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Turn Your Features into Benefits and Your No-Sales into Profit


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One of the most common mistakes small businesses make in their advertising and marketing is focusing on the features of their product or service instead of its benefits.

Sometimes this happens because a small business can't afford an ongoing relationship with an ad agency and ends up doing their advertising and marketing in-house or on a sporadic basis. Other times, it's just because they simply get bad advice.

Do you ever make this mistake? If so, don't feel're in good company. Because even the most seasoned copywriters sometimes get "features" and "benefits" mixed up - but there's really nothing hard about it. The simple difference between the two is that "features" focus on the facts about the product/service (like specifications), while "benefits" focus on the customer's experience of the product/service (how it will make them feel).

For example, let's say you were selling orthodontic and cosmetic dentistry services. Your features list might look something like this:

- Over 30 years in business

- Offers a broad range of orthodontic and cosmetic services

- Provides excellent customer service

To translate these features into benefits, you need to put yourself in your customer's shoes. Think about why those features would be important to the customer; how those features would make their lives better, richer, easier, longer; what emotions those features would make them feel. Then we'd turn the above features into benefits that would read something like this:

- You can trust us to take good care of your teeth

- We can make you feel great about your smile and yourself

- We care deeply about our patients and treat you with the utmost respect

Why is concentrating on features bad, and concentrating on benefits good? Well, take another look at the features...lots of companies can make those very same claims (i.e. experience, selection, customer service). They do nothing to set you apart.

But look at the benefits section: These get to the core of what your customer needs to hear in order to buy your product/service. Benefits appeal to them on an emotional level...the level where most people make their buying decisions.

But before you start developing your sales message, here's one watch out....

Be sure to focus on one or two benefits. If you try to cram as much into your message as you can, your customer will be confused, overwhelmed, and won't get what you're trying to say anyway. Remember and repeat after me...the simpler the message the better. Find your core message and sell the heck out of it, but don't muddy up the waters with too much information.

Perhaps most importantly, focusing on the benefits makes your advertising more about your customer, and your customer's desires.

And that's one powerful message.

(c) Copyright 2008, Donna Williams, All rights reserved.

About the Author

Donna Williams is the founder and creator of - a website dedicated to helping small businesses grow to their maximum potential. She is also a 25-year advertising / marketing executive, creative director, writer, and producer. Together, Donna and her husband currently own and co-own five small businesses. You can read more of Donna's articles at her website

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-09-24 19:38:56 in Marketing Articles

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