Marketing Strategy & Pro Tips

Difference Between Features and Benefits: The Key to Selling

Posted by Chris Taglia on Jul 27, 2017 6:09:42 PM
Marketing Professional
difference between features and benefits

When it comes to online marketing, you want to list your product's features and benefits that will entice your customers. However, most of the time, only a list of features is presented, because it is difficult to determine the difference between features and benefits. Features that your product or service offers are very informative to the customer, but it will be the benefits to the customer that give you the key advantage in converting viewers into customers. 

What are Features and Benefits

  • Features are statements about a product or service, as to what it does or can do.
  • Benefits show the end result of what the product or service can accomplish.

As far as telling the difference between features and benefits, let’s take a look at this example:

By saying secured and encrypted transactions, it’s actually a feature, not a benefit. How does being secure actually help the potential buyer? The benefit is when consumers feel their important information is secure; they are 85% more likely to make a purchase with them compared to a non-secured site. This will boost online sales and give them higher returns on their marketing efforts.

Advantages can also be confused with features and benefits. Advantages are what the feature does to ultimately result in a benefit to the consumer.

For example, faster transactions (feature) means that making purchases online are easier and more convenient for customers (advantage), which in return keeps 57% of visitors from abandoning their shopping carts because that’s how many leave after waiting just 3 seconds (benefit). Be sure to identify and understand the differences between features, advantages and benefits.

The biggest game changer to the customer will be in the benefits, as this portrays a level of emotion. By showing benefits they can relate to, this will affect their decision to purchase. Take the eCommerce example above, the fast secured transactions is a positive feature, but online business owners will relate more to abandoned carts and not converting traffic into customers, and would want an immediate solution to fix this problem. The benefit will most likely be the deciding factor, showing you have the much needed solution to the website owner's problem.

Why the feature-only push is ineffective

Being able to show your audience the benefits is far more effective than telling them about the features. The features focus on factual information, whereas the benefits focus on the emotional levels and being able to relate with the product.

For instance, the technical specs on a laptop may not make sense to a customer looking to purchase a laptop, unless they are familiar with computers. However, the benefits of better photo quality, and more storage for photos, music, and videos will be what the customer can relate to.

To the average customer, most of the features of the technical specifications will be confusing and difficult to understand if this is the only information they are receiving about the product. Feature-only marketing can lead into misconceptions of your product. It puts the burden of understanding and further research back onto the potential buyer. The customer is left trying to connect the dots to figure out how this will benefit them. They may then draw up their own conclusions, which may potentially be the wrong ones, and cost you a lost sale.

Transforming Your Features into Benefits

Listing features while transforming them into benefits is the process that will achieve the best results. To do this, inform the audience of the features and simply tell them how this will benefit them. Here are some examples:

  • The gas mileage on a car is a feature; the amount of money you can save on gas is a benefit.
  • Pockets on the front of a sweater is a feature; having a place for your keys and keeping your hands warm in the winter are both the benefits.
  • Home delivery is a feature; not having to disrupt your schedule to go to the store is a benefit.

Any product features can be turned into benefits. By doing this, you are able to connect to your customer easier and learn what they are looking for in a product, which will allow you to better assist them and better update your product in the future.

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Show your Benefits through Examples

When you show your product or service, think of it as storytelling. When you describe a scenario and examples of your work, you are engaging the audience and this will leave them feeling emotionally connected.

Like any good story, use an example of how there was an issue that your method would be able to solve. Then your brand becomes the hero, and your audience is well connected to your story and how your brand is the needed solutions.

An example of this would be if a dermintologist tells a story of a patient that had a horrible complexion due to acne, and the acne was preventing her from wanting to be around other kids and lowering her selfesteem. After her treatment, her confidence increased dramatically and she went to the school dance with his new boyfriend. This is the benefit, the dermintologist was able to solve the problem and establish a connection that relates to the targeted audience.

Benefiting your Targeted Audience

Determine who your targeted audience is by knowing what crowd your products and services are going to appeal to most.

Your products and services should change depending on the specific needs of that targeted customer.

For example, a company offering low cost organizational materials can appeal to all types of crowds. College students want a place for storing clothes and food items, and a family wants to organize their kids’ toys and recreational items. It's common that mulitple audiences will share some of the same needs, such as your product will reduce the chances of injury due to tripping and falling.

While your products and services you offer are the same, your approach with the two different buyers may differ in relation to their specific uses for the products. So, making relatable solutions for the customer’s specific needs is what the focus should be on. How each of them are going to benefit from your products and services.

Connecting on an Emotional Level

Emotional benefits can come from features that your customers have made a personal connection to (not a practical connection), giving them a different reason to invest in your brand.

  • For instance, a hand-crafted piece of jewelry appeals to a customer because its one of a kind and no one else will have that same piece.
  • Another example of this is when a customer has a personal connection, such as wanting to purchase an RV to be able to travel to specific places of significant importance to them.
features-and-benefits-examples-weight-loss.jpg

Using Images to Reinforce Your Benefits

Images and visuals of the benefits give credibility to your product and services. When the viewers can see results of what it can do for them, it has more significance. Pictures of what your product or service can do makes them more desirable, your testimonials more believable, and your benefits seem more tangible.

  • When a fitness instructor talks about cutting fat in their excerise class, as well as images of what you can look like to after just a few classes, it makes the product more desirable to viewers.
  • Also, when a construction company shows the before and after images of a project they had done, it shows how they are able to make improvements to an existing home or business.

Pictures and images are very effective in presenting the benefits of products and services their company can provide to the public.

In Conclusion

When presenting your brand, it is important to know the difference between features and benefits & combining both is the most effective use of your marketing efforts. A list of features can help with factual information, but explaining the benefits is a far more effective way in terms of the customer relating to your product or service. Telling a story of real-life scenarios, viewing images that entice, connecting on a personal & emotional level, and important statistics that reinforce the benefit are the best ways to close that sale and connect to the customer for a long-term relationship.

If you need help understanding the buyer decision process, knowing your target audience, or maximizing your organic traffic for lead generation just give Tag Marketing a call now at...

773-680-6952We’re here to help your company reach its goals and we are want to grow with you. We have several offices in Illinois including Roselle, Chicago, Brookfield, and Bartlett.

 

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