I Want a Hole, Not a Drill

Now before you stop reading, this ISN’T what you think it is. Though people THINK they know the difference between a feature and a benefit, only a handful of people, including CEO’s of major companies, really know. AND, not only don’t they know the difference, they don’t know how to USE the difference in their marketing campaigns.

The nasty fact is, if you DON’T know the difference, then you can’t possibly use this in your internet business. Making money online can be quite easy, but you absolutely must know the basics of marketing first.

Look at the list of features below:

Atomic clock


Batteries included

1.8Ghz processor

Open 365 days

Each of these is a FEATURE, a factual statement about the product or service being promoted.

But features aren’t what customers want. It’s what the feature MEANS to the customer is what is important.

A benefit answers the age old question “What’s in it for me?” meaning the feature provides the customer with something that THEY value.

The benefit of an atomic clock is CONVENIENCE, because they don’t have to change the time on it twice a year to allow for daylight savings.

The benefit of speed dial is fewer keystrokes, so valuable time is saved.

The benefits of having batteries included is that you don’t have to make another trip to buy batteries (especially if it’s Christmas Day!).

The benefit of a computer with a 1.8Ghz processor is that it will be fast and help you be more productive.

The benefit of a store open 24 hours is you can buy when you want.

The benefit of batteries included is the product is ready to use out of the box.

But you already know this……….right!?

While these may SEEM like true benefits, they’re really nothing more than extended features.

So what is a REAL benefit?

The best way to understand the TRUE benefit of your product or service is to focus instead on RESULTS. A potential customer’s perception of each feature results is what attracts him (or her) to a particular product or service. When someone chooses a DVD player with a self-setting clock, your first thought might be is that the benefit is convenience.

However the actual results are that they don’t have to read the instructions on how to set-up the clock,or FEEL STUPID when the instructions don’t make sense to them. These results are the REAL benefits.

When you try to sell the features of your product or service, you’re making your potential customer DO ALL THE WORK to figure out why they might want the result that the product will give them. It’s in a YOUR best interests to MAKE THE CONNECTION FOR THEM. But to do that you have to know the results yourself.

Let’s take another look at that features list to see the possible benefits from the customer’s point of view:

Atomic clock: “I won’t feel dumb because I forgot to change the clock at the beginning of summer and missed an appointment!”

Speed dial: “I won’t feel stupid misdialing”.

Batteries included: “I won’t feel like a dimwit in front of my kids and wife”.

1.8Ghz processor: “I’ll feel that I have the best computer in the company”.

Open 365 days a year: “I’ll feel secure in the knowledge that I can always get food/gas/etc.

Notice that in each case, the REAL result WITHIN each benefit is how the product or service will make your potential customer FEEL!

So how do you apply this to your own money generating internet business? Here are some things you need to do:

Know your customer. Put yourself in his or her shoes. What is her value system? What is important to her? What does she want? (Don’t confuse ‘wants’ with ‘needs’. We NEED nutritious food, but we WANT chocolate!). Change your point of view. Whenever you function from YOUR OWN point of view, you automatically fill in the blanks with assumptions, and you know what is said about assuming… it a makes an ASS out of U and ME!

This can be difficult with online marketing, BUT remember that they found your website because of the content of your site, based on the search-terms they used. That means that you ALREADY know quite a lot about their wants. Understanding a potential customer’s ‘Wants’ is far more valuable than understanding his ‘needs’ because people will pay a lot more money for ‘wants’. They’ll pay as little as possible for their ‘needs’.

So start to think in terms of RESULTS and how your product are service will make them FEEL.

Your thinking now should be features vs. feelings, rather than features vs. benefits.

Take a look at your current features, and then take each one into the results phase. Remember, when you ask yourself “What results do I get from the speed dial feature?” the answer isn’t “I only have to push one button,” but rather “I don’t have to feel like an idiot dialing the wrong number.”

When you use this “feelings” approach to discovering your business’ benefits, you can be sure your marketing messages will be right on the money!