The Difference Between Features and Benefits

When writing any communication for your business, the first step is to understand the difference between your features and benefits.

Whether this is for products you sell, or services that you offer, this distinction is the most important step for selling. After all, if you can’t describe to your prospective customers or clients why they should buy your products/services over others, you’re not going to make any sales.

Here is a simple way to work out the features and benefits for your business.

What are features?

• Features are facts about your product or service.
• They can be product details, or perhaps parts of your service.
• They aid in the credibility of your product.
• They show HOW your product or service will help.

What are Benefits?

• Benefits are the effects of your product or service to your customer.
• They talk to your ideal customer’s desires and emotions.
• They are the reason WHY your customer should want to buy from you – they focus on the results your customer will have.
• They are the answer to the problem your customer faces.
• They answer the question “What’s In It For Me?” (WIIFM).

Let’s use my toaster as an example. For each feature, add the phrase “which means that” to the end and you should end up with a benefit….

Features of My Toaster:

  • It can handle four slices of toast…
  • It has a defrost button…
  • It has a cancel button…
  • There is a removable shelf for the crumbs…

Benefits of My Toaster:

  • I can cook four slices of toast at once, which means that I can make more breakfast in quicker time. BENEFITS = SAVES TIME, FASTER TOAST.
  • I can use frozen bread straight from the freezer and simply press the defrost button, so that if I’m in a rush in the morning it saves me a step from freezer – breakfast. BENEFITS = MAKES BREAKFAST EASIER, SAVES TIME IN THE MORNING, HAVE TOAST WHENEVER YOU WANT
  • If someone calls my phone or rings the doorbell mid-toast and I don’t want the toast to be done and go cold, I can quickly press the cancel button and start it again later. BENEFIT = CONVENIENCE, STOPS WASTE
  • When I am cleaning my toaster, I don’t have to take the whole thing to the bin to empty, I can just remove the crumb shelf and empty into the bin. BENEFIT = SAFETY, CONVENIENCE, MAKES CLEANING EASY

Another way to think of benefits are in terms of answering desires. These are things like saving time, saving money, making more money, making you more happier, making you more healthier, etc. Often desires are linked to emotions, so if you add into the benefit the emotion that they will feel, it makes it even more powerful.

True Benefits of My Toaster:

  • When my children are starving, I can cook ALL their toast at once, meaning they both get their breakfast at the same time and I don’t have a tantrum on my hands. Everyone is happy.
  • When I am rushing to get ready in the morning, I don’t have to add another step to my breakfast making, by defrosting the bread – I can simply put it straight in from the freezer, meaning I am less stressed by the whole morning routine!
  • If I am disturbed while I am making toast, I can quickly press cancel, ready to start the toast making again. Instead of being upset that my toast cooked and went cold, I am happy and enjoying the freshly cooked toast for when I can eat it.
  • When I need to clean my toaster, I’m not worried about having to unplug it and take it to the sink/bin to shake it upside down. Instead I’m relieved to know that I can just empty the shelf easily and know that it’s much safer and not going to catch fire.

So, the formula is FEATURE + RESULTS = BENEFITS.

I hope that helps you the next time you need to work out the benefits of the products or services for your business.

If you’d like a chat about how I can work with you to write better communications and content for your business, click here to contact me.

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