Goodbye blended content, hello focused user journey

It is easy to spot pages that are blending content. “Our product is the fastest, most economical, cleanest and most comfortable in its class.” Regardless of whether this is even possible, none of these attributes will all appeal to a single customer. As marketers, we know we’re blending content when we want to put one more “value proposition” on the page. “let’s include a rotating hero image!”

Schwartz-Five-Levels

The good news is that people don’t just stumble across websites any more  they search, discover and get driven to them from social. Content planners can decide which keywords to target, the channels that will drive traffic, the audience behaviour they are looking to achieve and then most importantly, the landing page. This is designing content around the user journey and it is easier that one may think.

Designing Content around the user journey.

Meet Eugene Schwartz, one of the Grandfather’s of modern copyrighting with a long string of successes dating back to the dawn of our industry. He came up with a model to help answer the question, “What kind of copy do I write?” With his model we can reverse the traditional process and target our message, rather than try to appeal to as many people as possible.

Schwartz created a scale with five levels of consumer awareness. On one end, people that are totally unaware of your company, or the problem you solve. On the other end, people who are the most aware, those who already know your company, and in many cases, are already customers. In between, there are three levels: Product Aware, Solution Aware, and Problem Aware.

Message Structure

Once we have an idea of where our audience is on this spectrum, we can start to put together a content strategy to market to them. On the top end of the spectrum are the Most Aware visitors, with whom we can be very direct. Since this audience already knows your company and its products/solutions, they are likely entering keywords that contain your brand or product names.

When targeting this audience, you can often be as direct as, “You know us, you like us. Here’s the new product, here’s the price, and here’s how you buy it.” When visitors are most aware, companies can simply show off the product and provide a big button to purchase it. That’s all you have to do for this crowd — they already know and love you, they just want the latest version of what you’re offering. Apple is a great example of targeting the most aware. Apple has spent millions of dollars on marketing; they don’t need to tell us who they are or what an iPad is.

On the other end of the spectrum are the people who are the Unaware. It is rare to direct search ads at those that are unaware of a problem. However, if you’re using a display network, you will want to use the indirect approach with these visitors. We can use things like storytelling to get them in a mindset that will allow us to market to them. One generic message wouldn’t appeal to both of these groups — what appeals to the most aware would scare off or confuse the unaware.

Creating Copy for different stages

Searchers that enter search terms hinting that they are solution aware may be more swayed byclaims and proof. People searching for keywords such as [home exercise equipment] don’t need to have their anxieties about the gym emphasized. These Solution Aware readers are more likely to respond to claims that your product will deliver.

One Solution Aware landing page exclaims, “Incline training burns 5x the Calories just by walking.” Maybe I should consider an inclined trainer. At this point, I’m Product Aware. I might type in [home incline trainer]. Content geared toward this audience requires a different approach.

Product Aware visitors generally fall into one of two categories: transactional shoppers and relational shoppers. Transactional shoppers are their own experts, while relational shoppers rely on experts to help them in their decision-making process. Deals and discounts will appeal to the transactional buyers — product ratings and reviews will appeal to the more relationship-oriented buyer.

In both cases, they want you to help them decide. Transactional shoppers are afraid of spending one penny too much, and relational shoppers are afraid of buying the wrong thing.

This brings us back to our Most Aware visitors — those looking for our specific product or service. We need to give them the information they need to (re)order and get out of the way. Trying to handle objections is more likely to introduce doubt rather than reduce it.
When creating copy, we should ask ourselves, what do we know about our audience? Do we know whether they’re going to be in the middle as a product aware customer or if they are already totally aware of our products and services? By considering where on this scale our customers fall, we can create copy that targets their specific needs, produces a better user journey and higher conversions.