How do you know what information your potential customers need to hear from you so they can get ready to buy from you? In this week’s episode of The Whin Big Podcast, Katie invites you behind-the-scenes to one of our latest marketing workshops: Marketing and Instagram. In this excerpt, Katie guides you through an essential exercise for more robust marketing, and by the end of the podcast, you’ll have a much clearer idea of your customer’s growing awareness of their problems and how you can help them.

The workshop featured in today’s episode is the first part of the new-and-improved Instagram Masterclass workshop series. If you’re interested in getting training on all different aspects of Instagram marketing, check out the series page for more details and to get signed up.

Customer’s Awareness Journey

Everyone who buys from you or one of your competitors goes through these five stages of awareness before making that purchase. When we’re talking about ‘awareness’ in marketing, we mean how aware your potential customer is of the problem they have (that you can help them with).

The five stages of customer awareness

Unaware – something is up, but they haven’t noticed yet. They have some sense of unease, haven’t identified something is wrong.

Problem-aware – they’ve noticed and named the problem. They’re learning more about the problem, and usually, the research leads to them moving onto…

Solution-aware – they understand their problem and have worked out what kind of thing – product or service – might help them solve it. This takes them on to being…

Product-aware – they know of specific products or services they want to purchase. They weigh up the different solutions they think will meet their needs which takes them to…

Most aware – they’ve researched their product options and have decided which is the best fit for them and their needs. They’re looking for how to sign up or pay.

This doesn’t happen on a standard time scale – it depends on the specifics of your customer’s scenario.

Your customer’s awareness journey: an example

Sometimes, Katie leaves the house without her keys. She doesn’t live alone, so most of the time, it’s a minor inconvenience. It doesn’t happen very often, so it’s not enough for her to feel she has a problem. She’s UNAWARE in the sense that something is up, but it doesn’t feel like a problem.

One evening, she went out without her keys. She stayed out late and came home to an empty house. She didn’t have her keys; she had very little phone battery and not many options. This made her PROBLEM AWARE because she didn’t want this to happen again.

It’s a fairly straightforward fix, so Katie’s keeping her eye out for a solution. She uses Instagram and Google to find a quick fix. She’s decided she has three options: 1) try harder not to forget her keys, 2) hide a spare key somewhere near her house, 3) make a designated place to keep her keys, so they’re always where she needs them. This means she’s SOLUTION AWARE.

Katie opts for the last one. She’s after a hook, shelf or bowl where she can keep her keys near the door. She’s using Google to find a product solution she likes and is, therefore, PRODUCT AWARE.

And finally, she spots a small set of hooks on a rail that can screw easily into the back of her door. It will be placed at eye level so that her keys will be right in front of her every time she leaves the house. She’s now at the MOST AWARE stage and ready to buy.

Try this exercise

Thinking about Katie’s key problem, think about a specific problem you solve for your customers with a specific product or service in your business.

1. The problem your customers are facing

Write down the specific problem you solve for your customer. If you have a few services (or products), you’ll want to do this for each one. Right now, pick just one and write it down. The more specific you can be, the better.

2. Go through each of the 5 phases of your customer awareness journey .

Focus on your customer’s specific problem and then break it down into each of the five stages. Think about:

  • What they’re experiencing right now – what’s niggling them or bothering them?
  • What are they thinking? How do they feel? What are they doing to solve the problem?
  • What might they be researching to move forward with this? What are they looking for? What do they want?
  • What’s the point where they MUST take action to phone you / buy from you?
  • Where does Instagram fit in at each of the stages?

The origins of the customer awareness journey

Katie credits Eugene Schwartz as the originator of this theory. He introduced the concept in a book called ‘Breakthrough Advertising’, which first came out in the 60s. That book is now pretty hard to get hold of, but more recently, Katie’s talked this concept through with Kenda Macdonald, who runs Automation Ninjas. Kenda’s book, Hack the Buyer’s Brain, includes a really great explanation.

Want more insight?

If you found the helpful exercise yourself, you should look at the rest of that workshop – it’s called Marketing and Instagram, and it’s the first part of the new Instagram Masterclass. You can sign up for the recorded workshop right now in Teachable and get caught up – and if you’d like to join us for the rest of the workshop series, you can do that too.

The series runs at a nice, manageable pace, and it’s specifically for small business owners like you who want to solve your customer’s problems and get the most out of your Instagram marketing.