Use features vs. advantages to increase your home business profits. You may not be interested in infomercials, but they offer a great lesson in understanding the features versus benefits of marketing and sales. These ads describe all their products’ great features and highlight how the product will improve your life (help). Special coated and heated (shape) cookware allows you to eat dinner faster, easier, and with less cleanup (benefit).
Unique, non-toxic formula (shape) cleaners remove every stain with one wash or wipe (benefit).
You need a good product or service to build a successful home business. But they are only valuable if you sell your product or service. That’s where marketing comes in. Many homeowners fall short because most entrepreneurial CEOs need a sales or marketing background, and their marketing efforts must produce the desired profits. That doesn’t mean you have to be an unreasonable salesperson or even do an infomercial. Instead, it means understanding the psychology of sales and tapping into what makes people buy. To do that, you need to know the difference between features and benefits.
What is a feature?
A feature is your information or service. If you sell handbags, your features include size, color, and material (i.e., leather) that make up your bag.
If you were selling actual support, that would be a list of tasks you can complete.
Your actions may include delivery or service to your customers. For example, free shipping or free technical support also features.
For many companies, a feature can be part of their unique selling proposition or what makes the product or service excellent.
The Apple iPod shuffle has 2 GB of audio, is about the size of a quarter, and comes in a variety of colors.
However, while buyers may want or need a feature, promoting it is not enough to entice people to buy.
What is the use?
A benefit is a value or results a buyer can get from a product or service. It answers the question, “What’s in it for me.” What is, for example, 2 GB of sound (feature) on the iPod Shuffle? That means having 500 songs (benefit) in the palm of my hand (use).
Why is knowing use features vs. advantages important?
In sales pitches, a story often told highlights features versus benefits. The story goes that a man wants to hang a picture on the wall. To do that, he has to drill a hole in the wall. He goes to his local hardware store to buy a drill. Dealer A shows the man a routine that is shiny, compact, with 10 different exercises, and it’s cordless. Salesman B shows the man a drill and says, “This will make a hole in the wall.” Does a man buy the exercise from sales representative B. Why? In this example, the shiny, condensed, 10-bit wireless information was focused on features but failed to complete what the person needed.
Salesman B sold the advantage that the drill would deliver; hole.
Ultimately, people buy solutions. They have a desire or a problem, and they believe the item that fulfills their need. Many business owners make the mistake of thinking buyers understand what a feature means in terms of success, and that’s often where their marketing could be better. In the drill example, the man might think the shiny compact drill was great, but what he wanted and needed was simply a hole.
A person may have a slightly portable device that transports their music, but they may need to learn what 2 GB of audio space means. They understand the storage of 500 songs (benefit).
How to use the odds versus the odds for marketing your home
Both features and benefits are essential in your marketing. Here’s how you can use them to increase the sale of your home.
- Understand your market. If you are a marketer buying something to solve a problem, you need to know what that problem is. For example, does he need a hole in the wall?
- Determine the reason for the market need. Many people may want to need your product, but not everyone will enjoy it for the same reason. In our example, the man required a hole to hang a picture, but another man might need a spot to hang a shelf or build a bookcase. Another person may need to drill to insert screws. The household includes parents who want to start working from home to stay home with children and retirees who wish to continue earning while they travel. Or some men are tired of the rat race and want to be their boss. They want to own a home business, but their reasons are different. These reasons can help you narrow your target audience and industry marketing materials that speak to your market.
- Make a list of products or service functions. What are the details of what you offer? What are the sizes or colors? What does it or do you do? What additional costs come with your product or service, such as free shipping, batteries, or a free consultation?
- Translate your features into benefits your market needs. 2 GB means 500 songs. The drill leads to a hole to hang a picture. Batteries included means you can use the product when you receive it. People often struggle, but it’s vital to create marketing materials that entice buyers. The trick is to look at your features and decide how it improves your buyer. What results will they get? Depending on the market, some features may have more than one benefit or different benefits. For example, one group may want to lose weight to look sexy, while another may want to lose weight to improve their health. So one group, you want to sell sexy as a benefit, and the other, you want to sell health.
- Think about the emotional aspect of returning your gifts. While people will consider features and benefits, ultimately, they buy on emotion. You want to tap into this feeling in your marketing. When you translate your features into an advantage, consider how the buyer will feel when they get the desired results. Put yourself in the shoes of your buyers and imagine what it would be like for them to reap the benefits of what you offer. That’s what you want to sell.
Create enticing marketing materials.
Once you understand your market and what it wants, and you have translated your features into benefits, you can now write marketing messages that attract the market and entice them to buy. Write from your buyer’s perspective, and create headlines, sales listings, ads, social posts, and other marketing materials that solve their problems and make them emotionally react to the solution. If you sell weight-loss products to people with health problems, paint a picture of a vibrant and whole life without weight problems and the health problems that come with it. Or, to sell your weight loss to a market that wants to look good, you could portray a picture of looking sexy on the beach. The goal is to enable them to have the experience of solving their problem or achieving their goal through your product or service.
When crafting marketing messages, remember that most consumers trust buying to solve a problem, achieve success, save time or money, and reduce hassle. You must consider how your actions can help your buyer in these areas.