At first glance, the benefits & features of your small business’s products and services might seem very similar. But there are subtle differences between both categories. And those can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your small business marketing.
You might remember that old phrase “show, don’t tell” from English class at school, and this is sort of like the grown-up, business version of that. You want to show customers what benefits your business can bring to them, rather than simply tell them what features your products or services have.
What’s the difference between the two?
Benefits are essentially the positive reasons why someone would want to buy from your small business. They describe the ways in which your products or service will make the customer’s life easier, and will show what they can gain from working with you.
Let’s take, for example, a cleaning business. People who use cleaners (either in the home or for business use) are often too busy to do it themselves. Or they have too big an area for one person to cover or simply would rather someone else did the hard work for them.
In this case, the benefits would be that the cleaning company would save you time and effort, allowing you to get on with your busy life without worrying about the cleaning. Another benefit is that they have an expert team and lots of manpower to get the job done quickly – and do it well.
Features, on the other hand, are straightforward facts about your products or services. They describe exactly what you offer and what each product or service includes.
Going back to the cleaning business, this might mean a three-hour cleaning slot includes hoovering, dusting, mopping, and cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, by one expert cleaning employee. This tells us exactly what’s included in a cleaning session, but it doesn’t tell us why it’s useful or why they should work with you.
How to figure out your benefits & features
Now that you have a basic idea of what benefits and features are, it’s time to sit down and figure out what yours are.
Starting with the benefits, have a think about the ways your products or services can help your ideal customer:
- What solutions are you offering?
- How are your making customers’ lives easier?
- What will people gain from using your products or services?
Benefits cover the more abstract concepts, rather than the practical XYZ of features. So be creative and think carefully about how your ideal clients can benefit from using your small company.
Then it’s time to think about the features of your products or services:
- What are the key services or products you’re offering?
- What’s included in each product or service, and what makes them stand out from competitors?
- Do you use the latest technology or techniques?
Your features should describe exactly what your small business does and how you do it, focusing on the key selling points of each product or service. It’s useful to consider your USP here. This is what makes your offering different from your competitors.
Learn more about what a USP is (and why you need one!) here.
How to use your benefits & features
At first glance, they seemed quite similar. But now that we’ve broken it down, it’s easy to see that benefits and features are actually very different.
Both are very useful for marketing your small business and attracting customers. But use them carefully to make sure you’re sending out the right message in the right place.
Benefits are best suited for creating an overall marketing message. They show why a customer should choose you (whether it’s to save them time, save them money, or provide a specific solution to a problem they have). So they are ideal for attracting new customers.
Use your benefits in advertising materials, social media posts and email newsletters to make it easy for people to see what they would gain from using your products or services.
When it comes to features, these are really important for ensuring someone takes the step from an interested observer to paying customer.
It’s all well and good saying “we can save you time and leave your house spotless”. But potential customers are unlikely to hire your cleaning company unless they know the finer details. How long will a session last, what type of cleaning is included and what sort of equipment do you use?
Use your features to create a really informative website, or create a welcome pack for new customers. You can also keep previous customers interested in your business by letting them know when you have new and improved features.
To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
How to Write Compelling Copy in 12 Steps
How I Found My Ideal Client & What I Learned Along the Way
Actionable Marketing Copy: How to Convert More Leads for Your Small Business
Stop! What are you Actually Selling?