What’s the difference between features and benefits?

    Posted on October 9, 2020

     

    It’s often said than in sales, a sure sign of a rookie marketer is that all they talk about is what their product is and what it does. They’ll tell us what material it’s made of, what buttons it has and what it’s capable of doing. This information might be useful, but they’re forgetting something important.

    When writing sales copy or pitching a business, if all you talk about is a product’s features, you’re looking at it from the wrong angle – the seller’s angle. What you need to consider is the customer’s angle. What problem does your customer have that your product or service can solve? How is it a means to an end for them? This is where we start thinking about benefits.

    To use an example, here’s a picture of my mobile phone charger. Like most people, I need a phone charger, but the charger itself is not the holy grail. It’s certainly not a device of great beauty, is it? The reason I have one, and the reason I would need to buy a new one if I lost or broke it, is because it’s the means for charging my phone.

    In other words, although I have a phone charger, I don’t actually want one! What I want is a fully charged phone.

    So, to create sales copy for a phone charger, we need to look not so much at the charger as an object, but the solution it offers to the customer’s problem. That means we need to consider the ways in which the charger helps achieve the customer’s goal of charging their phone.

    We’re now thinking about the benefits of the charger. Some of them include:

    • Function – it works! It’s compatible with my phone, fits comfortably into its charging port and restores it to its battery power reasonably quickly. Once it’s connected, it doesn’t need any supervision, so I can go off and do something else while my phone is charging.
    • Versatility – the 13-amp plug means it’s compatible with any of the standard mains sockets we use in the UK, but I can also detach the cable from the plug and connect it to a USB port in my computer. This gives me plenty of flexibility, and means that wherever I am, there are plenty of convenient ways I can charge my phone.
    • Portability – the charger is small enough to fit in a bag or even a coat pocket. If it were the size of a desktop computer, it would be much more cumbersome, so its size means I can easily take it to work, a hotel or a friend’s house and charge my phone wherever I go.
    • Safety – it’s electronically tested, so touch wood, it shouldn’t catch fire when performing its role!

    In short, features tell, but benefits sell, and this is a maxim you can carry to any product or service. At Engage Web, we encourage clients not just to tell us that they want a website, a Facebook page, a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign or any other service we can help them with, but also why they want it and what they hope to gain from it*. It’s by doing this that we can come to an informed decision on the recommendations and strategies we set for them.

    Benefits over features is a phrase we always have in mind when producing sales copy, and in turn, we understand that what you really want is not sales copy, but sales! For advice on how we can help you with this, why not give us a call?

    John Murray

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