There are two primary approaches you can take to market on your website. The first approach focuses on what your product/service is and what it is comprised of, while the second approach focuses on how your product/service can improve the lives of your clients. The words for these approaches are features and benefits.
Positioning Your Services as a Feature
Describing your service by its features is what most business owners and marketing reps do. On their website, they try to enlighten the visitors about the services they render with emphasis on the shiny bells and whistles the business has developed to make the product or service stand out from the competition.
Features represent the facts about a product or service. Presenting features to prospective customers helps them understand that the product or service you are offering them has special things that may not be found in similar services from the competition. It will add credibility and substance to the sales pitch, but that is probably all it can do.
It reminds me of when I purchased my first laptop back in 2007 before shipping off to college. 1+ inches thick, 13lbs, it could do EVERYTHING. But the one that stands out is that it could inscribe labels into the CDs you burned. I never once used that feature. Or most of them really…
Positioning Your Service as a Benefit
Many find this approach challenging to implement. On your website, you try to let the customers understand how your product or service can impact their lives. This method goes beyond highlighting the latest improvements you have made and focuses on the outcomes or results that users can experience by using your products.
Benefits represent the reasons prospective customers should come for your products or services rather than the other options they have. While it makes little or no reference to what the competition offers, it emphasizes the real problems your products and services can solve for the consumer. It will not appear too sophisticated on the surface, but positioning your service as a benefit explains the very reason why prospective customers should become actual customers.
Benefits versus Features: Which Is More Efficient?
Determining the best approach to marketing can be a little difficult as it doesn’t work for all businesses. In most instances, positioning your services as benefits works better than trying to brandish the features. This is because most buyers don’t buy stuff for the sake of buying. They could generally care less about the features once they understand how the products or services can make their lives easier.
Imagine This Simple Scenario
You walk up to an electronic shop to buy an evaporative air cooler such as a Dyson or Frigidaire, which you know very little about. You tell the salesperson what you need, and he starts talking about the features of a particular model. “This model features honeycomb cooling pads, water tank capacity of 50 liters, and operates at 1,000 CMF.”
While the information presents the facts about the air cooler, it is not very useful to you as a consumer. In fact, the information will be useless to you if you know nothing about air coolers and how they operate. This is a typical example of what a feature-based marketing approach represents. Unfortunately, it is what most people do with their website, albeit unknowingly.
Now, imagine contacting another seller and they tell you that a particular model cools the room faster, doesn’t require you to always fill the water tank every day, and can efficiently cool a large room of up to 500 sq. ft.
While the information doesn’t sound too deep, it gives you the real reasons you should buy the machine. It doesn’t really compare the machine to others but emphasizes the benefits you will hopefully get by buying that particular model. This is what a benefit-based approach to marketing entails.
Which of the two approaches do you think will convince you to buy? In most instances, the benefit approach trumps the feature approach because it is far more practical.
How Do You Position Your Service As A Benefit Rather Than A Feature?
Some marketers erroneously assume that it will be challenging to position certain services as benefits. There is a simple rule that makes converting features to benefits easier. If you can answer the ‘so what?’ question, you can easily do this.
- ‘This model has honeycomb cooling pads,’ ‘so what?’ ‘It cools the air faster.’
- ‘The water tank capacity is 50 liters’, so what?’ ‘it makes it easier to maintain.’
- ‘It operates at 1,000 CMF’, so what?’, it can efficiently cool a large room.’
Positioning your services as a benefit will make it easier for prospective customers to understand why they need it. This doesn’t mean the feature-based approach is ineffective. There are specific products that sell better when informed buyers see the features they offer. You can also achieve a lot by mixing the two approaches to appeal to all types of customers/clients.