Does it ever feel like you are not getting the results you want for the content you are writing for your blog, website or social media? There could be a very simple explanation.
When putting together the latest masterpiece, writers often overlook the stages of awareness of customers/readers. Let me explain.
In 1966, Eugene Schwartz defined this issue in his classic book Breakthrough Advertising.
Schwartz broke down prospect awareness into five distinct phases:
When you think about your audience in those five categories, it becomes much easier to write content specifically directed at the readers you want to reach most. The way you write about your products and services should change, depending on the stage a particular audience happens to be in at that time.
I will break this concept down into the five stages of awareness using a new product I recently discovered called iDig. This product is touted as the first ever digging toy for dogs. According to the website, iDig enables mental stimulation through puzzle solving while satisfying a dog’s natural desire to dig and hunt. It is basically a really durable bag that you can hide toys and treats in and let your dog dig all day to find them.
The reason I “stumbled” across this product all goes back to a very sweet rescue dog named Annie that we added to our home two weeks ago. The first night we brought Annie home we let her sleep in the barn because the people we got her from said she had only ever been an outdoor dog and would likely not be comfortable in the house. When I went to check on her in the morning, she had dug down three feet through large rocks and compacted dirt to escape the barn. When we finally got her back after her week-long safari, we decided to keep her in the house so she wouldn’t escape again. Instead of digging out while we were gone one evening, she somehow got herself out of the crate (Houdini) and shredded two entire couch cushions. So, needless to say, I am actively searching for a solution.
1) The Most Aware: These customers already know about your product or service and may have made a purchase. These customers want to know the most about your product, so you can speak directly with them and include more details than with other groups.
In the case of the iDig, these readers likely own a dog and have either had issues with undesired digging or chewing. They are actively looking for a solution and are interested in your iDig. They might only need a small push (like a sale) to encourage them to make a purchase.
2) Product Aware: These people are still not sure if what you offer is right for them. You can not be as direct with this audience or they will step away from your content completely.
Potential iDig customers likely have a dog and have heard of the product, but are not yet convinced that iDig will solve their problem. These customers will need short, to-the-point demonstrations of the product’s value.
3) Solution-Aware: This person has a need that could be met by your company, but does not know that you offer a solution. This is a group your content can make a significant difference with because they are very open to learning more.
The potential iDig customer is actively searching for a solution to their dog’s scratching and digging problem. They are comparing options to find the best solution for their situation.
4) Problem-Aware: The person knows they have a problem, but don’t know of any companies that offer solutions. They might stumble upon your company via social media or Google search. You need to convince this group that your product or service is the solution to their problem.
Following our example, this person likely owns a dog who scratches or digs. They would like to find a solution, but have never heard of iDig or anything like it. They would be very happy to find a solution, so if they were presented with information about iDig they would likely make a purchase.
5) Completely Unaware: This group is simply reading whatever content is in front of them. They are not thinking about a specific problem they have and are not actively searching for a solution. This is an audience that you hope to grab their attention so you can tell them more.
This person may or may not have a dog, but was attracted by a photo posted by iDig because it was cute. They might click a link to visit the website or they might just look at the photo and move on.
It is crucial that content writers know and understand the stage customers are in. No matter the stage, we must write content that offers value to readers where they are now. If we write content that matches where they are in the process, we can move them to the next stage of awareness, with the ultimate goal of converting vaguely aware prospects into fully knowledgeable, loyal customers.