The 5 Stages of Awareness that can make or break your campaign

People don’t buy products, they buy a better version of themselves.

A better parent, a better friend, a better marketer, a better business owner…Think about it; you might buy a seat for a webinar, on how to increase your profits using social media, because you want to be a business owner or marketer with a more profitable business.

It’s so obvious that it can sometimes be hard to figure out the next step in your marketing plan to reach the people that want or need what you are selling in order for them to feel fulfilled. Sometimes you just have to talk to somebody who has been there before. That’s what we sent our designer/marketer-in-the-making out to do. She found a great resource in Talia Wolf’s messages about reaching people where they are in the stages of awareness. The whole time she was reading or listening to the webinars, she realized that she was also in a sales funnel—Talia’s sales funnel. And she was OK with that because what she was getting out of the experience made her want to go all the way to the end. She recommends that you, the reader, check this person out here: and you will not be disappointed.

Before we go further, let’s examine the difference between marketing and sales.

They go hand in hand and cannot survive without each other. What makes them different is the order in which they are used, and how they are used. The marketing department’s job is to do the research, plan product launches and campaigns, and provide collateral for the sales people. The sales department needs to get educated by the marketing department on what they are selling, get familiar with it, and then go out and well…solve problems! Both departments have a role in the typical sales process.

There are 5 stages of client awareness during the sales process and it is up to marketers and their sales people to nudge potential clients through the stages. The end goal is to solve the person or company’s pain. Don’t sell to them, solve their pain.

cool fox shows the 5 stages of awareness5 stages of awareness:

  1. Unaware. These people don’t know they have a pain that needs solving quite yet, but they ARE going through the pain. They need to be shown that there is pain and that they have it.
  2. Pain Aware. These people know they have a pain. Let them see that you know and understand their pain. This is where you can show them some DIY solutions and push them to Solution Aware. Don’t show your products yet; you are still letting them get to know you.
  3. Solution Aware. They know there are solutions, services, platforms that can solve their pain but don’t know what is right for their particular circumstances. Talk about different solutions and how your solution solves their pain. Do NOT talk about features of your product yet. Focus on solving pain first. Pushes them into the product aware phase.
  4. Product Aware. They know you, your competitors, etc., and are just not convinced you are the right one. Now you can talk feature, services, prices, etc. You’ve already shown them that they have a pain, you understand their pain, there are solutions and yours is one, now show them how yours is better than the other solutions. It’s important that you wait until this stage to do this. Skipping the other steps is a good way to lose people. You have go to hold their hand a little so they know that you care about solving their pain.
  5. Most aware. People decide to convert but they need a buy button, a call to action. If you did a good job on the other 4 steps, you get the opportunity to make a difference in their professional or personal lives. If you have failed to make your case in the other 4 steps, you will lose them here.

What does a typical process look like though? How can you use this 5 step process?

Here is a simple example of the 5 stages in action

  1. If somebody is unaware, provide them with an ad in the place they are likely to be: Google, Facebook, LinkedIn (or their mailbox, depending on your audience group). “Did you know that sloppy designs are wreaking havoc on your brand image?” Now explain why this is so.
  2. Now that they are pain aware, bring them to your landing page and offer them some solutions they can try themselves: “Here are some guidelines you can give your designer,” “Here are some tips for best practices for worry-free printing.” “Sign up for our newsletter and get design advice.”
  3. Now they are Solution Aware. Offer them white papers on how to get the best look for their business. Now show them that you have solutions “designers who pre-flight every incoming file for these common mistakes. We also have design services. What a way to get worry-free printing!”
  4. Now they know about the product that can solve their pain. Show them specifics. Get them to your product page. People are now searching for the type of solution that you offer from multiple companies. Make your case strong. “complimentary preflight check on every incoming order, every time. Or have our design fix any issues or design your next pieces. With our worry-free printing, you don’t have to worry about your brand image.” Don’t get too technical, they are looking for a solution to their problem to buy, not the 50 steps you take to check the print-worthiness of their file.
  5. The most aware people will end up at your pricing page with a call to action. “Ready to start looking like you mean business? See the quality difference with our Worry Free Printing. Order now, talk to us, get a quote.”

Of course you may not always have an audience that likes online communication, so adjust the marketing channels to meet your needs. The messaging is the same, the channels will change to meet your potential clients where they are.

Published by

Danielle Apple

Danielle is head of our graphic design department. A self-proclaimed "sponge," she is addicted to learning about marketing and to eating chocolate.