• Writing Product and Service Descriptions: Features vs Benefits

Features vs. Benefits

Having a great product or service is step one. After that, you have to find a way to poetically string together groups of words to not just describe what the product or service is, but also to sell the potential client on it. A well-written product or service description relates to the consumer, explains how it can resolve their problem, and ultimately makes them want to purchase. A big part of achieving this is in carefully choosing which features and benefits to include. This post will compare and contrast features and benefits, and explain the role they play in an excellent product or service description.

 

Features vs. Benefits

What Are Features?

Features are the factual statements that help define certain qualities and characteristics about a product or service. They usually extend into the technical realm if it applies (dimensions, weight, etc.). Here are a few examples of features:

•  TV’s resolution and refresh rate

•  Fuel mileage of a car

•  Weight of a tennis racket

•  Type of food (non-GMO or organic, for example)

The biggest difference between a feature and a benefit is that features work on a factual level and don’t carry as much selling influence as benefits typically do. That being said, they do have their place in marketing and can help generate sales when used correctly.

When writing a product or service description, you must first define which features make it unique. Once you’ve done that, determine which ones your target market is most interested in while carrying the highest selling appeal.

For product and service descriptions, pick the features that are deemed the most valuable to searching consumers. They can help set you apart from the competition by focusing on the higher quality characteristics and strong selling points that are the most important for problem-solving.

What Are Benefits?

Benefits highlight the reasons that a consumer would buy a product or service. They show an end result and identify with customers from the “what’s in it for me” perspective, which appeals to them on a deeper level than features.

Here are a few examples of benefits:
•   A cooler that can keep your drinks ice cold for up to 10 days (feature) so you can enjoy a frosty beverage when the time is right

•  Boots with durable soles and a long wear life (features) so you don’t have to spend money on a new pair as soon

•  A social media app that allows you to schedule posts (feature) so you can save time and energy while focusing on more important aspects of your business

Benefits enable you to connect with your target audience emotionally and help define what you will help them with. From a marketing perspective, benefits allow you to address specific problems that consumers have and directly answer with how the product or service will solve them.

While features have their rightful place in marketing, focusing on benefits will allow your target consumers to visualize and therefore create a desire to purchase. The best way to decide which benefits to include can be done by taking the most valued features and determining what kind of beneficial outcomes they create for customers.

Benefits are great to use in all product or service marketing efforts, but they’re particularly potent when promoting products that are a little more complex or hard to understand. In these cases, they can simplify and clarify the product’s problem-solving capabilities for easier comprehension.

Features vs. Benefits

Features and benefits are the most powerful when used together in content marketing. Before we get into the best way to utilize features and benefits for optimized descriptions, let’s go over some of the common pitfalls that companies fall into.

Feature-Heavy Focus

Many companies fall victim to only including a product or service’s features while completely omitting any benefits to the consumer. This is a classic mistake that occurs when companies fail to look through the eyes of the consumer and consider what they may want to see in the description.

A feature-heavy focus will fail to differentiate you from competitors and make consumers less likely to purchase, which will hurt overall sales. The best way to avoid this common mistake is by taking the defined features and establishing unique benefits that each one brings.

Including “Advantages” and not Benefits

There’s a simple 3-step process when it comes to defining features and benefits, and advantages are the connecting ground between the two. While features work to highlight unique characteristics, advantages serve to describe exactly what the features do. To close the deal, benefits then address specific problem-solving outcomes of the advantages.

It’s easy to mistake advantages for benefits when writing descriptions. This mistake will not only cause descriptions to fall short of effectively creating the “what’s in it for me” perception, but they will also fail to identify with relevant customer problems.

How to Effectively Incorporate Both Features & Benefits

The best product or service descriptions will have a healthy combination of both features and benefits to create a truly full picture for consumers to make a decision. As we touched on briefly above, this can be accomplished with the 3-step process which we detail below:

1. Pick out the highest value features

2. Describe how the selected features work and what they bring to the table (advantages)

3. Explain how the advantages help consumers solve the problem at hand (benefits)

By taking the time to do this, you’ll be able to effectively identify the strongest points to include in descriptions and generate the highest conversions.

Examples of Features & Benefits

The below image is an example of the features that this Sony TV has to offer. It specifies the size, image output, and quality, as well as the fact that it’s a smart TV.

features vs benefits

In the below Facebook ad by PillPack, you can see a combination of both feature and benefits, but the benefit is made most clear: that of managing one’s meds more easily.

features vs benefits pillpack

 

This picture is from the Square landing page where they’re advertising their product with the use of both features and benefits.

features vs benefits

They quickly break the product down into different categories depending on your needs, explain how it will give you the ease of accepting credit cards anywhere, and even offer a strong close by offering a free product.

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