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What kind of language do you use to talk about your business? Do you know what is the difference between features and benefits in your communication?
What are features?
Many business owners try to promote their business by talking about features. Features describe the function of what a product or service does. For example, if you were selling a car, a feature approach is that it has 222 horsepower, all wheel drive, power steering and side impact beams. The thing about features is that they don’t connect the dots between what you do and what it does for your customer. And most potential customers don’t make the connection on their own.
What are benefits?
Benefits, on the other hand, speak about what is in it for the customer. Going back to the car analogy, it would be talking about feeling because your children are protected by the safety features or being confident driving in bad weather because of the differential steering.
Test your own marketing materials
I find myself falling into the pattern of talking about features or the “here is what I do” so I make a point of taking a step back and analyze the way I describe my business. Here is a quick exercise that will show you in a visual way whether you used feature based communication or benefits based communication.
Take a look at your website, brochures, business card and other marketing material either as you create them or when they are done. In fact, I encourage you to take one copy of each communication piece and 2 colored pens. Circle with one color all the times that you use features to talk about your business and then use the other color for when you use benefits language in your marketing communications.
Studies have shown that people tend to make decisions based on emotion (the connection with what’s in it for them – or benefits) and then justify their decisions with facts (the features).
I’d love to hear what you discover as you work on and review how you talk about your business in networking and marketing communications.
*They* say it takes 30 days to start a new habit. I must admit that it took less than 30 days for good intentions to be displaced by other things that had hard deadlines, were more exciting or were standing right in front of me. Moving and renovating this summer didn’t help… and then I felt so behind in posting that it was easy to get stuck in not restarting.
I have realized (through working with my amazing coach) that I tend to be pretty hard on myself. I have an idea in my head of what I should be doing and sometimes beat myself up about not getting there. The thing about perfectionism is that it takes my professionalism and dedication to excellence and stops me in my tracks. So instead of getting mostly what I want done, I will start lagging behind. Seriously. Check the date of my last post…
So here’s to kickstarting a new habit, with grace. Here is what helped me get going again:
– Recognizing where I get in my own way of success
– Redefining what success looks like
– Reconnecting with why this is important to me
– Tapping into expertise to get help where needed (I went to a great seminar by Paul Holmes, self professed social media and WordPress Enthusiast. He gave a great overview of how the context of communication has changed for business and dug a little into some of the tools out there. You can find out more about him and his company at paulholmes.ca or IdeaZone.ca. A big thank you to Cambie Village Merchants Association for bringing in Paul from Victoria for the great seminar and Canadian Federation for Independent Business for sponsoring the event.
– Taking a first step. Posting this blog. I am a big believer in starting with a small win. Yay. Clicking “Publish” now…