Copywriting for the Least of Awareness Levels

Meeting your prospective customer where they are may be a cliché to many. However, too often, marketers and copywriters still don’t take into account the prospect’s state of awareness about the product or service being offered. As a result, headlines and leads completely miss the mark and fail.

Meeting your prospective customer where they are may be a cliché to many. However, too often, marketers and copywriters still don’t take into account the prospect’s state of awareness about the product or service being offered. As a result, headlines and leads completely miss the mark and fail.

In my last blog post, I shared a few reasons “Why Direct Mail Control Packages Fatigue.”

One reason that messaging — whether for direct mail or any other channel— fatigues is because you lose track of your prospective customer’s state of awareness of their problem, your solution, and where you meet them with your copy and offer.

Imagine a scale of 1 to 7 where a 1 represents that your prospect is completely unaware of any aspect of your product or service. Conversely, a 7 means your prospect is completely aware. If your prospect is completely unaware of any aspect of your product or service, but your message is written at a level of 7, then you have a disconnect. By the way, age or generation seldom has anything to do with an awareness scale.

Of course, you must have good insights about your prospective customers to know where on the scale you want to land. So let’s dive into the first three levels on this scale and begin with ideas about how to reach those with the least awareness of your product or service. . For inspiration, I’ve used information from a class that I teach copywriters for AWAI, along with concepts from a classic direct marketing book, “Breaththrough Advertising,” by Eugene M. Schwartz.

Level One

If you’re at level one, it’s probably because you’re either among the first in the market for a new product or service, or your product or service is only occasionally or rarely considered by any given consumer. Consider this approach:

  • Be simple and direct.
  • Offer context about what you’re offering to solve—even a brief statement that shows you understand the problem the readers is facing.
  • Name the need or the claim in your headline.
  • Bring in your product information and prove that it works.
  • Use a story

Level Two

Here, you expand on what you would do in level one. A declaration headline and lead can be effective:

  • Be bold or even startling.
  • Be concise, engaging, and specific.
  • You’ll need to offer proof of your declaration or testimonials.
  • A newsworthy prediction might work.

Level Three

At this level, your prospects have likely heard the claims. Their desire may be building, so you might shift your approach from what the product does to how it works. Consider using, or adapting the concept of sharing a secret:

  • Promise a secret new way to satisfy a long-time desire.
  • Share an intriguing secret from a credible source.
  • The prospect needs to clearly see how he or she will benefit.
  • If you use a secret, tease it in the headline, then drop clues as your message unfolds.

In my next blog post, I’ll offer ideas about how to reach the most aware levels—levels 5-7—on this awareness scale.

Gary Hennerberg’s latest book is “Crack the Customer Mind Code: Seven Pathways from Head to Heart to YES!” is available on Amazon. For a free download with more detail about the seven pathways and other copywriting and consulting tips, go to Hennerberg.com.