Writing effective advertising, web, or social media content is vital to customers making a purchasing decision or even visiting your establishment. Professional copywriters are trained to focus on benefits first and features later to drive sales.
Benefits vs. Features
So what are benefits and features and why is one more important to focus on than the other? A feature is a detail, such as hours of operation, a particular specification, or an ingredient. A benefit is the problem your product or service solves for a customer or addresses need a customer didn’t know they had.
A benefit, as the website enchantingmarketing.com puts it, is the “So what?” of your messaging. Let’s say your plumbing business boasts “24-hour service” in its web copy. Being available all hours is considered a feature, or a detail, of the business. You can turn that feature into a benefit by speaking to the customer’s needs and concerns: “A leaking water heater at midnight can ruin more than your sleep. We’ll come to the rescue at any hour.” You’re now speaking to a problem that might arise and your ability to take care of it.
Think of new vehicle advertising. Those ads don’t begin by looking under the hood or telling you towing capacity. Instead, you get a shot of a pickup climbing up a steep rock pile, a luxurious sedan pulling up to a theater opening, or a family unloading camping equipment by a pristine lake. The benefit addressed is, “This new vehicle will allow you to lead an active, elegant, or adventurous lifestyle.”
Why does so much marketing messaging seem to focus on features instead of benefits? First of all, features are easy to relate, and as a business owner, you know the features of your product or service better than anyone. So we end up reaching for stock phrases such as convenient location, the best service in town, and all the most popular brands in stock. When you find yourself writing about a feature you’ve read somewhere else, you need to focus on benefits instead. Simply put, benefits drive sales:
- “Tired of back-and-forth calls with your mechanic? We can give you a quote, service updates, and payment method through our simple-to-use app. It saves you time and keeps you updated through every step of service. You just show up and drive away.”
- “Waiting rooms are a pain. Call our urgent care desk before you come in and we’ll give you an available arrival time and will see you within five minutes of that time.”
- “Loyalty programs are too complicated. Your fifth coffee order is on us and we’ll keep track of it for you.”
Writing about benefits takes a few more words and a bit of creativity, but when you focus on customer needs and desires, you can transform your feature-driven messages into benefits that will result in more sales.
Help is Available
Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network advisors can assist you in developing and executing marketing strategies, including social media and web-based approaches. All Wyoming SBDC Network services are completely confidential and offered at no cost to Wyoming residents. Click here to contact your local Wyoming SBDC Network advisor.
About the Author: Paul spent 25 years with an entrepreneurial-minded small business in the educational publishing market that attained an international footprint and experienced sustained, substantial growth. As a long-time member of the executive team with LinguiSystems, Inc., he served as Editor-in-Chief and Chief Marketing Strategist. Johnson most recently held the position of Instructional Technology Educational Specialist with University of Wyoming Extension developing and administering all of Extension’s online programmatic and educational efforts.