Features and Benefits – Why Understanding the Difference Is Crucial for Your Business
To say that marketing your company has changed from even ten years ago feels a bit like a cliché. We all know that the marketing landscape has changed – I prefer to look at it as “enhanced” because many traditional marketing channels remain powerful (word of mouth, for example). The enhancement comes from the introduction of digital marketing channels (Social Media or your website), with the added complexity of the greater competition. Those who sell physical products compete against Amazon and their comprehensive distribution channels.
Many of our clients are service-based, and since many of these services can be delivered online/virtually – the pool of competition is global. Your clients are shopping online for everything (products and services alike) and making their buying decisions based on what they read.
How can you make your online presence more powerful?
First and foremost, you need a comprehensive Social Media strategy across as many channels as appropriate. Creating content and delivering it in a prompt manner that is predictable (in that it’s regular) and spontaneous (responding to others) is essential. Not all of your clients will find you on your website.
But ultimately, you want to direct your prospects to your website because that’s where they can sign up for your newsletter list, buy products or services, and overall learn more about you. For this reason, your digital marketing copy needs to be practical and concise.
Here are two tips:
Understand your prospect – know who they are, what they’re experiencing right now which is causing them to search for you, and what their life will be like after working with you – but also what it will be like if they don’t seek change now. This is huge – if you know what they’re looking for and how they’re feeling, right now, you’ll learn how to write directly to them.
Focus on the benefits, not features, of your products/services.
What does this mean?
“Features” are facts, where “benefits” begin to focus on the emotional need that this feature addresses. How do you get to the heart of benefits? Back in high school English class, we learned the “so what” test. For every point we raised, we asked ourselves, “so what” – this can make your writing more concise; if the sentence you’re writing doesn’t directly relate to the point you’re trying to register (“so what”), then it can be deleted.
For an online copy, we use this same technique to talk about the meaning of a feature – here’s an example using a tooth whitening kit:
Feature – Whitens teeth in 7 days with regular use.
Benefit – Have a more dazzling smile before date night this weekend! Or Look younger, in just a week, with a whiter smile.
We all want to look younger and dazzle! Sounds a lot more persuasive than “regular use.”
How do you make your benefits relevant to your prospect? By understanding them. Using our tooth whitening kit as an example, if you know that your option is self-conscious about their smile, and doesn’t feel as young and attractive as they used to, perhaps they’ve just re-entered the dating scene and have insecurities around that. Understanding this helps you speak directly to their needs.