How to market through the stages of awareness
How to market through the stages of awareness

By on in Strategy

How to market through the stages of awareness

Sometimes, a prospect comes to you with a specific problem. They know what’s wrong and that you’re one of the companies that can fix it. For a solution-aware person like this, your job is to convince them that you offer the best remedy.

Other times, though, your prospect is unaware. Sometimes, they know they have a problem but don’t know your solution exists. Other times, they don’t fully register their underlying issue. In these cases, you need to take a step back in your marketing. It’s no longer about brand-specific education; it’s about showing your prospect the light.

To illustrate what these different stages look like in the real world, let’s consider the meal kits category.

The solution-aware person knows about meal kits–they may have even tried one. They understand a kit could make weeknight dinners easier; they just have to find the right brand.

The problem-aware person is frustrated by the time grocery shopping and cooking demand, especially on busy weeknights. They’ve tried a grocery delivery service, but cooking is still a burden. They’re ready to explore alternatives.

The unaware person doesn’t know they have a problem meal kits could solve. Sure, their life is hectic, they acknowledge. But isn’t rushing home from the office only to spend hours in the kitchen just the reality for a working parent?

As you can see, these people are all potential customers but are at radically different stages of their journey. The solution-aware person could very well sign up for your meal kit tomorrow. The other two need more time.

So, how do you take prospects from unaware to ready-to-buy? We’re so glad you asked.


1. Start spreading the news

Reaching a consumer who is either unaware or only problem-aware starts with outbound marketing tactics. This person doesn’t know to seek out your business; you have to find them.

Because they’re unaware of your solution (or perhaps even their problem), you won’t hook them with details about your offering. Instead, speak to their emotions.

Take a look at your value proposition. What is the deeper solution you offer to customers? That’s what you should be talking about at this stage. For the meal kit provider, this might be an invitation to reclaim free time on weeknights or enjoy healthier meals with less work.

Marketing tactics to try at this stage: advertising of all types (digital, OOH, direct mail, TV or podcasts, etc.), organic social media, PR


2. No sudden moves!

In these early days of connection, you don’t want to come on too strong. Jumping right into heavy sales tactics can scare someone off.

Instead, position yourself as an ally and educator. You understand what your consumer is going through, and you’ve done a lot of research on the topic–in fact, you have some friendly advice to share.

Sometimes, this means giving away a little of your secret sauce for free. Be generous with your insights, and you’ll gain trust over time.

That doesn’t mean you can’t ask for anything in return. If you have high-value content, like proprietary research or a webinar filled with actionable advice, you can gate it behind an email signup.

From there, you can add your new contact to your prospect email flow. Just remember to keep these interactions educational, not salesy. It’s at times like these that email segmentation is crucial!

Marketing tactics to try at this stage: Email newsletters, educational webinars (not sales demos), white papers, checklists, explainer videos (focused on your expertise, not your product).


Reaching a consumer who is either unaware or only problem-aware starts with outbound marketing tactics. This person doesn’t know to seek out your business; you have to find them.


3. Share what you do

At this point, your previously unaware prospect sees that they do have a problem. You’ve enlightened them and won their trust along the way. Now, you can gently introduce them to your solution.

The keyword here is “gently.” Do not go from helpful friend to aggressive salesperson overnight. No one likes an about-face from a brand. Instead, continue to offer advice about their problem–just like you have all along–but begin to speak specifically about how your offering solves it.

Marketing tactics to try at this stage: Case studies, brochures, product spec sheets, customer testimonial videos


4. Get personal

If your prospect is still with you, it’s time to take things to the next level. This person has gone from unaware to solution-aware. They’ve hung around through the transition from pure educational content to sales-focused messaging, and they’ve remained engaged.

Now, you want to make them a personalized offer to go even deeper.

What this looks like will depend on what you do. If you sell a SaaS product to enterprise customers, you might call your contact with an offer for an in-depth product demo.

If you sell a consumer product (like those meal kits!), you might send a personalized email with a list of recipes to try based on their on-site browsing history, plus a commitment-free invitation to sign up.
This final step is about moving past general benefits and helping your prospects see what you can do for them, specifically.

Marketing tactics to try at this stage: Product demos, personalized email offers, one-on-one calls or meetings

Nurturing prospects through their journey takes time, care, and attention. Remember that the consumers you’re reaching have a pain point you can solve, but they want to be treated like something more than a name on your prospect list. Stay focused on empathy and genuinely supporting people across these stages of awareness, and you’re that much more likely to earn a new customer.


If you need help building a marketing strategy to turn new faces into regular customers, we’re here.