You love what you’re doing, don’t you?
When you talk about your business, you have a sparkle in your eye.
You love sharing your knowledge. And your enthusiasm is contagious. That’s what your friends and clients tell you.
But are knowledge and enthusiasm enough to sell your products or services?
Imagine you haven’t cycled for years
And you really don’t know much about bikes.
But you want to get fit again, and biking seems fun.
You go to your local bike store and tell the super-sporty-looking shop assistant you’re looking for a bicycle to tour around the area. Leisurely.
He tells you full of enthusiasm a hybrid would be ideal and shows you a few popular models. This one has 24 gears and it has cantilever brakes. That one has a Shimano drivetrain and disc brakes. And here’s a model currently on offer – it has an aluminum frame and hydraulic disc brakes.
You have no idea what the guy is talking about. He makes you feel stupid. You feel like running home and giving up your plan about getting fit again.
It happens all the time on websites.
Websites are full of features, specifications, and technical details. But quite often they forget to tell readers what’s in it for them.
What’s your website like? Full of features? Or are you telling your readers what these features mean for them?
Summary: The difference between features vs benefits
- Features are facts about products or services; they add credibility and substance to your sales pitch
- Benefits give customers a reason to buy because they explain how your product or service improves their lives
- To translate features into benefits, answer the question “So what?”
Persuasive copy requires a mix of features and benefits. Imagine you’re selling an oven. One of its special features is a fast preheat system. Fast pre-heating is a feature, because it’s a fact about the oven – it explains what the oven does.
Example: To define a benefit you ask yourself So what? :
The oven preheats quickly.
It’s quickly ready to start cooking your lasagna.
Your food is on the table sooner.
Life is less stressful. There’s less hanging around the kitchen waiting for the oven to get ready. And you don’t have to worry you might forget to preheat your oven.
The So what? trick works in any industry:
- Our doors have strong hinges. So what? They won’t bend when the door is slammed shut a thousand times.
- We monitor your servers. So what? Your servers won’t go down, so you and your staff can continue working.
- I write high-converting web copy. So what? You can convert more web visitors into leads and business.
Read through your website and ask for each statement So what? Keep asking So what? to find real benefits.
Real benefits connect to your customer’s desires, such as saving time; reducing costs; making more money; becoming happier, healthier, more relaxed, or more productive.
Let’s say you design beautiful kitchens. You can answer So what? in different ways:
- You’ll have a kitchen where you can relax and feel at home.
- You’ll enjoy your cooking more.
- You can impress your neighbors with the latest kitchen gadgets.
What do your clients really want to achieve? What are they dreaming of?
You can only sell with real benefits if you know what your audience wishes, desires, and secretly dreams of.
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Features and benefits are boring
Let’s go back to the local bike store.
The super-sporty-looking guy is now explaining both features and benefits of the bike on offer: These brakes are good, so even in the rain they brake well. The bike has 24 gears, so whether you go uphill, downhill, or cycling on a flat surface you’ll be able to find the right gear. The ergonomic saddle remains comfortable even after a couple of hours of cycling.
You now get what each feature means, and his pitch is far more persuasive than when he was simply rattling off features. But, while the sales guy keeps talking about everything that’s so good about the bike, the brand, the warranty and so on, your mind is slowly wandering off.
An abundance of positive information is rather monotonous and dull. It lulls readers to sleep. To keep your reader’s attention, you need to introduce a problem now and then.
People want to avoid problems and glitches. They don’t want to get any hassle.
So rather than be positive all the time, you introduce a problem, and you immediately draw your reader’s attention.
Almost any feature can be translated into a problem you help avoid:
- These disc brakes won’t slip when they get muddy.
- The bike has 24 gears, so you don’t have to worry about struggling uphill – you can use the lowest gear.
- The saddle is comfy, so you won’t get a sore butt after cycling 20 or 30 miles.
Should you mention a straightforward benefit or the avoidance of a problem? That depends on your reader. What interests her more — gaining a benefit or avoiding hassle? If you’re not sure, ask your customers or test different web copy.
How to describe features and benefits on your website
Your readers are in a hurry as they still need to write a blog post, catch up with the latest news, and cook dinner for tonight.
You have to grab their attention quickly while their cursor is hovering over the back button.
- Highlight a key benefit (or problem you avoid) in your headline or subhead
- Use bullet points to list a series of features and benefits, because they’re easy to scan; mention the most important points first or last
- Avoid technical language your reader doesn’t understand
How to seduce your web visitors
Your biggest asset as business owner is empathy.
Sneak into your client’s minds.
Learn what they secretly dream of. Understand how you can fulfill their wishes and desires. And how you can help them avoid trouble and hassle.
When you connect your know-how and enthusiasm to your client’s desires, the magic happens. Your business will grow. You can increase your fees. You can drop difficult clients. And have more fun.