Optimize Your Communications Messaging
Effective messaging taps into a person’s emotions – making a connection.
This connection drives their behavior to make a purchase. But how can this be accomplished? The key to successful copywriting is determining how to utilize the features and benefits of a product or service, to make that connection. What’s the difference between features and benefits? It’s where the sales game is won or lost. Let’s take a look at the differences and why they are so important.
The Difference between Features and Benefits
Features are the facts or qualities of a product or service.
Benefits are the result or a feeling the customer gets from buying or using the product or service.
Think about a vehicle sales ad that boasts a list of safety features like front and side impact airbags, anti-lock brakes, etc. Adjacent is an image of a toddler belted into the vehicle with text that might read something like how your precious cargo needs the best protection. While the safety features are important to mention, the connection is created by showing the customer the benefit they will receive after buying the vehicle. In this case, a safe ride for their family.
Features create benefits – Benefits make connections – Connections produce sales
Benefits are typically succinct words and images that trigger an emotion. They solve the customer’s problem, sometimes a problem they didn’t even know they had.
Successful Messaging Demonstrates Compelling Benefits
Remember that saying, a picture is worth a thousand words? Take a look at this clever print ad for Keloptic, an optician selling eyeglasses and sunglasses.
With just an image, this ad demonstrates the power of the Keloptic glasses – which can clearly reveal even the face of Van Gogh! This marketing strategy paid off with a benefits heavy approach. Sure, they could have listed some advanced product features. But this image triggered more, with a larger impact.
When to Highlight the Features
Good copywriting involves taking into account all aspects of the product or service, including the competition. When the competition is fierce, it’s important to take a different approach to the marketing message.
Restaurants, for example, have a lot of competition. The message must be optimized to highlight its features to attract more attention. Perhaps it has a delivery service, or appealing lunch specials. Emphasizing the features that set it apart from the competition is what will make the sale because the customer is already comparing it to other options.
In this approach, the features can be highlighted to create benefits. In this case of the restaurant, the benefits are convenience and cost savings.
The Pitfalls of Features Overkill
Remember Google Glass? A wearable, voice-activated smart phone resembling eyeglasses.
Time Magazine named it one of ‘The Best Inventions of the Year 2012’. It appeared that its success was imminent, boasting amazing and innovative features like no other product of its kind. So, what happened? Forbes.com reported the suggestion that ‘Google Glass suffered from a lack of effective marketing.’ It had a resume jam packed with astounding features but failed to give the audience a good enough reason to buy it. This is an example of a message with an overkill of features, without creating enough benefits.
Effective Messaging is a Balance
While features and benefits are quite different, taking the right approach to optimize the message is critical in order to create a connection with the customer. Each product or service is different and must be approached in a unique way to determine a successful message. As we know, customers who connect with the message will make the purchase. Plain and simple.