Benefits vs. Features? NO!

It’s been said by many prominent and successful marketers that marketing content should talk about benefits rather than features. I see that as valid, if you’re addressing an audience that’s still in the early stages of a buying cycle. At that point, they may be undecided about whether or not what you’re peddling is worth the cost, effort or risk.

The Big Mistake

If they’re beyond the point of being simply intrigued, though, they’ll most often transition into a comparison mode, looking also at your offering’s price and features against their other options. This is the point in the cycle at which many marketers will shift their content’s focus from benefits to features.

Comparing apples and orangesIf all the other options are presented the same way, then the customer will be comparing apples and apples. But let’s think a moment about the process the user is going through.

Somehow, their initial attention is captured and they view a page – maybe yours, maybe a competitor’s. They’re intrigued enough to absorb some of the information, and hopefully, their interest grows sufficiently that they do some comparison shopping.

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What Does SEO Mean to You?

These days, there’s a lot of disagreement about exactly which tasks should be considered part of SEO. By definition, search engine optimization speaks to optimizing for search engines. DUH!

But the lines are sometimes hazy – increasingly so, as both search and Internet usage skills evolve. For instance, there are some aspects of site optimization for users that can impact rankings in the SERPs, but only in an indirect manner. Should those be ignored, just because they’re not ranking factors? I’d say no.

So the first thing to do is to decide where you draw the line. I have a very easy way of identifying which aspects to address for our clients:

If it’ll affect the client’s performance in any way, improving profitability, reputation, market share… whatever the client’s goal may be… then I see it as my responsibility to help my client address it. That includes, design, SEO, SEM, conversion, off-line marketing… all of it. Full stop.

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