September 10


The Five States of Awareness According to Eugene Schwartz’ Breakthrough Advertising

By lynnswayze

September 10, 2020

Let’s say you’re a consultant, advisor, coach, solution provider, or head of an agency or firm and you have one task:

Attract more qualified, ready-to-buy leads for your business.

Yet when you stare at your computer screen to write some new marketing, you’re stuck.

  • What do you write in blog posts?
  • What kind of content do you hand them?
  • How do you package your offer?
  • What should you write in that subject line?

As difficult as it may seem in the moment, the truth is these questions are not unanswerable.

I’ve previously written an article about eleven lessons we can learn from Eugene Schwartz. These lessons were pulled from his two books on advertising and writing: The Brilliance Breakthrough and Breakthrough Advertising.

To recap, those lessons are:

  1. Your Buyers Think in Images and Stories.
  2. Create an Image in Your Buyer’s Mind.
  3. Your Buyer has Hidden desires. Your Job is to Tap into Them.
  4. Buyer Awareness will Tell You What to Write in Your Marketing and Advertising.
  5. Formulas Won’t Work For Long.
  6. Simplicity is Clarity …
  7. … But Monotony is Just as Distracting.
  8. Three Steps to Channeling Desire, per Eugene Schwartz.
  9. There Exist Two Kinds of “Emotion-Definers”. Use Them.
  10. Slash the Adjectives – Sometimes.
  11. Next to Awareness, the State of Sophistication is A Factor In Marketing Success.

Of all of them, number four is the most important takeaway as far as I’m concerned. That’s because you can have the greatest writing in the world, but if you aren’t talking to the buyer in the frame of mind they’re in and addressing problems they care about, then you won’t get as many conversions and you should.

Which is why I believe the prospect’s state of awareness is the answer to the marketing content questions probably plaguing you right now.

According to Eugene Schwartz’ book, Breakthrough Advertising, the five states of awareness are:

  • 👁️Unaware
  • 👁️Desire Aware
  • 👁️Problem Aware
  • 👁️Solution/Provider Aware
  • 👁️Most Aware

We’ll explore each one, and then we’ll talk about how to write content to each state.

Awareness State 5: Unaware

In the Unaware State, your prospect doesn’t know they need whatever solution you offer. They also don’t really know they have a desire for the benefits your solution offers…. let alone if they have the problem you solve. They don’t know their website sucks. They can’t see they’re overweight. For example, maybe they don’t even know that they really want to avoid hefty fines for a non-compliant website… because they don’t know that ADA compliance is a finable offense! Until you tell them this, you can’t sell them on compliant websites, can you?

If you really want to reach this market (it’s not recommended, but it can be done), do it with content that gives identification to their need, projects a hidden desire, starts with a universally accepted image, or exploits a hidden fear…. and then lead the individual step-by-step until they come to see the problem they didn’t see before.

Awareness State 4: Desire Aware

In the next state of awareness,

Awareness State 3: Problem Aware

Awareness State 2: Solution/Provider Aware

Awareness State 1: Most Aware

In the Most Aware state, the buyer knows your product, knows who you are, knows what it does, and knows they want it. In the consulting space, this is the person who’s probably had a sales call or two. They’ve attended your webinar. Maybe they’ve talked to you about a potential project but just hasn’t pulled the trigger yet.

Putting it All Together: The Messaging Gap and You

I sometimes explain the awareness stages by talking about the “Messaging Gap”. The messaging gap is the gap between where your future buyers are now… and where you are. Your messaging has to bridge that gap.


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