Day 20 – Features & Benefits – What’s your Take?
It’s the age old marketing dilemma. Which elements of your business do you promote? The features, the benefits or both? I’ve seen many, many documents which detail only the features. Business owners or marketing executives who live and breathe their product and service often get caught up with the features of the product, how wonderful they are, how they differentiate their product from the competitors.
So they write information about how fantastic the product is and elaborate on the features. But as I discussed in Day 19, emotion plays a huge part in the buying process.
People buy because of the benefits of the product, not the features. Yes, the features are important but it’s the benefits that they are concerned about. Take painkillers for example. It’s the pain that buyers are concerned about. Can you alleviate the pain or not? They don’t really care if it’s in a white bottle, pink bottle, blue bottle or a tub. The question is how fast you can relieve the pain.
Benefits can almost be forgotten when you’re really excited about a product or service. I know, I’ve been there before. You think that the benefits are really fascinating and you almost begin to assume that the benefits are known because you’re talking about the features.
Yet often times you need to be specific and tell people about the benefits, not just leave it up to assumptions.
What are Features?
Features are the nuts and bolts of a product or service. It’s the engine, the accelerator, the steering wheel. It’s all the bits you can see and touch and feel and smell. It’s the facts of the product.
What are Benefits?
Benefits are the intangible. It’s the feeling you get when you use something. It’s the answer to the ‘So What?‘ question. It’s the reason why you buy the car with the BMW badge. It’s the warm and fuzzy sense you get when you assess the product.
Here are some examples to get your teeth into writing your own features and benefits:
Feature: Comes complete with a 5metre tube
Benefit: Reaching those hard to reach corners is a thing of the past with the 5metre tube
Feature: 15 number speed dial
Benefit: Reducing time and keystokes calling your favourite numbers
Feature: Open 365 days a year
Benefit: You can now go on holidays
I heard John Carlton, the guru of copy-writing, once say that men write features, women write benefits. He often gets copy from women and after reading pages, is still unclear about what the product or service is. But he knows how he’ll feel when he buys it!
I thought that was rather funny, because no matter what you’re selling, you do need to include both features and benefits. Just don’t labour the features bit.
Day 20 – Homework
Today’s article was a short article deliberately. Take an extra five minutes and click on five competitor websites.
Go to their service page and home page.
Is their content feature-laden? Is it written with the customer in mind? Are the benefits clear?
Take this information that you find out and make it work for your copy. Start writing benefit-led copy.