It was the perfect "Ah ha!" reaction to a discussion on features versus benefits. "On our website we talk a lot about what people get when they have us host their child's party. But when people talk to us after their child's party, they usually tell us how nice it was not to have to worry about putting on the party, that everything was taken care of, that it was so stress-free. So are you saying that we should be putting that kind of stuff on our website?"
Joy Burke had just finished a guest presentation on unique selling propositions in our Internet Marketing Workshop. She specifically addressed the difference between features and benefits and the attendees had a quick, but powerful discussion about this idea. Features are what you provide while benefits are what your customers receive. Features are logical while benefits are emotional. Features reinforce value while benefits sell. Both are necessary. Both are not equally intuitive. In fact, I would say that features are intuitive and benefits are not.
You probably have a pretty good idea of who you are and what you do or what you know. Likewise, for your business. These are your features. It might even be why you went into business. You were skilled at or knew something and figured people would hire you if they knew that. This is how most people promote their business.
Meanwhile, people do not hire you because you have a particular skill or knowledge. They hire you because that particular skill or knowledge can solve a problem for them that they cannot or do not want to solve themselves. These are the benefits you provide. The more you know about these problems, the better you can directly communicate and sell your solution. It takes research to determine your benefits. You need to understand the mindset of your customers, what their problems are, and why they hired you to solve it and would do so again.
In today's world, more than ever before, it is possible to get insight into the mindset of your customers. Your prospects and customers will be happy to give this to you through their search behavior, commentary online, emails, phone calls, requests for feedback, and, of course, personal interaction. The reaction at the beginning happened when Nancy, of Bee Bops & Lollipops, realized they had been getting this insight all along from their customers, but have not been leveraging it. Now they just need to turn that feedback into messaging that they can promote in order to more strongly resonate with their prospects and customers.