Copywriting Tutorial: How To Write Headlines That Don’t SUCK

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Copywriting Tips For The 5 Levels of Customer Awareness.

One of the biggest mistakes a copywriter can make is using the SAME hook and headline for every single audience. Think about it: the way you capture the attention of a random scroller-by on Facebook is very different from how you’d present an offer to your most loyal subscribers. Today I’m talking about how to write headlines the RIGHT away, based on the 5 Levels of Customer Awareness.

Hey guys — It’s Alex! Welcome to the Copy Posse crew. Today I’m back with more copywriting tips on how to write headlines that will hook, connect and convert! Because when it comes to getting attention from the person you want at the moment you want it — it’s not enough to just have an irresistible offer.

In order to compel action, you need to get INSIDE inside the minds of your customers… and speak in a way that meets them where they are at.

Now, you guys have heard me talk about the importance of creating a clear and specific customer avatar, the demographic and psychographic traits that define your ideal target market…

And yes, that is important. You absolutely need to have a clear idea of WHO your target audience is.

But that’s still not enough…

There is one more INCREDIBLY important factor you need to take into account when writing headlines, and the rest of your ads, landing pages and sales pages for that matter…

And that is the Level of Customer Awareness.

Customer Awareness is a term coined by none other than Eugene Schwartz,  the godfather of marketing and the author of this book – Breakthrough Advertising. Customer Awareness refers to the degree to which your prospect is aware that you can help them solve their pain

Have they heard of your product? Have they purchased from you before? Are they aware that a solution such as yours exists? Wait – do they even know that they have the problem that you’re aiming to solve? Who EXACTLY are you writing for?

Knowing the answer to these questions is SO important when it comes to setting the right context for your copywriting campaigns. 

They might already be a loyal customer, an online fan or follower, a brand new email subscriber, or perhaps they are seeing your ad for the first time as they’re scrolling by on Facebook. Where they are on their buying journey greatly impacts the way in which you speak to these audiences.

They have different needs and desires. A one-size-fits all approach DOES NOT work. In order to write compelling and effective headlines, you MUST take into account a customer’s level of awareness.

If not, you run the risk of selling too soon and turning people off and losing them forever.

The best copywriters take the time to understand a customer’s journey – so they know the right time to educate and indoctrinate, the right time to problem-solve and the right time to sell.

And that, my friends, is what I am here for. Every single week I release a new tutorial on copywriting, marketing and branding tips for freelancers and entrepreneurs. So go ahead and hit the subscribe button on my YouTube Channel to join the raddest crew of copywriters on the internet.

Ok, now let’s explore the RIGHT way to write headlines at each level of customer awareness. Starting with…

Level #1.Totally Unaware

At this level your prospect is not only completely unaware of you and your product… but they have no freaking clue they even HAVE the problem you’re helping them solve. These prospects require more indoctrination before you’ll be able to sell them.

Video, banner and native ads with broad-targeting often speak to this type of audience. 

You want to grab attention with a powerful hook and then help your audience diagnose or understand a problem they don’t know they have. This is often done through story, secrets, education. Think quizzes, science and content-marketing, any copy with a more indirect sales approach.

For instance, when LARQ came out as the first self-cleaning water bottle — let’s be honest — not many of us would have identified water bottle cleaning as a big problem in our lives, let alone care that a solution like that existed! 

So when they first launched, rather than leading with the offer, LARQ released a brilliant and funny video ad that educated people about the pros of having a self-cleaning bottle — such as getting rid of harmful bacteria and that stanky overused water bottle smell.

And this ad headline and hook is perfect for an unaware audience. What’s Inside Your Water Bottle? Don’t get sick from your water bottle. The video then educates the audience on the harmful, odor causing bacteria that lives in your water bottle!

This is brilliant but it takes a common product that everyone uses and identifies a new possible problem. It very quickly takes people from unaware to pain aware.

Alright, now moving along to level #2…

Level #2. Problem Aware

At this level, your prospect is aware of the pain they need to solve, but they are still not aware of the solutions available, including your product.

This is where empathy plays a powerful role in copywriting… because you’re speaking to an issue or a concern that is personal to your prospect, and they need assurance that you have something that can help them achieve their desired outcome. At this level, you want to focus on pain, solution and benefits.

You often see copy that reflects this level of awareness in targeted ads based on an audiences’ online search behavior, demographics or psychographics related to your core problem. 

For example, the millions of us who’ve had experience with various diets and workout programs are likely aware of how our individual metabolic rate can make or break results. But you may not be aware of a solution in the market to measure and track it…

In comes Lumen. Their website headline addresses anyone who is struggling with their metabolic rate: “The first device to hack your metabolism. Lumen knows if your body is using fat or carbs for fuel.” Wait- what? Hallelujah! Pain, solution, benefit – all in one product aware headline.

One of their Instagram posts also targeted those who are trying to remain active and healthy at home in the wake of Covid-19: “You don’t need to leave home to improve your metabolism.” Smart one.

Level #3. Solution Aware 

This prospect knows that there are solutions out there for the problem or pain they have, which also means that they have a clearer idea of what’s possible to achieve. They are simply looking for the right solution for them and are evaluating options.

At this level, social proof is going to help build the trust you need to hook your prospect. So gather up your testimonials and showcase happy customers!

You’ll also want to make sure to feature your product USP here – what it is that makes it unlike the other brands and products in your realm.

For example, when I released my copywriter coaching program — Copy Posse Launch Pad — I knew my audience of aspiring freelance copywriters was specifically looking for help creating a portfolio of highly-paid copywriting assets to kick start their career. I knew that because I asked my subscribers in a survey what their greatest challenge was and what they were looking for in a coaching program. 

So, on my sales page, I didn’t just showcase testimonials from my previous clients and followers who have learned a lot from watching my YouTube videos (thanks guys) — but my headline also made it clear that my program was specifically designed to help my prospects learn highly-paid copywriting skills, write an irresistible portfolio and ignite their copywriting business.   

Btw, I go much, much deeper into these 5 Levels of Customer Awareness inside my program, and you can now get your hands on the exclusive recordings here, the Copy Posse Launch Files.

Level #4. Product Aware 

At this level, your prospect is familiar with your product. They may already be a lead, follower or subscriber.

They’re familiar with the problem that you’re addressing, and they know of other solutions available in the market. 

And yes — they’ve made the connection between their pain and what your product can do to help resolve it… but they’re just not quite sold… yet! 

At this level, you need to do some extra convincing to get them on the bandwagon. This is best done by injecting some scarcity or giving them an incentive — such as a free trial, discount or bonuses.

For example, online media providers such as Amazon Prime Video and Hulu — who need no introduction at this point — don’t beat around the bush when it comes to what they’re selling. So all they need to do to incentivize their audience is to offer a free trial.

Product aware headlines are straight to the point and clearly communicate the offer. “All Your TV In One Place. Watch thousands of shows and movies, with plans starting at $5.99/month”

Level #5. Very Aware

If you’re copywriting for this level — congratulations! It means you’re speaking to someone who is very aware of what you offer and they think you’re the best! These are often your existing customers and fans. Which means that your job now is to keep the spark alive and keep ’em’ buying! 

This customer knows what your product does, what your brand is all about and, provided they had a good experience with their previous purchase, are likely willing to buy again if you have something new and better to offer. 

So at this level — you are simply giving them the option to add-on, top-up or upgrade. Your copy can just cut straight to chase and deliver the price and the offer. Is it a new version of your product? Does it come with a free gift, new bonus or free delivery this time? Show them an even better deal than before!

Of course, I’m not saying that your headline or copy should just be as exciting as a price tag. A little creativity and curiosity still need to come into play. 

A great example of copywriting at the Most Aware level comes from Apple. Apple fans, like me, are die-hard. All Apple needs to do is announce a new iPhone, Macbook Air or iPad and there are line-ups around the block to grab the latest model.

People just want to know what the latest features are, how much they have to pay for it, and more importantly — HOW they can get their hands on it. 

So those are the five levels of customer awareness, as outlined by Eugene Schwartz. 

Watch This Instead:


So to recap:

Step 1: Research Ads In Your Niche

Step 2: Identify what level their Headlines & Hooks fall at.

Step 3: Download my Headline Writing Pyramid & Guide to help you as you write headlines at each level of Customer Awareness. 

Leave me a comment below if this article has been helpful to you. 

Thanks so much for watching and subscribing to the global copy posse! I’ll be back next week with another post.

Till then, I’m Alex. Ciao for now!

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