Ask yourself if the offering you consider a benefit is really a benefit and not a feature or an advantage. Here are some examples to help you distinguish between the three.
Feature: A feature is a distinctive characteristic of a service or product you offer.
This might be a publication, a special presenter for a class, a mobile app, or an update on your advocacy efforts.
Advantage: An advantage is an aspect of that service or product that gives the feature a better chance of success.
Examples include: A popular speaker who was rated better than any other. A flyer or announcement that leads with the topic – the speaker adds (assumed) credibility but doesn’t go any further than that. OR saying that the Governmental Affairs director dedicates a certain amount of time on “the Hill”. While it might add credibility, it doesn’t offer a result – or a solution to the reader.
Benefit: A benefit goes beyond telling the member about the feature or advantage. It conveys how an offering will help them be more successful or improve their livelihood. The benefit can be functional and/or emotional in nature.
- We provide the industry knowledge to give you credibility with your clients.
- Our continuing education gives you the information you need to find and efficiently close more business today.
- We protect homeowner rights to support a healthy community and “the American dream”. A group of 500 has more influence to make positive change than one single company. There is strength in our numbers.
The benefit is the part of your message that answers, “so what?” What does this legislation, designation or event do to help grow the members’ business? Will they sell more? Sell faster? Be more confident and credible?
Here are two examples of how to communicate member benefits. The “Before” is the version that’s just reporting the news, versus the “After” version with a clear member benefit.
Preventing a $200 rate increase for the consumer – that’s the “so-what?” or the benefit for AARP’s lobbying efforts.
Save the Date is not a compelling appeal to attend a conference. For managers in the oil and gas industry, training that improves their bottom line is a much stronger reason to attend.
Look at your list of “member benefits” to verify if they explain to a reader – in simple terms why the aspect of membership answers a significant need or worry: you know…make sure you answer the “so what?”