Eugene Schwartz’ 5 Levels of Awareness Explained In Plain English Part 1 [Copywriting Guides]

In 1966 Eugene Schwartz wrote the classic book Breakthrough Advertising (you can still buy copies of it today from Brian Kurtz, the copyright holder who was a friend of Eugene).

This mini series is my take on one aspect of that book to help you get the big idea. Parts 1 to 3 are this week, then I’ll finish off with the final parts next week (or if you’re reading this later on the blog, they will be linked together to make it easy to follow through – sign up for the Science of Copywriting Weekly Newsletter so you never miss an episode – https://scienceofcopywriting.com/).

It doesn’t take a big brain to realise that awareness matters (I’ve been writing about it for decades). What it does take though, is to understand its importance in selling anything (through copy, word of mouth, or plain old direct sales).

If your audience has no idea what you’re talking about and doesn’t care either, you have zero chance of convincing them to buy what you’re selling. That’s the first premise (or take-away).

At the other end of the spectrum, if they know what you’re selling, what it does, and how that’s going to fix their urgent problem right now, you have every chance of making a sale (it just comes down to your offer). That’s the second premise.

They are the two extremes of what Schwartz’ put into words back in the day (and for which we thank him).

If you read last week’s mini series on movers, you’ll have seen there are a LOT of moving pieces with copy. Schwartz’ concept was just one of them.

For example, if your audience is mostly made up of wild optimists willing to buy almost anything that promises them the Earth, then even if they’re unaware of you, what you’re selling, or that they even have a problem that needs fixing, a sly piece of copy may still grip them enough to make a sale.

So before we look at the 5 levels in a little more detail (starting with the fully aware in part 2 here), here’s a little homework to get you going.

Write 50 words or less on the “David Oscarson Diamond Seaside Fountain Pen”. It retails for around $750,000 (three quarters of a million dollars).

For background, your audience consists of billionaires. They’ve heard of the brand, and collect pens (but they don’t have this one yet). Place your copy in the comments below.

Go right over the top if you want, but above all, enjoy putting it together (and as always, don’t forget the CTA).

PS. Feel free to comment on other people’s copy too. Let’s do the work 🙂

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awareness, eugene, schwartz


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