One of SaaS companies’ most common mistakes in their marketing communication is to focus exclusively on their product’s benefits.
This makes sense – they’ve come a long way to develop from zero to hero product features after months or even years of research and investment. But your SaaS solution is at the end of a road your buyers have not even stepped on yet.
See how to use the SaaS Buyer Awareness Matrix and learn what types of content converts unaware prospects into buying customers.
What Is The Buyer Awareness Matrix?
The Buyer Awareness Matrix is a framework that allows us to differentiate our potential buyers (prospects) into different groups based on their current awareness levels:
- Unaware of the problem: this potential buyer feels that they have a problem that needs solving but doesn’t know exactly what the problem is and what kind of solution can help solve it.
- Problem-aware: the potential buyer in this awareness level is already aware of their specific problem and is in search of a potential solution (they aren’t yet aware of specific solutions).
- Solution-aware: potential buyers who are already aware of both the problem and the potential solutions. In many cases, these prospects are actively looking to purchase the ideal solution.
- Product-aware: pretty self-explanatory, the prospect is already aware of your product/service as a viable solution for their problem, and generally is evaluating your product/service whether it is a worthy investment.
Below, we will discuss the Buyer Awareness Matrix and the content marketing strategy that works best in each of the awareness levels.
Buyer Awareness Matrix Breakdown
The simple grid above describes the four different levels of prospect’s awareness, each with the marketing approaches and content types that are the most effective for prospects at the respective levels.
As a rule of thumb, the main objective of the content and marketing effort in each category is to nudge the target audience to the next awareness level, until they are finally ready for the purchase.
If you are also familiar with the marketing/sales funnel, then you might have seen that moving through these various levels of awareness is similar to moving down the marketing funnel, which we can divide into five stages.
5 Stages of The Marketing Funnel
1. Problem Recognition
The marketing funnel starts when a potential buyer (a prospect) realizes that they have a problem they want to solve or a need they need to fulfill.
As discussed above, the prospect may or may not recognize their specific problem and may or may not realize the solution for the problem. They may only be aware that they are facing a problem but don’t know the specifics, or they may have an idea about what will help them but are not quite sure which product or service will be the ideal option.
The next stage in the marketing funnel is when the prospect starts looking for information about the problem and the potential solution. Nowadays, this mainly involves online search (on Google and other search engines, asking around on social media, etc.).
For example, a consumer might realize that he/she is suffering from back pain and then searches on Google for the nearest chiropractic clinic as a solution. In a B2B setting, an IT manager might realize that the company’s current antivirus software isn’t adequate, then browses online for a possible replacement, and so on.
After the research phase, the prospect begins to evaluate their options to determine the ideal solution for their problem. The prospect may consider various different factors in evaluating different products from price, quality, features, the credibility of the brand, etc.
In short, in this phase, the prospect weighs in which solution offers more benefits than the others.
In reality, this middle stage of the marketing funnel is a complex and iterative process, alternating exploration and evaluation until the prospect exits the loop and makes a decision.
4. Purchase Decision
The prospect has made his/her decision and is ready to make the purchase. The prospect just needs to find the right pathway to trigger the purchase, and brands should make it as easy as possible for them to buy.
Brands can also provide additional encouragement like case studies, positive reviews, etc., while eliminating as many obstacles/negative reinforcements as possible that might cause customers to turn away.
In this last phase, the prospect (now customer) has made the purchase and now reflects whether they’ve made the right decision and whether they’ll repeat the purchase (or continue the subscription for subscription-based product/service.) If the customer is happy with your product/service, they may also recommend it to their friends and peers, bringing you more prospects in the process.
Marketing Efforts Based on Buyer Awareness Matrix
Now that we’ve understood the different awareness levels in the Buyer Awareness Matrix and the five corresponding stages of the marketing funnel, here are the marketing efforts and types of content that we’ve found to work best at each awareness level:
1. Unaware of the problem
The objective of the marketing efforts in this awareness level is to help the prospect identify their specific problem, which will also help filter out whether this prospect is the right fit for the product/service we offer.
At this awareness level, we can focus on marketing efforts that are mainly entertaining while also lightly educating the prospect to help them identify and solve the problem, such as:
- Articles discussing problems and symptoms
- Entertaining videos
- Social media posts
We should focus on sharing our knowledge and establishing ourselves as a credible solution at this awareness level.
Keep in mind that this stage isn’t the place to aggressively sell your product/service, but you should focus on providing valuable and interesting pieces of content that will help them to understand their problem better and making informed decisions in choosing the right solution.
Remarketing to this audience segment is another way to nudge them further down the user journey. You can focus on content types such as:
- In-depth articles
- Checklists to help them identify their problem
If your company is a SaaS trailblazer (i.e, you are creating a new category on the market), you should expect all your target audience to be unaware of your solution. Here, your marketing strategy is to address clients with educational content and raise awareness for the whole category you are introducing.
At this awareness stage, our mission is still mainly the same: to educate the prospect, but at the same time, we have to start convincing them that our product/service is the right solution for them.
We can publish content pieces focused on education and light promotional branded content such as:
- Research and industry trend reports
- Buying guides (reviewing your products and your competitors’)
- Product comparisons and choice quizzes
You should be more transparent in discussing your product’s unique value proposition and how it compares with your competitors’ solutions.
What tips the scales at this stage of the buyer’s journey are all the cognitive biases such as social proof, category heuristics, and authority proof. Using feature comparisons, use case pages, and ROI calculators could also nudge your prospects along to conversion.
At this stage, your focus should be to convince your prospect that your product is indeed the right choice. The prospect has already made the decision that your product is a viable solution, and just needs that extra push.
You should also properly inform the prospect about how to purchase your product/service, and you should make the process as simple and easy as possible.
You should focus on the following types of content:
- Case studies
- Pricing guides/datasheets/calculations
- Interactive demos
- Education about product features
- High-converting landing pages
Apply the Buyer Awareness Matrix to Your Marketing Strategy
Using the Buyer Awareness Matrix, you can plan and execute more effectively-targeted marketing efforts. By doing so, you can increase the likelihood of moving the prospect to the next awareness level, closer to when they finally convert into an actual customer.
Delivering the right marketing campaign and the right content to the right people at the right time is the key to achieving more success in your marketing, and using the Buyer Awareness Matrix will help you with just that.
While working on your own marketing strategy, it helps to keep an eye out for your competitors. See how you can evaluate competitors’ marketing efforts and find opportunities.
This is a guest post by Mike Khorev – an SEO consultant who helps SaaS, software, IT, technology, B2B and startup companies generate more sales and grow revenue online. He offers expert advice on marketing your company the right way through performance-based SEO, inbound marketing, conversion rate optimization, search engine marketing, and many other online practices.