The Stages of Awareness & Stages of Change


If you’re a health and wellness professional (as I know many of you are),  you probably remember learning about the stages of change in your Psychology 101 class. And if you’re like me, some of that information probably fell right out of your head and felt really abstract until you started actually working with clients.

If you haven’t taken Psych 101 or need a refresher (it’s been literally 12 years since I did), the stages of change are as follows:

  • Precontemplation: no intent for behavior change
  • Contemplation: problem aware, consideration of change
  • Preparation: intention to change/take action
  • Action: actively taking action and/or inciting change
  • Maintenance: relapse experience/adaptation/prevention and continuation of change
stages of awareness in marketing

The Marketing Stages of Awareness

In the marketing world, a similar concept exists re: the marketing stages of awareness for your audience.


No awareness of current problem.

Think: someone who's living their life with piles of food rules that are negatively affecting their ability to enjoy/engage in relationships, but they don't know because it's normalized by diet culture.

Problem Aware

Aware that a problem exists with minimal motivation/knowledge of solution.

All this shit with food is starting to make me feel really anxious, and I don't know what to do about it.

Solution Aware

Abstract awareness that a solution exists, and exploring possible solutions.

I've read a few books, and I'm intrigued by the idea of intuitive eating – but I think I need 1:1 help to actually make these changes. I'm researching programs and providers to help.

Product (Provider) Aware

Research conducted & beginning to shape a picture of exactly how they want to solve their problem. A specific solution (like a certain therapist or plan) is desired.

I've found a few dietitians and therapists in my area that specialize in disordered eating. I'm going to figure out who to reach out to and start seeing.

Most Aware

They've picked out their solution and are on the verge of reaching out/”buying.”

I found a dietitian whose website, social media, and general approach makes me feel so seen and calm. They're definitely who I want to help me with this.

If you're a clinician struggling with the marketing side of your practice, here's a little side-by-side to help it click!

Clinical Stage of ChangeMarketing Stage of Awareness
ContemplationProblem aware
PreparationSolution/product aware
ActionMost aware/booking
Maintenance (occurs while working with clients)

Leveraging Stages of Awareness to Write Your Website

One of the first things you need to do before writing your website and creating content is to determine what stage of awareness your ideal client is when they’re reading your content.  I'm being specific here, because typically people will be in a lower stage of change when they find you randomly on social media then when they specifically Googled [insert solution you provide here]. You can tailor your content accordingly!

So, why does this actually matter when writing your website? Because if you’re writing to the wrong stage of change, your audience won’t feel seen (and therefore, invested in hiring you).

Most of this knowledge goes into writing a really clear, persuasive services or sales page because this is what your audience is actually looking at before taking action.  They want to know exactly how they are going to see tangible and positive change through working with you.

Your services page needs to provide the information and writing that your audience needs to move along their stages of awareness and actually reach out.

(Side note: let’s take the pressure off of writing a perfect services page – it typically takes multiple visits to a website before someone buys/takes action, so we’re here to create an interesting and engaging site that makes people want to come back) 

Questions To Ask Yourself About Your Audience

  • What stage of awareness are most of my leads & inquiries?
  • Have they worked with someone before on this specific problem? If yes, why didn’t it work out/why are they looking again?
  • How much basic education am I doing in discovery calls and the first 3-5 sessions with clients? (If it’s a lot, you can sprinkle in a little more of that basic education to your website copy)

For most health providers, your clients are coming to you with solution awareness:  they know they have a problem, they're looking for a solution (someone to help them), and they need selling on your specific approach or services.

The goal of your website (specifically, your services/sales page(s)) is to further your audience’s stage of awareness and encourage them to actually take steps toward working with you.

Related: Reasons Your Website Isn't Converting

Which means that before you write your website – specifically, your services/sales page(s) – you need to think about:

  • How are you uniquely positioned to help solve their problems?
  • What’s different about your approach?
  • What’s in the way of people hiring you? (And how can you address that in your copy?)

The Takeaway

Spending some time on figuring out what stage of change and awareness your audience is in when they're looking at your website makes a huge difference in how you write it. Typically, when someone finds your website they already know they have a problem they want to solve, so focus your copy in on your specific solution and how you help to boost your conversion rates!

Want some help doing it?

I offer copywriting as part of my website design packages, and share tips on actually narrowing your message down and making it work every other week through my newsletter!

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