From Unaware to “Shut Up & Take My Money” – The 5 Stages of Customer Awareness 

By  Csaba Borzasi

In this article, you'll learn how to write laser-targeted copy that converts by taking into consideration the 5 key stages of customer awareness.

Originally created by Eugene Schwartz, this powerful method gives you the ability to always target the right audience with the right message at the right time - so that they open their hearts and wallets for you.

Unfortunately, a lot of marketers totally neglect this regardless - and as a result, end up leaving tons of money on the table.

Money that should be theirs.

But why?

Why should they (and you) care about awareness level of your customers?

Because if you want to make sales, your job as a marketer/salesperson is to take someone from their current situation and guide them to their ideal situation.

Now, unfortunately, this journey isn't always the smoothest...

A lot of people don't even know that they have a problem.

Or if they do, they don't think that there's a solution to their problem (especially not YOUR solution). 

So, your job is to identify your ideal prospect's current state... and warm them up to their most aware state.

If you can do that, you'll be able to strategically deliver the right message at exactly the right time, which is a key part of converting someone from lead to customer.

Look, if you take into consideration the 5 stages of customer awareness, you'll be able to connect with them emotionally at a much deeper level and give them what THEY want to hear, every single time.

And in today's marketing landscape, that's critical to long-term success.

But how does this “Stages of Customer Awareness” concept apply to the complex digital marketing game of 2020?

And most importantly, how can YOU use it effectively in YOUR funnels, without wasting a lot of time with it?

That's exactly what this article and video is all about.

Interested in more great content on copywriting? Check out my Copywriting Resource Hub where you'll find in-depth guides, interesting case studies, and practical resources that will help you boost your conversions and sell more, without being salesy or aggressive.

Customer Awareness Stage 1 - UNAWARE

First up, we have people that are unaware. 

And these people haven't yet identified that they have a problem.

They're in complete denial regarding their life situation and the pain points that they *should* be feeling.

Now, the problem with unaware people is that most direct response marketing campaigns aren't really effective with them.

And that's exactly why the most effective way to target these people is with branding messages... and NOT with direct response-type advertising campaigns.

Sure, you always want to take them to their most aware stage (because this is where they'll purchase) but you gotta start somewhere.

OK, so let's say someone lands on your page and they are most likely unaware... what can you do?

Well, you could create certain blog posts, case studies, or even stories that talk about a given problem and how others have dealt with it. Here's a great example: one of my own case studies about a profitable sales email.

This is great because it creates kind of a bridge between their situation and the story that you're talking about. Plus, you'll also help them find out that they too have this problem, and as a result, they'll feel understood.

Not too much, but just enough to move them further into the problem/pain aware stage.

For example, if you're offering SEO services, you could give them a nice case study of someone else who was struggling to get traffic, and how they solved the problem.

Look, it's very important to keep this "warming up" in mind whenever you're dealing with unaware people!

If you're trying to run Facebook ads directly at them, chances are, you're not going to be pretty successful because it's just not going to hit those all-important pain points.

And the same goes for various special promotions as well. Typical PPC ads are not going to work.

HOWEVER, if you've managed to warmed them up a bit with an insightful article or engaging story... then you can start talking to them as problem aware people.

And this is arguably one of THE most important phases in their journey to becoming your customer.

So what happens when yours visitors are problem aware?

Customer Awareness Stage 2 - PAIN/PROBLEM AWARE

The Pain/Problem Aware stage simply means that these people have identified a well-defined problem in their lives (or you've helped them identify it).

For example: back pain, confidence issues, not making enough money, wanting to lose weight, or something similar.

Fortunately, at this stage of customer awareness, you already have something to work with. 

Most visitors in the problem aware phase are usually just searching around Google to find more information about a specific problem. Think "How to X".

Now, if they land on your blog or landing page (from an ad), the best way to hook them is to highlight their problem even more, call it out, and actually agitate it.

This is also what some copywriters call "twisting the knife".

However, after agitating the pain, don't just leave them like that. Don't leave them hanging.

Instead, offer them a solution - like your lead magnet or freebie. 

Do you see the connection here? *wink*

Lead magnets or freebies work really well with these types of people, and any type of content that helps them better understand their problem will be of great value to them.

And remember, the more agitation, the better.

Also, since you're here reading this article, you're probably looking to make more sales, boost the conversion rate of your funnel, or be more successful with your marketing campaigns.

If this is a legit pain point for you, you'll definitely get a lot of value from the following freebie...

Customer Awareness Stage 3 - SOLUTION AWARE

Alright, let's get to the 3rd stage of customer awareness: solution aware

These people have already felt the pain and they know that they have a problem (especially if you've agitated a bit in in the problem aware phase)... 

...However, they also know that concrete solutions exist to fix this problem. And this is huge.

Now, the challenge with solution aware people is that they're EXPERTS at procrastination.

They often uses expressions like "I'll do it tomorrow", "I don't really need this right now", or "I'll just solve the problem myself".

...Which basically means they'll probably not going to do anything until they're repeatedly nudged to do so and/or their problem deteriorates ever more. 

And in that sense, dealing with solution aware people actually presents a lot of opportunities! 

For example, this is the place where you can start talking about your product (but not too much). In fact, I'd say most landing pages use language that's aimed at solution aware people (especially those that follow a PPC ad).

Remember, if someone's solution aware, that means that they know about the problem and they're actively looking for solutions, searching for long-tail keywords on Google, for example.

So you can leverage this by creating a post or a landing page that talks about the unique aspects of your product because they're actively looking for A solution.

They don't know what they want just yet, but they're searching for a solution that's right for them.

So you can easily hook them by highlighting the unique benefits of your solution.

Customer Awareness Stage 4 - PRODUCT AWARE

Moving one step further in the customer awareness journey, product aware people have already discovered that they have a problem, they know that solutions exist, AND they also know about YOUR solution.

Unfortunately, they're not completely sold yet at this point just yet...

Still, you have a high chance of converting them into customers if you adequately demonstrate why your product is better than anything else on the market, and explain the most important benefits they can achieve once they purchase.

Kind of like how I did it for my own 7-Day Rainmaker Email Sequence.

Stages of customer awareness - 7-Day Rainmaker Email Sequence

The product aware phase is very important in the customer awareness journey, and most sales pages (especially long-form sales pages) spend the bulk of their time highlighting all the features and benefits that the given product provides.

Plus, they also hype up all the various bonuses (you're using bonuses, right?).


Because in 2020, actually a lot of people are in this 4th stage, and every company is competing for the same attention on all the various marketing channels.

This is a double-edged sword...

On the one hand, you can consider yourself lucky because you've managed to get to the product aware stage, so you at least weren't insta-dismissed.

However, on the other hand, you have to work harder than ever to really stand out from your competition and make people choose you, instead of something else.

After working with over a hundred companies so far, I can tell you that almost all of them invest a lot of time, money, and effort into making sure that this stage packs a punch. 

They create a lot of retargeting ads with product-aware-specific copy, use email marketing quite heavily, and do everything in their power to build relationships that can highlight the benefits of their products.

Also, quite a bit of brand advertising is also aimed at product aware people (just think Coca Cola).

So yeah, make sure not to neglect this part, but also keep in mind that this doesn't necessarily guarantee the sale - because you have 1 more level before you fully conquer someone.

Customer Awareness Stage 5 - MOST AWARE

And finally, your best case scenario is to have most aware people - who are your warmest leads, basically.

Fortunately, hooking them is easy. 

At this point, they know about their problem, they know about potential solutions, they know about your product, AND they're also particularly interested in your product - you just need to knock 'em off the fence.

These people are actively looking for deals on your product. 

You just have to give them an irresistible offer OR scare them with FOMO (fear of missing out) in various types of retargeting ads.

For example, around black Friday, tons of people are searching for specific discounts on things they're already interested in buying.

So when this happens,  you should launch marketing campaigns predominantly aimed at most aware people, and ignore the rest.

On the other hand, if there is no special occasion, than simply give people a discount, extra bonus, or FOMO. That's it, really.

If you get to this point, you've done most of your job as a marketer.

And, in fact, this is exactly why you need sales funnels in the first place - to warm up people so that they eventually become most aware, and buy.


So how can you leverage the 5 stages of customer awareness in your own funnels as well? 

Well, check this out.

Stages of Customer Awareness - Example from Copyhackers

If some people arrive on your page in their unaware stage,then your job is to basically make them problem aware, and you can do this with a nice case study or article. 

The idea here is to ramp up your content marketing efforts with posts that basically help them identify a problem.

If they're problem aware, then your job is to bump them up again to solution aware, and this is the best place actually to use an opt-in. Basically, any type of lead magnet that solves a burning problem they have is going to be a huge winner here. Just make sure that it's short (unlike this paragraph).

Next up, if they're solution aware, you should bump them up to product aware, and this is the place where you'll most likely start seeing some purchases here and there (or sign-ups if you have a SAAS business).

For product aware, create a lot of retargeting ads with product-aware-specific copy, use email marketing quite heavily, and try to create joint ventures with people who have similar audiences.

Finally, most most aware, knock 'em off the fence with an irresistible discount or FOMO.


Facebook Ads

Regarding your paid advertising, you should know that most ads that go out to cold audiences should be aimed almost exclusively at problem aware people. Maybe solution aware.

So, unless you're doing some sophisticated retargeting campaigns, make sure to write copy that highlights a problem, agitates it, and then offers some sort of solution that can fix the problem.

BUT... don't go all in explaining the solution! That would be too much at this point.

Instead, focus your objective on a great emotional hook that makes them click through to your landing page to learn more.

If you do this right, you'll definitely see the cost of your ads decreasing and a nice improvement in your results. Here's a great article that clearly explains what all those scary Facebook Ads metrics really mean.

Let the landing page do the heavy lifting in "warming them up" to solution aware. 

Landing Pages 

In case of landing pages, you can easily customize them so that they only cater to people within a specific stage of customer awareness (instead of a single universal homepage).

In fact, most good landing pages do just that: they're designed to to help move people into the solution aware stage after clicking on a problem aware-specific Facebook Ad, for example.

However, you can take this to the next level by creating 4 different types of landing pages: one for product aware, one for solution aware, one for problem aware and one for most aware (but remember that it's extremely hard to hook unaware people).

Basically, all you have to do is to simply make some slight variations in your copy (especially your hook) - and people will feel like you're talking directly to them. They'll love it.

If you want to boost your landing pages, here are 9 Actionable landing page tips that work wonders in 2020.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is definitely the backbone of a healthy online business, and you should never neglect it if you plan on doing this in the long-run.

So, once people subscribe to your email list, the aim of your email campaigns is to get them from a problem aware- or early solution aware stage to product aware stage.

That's it. You don't have to hard-sell them anything... you just have to get them to click through to your sales page.

And once they do that, then it's your sales page's job is to get them to the most aware stage so that they actually become buyers.

If you can do this, you're golden and you're going to see a huge boost in conversions, I guarantee it.

However, email marketing is often misunderstood, so I created a nice little guide (along with a handy infographic) that reveals 10 email marketing best practices that will help you crush it with email in 2020.

Sales Pages

So what about sales pages?

Well, I'm glad you asked because this is one of those cases where you can truly see the immense value of the 5 stages of customer awareness method.

The main role of a sales page is to get someone from basically any awareness stage, and gradually bump them up with a sales message to most aware.

A proper long-form sales page can definitely do this.

Now, sales pages are quite complex beasts, but if you want to learn more about them and why they're so powerful, I have a cool video that's basically an in-depth case study breaking down a successful long-form sales page.

Check it out if you want to learn ultra-valuable persuasion and copywriting tips. And if you want to go even deeper, here's a great post on 9 advanced sales page optimization tips.


And that's it for this in-depth guide on the 5 stages of customer awareness. 

If it gave you at least 1 new idea that can upgrade your marketing engine, I consider it a job well-done.

If you enjoyed the article, feel free to share it with other like-minded people who could benefit from it as well.

Also, leave a comment below and let me know the #1 thing you've learned from this today - I'd love to know.

And one more thing: Check out my YouTube channel for in-depth videos that cover cool topics such as this one.


Interested in more great content on copywriting? Check out my Copywriting Resource Hub where you'll find in-depth guides, interesting case studies, and practical resources that will help you boost your conversions and sell more, without being salesy or aggressive.

Csaba Borzasi

Csaba Borzási is the founder of Game of Conversions. After spending 10 years learning the ins and outs of persuasion psychology, Csaba now focuses on what he loves most: helping ambitious entrepreneurs grow their online business and get more profitable customers. When he isn't geeking out on discovering how the human mind works, you can probably find him climbing a mountain, dancing salsa, or traveling around the globe.

  • Csaba, you’re freaking awesome. I got everything I need to know about customer awareness journey in one read. Definitely sharing this.

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