As a business owner, it is easy to get caught up in the amazing features our products and services include. We work so hard to put together our skills and passions into something sellable, and we live and breathe our business every day. When it comes to promotion, we get so excited about these features – the ‘what’ – that we often forget one vital thing; our audience doesn’t care about that.
Prospective customers and clients care about the benefits.
What is the difference between features and benefits? On paper, it is reasonably obvious, but it can become confusing in practice. A feature is a part of the goods or service that is special, new or unique. It is a selling point, but not in its entirety.
A benefit is where the real selling is. The benefits of a product or service describes what it can DO FOR THE CUSTOMER OR CLIENT. This is a very important distinction.
However, when putting together our product descriptions or marketing of any kind (such as social media posts, advertising or brochures), the line can become blurred between the two because we know our products and services so well. I am just as guilty of this as anyone! Isn’t the importance of quality sportswear obvious? Maybe not, so spell it out. Quality sportswear means you won’t have the embarrassment of your undies showing every time you squat, or won’t throw away precious money replacing your tee in a month’s time because the neckline has stretched out of shape.
It isn’t about treating your audience as daft, but clearly defining the features vs benefits so they don’t have to think too hard about how much they want you in their lives.
The best way to do this is to tap into your customer or client’s emotions. Solve a problem (often called a pain point in marketing circles) so they instantly resonate with your brand and are compelled to take action. Common themes include saving time and money, reducing overwhelm or simplifying their life in some way.
How do you transform your features into benefits? Start by listing out what you offer, then brainstorm how each of these points affects your customers and clients, what it can do for them or how it can help them in some way. Many of your features will have multiple benefits, so list each one clearly but separately.
When it comes to marketing, pick one or two at a time to showcase. You could even track the engagement on social media posts or ad campaigns and see which benefit resonates better with your audience, then focus more of your attention promoting that one.
Once you have got the hang of highlighting the benefit rather than simply the feature, it will become second nature when it comes time to update your campaigns or product descriptions (I promise!).
To help you begin your own brainstorming, I have included 10 examples below. Grab a notebook and a cuppa put your thinking cap on for features vs benefits in your business. You are now well on your way to more engaging promotional material and wonderful new conversions to sale!
Product: All-natural skincare
Feature: Does not contain nasty chemicals.
Benefit: Enjoy glowing skin without polluting your body or the environment.
Service: Massage therapy
Feature: Deep tissue massage to untangle tight muscles.
Benefit: Let the muscle pain and tension melt away as you enjoy one hour of bliss on our table. Walk out feeling rejuvenated, relaxed and ready to take on the day ahead.
Feature: Offers nutritionally balanced meal planning for busy mums.
Benefit: No more eating your kids’ leftovers or opting for eggs on toast for dinner – with this plan, you will have everything you need to quickly and easily create healthy meals and feel great for it.
Service: Health food company
Feature: Free home delivery on orders over $30.
Benefit: Save valuable time with our free home delivery service. Just pick out your items, click ‘send’, and they will be at your doorstep in no time.
Service: Fitness programming
Feature: Easy home workouts that take just 15 minutes per day.
Benefit: Work out in the comfort of your own home and get that killer bod with just 15 minutes per day. No sweaty gyms, no expensive memberships, no hassle booking the creche. Everything you need is right there in your lounge room!
Service: Personal trainer
Feature: Qualified PT with 20 years’ experience in women’s fitness training.
Benefit: Workout on your terms with expert guidance to help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Learn the best exercises for your body and regain confidence in movement.
Product: Meditation program
Feature: Learn how to meditate with these short introductory lessons.
Benefit: Declutter your racing mind with just 10 minutes of meditation each day. Experience a new sense of calm, increased productivity and clearer mind with these simple lessons you can do anywhere.
Service: Life coach
Feature: Expert guidance to help you achieve success in every facet of your life.
Benefit: Unlock your potential and open your mind to a positive new way of being. Forget negativity that holds you down – feel light, successful and ready to take on any challenge you face.
Product: Weight loss program
Feature: Step-by-step recipes and meal plan.
Benefit: Simplify your weight-loss journey with our easy-to-prepare meal ideas, allowing you to enjoy real, delicious food while staying on track with your weight loss goals.
Feature: Online sessions available over the weekend.
Benefit: Take the pressure off trying to fit an appointment in during a busy week. Instead, book a weekend online session so you have the time and space to get the most from our chat.
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