By Shannan Seely

“Gallup research shows that fewer than three in 10 customers (29%) across B2B industries are “fully engaged,” meaning they are emotionally and psychologically attached to the B2B companies they do business with.” Gallup

In a post about declining account engagement, Maria Geokezas writes “an overwhelming amount of content and messages” is a contributing factor.  

And according to Forrester Research, over 50% of B2B buyers say vendors give them too much material, and that “much of it is useless.” 

B2B marketers, let’s recognize we’re part of the problem. Consider this report:

“People are not likely to read your content completely or linearly. They just want to pick out the information that is most pertinent to their current needs.” How People Read Online: The Eyetracking Evidence report, 2nd edition

The remedy?

“Allow employees to meet their buyers where they are in their decision-making process with the right content, offers and messages,” Maria Geokezas

Let me explain a concept to help you do this…

Focus on the Buyer’s Point of View

When you’re using data to understand your buyer’s intent, answer the following: 

Is your buyer experiencing pain right now? Is he seeking solutions? Is he familiar with your product or service? Has he heard about your company? Can he name the products that would solve his problem? 

In a nutshell, ask yourself: What does our buyer already know? 

The answer will reveal your buyer’s state of awareness. The state of awareness is his level of knowledge about your product / service, and how the product / service fits his needs. By focusing on what your buyer knows, you can formulate your message suited for the buyer. 

You’ll naturally tune into his point of view.

Match Messages to the Buyer’s Awareness Level

In his best-selling book, Breakthrough Advertising, the renowned copywriter, Eugene (Gene) Schwartz, explained you need to determine your buyer’s awareness level before you begin writing marketing content. 

He described 5 primary stages, or levels, of awareness your visitor or buyer may experience on the path to becoming your customer:

Your Buyer’s 5 Stages of Awareness

  1. Completely Unaware
  2. Problem Aware / Pain Aware
  3. Solution Aware
  4. Product Aware
  5. Most Aware

What are the 5 Stages of Awareness?

1. Buyer is Completely Unaware.

This buyer is a cold prospect. He doesn’t know who you are, what you sell, or what your company does. He may not sense a need to change. Showing products, prices or features will not attract his attention. Maybe he’s not feeling pain yet. 

2. Buyer is Problem Aware / Pain Aware.

Triggered by an internal or external event, your buyer is undergoing change. He recognizes he has a need. Instead of feeling numb, he’s experiencing pain. He understands he has a problem that needs to be fixed. But he doesn’t realize a product or service would resolve his pain or address his problem. 

Talk about his pain. That’s what matters. You match the words and visuals with how he describes his pain or problems. Don’t emphasize your product or its features yet. 

“Content produced around pain points has a high likelihood of resonating with your prospective customers, as it naturally builds rapport by speaking to their experiences.” Sarah Rickerd, CXL Institute blog

3. Buyer is Solution Aware.

At this level of awareness, your buyer is seeking solutions. He knows his problem and realizes a solution exists to solve his problem — an “Aha!” moment. Your buyer has a handle on the results he craves. But he doesn’t know your company or your company’s products will solve his problem at this stage. 

Tailor your content to his concerns, worries, and doubts. As this stage unfolds, begin to mention the product or service that can solve his problem.

4. Buyer is Product Aware.

You’re guiding your buyer along the path. He now recognizes your product or service. He’s comparing it to other products that appear similar. You know your product is the best, but he isn’t convinced yet. He’s still wondering, “Will your product solve my problem?”

During this stage, your content needs to address several topics:

  • Answer his specific product questions 
  • Overcome his sales objections
  • Convey the product’s unique features and benefits

5. Buyer is Most Aware.

“The customer knows of your product — knows what it does — knows he wants it.” Gene Schwartz

Your buyer is ready to buy! Give him only the details he needs and how soon he can get the product. He signs the paperwork. You close the deal! And onward to building the relationship so he’s your biggest fan!

In crafting a message, look through the lens of your buyer’s stage of awareness. The crux of what to say is addressing what your buyer already knows. Then your message will be relevant, and exactly what he’s looking for. 

 

Shannan Seely is a freelance B2B and healthcare copywriter leading Seely Marketing Communications. She’s obsessed with crafting messages customers read, understand, and emotionally respond to. Earlier in her career, she experienced good and mediocre cuisine as a multi-state B2B field sales manager. Follow her @ShannanSeely