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 copy for your Facebook or Instagram ads, click here to contact me.

 

How to Manage Your Business in the School Holidays

How to Manage Your Business in the School Holidays

This is a story about how one Easter holiday turned out to be a decision maker for how I manage my business in the school holidays.

For past school holidays, I made a concerted effort to make sure I did my client work in advance. My own rules are that I don’t work when the kids are around. They get cross, I get stressed, it’s a lose-lose result.
But this time, I thought I would wing it. I had a couple of options for some mornings to work and I would just do the rest in the evening and still have the time off.

Big mistake #1

In fact, what happened was my Mum came to stay unexpectedly. My plans of working in the mornings and evenings went out the window straight away. I didn't feel like I could commit to a whole evening in the office with her sitting alone in another room. So, I made the mistake of thinking I would be able to do some work each evening to manage it.

Big Mistake #2

When I did go to work, I ended up getting caught up with Facebook, emails (relaxing, procrastinating...) AND doing client work. By the end of the first week I seemed to have been in the office every single night for hours. I felt tired, guilty and fed up.

So what did I learn? How can you manage school holidays so that your business doesn't become your enemy when your kids are off school?

Here are 7 ways to defeat them.

1. Don’t think you can wing it!

You don’t know what will happen over the holidays. Sick children, unexpected visitors, business emergencies – fighting fires and juggling family doesn’t work. Although we all manage this throughout the year, school holidays always seem worse no matter how prepared we feel!

2. Take a Break.

Plan in advance for the holiday period coming up and prepare to rest – we all need to be present with our kids but also use the enforced break to have a break ourselves. Do work before the holidays. Set times to do work in the holidays without the children if possible.

3. Set boundaries with your clients.

Manage their expectations of when you will be available and when, if appropriate, you will be able to do their work.

4. Take a Social Media holiday.

Tell everyone on social media that you will be having a well earned break too. Schedule your social media posts. Make a deal that you will only check things when the kids are in bed so that you’re not hanging off your phone all day (and don’t let it suck the whole evening either!).

5. Don’t be glued to your emails.

Have an out of office on your emails to inform anyone who sends an enquiry when you are checking emails and realistic timescales of when you will reply. It takes the pressure off you too to be checking every ping of your emails on your phone (turn that off by the way!!)

6. Outsource for the holidays.

Are there things that you can outsource, even just for the period of the holidays? Then do it so that you know things are running smoothly behind the scenes.

7. Make wonderful plans to enjoy your time off with your family.

After all this is why we are doing it – to enjoy this time while we can. It makes me remember my WHY, even if I still can’t wait for the holidays to end!!! So when the next holidays hit, don’t let the fact the kids are off turn your business into your enemy! They need to be allies and support each other.

Did you put plans in place or find yourself stressed over the holidays? I’d love to know if there are any other tips you have to managing kids + business, pop a comment below.

Be Prepared! Why not think now about getting sorted for the next school holidays?! Contact me for a free half hour chat about how I can help.

3 Smart Strategies to Stop the Overwhelm

3 Smart Strategies to Stop the Overwhelm

Overwhelm in business is easy to fall into. When you're a solopreneur, the stress of being everyone from bookkeeper, PA and CEO can be enough to feel like you're drowning in lists of things you need to do. 

Why did you start your own business? Was it to escape the rat race & perhaps to spend more time at home with your family?

The reality of working for yourself is that you find you are spending more time working than ever. Nothing happens unless you plan it to happen and make it happen! That in itself is pretty overwhelming.

Here are 3 easy strategies to overcome that feeling and get you back on track.

1. Plan for Success!

When I first launched my business, I started a To Do List at the front of my workbook. I then started an online task management app. I then found I didn't look at either because they had grown so much, they were scaring me! *overwhelm*

My solution was to work to a 90 day plan with 3 goals at the end - one being a major task to grow my business. Pick some goals that will progress your business - ones you have put off. Forget the rest for this timeframe. At the end of the 90 days (or before if you complete your goals), rinse and repeat!

This article on 90 day goals via Forbes is pretty motivational!

2. Embrace Marketing!

Marketing is one of those jobs that we all know we have to do, but we all know it's going to take some serious concentration and time to do well!

There's social media, email newsletters, blogging, website, business cards, networking (in person and online), PR....*overwhelm*

So how do you tackle this?

  • Break the list down into marketing subjects, then break each subject down again into tasks.
  • Identify the easy ones you can cross off straight away (e.g. networking more).
  • If you have a skills shortage - note that down too - do you know anyone who can do it, could teach you or would do a service swap perhaps?
  • If you tackle them logically, you will find you start to get through the list.
  • Add them to your 90 day plan too!

This free e-book from The Girls Mean Business is also excellent - 55 Fabulous 10 minute marketing tips!

3. Fuel your inspiration.

So much to read, so much to implement! Everyone has a website to recommend, books, e-books, webinars, newsletters to sign up to......*overwhelm*

Here's what I have implemented to stop myself drowning in unread literature:

Feedly - 3 smart strategies to stop the overwhelmi) Feedly is a tool that gathers articles from blogs and websites all in one place (available as an app on phone and tablet too). You can search for subjects, or specific websites and save them to collect all the articles it then posts. It then presents them in a daily feed like a magazine. I use this every day to find articles to share on social media.

 

Pocket - 3 smart strategies to stop the overwhelmii) Pocket (also available via an app) is another “save now, read later” tool to save articles. When you save you can tag it to make custom categories. I use this to save my "useful" articles that I can find later when I need to know how to do it.

 

 

iii) UnRollMe is a quick way to get rid of all those email newsletters (it deletes them before you see them). If you want to get rid of them for good, you need to do the manual unsubscribe. If you find them interesting, add the blog version to Feedly to capture them all!

iv) Listen to webinars when you are doing something else - I do it when making dinner with a notepad by my side for some quick notes. Use the Save function in Facebook to have them all in one place when you want to listen to one. Periscope is another great resource for listening to some top tip broadcasts.

So those are the things I have done so far to simplify the To Dos that end up causing anxiety.

Have you found any other hacks for beating the overwhelm? I’d love for you to tell me in the comments below. I hope that these tips help you get out of that feeling of being stuck, so that you're ready to take action!