One mistake made by many new business owners is focusing on the features of their products or services when advertising. Having great features is important to building a successful business, but advertising features is not the most effective way to market your product or service. Consumers don’t care much about your great features. What they care about is how your great features can help them. In other words, you need to translate your features into the value they give your customer. Being fast is a feature, whereas same-day delivery is a benefit.

When reframing your features into benefits, you also need to consider why your market will by your product or service. There are many reasons consumers buy, but here are three common motivations and how you can use them to entice buyers.

Solve a problem: Solving a problem is one of the most common reasons people buy. Successful marketers understand this and as a result they sell the solution. Ted Levitt famously said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.” If a man needs a drill to make a hole, he doesn’t care so much about the drill’s weight, number of bits or warranty as much as being able to drill a hole. The successful drill marketer will sell the hole not the drill. If your product or service can solve a problem, focus on selling the solution. If you sell diet products, focus health, energy and sex appeal over losing fat. If you’re chiropractor, sell pain-free, active living over straight backs and adjustments.

Feel good: Many people buy to make themselves feel better.  Do women really need a Prada bag? Probably not. But owning one makes them feel good.  We see this phenomena each time Apple introduces a knew i-product. People are lined up around the stores wanting to have the latest and greatest gadget. There are plenty of other gadgets these people can own, but they spend hours, maybe even days in line because having the new i-product makes them feel good. But feeling good isn’t just about prestige, importance or superficiality. Consumers buy healthy foods or organic products because it makes them feel good. Many people buy from socially conscious businesses because they enjoy the feeling that they’re a part of a movement or helping others. People like to feel successful, cool, hip and sexy, which is why many marketers use tactics that suggest their products can lead to these feelings.

Fear: I’m not a big fan of catering to fear, but it is an effective method of marketing. People are afraid of many things, real and imagined. As a result, they like to buy things that alleviate their fears, whether it’s a security system to avoid home invasions, financial products to avoid poverty, or vitamins to avoid poor health. If your product can help eliminate fear, your focus should be on selling the feeling of security.

There are many other reasons people choose to buy from one business over another. These reasons include convenience, price, loyalty and more. Whatever their motivation for buying is, it’s your job to tap into it by creating marketing materials that speak to their needs and wants. This is done by converting the features that make your business great into benefits that meet your market’s needs and desires.


Leslie Truex is a career design expert who has been helping people find or create work that fits their lifestyle goals since 1998 through her website Work-At-Home Success. She is the author of “The Work-At-Home Success Bible” and “Jobs Online: How To Find a Get Hired to a Work-At-Home Job”. She speaks regularly on career-related topics including telecommuting and home business.