When you made the big decision to start your business, it was most likely based on the fact that it was something you knew how to do and you had the hope people would pay money for this product or service. When it came time to start marketing your business, you threw together 2-3 really cool things about why your stuff is great. You put it on a coupon, posted up this information on your Facebook fan page or maybe even used in it a radio campaign with your favorite local station.
Having spent way too many years working with businesses on their marketing plans, I’m going to bet you one month’s revenue that you just spent an awful lot of your marketing budget on a campaign about your product’s features. Don’t be upset about wasting all that money – we’ve all done it. It’s called the ‘expensive lessons I’ve learned while running a business.’
But today is a new day and we’re moving forward with your new look on marketing. We’re going to learn how to start focusing on your service or product’s benefits so our future marketing efforts will actually work and bring you more customers.
Why do we need to know this?
Despite the detailed information you’ve provided on your website, people are not signing up for your offers, not engaging with your social media programs and maybe just a few are actually walking into the door of your store.
What are you doing wrong? You just can’t get more of your potential customers to buy your stuff. Does this sound familiar?
I’m going to share with you one of the biggest marketing secrets to make more sales. When you focus on the features of your services or products, your marketing efforts won’t work. Most business owners assume your customers will understand WHY they should buy your stuff just because they’ve been told about what you’re selling.
What is the difference between a Feature and a Benefit?
To put it simply, a feature is a statement about your service or product. If you were to complete the About Our Products/Services in your website, what would you put in the descriptive section?
If it were a product, you would describe its size, color and something unique about the product like the fact its energy efficient. For a service, you’d use phrases like ‘20 year veteran in the marketing industry,’ ‘manage email campaigns for a Fortune 500 company’ or ‘family-owned business since 1970.’ Unless you’ve skewed the facts to make your company look better, all of these things could be proven as factual statements about your business’ products and services.
Most business owners confuse this list of your company’s facts with benefits. To find out your company’s benefits, you’ll need to answer this question, “What’s in it for me?” How does this benefit help your customers turn your service into a want and not just something they need?
Let’s look at these examples:
People don’t buy minty mouthwash with fluoride (feature) – they buy the mouthwash for clean fresh breath and to help them prevent cavities (benefit).
People don’t buy a custom pool package that includes a screen enclosure (feature) – they buy an outdoor entertainment area to increase their family fun time (benefit).
People don’t buy a car with special anti-lock brakes that stops itself (feature) – they buy a car with the technology that can brake for you, stabilize your car or warn you if you are getting tired (benefit).
People don’t want to buy your product or services. They want to buy solutions for their problems. They want to know how your features can provide them with a specific outcome to make their lives easier.
Thank about a way to tell your story through your features and benefits. Keep asking yourself the question, “What’s in it for me?” until you find the answers where you connect with your customers on an emotional level. Only then can your products and services turn from just something they need into something they want. And most likely, will pay more money to get what they want and not just need.
Photo credit: Market Hall