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Understanding the difference between features and benefits may just help you sell more.

Picture a bunch of geeks sitting around a table. You mention that you need a new computer, and they start talking about RAM, hard drive space, different types of software, and other things you know very little about. These geeks are the product evangelists. They are the select few who know a great deal about product features for computers.

You, on the other hand, know what you want in a computer. You want one that can handle reasonable amounts of video, the ability to run multiple tabs online without slowing down, and download various software and apps you may find useful at a later date. Simply put, you speak in terms of the benefits a new computer offers.

Features and Benefits – Understand the Difference

While writing for the web, it’s important to understand the distinction between features and benefits. Only a small sliver of your audience will understand the features of what you sell. If you write to only this segment of your audience, you exclude the largest group of potential customers.

This is why it is important to tune down the volume on the industry-intensive vocabulary. Phrases unfamiliar to your customer should be either avoided or defined. Acronyms should be spelled out on first usage. Feature-intensive copy contains too much “inside baseball” for your customers’ liking.

Remember, product benefits should be stressed over features. This is how you identify with your audience. Your readers are there because they have a specific problem, and they believe you can help them solve it.

Some questions to keep in mind as you work to stress benefits in your content:

  • What does your product do? (Not what are the components?)
  • How does your product or service help them?
  • How does your product or service make their life easier?

The difference between features and benefits is a key component of creating content that sells. It is an important part of creating a narrative for your message, and establishing the art of storytelling throughout your blog and your content marketing.

Understanding features and benefits can help convince your readers to act, by explaining a product or service in a way that shows them how it directly benefits them. What do you do to convey the benefits of your product or service? What do you do to show your customers how you solve their problem?

Matt Brennan is a Chicago-based marketing writer and copy editor