How to Qualify & Convert More Prospects Using the 5 Stages of Awareness - Fluxe Digital Marketing

How to Qualify & Convert More Prospects Using the 5 Stages of Awareness

By Joel Widmer | Increasing Traffic

Jun 16
Stages of Awareness For Content

What happens when a prospect doesn’t want to buy your product right away? 

You’ve had a call with them and educated them about your company. They know what products or services you offer and they know the solutions you provide, but they simply aren't ready to buy.

How do you continue to earn the right to stay in front of them, without coming off as salesy or boring, or only talking about yourself?

The Problem with Only Having One Message

Your prospects are at different places in their journey. The most effective way to move them through that journey is to tailor your marketing and sales messages to meet them where they're at.

How do you do this at scale? You group them into different awareness stages based on how much they know about you, your company, and your offerings. 

If you're not thinking about what stage of awareness your customers are in, your marketing is likely getting ignored because you’re talking to everyone the same way. 

That means you’re talking to prospects who already know you like they are beginners, which sends the message you don't care enough to address their needs. Or, you may be addressing beginners too technically, and the info you’re sharing is going way over their heads. 

Think back to your own experiences as a customer... Have any of these things happened to you? 

  • You click on an article whose headline promises one thing, but the content is either way too complex for your understanding, or it’s tailored to a beginner and doesn't give you the details you’re looking for.
  • You're flipping channels on the TV and pause during a commercial for a product you're interested in, but they don't give you the info you want so you keep flipping.
  • You visit a sales page for a product, but even though you know it’s what you need, you don't have enough trust in the supplier to make a purchase.

This marketing message mismatch can happen at any point along your journey, and with any type of content – from written articles to videos to sales pages to social media. But if you understand this concept and get it right, you’ll always know what to say to your prospect, at any stage, at any time. 

The Man Behind The Stages of Awareness

Before we look at each of the awareness stages, I want to note that this is not my concept. It was first introduced in a book called, “Breakthrough Advertising” by Eugene Schwartz. You can pick up a copy of the book on Amazon for $450 🙀or just keep reading and I'll explain it. 

Schwartz established five states of prospect awareness:

  • Completely Unaware
  • Problem-Aware
  • Solution-Aware
  • Product-Aware
  • Most Aware

Even though this concept has been written about many times, everything I’ve seen focuses on these stages of awareness for sales copy. But after digging into this and testing it out, I’ve seen the stages of awareness apply to the entire customer journey in content marketing - not just sales copy.

The 5 Stages of Awareness For Content Marketing - Explained 

In this post, we'll not only unpack each of the stages and how they relate to the customer’s journey, we’ll also look at how you can use each stage to tailor content marketing to your prospects. 

By using this method you’ll never have to worry about not knowing what type of content to create and you’ll have the perfect message for whatever stage your prospects are in. 

Content Marketing Stages of Awareness

Most Aware 

These are your biggest fans who are most influenced by you. They open your weekly emails and are the first to check out new offerings. 

They may not engage with you on social media, but that's okay. Remember: 90%+ of your audience—especially if they're in higher-level positions—will consume your content and check out your offers, but never comment or reach out on social media. 

They already know who you are, what you sell, and that it solves a problem they have. 

They're just looking for an excuse to buy from you.

This group can fall into two buckets: prospects who have never purchased but are about to and current customers you want to sell something else to. Your goal is to keep each of them in the know about the new products and services you’re offering so they'll pull the trigger.

The Job of Your Content at this Stage 

Incentivize prospects to take action, whether that's making a purchase, scheduling a call, or converting another way. 

Don’t get fancy here, your only goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to buy. 

Best Content Types

  • Direct or customer emails
  • Discounts or deals to encourage them to buy
  • Product & price sheets
  • Test offers or other ways to work with you
  • Upsells
  • Time-sensitive offers 


  • ​hire [company or person name]
  • buy [product name]
  • [brand name] coupons / discount code
  • [brand name] deals
  • [product name] free shipping

Product Aware

Product aware prospects know what you sell, but they aren't sure it's right for them (AKA the comparison stage). 

They're aware of your product or service’s features and benefits but they also have a short list of competitors they're aware of and they're trying to figure out the best option for their situation. 

The Job of Your Content at this Stage 

Win their trust by proving you can do what you say you can do. That means figuring out every way possible to show what it's like using your product or service. 

How can you reduce the risk and unknowns of going with your company? 

How can you make the perceived value more tangible? (Think timelines, what you can expect broken down by phases, product tutorials, etc.) 

Show how other similar companies had success using your product or service with case studies so the prospect can put themselves in that client's shoes. 

Best Content Types

  • Case studies
  • Process docs showing your approach
  • Product or Service demos
  • Product Tutorials
  • Versus posts or product reviews
  • Brand videos, documentaries
  • Testimonials
  • Strategy session
  • Podcasts


  • ​[brand name] reviews
  • [brand 1] vs [brand 2]
  • [brand name] pricing
  • subscribe to [company name]

Solution Aware

Solution aware prospects know the solution they want, they just don't know your service exists or that you provide it.

They’ve never bought or heard of your product, but suspect there’s something out there like what you sell. They just don’t-know about your product specifically.

These people are in the advice gathering stage, so this is your chance to educate and indoctrinate them. It's NOT a time for a hard sell. 

The Job of Your Content at this Stage 

The key is joining the conversation in their head and matching how they feel. Help them make their decision.

This is all about benefit-driven content; your prospects are looking to validate their need to purchase. Tell compelling stories and make sure your customers can see themselves in those stories. 

Best Content Types

  • Buyers guides
  • Blog posts, content marketing, videos
  • Answer their biggest questions
  • Educational and how-to content
  • Lead magnets
  • Email sequences
  • Podcasts
  • Interviews and guest posts


Informational keywords, like: 

  • how to [choose the best X]
  • ways to [save money]
  • treatment for [X]
  • best [type of company or product]
  • best practices for [topic]

Problem Aware

Your problem aware prospect senses they have a problem, but don’t know there’s a solution. 

Remember: they don't know who you are yet, so they usually find you through search engines where your blog post ranks for a keyword they're searching for. 

This isn't the time to be stingy with your content. You want to help your prospect define their problem, show why it's important to fix it and how to get started solving it (with your solution).

The Job of Your Content at this Stage

Show genuine empathy. Let prospects know you feel and understand their pain before talking about your product or service. 

How? Describe their problem, help them understand the problem, and show them why it needs to be solved. 

Your goal is to help them realize the source of the pain they're feeling is coming from that problem. "Oh, that's why I've been having such a tough time with ______!) 

Your content is usually much longer and in-depth at this stage because you're helping prospects identify and understand their problem and then point them in the direction of your solution. 

Best Content Types

  • 101 blog content that is highly relevant and gives them a glimpse of hope and the next steps to take
  • SEO and target keyword articles
  • Email newsletters
  • Webinars


  • Symptoms of [X]
  • What to do about [X]
  • How to improve/fix/optimize/reduce/troubleshoot [X]
  • List each of your services, then each of the problems they solve. (For example, our interview blogging service helps clients who don't have time to create content, may not be a good writer, etc.) 
  • Pay attention to questions your target prospects ask you. They usually stem from their biggest problems.


This is the biggest—and most difficult—group. Unaware prospects don't realize they have a problem and/or are in denial.

Most of the time, it’s not worth it to focus your efforts on this group. It may be enticing because they’re such a big group, but the amount of work it takes to lead them through admitting they have a problem, identifying what it is, educating them about your services, and choosing you as the solution, is often not worth it. 

This reminds me of my days, ten years ago, trying to sell websites to business owners who didn't know what a website was, weren't online themselves, and didn't want to be convinced they needed one. It was much easier to sell websites to owners who knew they were leaving money on the table without a website.

The Job of Your Content at this Stage 

Because the prospect isn't aware they have a problem, your goal is to convince them they have a problem and teach them why it's so important it needs to be fixed. 

You can also use this content for testing ideas on new markets and testing ideas for products and services. 

Best Content Types

  • ​Short, entertaining articles
  • Social media
  • Infographics


There are no keywords at this stage since your prospects aren't searching. Instead, this is demographic based. Think Facebook ads vs Google ads. 

On Facebook, you target people based on demographics and how they describe themselves. On Google, you're targeting based on what prospects are searching for. 

Go where your target audience demographics are: find communities, forums, Facebook groups, etc.

Putting it All Together

Now that you see how each stage works, let's put it all together. I'll use my own agency for the first example and a doctor's office in the second example. 

content marketing awareness stages example
doctor stages of awareness example

Do you see the journey from either not having a need or stumbling upon an article, to discovering what their problem is, to choosing someone to solve that problem? 

This really forces you to understand your prospect. Simply put, you can't execute this successfully and not care about your customer. Although it's a lot of work, it pays off. You’ll have a huge advantage over your competitors because you'll be able to quickly identify what stage a prospect is in just by their questions and immediately give them what they want OR what they don't realize they need or know how to ask for it. 

These stages also keep you from prematurely selling and completely turning off prospects in the unaware or problem aware phases who could've been good customers with more nurturing, but now feel like you're forcing a sale for something they don't need. 

How To Make the Stages of Awareness Work For Your Business

Now for the fun part. It's time to take inventory of all your existing content and find where it fits in each of these stages of awareness. This will help you identify content gaps in your marketing and new opportunities you can create content around. 

Chances are you'll have one or two stages with more content than all the others, and you’ll have one or two stages with little or no content. This is completely normal! Without a strategic approach, you will gravitate towards stages with content you are naturally better at creating.

This is a great opportunity to take an objective look at your content to figure out where the biggest opportunities are and how you can help your marketing and sales teams attract and close more business.


About the Author

Joel Widmer is the Founder & CEO of Fluxe Digital Marketing—a content marketing shop that helps smart businesses create, produce and promote their content through a unique one-on-one interview process. When he’s not working, Joel can be found trying new restaurants with his wife, son, and daughter.

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