Stepping on Schwartz’s scales

If you’re looking for an easy £600-1,000 write-off to add to the advertising and marketing section of your tax return, head over to Amazon and search:

Breakthrough Advertising.

It’s a great book written by one of the members of the marketing Illuminati, Eugene Schwartz.

(The other members are David Ogilvy, Howard Gossage, and Andi Peters)

Every copywriter bangs on about Breakthrough Advertising, so it must be good.

(Me? I’m still working my way through “Peter and Pamela Grow Up”. I’m up to chapter 4 – “What’s all the fuzz about?”)

One of the most talked about ideas in Schwartz’s masterpiece is his “Stages of Awareness”.

Schwartz identifies five stages, but essentially it boils down to this question:

How aware is your customer of you… and the problem you solve?

For example, if you’re a business owner who’s never heard of marketing, instead believing an enchanted goat called Ronald delivers you clients every time you open a pack of Twiglets…

Flogging my copywriting services to you is going to be a challenge because you’re “Unaware” of:

1) My uniqueness as a copywriter

2) The power of Greyskull copywriting in general, and

3) How Twiglets work

To get you to the point where you’d happily pay me thousands to craft you an email sequence would take time and effort the likes of which would make Sisyphus think:

“Can I have that rock back?”

I’d have to start from square one… explaining both how copywriting works AND why you should choose me over the other 14 copywriters on the planet.

At the other end of the awareness scale, we have the “Most aware” client I hopped on a call with last week…

She’s used copywriters in the past, so knows how we work (as little as possible)… and has a good grasp of the value we bring.

(To the point she was able to use spreadsheet wizardry to forecast expected results from campaigns)

She’s sold on funny, personality-stuffed emails and willing to pay a premium for them…

She’s aware of me too, having been on my list for yonks. In fact, she’s already approached me a few times, checking if I have availability…

Totally different sales conversation.

I’d have to take three weeks off to answer all the questions from the “Ronald the enchanted goat” client.

The second client only has one question: 

“Are you available?”

The takeaway from this email is NOT:

Only spend time marketing to people who are already totally sold on both you and the solution you provide.

No. They might be an easier sell, but they’re also a tiny fraction of your market.

Here’s the takeaway:

Meet your customer where they’re at. 

Enter the conversation they’re having in their head.

Don’t paint them a picture they can’t fully appreciate…

And don’t patronise them by treating them like a newbie when they’re only one step behind you and looking at you with an open wallet.

“‘Space’ is what exists outside the Earth’s atmosphere. It has things like stars and other planets in something we like to call ‘The Solar System’. Now… am I going too fast for you Mr deGrasse Tyson?”

Wherever you are… whoever you’re talking to…

Figure out where they are right now.

That’s where you come in.


OK, well not literally, but very nearly literally.

John Holt