In this compilation of two scenes from The Wolf of Wall Street, compare the simplicity of the first man’s approach to the mediocre bumbling that the beginners use:
As you can see, the beginners try to explain everything that’s great about the pen. But one of the fatal mistakes they’re making is that they’re spending way too much energy trying to sell the pen, rather than creating a need for a pen. And that difference is the perfect example to understand the stages of your clients’ awareness.
Why people buy
Whether it’s hiring a full-timer a part-time intern, we only “buy” (see: make that hiring decision) when we realize that we have a problem—a gap to fill. If you don’t think you need new shoes, why would you be shopping for them?
As marketers, it’s our job to intercept people in varying stages of awareness and nurture them into the right frame of mind to be ready to buy.
Awareness leads to hiring
At the very least, someone must be aware of their needs in order to decide to hire. You might run into people who are unaware:
These people don’t yet realize they have a problem. They simply don't know a better way exists. If you’re reaching out to companies that haven’t posted a job listing, it’s likely that they are in this stage.
Being unaware doesn’t mean they won’t hire you, it just means you need to make them aware of the problems they might be facing. There are many ways to do this—see
Once they are problem-aware:
They know they have a problem or gap they need to fill, but they may not completely understand it or how to solve it.
They will begin to consider their needs & how you might be able to solve them. This is where you can educate them on your services as a potential solution.
Once they become solution-aware,
They know about solutions like yours, but not you specifically.
You can start to show why YOU are the right “product” for them. You make them product-aware:
They know about you, but haven’t hired you—yet. They’re reviewing many options and trying to decide who to hire.
This is where offering trials/sample work really comes into play. Again, see
Creating targeted content for each stage
Now that you know the breakdown, it’s time to start taking advantage of it. To get started, you need to effectively answer questions that are relevant to each stage. But how do you know what your customers are looking to learn? ( Insert majestic voice here ) The answer is in your search queries.
Check out this example:
- “flat screen tv” – This is a generic term that is most likely used by customers in the Awareness or Consideration stages.
- “best flat screen tvs” – The desire to compare products indicates this customer is further along in the cycle, such as the Consideration or Preference stage.
- “sony 42” lcd” – This very specific product query indicates that a shopper is much further into the buying cycle, now likely evaluating prices (right before the Purchase stage).