When it comes to writing for sales and business, you’ve probably heard people talk about the importance of ‘Features vs. Benefits’ – but, what do people mean by this? And why is it so important?
Features describe what you do as a business. Benefits SELL. There’s a famous saying in marketing you’ve probably heard before: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want to buy a way of making a quarter-inch hole” Theodore Levitt, Professor – Harvard Business School.
A ‘feature’ is a specific detail of what you actually provide to your customers in terms of your services or physical products. It’s the nitty-gritty of your offering. For example, the features of a hand car washing company would include a) they wash your car by hand instead of a machine, b) they use specialised car washing soap and c) they use high-pressure hot water.
A ‘benefit’ is the solution you are providing to your customer. For example, the benefits of the above hand car washing company could be a) because people are washing your car by hand, dirty marks can be easily identified and cleaned off, b) the specialised soap removes oil and grease, and protects your bodywork from erosion and c) the pressurised hot water is targeted at specific parts of your car and penetrates dirt from the road much more easily.
Sometimes, it can prove tricky pulling out the benefits from the features, and they may appear to overlap. More often, you will find a particular feature may have multiple benefits. Above all, it is always about customer needs. You need to present a solution to a problem for your customer to buy from you. They already know what you do – that’s why they’re looking at your website or reading your flyer. What your customer wants to know is why they should buy from YOU instead of your competitor. What is the main benefit of your offering as opposed to the features you provide?
Here’s a snapshot of a list I pulled together for one of my own clients to help them decipher a feature from a benefit:
Bookkeeping and accounting services.
Monthly Management accounts.
Tax Returns and advice.
We can help you manage your finances, so you can focus on running your business.
With streamlined accounting systems in place, you can run your business more efficiently, saving you time and money.
More time away from accounting gives you more time to focus on your customers.
We are able to monitor your accounts throughout the year on a monthly basis, which enables us to flag any potential issues before they arise and advise you in advance of any tax implications…
What ‘features and benefits’ does your business provide?
Look at the features vs. benefits of your own business – what attracts your customers? First, put yourself into the mindset of your ideal customer – who are they? How old are they? Where do they live? What are their needs? Write down ONE WAY your business benefits your customer.
Then, make a list of all of the features and benefits your business provides, and keep hold of this for when you come to write your next marketing campaign.
If you need help writing for business, marketing and sales, please call Louisa Sando-Patel on 01455 44473 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Abstract Drilling Wood With A Special Bit – Carpentry Tool” by bugtiger
“Benefits Key Showing Bonus Perks Or Rewards” by Stuart Miles
Image credit: Abstract drilling wood with a special bit – carpentry tool by Bugtiger