You are on the market for a new property management software. You find two separate marketing pieces.
Marketing Piece #1: We offer free customer support 24/7
Marketing Piece #2: No matter what time, what day, or where you are in the world, there is always an expert available to offer the troubleshooting support you need
Which one is more appealing?
Most, if not all, find the second much more attractive than the first.
The first one tells you what you get (i.e., free 24/7 customer support). The second, better one tells you why it is valuable (i.e., get expert support anytime, anyplace).
In other words, the first tells you a feature of the product while the second tells you a benefit.
In this blog post, I will outline the differences between features and benefits and how you can improve your content and attract more customers by focusing on benefits rather than the features.
What are features?
A feature is something that describes a product’s appearance or capability.
As an apartment syndicator, my company’s product is a passive real estate investment. Here are examples of some of our features of our product:
- Preferred return and/or a share of the profits
- Completely passive
- Monthly recap emails
- Investing in a physical asset
- Direct access to sponsor (or an investor relations person)
What are benefits?
A benefit shows how a product is useful and adds value to the features.
Here are examples of benefits of passively investing in apartment syndications:
- Hassle-free process
- Peace of mind
- Time freedom
- Being able to relax
- Low risk
Each of these benefits can be linked to the features I outlined in the previous section. For example, the benefits of being a completely passive investment are hassle free, convenience, peace of mind, time freedom, being able to relax, and low risk.
Features vs. Benefits
Content that focuses on the benefits more so than the features of the product will attract more new customers.
Therefore, as an apartment syndicator, focusing on the benefits of passively investing in apartment communities will attract more new passive investors more so than focusing on features.
The features are important to highlight, but what people really want to know is how that feature will benefit them.
A good practice to implement when creating copy is to ask the question “so what” after every sentence?
Let’s take the following two statements as an example:
Investors in apartment syndications receive a monthly preferred return and a profit split. The apartment is actively managed by a sponsor, making it an entirely passive investment.
So what? How does receiving a passive preferred return and profit split benefit me?
A stronger statement would be:
Investors in apartment syndications receive a monthly preferred return and a split of the profit. The apartment is actively managed by a sponsor, making it an entirely passive investment. You increase the amount of money you make each month with no ongoing time commitment, allowing you to spend more time doing what you want to do.
The features are preferred return, profit split, and completely passive. The benefits of the features are more money each month and more time freedom.
How to Apply?
The first step is defining your product. As I previously mentioned, my company’s product is a passive apartment investment.
Next, list out the features of your product.
Lastly, list out the benefits of your product. Determining benefits may require more effort and creativity. The best approach is to come up with the benefits of each of the features listed in the previous step. Three questions to ask are:
- Why does this feature exist?
- How does this feature connect to human desire?
- What is in it for the customer?
At the conclusion of this three-step exercise, you will have a list of all the benefits of your product based on the features of your product.
The goal is to always focus on the list of benefits whenever you are talking about a certain feature of your property. This includes any content that is direct towards a potential customer, like blog posts, your website, company material, and communications with customers.
Where should you start? Here are a few recommended next steps to start your journey towards creating content that attracts more customers:
- Perform the three-step exercise outlined above
- Review your website and ask the question “so what?”
- Review a recent blog post and see if you are focusing on benefits of features
- Go to websites of Fortune 500 companies for examples of best-in-class copy
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.