Features vs. Benefits - The Mystery Revealed

By: Butch Pujol

Whenever someone mentions advertising or sales you can be sure the phrase "features vs. benefits" will come up in short order. Everyone knows that phrase. Everyone knows that features don't sell, benefits do. However, exactly what is a benefit and how do you turn features into them?

Let's get some definitions set forth first. A feature is an attribute of a product or service. Web site hosting companies will often tell you there package offers "catch all" email addressing. That's a feature. That type of email is a mechanical part of the hosting package.

To determine the benefit, you look at how the catch all email adds value to the customer. In other words, "What's in it for me"?

The customer doesn't care about the mechanical feature of the hosting. What they do care about is how the catch all email can improve their life. Catch all email allows anything typed before the "@domainname.com" to go through the system and make it to the "primary" email box. The benefit of catch all email is that even messages with a misspelling in them make it through so you stay in contact with your customers. Every online business owner cares about that.

One of the most effective ways to derive benefits from features is to address problems or concerns your customers have.

Let's turn our attention to the ebook industry for a moment and define some concerns these customers might have.

When publishing an ebook, the concern is primarily about getting the information across to readers. It needs to be in a format they can readily access. While reading the sales copy for some ebook compilers, the phrase "no reader required" came up. This is a feature. It didn't mean much to me until I read the benefit

The benefit of "no reader required" is that the software is complete within itself. Unlike some ebook compilers that require the ebook purchaser to download special software in order to view the book, this feature offered the benefit of being all-inclusive. As soon as the book was downloaded, the customer could begin reading without further delays. That spoke to the concern and answered the question, "What's in it for me".

As you can probably tell by now, the benefits are what make a difference to your customer. The benefits - more or less - explain why the feature is important. This is why benefits have selling power and most features do not.

Here are a few steps you can use when working with the features vs. benefits equation:

1. List the features of your product or service. (Catch All Email.)

2. Next, list the concerns or needs of your customers. If you don't know… ask them. (Being able to get emails even if misspellings or other mistakes occur.)

3. Next, ask yourself, "Why does this feature matter to my customer"? Write your answers on the list. (Catch all email allows you to stay in touch with your customers.)

4. Finally, take it one step further. As yourself, "What problem or concern can this feature address"? (You can know that any email sent to anyname@domainname.com will make it through to you.)

5. Write down the benefit.

By explaining your sales information in language the customer can understand you are helping them reach the point of purchase more quickly. So, the next time you create an adArticle Submission, be sure to focus on the information that's important to your customers… benefits.

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