The 4 Types of Customer – What You Need to Know to Sell Effectively

copywriting ideal customer marketing Jun 30, 2019

I bet you’re thinking “4 types of customer? I thought we were supposed to target just one?”

And yes, you’re right. A good marketing strategy targets your ideal customer.

But did you know there are 4 different ‘stages of awareness’ that your ideal customer could have, and it’s essential to understand which one they’re starting from, so you can market to them in the right way to get them towards a sale.

I have named each stage, creating the 4 Types of Customer, so you can identify which one your ideal customer is when they start their customer journey (and also how to adapt your messaging to them as they move through the stages.)


First task: who is your Ideal Customer?

Creating a customer avatar of your ideal customer is a very smart move and worth its weight in gold for the time you spend on getting it right.

When you really drill down into who your ideal customer is you suddenly have the ability to write content that connects, makes your audience feel like you really understand their problems, and can solve them.

Which means, you’ll find it much easier to sell to them! 

BUT, I often find that people focus just on demographics when creating their avatar, or the ‘interests’ in the Facebook ads targeting.

When I ask them who their target customer is, they say something like this: Women aged 30 – 50, with kids under 10, living in Australia, who are interested in home styling. 

Hang on, that’s not a customer avatar, that’s a huge section of the population! 

If this sounds like where you’re at, then guess what? ALL of those people aren’t going to buy from you, no matter how ‘mainstream’ you think your service or product is.

So first you need to narrow down who your ideal customers are.

Which ones do you WANT to work with?

Who is the BEST fit for your business?

And then, you need to go through the process to profile them a bit more deeply to understand what they desire, what motivates them, what frustrates them and what they struggle with every day.

Figure this out and you’ll find it so much easier to convince them to buy from you later down the track.

(You can use my own customer avatar worksheet that contains over 35 questions – download it free below.)



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Next: Which Type of Customer are they?

Once you have a very good understanding of your ideal customer you’ll need to find out which of these 4 types of customer your avatar is, so you know how to talk to them on your sales page.

There are four types (or stages of awareness) that each customer avatar fits into: 

  • The Educated
  • The Self-Aware
  • The Market-Aware
  • The Oblivious

The Educated are your low-hanging fruit

They’re the ones who are ready to buy!

They already know a lot about you, your business, and your product or service. And, they like you and TRUST you.

When you’re selling to these types of people, you don’t need to work as hard to persuade them to buy.

Here’s an example:

Have you ever visited the Apple website?

First, it leads with their product, then highlights some key features and gives you comparisons between models – and that’s about it. 

While you can read more detail in the tech specs, you’ll find NO testimonials, NO explaining what problem they’re trying to solve. NO ‘About us’ information.  


Because their customer avatar already knows Apple. They trust Apple. And they know how Apple’s products are going to solve their ‘problem’ or help them reach their desired future.

In other words, Apple’s customers are Educated.

So for Apple it’s ok to start talking to their customers at the product decision phase because their customers are already at the buying stage and are more likely to just need the product info before making their choice. 


Nurture the Self-Aware

It’s tempting to think that when your customer avatar knows what their problem is, that you could just get straight into the sell and convert them with a page outlining the features and benefits of your solution. 

But assuming they’ve just discovered your business, that’s the worst thing you could do.

Here’s why:

Imagine you’re a web designer or relatively unknown copywriter. People who have a need of your service (Self-Aware) tend to come across you through Facebook and start checking your website out.   

Even though they know what their problem is, if you lead with your service and packages – your web design or copywriting – people will have all sorts of questions like, “Why you? Who are you? Are you going to be the right person to solve my problem?”

While YOU know you can help them, they don’t know anything about you.

They don’t TRUST you yet.

Your biggest challenge is that when you’re placed in the ‘unknown bucket’, people will always resort to a price comparison mindset. That’s exactly what you don’t want! 

Avoid resorting to price-based competition

I’ll let you in on a little secret. 

Discounting fails 99% of the time for new prospects.

Think about this: When you see someone you don’t know offering a discounted rate, are you interested? Do you buy? I would bet that you don’t, unless you already know and trust them.

Because unless you know them already, you don’t care that they’re having a sale. 

Which means that you first need to build trust and educate them


You should lead with the problem or the pain these Self-Aware people have and then connect it to your service as the solution.

Relaying their problem back to them helps them see that you understand their situation and you’re speaking their language so they start listening.

After you build up the ‘pain’ that they can relate to, you move straight on to explaining how you can alleviate it.

But…if they haven’t heard of you before, they’ll be guarded and a bit skeptical. They still don’t TRUST you.

Now is the right time to demonstrate your credibility.

Use customer testimonials, case studies or articles where you’ve been featured as proof that you can do what you say you can.


Help the Market-Aware discover themselves

It’s less common for your customer avatar to be a Market-Aware type. 

Sometimes people KNOW about a solution to a problem, but haven’t yet realised they themselves have a need for it. 

Or they’re using a competitor’s product and don’t know they could be getting a better service or better deal.

Without that need-to-know, they aren’t in the buying zone. If this sounds like your customer, you need to help them do a bit of self-reflection and realise that they’ve got a problem and you’ve got the solution. 

So how do you do that? 

The first step is to educate them to recognise the problem they’ve got. 

Do this by describing their current state, the symptoms and what it means for their lifestyle if no solution is found.

For example, imagine you’re a property manager and you’re targeting people who have more than one property with a package solution for managing multiple properties across different locations on their behalf.

You could start your sales page by telling them about your multiple property management package, but it would be a lot more effective if you started by asking them about the hassle of dealing with different managers for each of their properties.

Highlight the pain of multiple contracts, the extra time involved to meet different conditions and also the duplication of costs. 

Emphasising the hassle and difficulty gets their attention, and opens up their eyes to their current problem and potential better future. 

Now they’re interested in finding out more about your solution!


The Oblivious are not at all blissful

The Oblivious customer is the hardest to sell to.

They don’t know who you are, don’t know they have a pain or problem in their life, and therefore they don’t feel any need for your service.

With these people you’ve got to start right back at the beginning and help them see that they’ve got a problem. You’ve got to educate them!

You need to show them the difference between their current ‘state’ and a better alternative. Open their eyes to potential future scenarios that they aren’t aware of. 

For example, imagine you’re an HR consultant and your target market is small businesses who are new to employing staff. Small business owners may not know enough about employment law and often find out too late that they’re not compliant.

To grab their attention, you could lead with something on your sales page like “Did you know you need to do X, Y, Z when employing a new staff member? 

Once they become aware of their problem, they move into the Self-Aware category and you can educate them on your solution. 


How Do You Talk To Your Target Customer On Your Sales Page?

The idea of marketing is that you’ll move your Oblivious, Market-Aware and Self-Aware customers into the Educated state, at which time they will be ready to buy. 

So, all you need to do now is work out which one of the 4 types your ideal customer is likely to be in when you first come across them. This gives you the style of content you need to provide on your sales page:

If you’re talking to someone who is Educated, it’s okay to lead with the product, and talk about how great it is, why they should use it, and of course, why it works.

If your prospects are Market-aware, you need to spend time educating them on how to recognise they have a problem, and then, showing them why they can trust you.

If you’re dealing with the Self-aware, you need to spend time confirming you understand the pain, the problem, and then educate them about how your solution can help.

If you’re stuck with the Oblivious, you need to spend EVEN MORE time educating them about their problems and solutions before you ask for the sale.


I hope this helps you develop much better content on your website that results in higher conversions. If you’d like to read more about developing your customer avatar, check out this article:

Why most customer avatars are useless and what you really need to know


Or get started creating a really good one, by downloading my free worksheet here:


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