Awareness: The Underrated Key to Connecting with Customers

One of the biggest challenges all business owners face is finding the right group of people to buy the incredible things they’re selling.

Each week I meet new business owners who feel lost, wondering why customers aren’t just jumping out of their seats to buy from them straight away.

I’ve realised one of the biggest lessons, which many entrepreneurs don’t understand, is what’s known as the different Levels of Awareness.

Coined by Eugene Schwartz in his book Breakthrough Advertising, the concept of the Levels of Awareness is an important lesson into why customers buy from you, when they do.

In this blog post, I want to help you understand this lesson, and how it will help you become a better marketer and business owner.

Remember, each customer is on their own journey to solve a particular solution...

It’s easy to forget, but the most important place to start is with a reminder that as business owners, not everyone is ready to buy from us immediately.

Every single person, when purchasing or doing business with us, is on their very own customer journey.

That journey involves the steps they go through, from the time they discover they have a problem, to the moment they solve it with your product or service.

Some customers are just starting out, discovering they’ve got a problem to fix in their lives.

Others are further along that journey, searching for the best solution or business to buy from.

Now depending on where someone is on their customer journey, they are likely to have a completely different perspective and thought process that you need to work with.

The person, who doesn’t even know they have a problem yet, isn’t going to care about your latest deal or offer to hook them in.

Just as the person, who’s searching for the best solution, no longer needs to be convinced that they’ve got a problem.


Understanding the different Levels of Awareness

There are 5 distinct levels of awareness, explained by Eugene Schwartz in his book, that each customer experiences throughout their customer journey.

Unaware — the prospect is not aware of any need or desire for what you have to offer.

Problem Awareness — the prospect knows they have a need or desire, but they aren’t aware of any suitable solutions.

Solution Awareness — the prospect knows that potential solutions exist, but they aren’t aware of your specific offer.

Offer Awareness — the prospect is aware of your offer, but they’re not sure it’s right for them.

Full Awareness — the prospect is convinced your offer is a good solution to their need or desire, they just need to know the price and terms so they can decide whether to purchase.

(Source: The Personal MBA – Josh Kaufman)

Your job as a business owner is to guide your customers to higher levels of awareness, and connect with them at each specific level of their customer journey.

Why aren’t customers ready to hear about your offers or promotions, yet?

As mentioned above, a potential customer at the Unaware Stage isn’t ready to see your promotional advertising, about why you’re the best choice on the market.

Just as a prospect who’s Offer Aware, and searching for the best product to buy, won’t be as interested in a problem explainer video. They already know their problem exists, and your messaging should connect with them at the stage they’re now at.

This is where I see so many business owners go wrong…

They’re promoting their business, but they’re only putting out marketing that speaks to people who are searching for a solution.

“Here are our latest deals this month!”

“Check out our new line of products on sale!”

“This is why you need to pick us over the competition!”

Sure, this is great for people who are searching for a solution. However, you miss the rest of the market, who don’t even know they have a problem or why they need to solve it.


What to say to your customers, based on their level of awareness

If we know that our role as marketers is to guide our customers to higher levels of awareness, then we must think about what customers want to hear.

Based on their level of awareness, customers will be interested in, or searching for, different types of information.

In the Unaware Stage, you need to introduce them to a possible problem. This might be educational videos or blog posts, that discuss the problem your business solves, and moves them towards the next level.

Next, in the Problem Aware Stage, your job is to start offering possible solutions. Again, you may use educational content to explain the pros and cons of different solutions to their problem, while indirectly showing how your business is one possible option.

Now that your prospect is Solution Aware, your job is to now introduce your offer. You may start explaining what your company does, the benefits you provide, and strong reasons why you’re the best option.

Next, your prospect is almost convinced, and you can layer on marketing messaging that positions you as their best option. Start using testimonials (from previous customers), case studies, or reports to back up your business.

Remember that all your potential customers will be at different stages, at different times. 

This requires you to have a mix of content and marketing out there, that connects with them at each different level of awareness.

So, how can you get started today?

My biggest piece of advice if you’re looking to improve and put this into practice, is to start thinking about which level of awareness each customer might be at.

When they click on your social media page and scroll through your content, which level of awareness are they likely at? It’s most likely that they may not even know they have a problem, or will be looking for advice on possible solutions.

If a prospect lands on your website, after searching on Google, which level of awareness might they be at? Are they shopping around and trying to find the best business to buy from?

How about someone who requests a quote or wants to speak to your team? They’re likely Solution or Offer Aware, and are trying to decide if you’re the best fit for them.

Start thinking bigger, and speaking to your customers at their specific level of awareness, and I promise you’ll see improvements in your marketing.

Best of luck!