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🎯 Work Smart Wednesday

👋 Hey there!

Here is your weekly dose of Work Smart Wednesday

In these emails I will share with you 3 things to help you work smarter  in 3 minutes or less. That leaves you with 10,077 more minutes to conquer your goals this week

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1. 🧐 Why you should research how solution aware your audience are

One of the most important factors when considering how to market to your audience is determining how solution aware your audience is. This has a huge impact on where you should market and advertise, what messages you should share (how to market), and how much it will cost to acquire customers.

There are generally considered to be 5 stages of awareness:

  1. Unaware
    No knowledge of their problem, but likely feels symptoms of the issue
    Example: Sharp pains in their side but they think it is nothing to worry about, or always stressed and unhappy but haven’t yet understood that it is due to lack of time

  2. Problem aware
    Is aware that there is a problem but they are unaware of solutions
    Example: They know that the sharp pains are an issue that requires attention but they aren’t sure what to do about it, or they know their stress is caused by lack of time but they think that is just how work/life is and they have to deal with it

  3. Solution aware
    Understands what the problem is and is looking into potential solutions
    Example: they know they need to go to a hospital so they Google hospitals in their area, or they know they need to regain control of their time so they search ways to improve their processes and/or look for consultants to help

  4. Your Product/Service aware
    They understand the problem and they have now found your solution
    Example: they know they need to go to a hospital and have found your hospital address online, or they know they need to regain control of their time and they have found my services to help them to work less and earn more

  5. Deal aware/Most aware
    They know which solution provider(s) they wish to work with and are now just trying to pick the right offer for them. Overcoming objections.
    Example: They are in your hospital and they are deciding which department to go to or which doctor to see or how to pay, or they are on my website to help them regain control of their time and they are looking for answers to key questions that affect their decision to assess which offer is right for them

This is sometimes termed the UPSYD model (Unaware, Problem aware, Solution aware, YOUR solution aware, Deal aware). Often used in tandem with AIDA.

I like to add “advocacy aware” to these awareness stages. This makes the acronym UPSYDA.

Somebody who is post aware has experienced the benefits of your solution - they have a much deeper understanding of their problem and your solution.

They are much more likely to be buyers of your other solutions as they have experienced how you can help already. They are also likely to recommend your solution, improving the awareness of others.

Generally speaking, you want to operate in a market where your customers are further along in the awareness stages as it is much easier and cheaper to acquire customers (which often leads to higher profit). Your marketing becomes more targeted in later stages. It is very expensive, time consuming, and difficult to ‘educate’ an unaware audience.

Realistically, you will have potential customers at every stage. However, you can choose which stages to target with your marketing. Each has pros and cons.

The earlier you can capture people, the less competition there is (as you can retain them throughout every stage of awareness, they may never become aware of your competitors because you controlled the awareness process).

Usually, it is also cheaper to acquire leads on a per lead basis in the earlier stages - however, that doesn’t mean that it is cheaper to acquire customers. Cost Per Lead is not equal to Customer Acquisition Cost. When you capture leads in the early stages there are more opportunities for them to drop out, to not become your customer.


  1. You pay $1 per lead. Because you capture leads in the early stages of awareness you are responsible for taking them through each stage of the funnel. Your process isn’t optimised, and only 1 in every 100 leads converts into a paying customer. It costs you $100 per customer.

  2. You pay $10 per lead. Because you capture leads at the late stages of awareness, they are almost ready to buy when they reach you. 1 in 8 leads converts into a paying customer. It costs you $80 per customer.

The earlier in the process, the more mass market your message and channel needs to be. For example, using billboards or Facebook ads. Later stages require more targeted marketing, such as Google ads or email marketing.

To use some examples from a recent client - for a solution aware audience you can run ads with great offers and try to stand out so they become aware of your offer. Such as "Moss removal by X company - rated 5 stars by 4739 customers". If your audience is highly solution aware but yet to take action, you can get in front with a BETTER offer to both stand out and convert customers e.g. “moss removal + free window cleaning”.

For earlier problem aware audiences, here you can run ads like “How to save yourself thousands in home repair costs” and make the ad lead to a page that goes into depths around how by preventing moss on the roof can delay an expensive roof replacement by many years.

For an audience not yet aware of problem or solution, you need to educate them on what the problem is. This is the most difficult, both in terms of messaging and in regards to knowing where to advertise. It needs to be generic enough to engage somebody who doesn’t yet care, but specific enough to bring them to your solution.

How solution aware is your audience?

How will you adapt your marketing based on your audiences awareness?

Cartoon by The Awkward Yeti showing Heart and Brain discussing starting something new. Cartoon image showing customer purchasing stages and buyer journey

2. ☣️ The reality of how things go viral online

We would all like to believe the world is a meritocracy. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case in almost every way. One way we need to add to that list - it isn’t necessarily the best content that goes viral.

Just because you say or share something worthwhile it doesn’t mean that you will be rewarded. Knowing this can be both a blessing and a curse.

A curse because it is frustrating to know that the world is stacked against you.

A blessing, because when you recognise what obstacles exist you can work to overcome them. Though, you may have to work harder than others (which sucks!).

As per Hit Makers by Derek Thompson (further info here):

We think that products often grow through friends telling friends, who tell more friends, and this cascades to so-called viral growth. It turns out this is almost never how products grow. Instead, products explode in popularity when someone (or a few someones) with a large platform shares the product with their audience.

Marketers vastly overestimate the power of word of mouth. Much of what outsiders call virality is really a function of what one might call ‘dark broadcasters’—people or companies distributing information to many viewers at once, but whose influence isn’t always visible to people outside of the network.

In 2012, several researchers from Yahoo studied the spread of millions of online messages on Twitter. More than 90 percent of the messages didn’t diffuse at all. A tiny percentage, about 1 percent, was shared more than seven times. But nothing really went fully viral—not even the most popular shared messages.

Despite algorithms being a potential equaliser, they still have just as much bias as the humans that made them. A much more important mechanism for virality is called “broadcast diffusion”—many people getting information from one source. More info on Broadcast diffusion from a 2023 study here.

This is one reason why it is so important to encourage sharing among your audience in the first place. When somebody shares once, they are likely to keep sharing your stuff with their network - the act of sharing alters their identity - cool side note: this is actually what I did my dissertation on many years back.

It is equally important to identify and further encourage your existing super-sharers. The vast majority of your potential virality will come from a tiny subsection of your audience.

The takeaway?

  1. Virality is mostly a myth.

  2. You should work hard to encourage sharing.

  3. You should identify and encourage your super-sharers.

  4. You are probably under-investing in influencers and PR (especially early on!).

  5. You should build your audience and build authentic connections with influencers.

How to go viral: an image showing how people think virality works vs how going viral actually works. Image showing a network effect.

3. 💡 Quote I'm pondering

"The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spaces." - Will Rogers

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That's it! I can't wait to hear what you think. What did you find most useful? What do you want more or less of? Reply to this email now and let me know

Also, if you have anything interesting to share, I want to know about it😊

Have a great week,

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