source.

Solution Aware consumers are the next level. 

The positive news is that your potential client has realized that they have a problem or a need and are starting to find solutions, including ways to fix it.

The negative news is that they still have minimal knowledge about you or the products/services that you offer.

However, there is a silver lining: at this point, they are searching for ways to resolve their problem or fulfill their desire. In other words, they are becoming solution aware and evaluating potential solutions.

This is when your potential client is beginning to show interest in your offerings. They may not be ready to make a purchase, but they are getting closer to that point.

It is at this stage that you can subtly introduce your product or service to them.

How to reach them: 

The most crucial aspect is to demonstrate to your potential client that your product or service can effectively resolve their problem since that is their primary concern at the moment. One of the most effective methods of conveying this is through case studies and success stories, which provide concrete evidence of how your solution can effectively address their issue.

Next, we’ve got Product Aware consumers. 

Your potential client is now exploring all available options, including yours.

This is the ideal time to demonstrate why your solution is superior and worthy of their attention. If they have accompanied you through the Unaware, Problem Aware, and Solution Aware stages, they will have developed a level of trust in you.

At this point, you should aim to accomplish two objectives:

  1. Demonstrate how your product can resolve their problem.
  2. Highlight the unique features that set your product apart from the competition.

Your primary focus should be on showcasing your product and giving them reasons to choose yours. However, avoid entering “pitch mode” and maintain the valuable and engaging approach you utilized in earlier stages of awareness.

In addition, you may introduce future pacing, illustrating how your solution can be utilized effectively and effortlessly, providing a comprehensive solution.

How to reach them: 

To achieve the dual objectives of informing Product Aware potential clients and encouraging them to consider your product, a variety of content options can be utilized.

Product comparisons and reviews provide readers with a detailed analysis of how your product compares to others in the market. How-to guides, demos, and product walkthroughs offer a comprehensive overview of the functionalities of your product and provide readers with an idea of how it can benefit them.

The final level is ‘Most Aware.’

Congratulations on successfully leading your potential client from a state of unawareness to the verge of becoming a customer.

They are now aware of your brand and understand that your product is the ideal solution for them. However, they require a final push to complete their purchase.

At this point, the content requirements differ from those in previous stages. In fact, content may not be necessary at all. Incentives such as free shipping or bonuses may provide the necessary encouragement for them to make the final decision to choose your product over others.

How to reach them: 

Now is the time to motivate your potential client to make the final decision. Utilize techniques such as providing free shipping, bonuses, bundled offers, or discounts, such as “Buy One, Get One” deals, to encourage them to make the purchase.

In case you desire content for this group, identify potential objections that may cause buyers to hesitate. Subsequently, write articles, create videos, or post frequently asked questions that address these final concerns and alleviate any last-minute doubts or worries.

Each of these five stages of awareness have to be approached from a different angle with ads and content.  One size definitely does not fit all, and if you’ll take the time to figure out where your prospect is on this spectrum you’ll surely get better ads outcomes.

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