The other day we got this coupon book in the mail.
You've probably seen something similar:
It's formatted like a magazine, but every page is an offer from a different company.
My wife was flipping through it while I sorted through my junk mail, and I glanced over when I heard her say “Oh!”
She was studying an ad for baby food.
Our youngest is six months old now, and he just started eating “solids”—i.e. fruits that have been pulverized to goop. (Watching him make the adjustment is hilarious. His expression when you stick a spoonful of pureed peaches into his mouth makes it look like we're feeding him raw horse radish.)
There was nothing brilliant about this particular ad. It was pretty much just a photo of a big jar of baby food.
So why was that enough to stop my wife cold and get her to read the entire ad?
The reason goes back to what the late advertising maestro Eugene Schwartz calls “state of awareness.”
This is one of the most important concepts in all of advertising, but most people never even consider it.
In a nutshell, state of awareness is the level of knowledge your customer has about the type of product you sell as well as your specific product.
It's a spectrum that ranges from “I've never even heard of you and I don't have the problem you say you solve” to “I'm ready to buy now—shut up and take my money!”
When it comes to baby food, my wife is in the highest level of awareness.
She knows what baby food is.
She knows that it's something we need right now.
She's familiar with Gerber as a brand.
So all Gerber needs to do to get our business is make a compelling offer.
Here's the problem, though…
Chances are good your customers are NOT at this level when it comes to your product.
Maybe they are interested in anti-aging skin care but they've never heard of you before they saw your Facebook ad.
Maybe they are looking to get more leads for their financial services business but they don't realize that a better website could help.
Maybe they don't even realize that they should be worried about getting injured when they head out the door for their daily run.
But most businesses businesses advertise their products as if every prospect is in the “most aware” state, and they just need a little nudge. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your marketing.
The fix is simple (although not always easy):
You have to get to know your market better than they know themselves.
When I take on a new copywriting project, this is one of the very first steps I take.
I sit down with prospective customers and ask probing questions to understand what they already know and what problems they want to solve.
Your job as a marketer is to move people up through these levels of awareness—
Help them see the problem clearly.
Demonstrate that your product solves the problem.
Then make an offer they can't refuse.
Sometimes it's hard to see where you're running off the rails with this. That's where my copy critique service can help.
You get an outsider perspective and a trained eye on your marketing.
It's a great way to get a lot of the benefits of hiring a copywriter without the hefty price tag…
If you're interested, just contact me and I'll send you the details.