Stop selling products and start selling benefits (the custard tart edition)


✏️Writing about people and places for travel brands and adventurous folk

Wandering through the streets of Lisbon can be a delicious temptation for anyone with a sweet tooth, especially when you face hundreds of bakeries selling irresistible Portuguese custard tarts – Pastéis de Nata. But which bakery do you choose?

We often face a similar dilemma when marketing our brand. With so many competitors in the market, how can you ensure your customers choose you?

“What’s in it for me?”

When you start selling your product or service online, listing multiple specifications and impressive technical details is only natural. You want to inform your reader and highlight the best features.

But features alone won’t convince anyone.

It’s like reading the ingredients of a recipe. It’s important, but it won’t make your customers say, ‘Wow!’. It won’t connect with them emotionally, and it won’t motivate them to make a purchase.

To make your brand truly irresistible, you need to focus on the benefits it offers to your customers.

Let’s look at an example.

Imagine you’re searching online for a new laptop. You find a website, but on the product page, you see only endless technical jargon about the processor, screen size, and speed.

All you want is a lightweight laptop you can use on the go to work in the park or café. It’s unclear if this laptop suits your needs, so you move on.

Now instead, imagine the first line on the product page reads this:

‘A laptop that goes the distance, lightweight and powerful for on-the-go productivity’.

Better, right?

Focusing on the key benefit:

  • taps into the customer’s needs
  • avoids information overload
  • makes the decision-making process easier
  • answers the question on every consumer’s mind: “What’s in it for me?”

According to a Harvard Professor, 95% of purchase decisions are subconscious. In other words, whether a customer chooses to purchase a product is primarily determined by how the product makes them feel.

So, how can selling the benefits of your product help you stand out from the crowd?

Let’s go back to Lisbon to find out.

People buy based on emotions and then justify their decision with logic

Let’s take the example of three bakeries in Lisbon selling the same traditional Portuguese custard tart.

They all have the same features:

  • bite-sized
  • handmade
  • baked using a traditional recipe

But by emphasising the emotional benefits of the tart, each bakery can tap into the customer’s decision-making process and increase their chances of making a sale.

Café A, for example, may focus on the fact that their tarts are handmade with the utmost care and attention. They may open their kitchen so customers can watch the tarts being made, adding an extra layer of transparency and trust.

By emphasising the care and attention that goes into making the tarts, the bakery can tap into the desires of customers who appreciate the effort and skill that goes into handmade products.

On the other hand, Café B may focus on the traditional recipe used to make their tarts. This may appeal to travellers looking for a unique and authentic taste of Portuguese culture. By emphasising the connection to tradition, the bakery can tap into customers’ desires for an authentic experience.

Café C may focus on the fact that the tarts are bite-sized and can be eaten on the go. This may appeal to families with young children who can’t sit still long enough to enjoy a sit-down dessert.

By emphasising the convenience of their tarts, the bakery can tap into the desires of customers looking for a guilt-free indulgence.

The bakeries can differentiate themselves from their competitors and make their brand irresistible by focusing on the features and the benefits.

What are the benefits of the products or services you offer?

Highlight how your offering will make the consumer’s life sweeter

Turn the features of your product or service into a benefit by asking yourself, “so what?”

  • handmade – so what? – It’s a unique, high-quality product crafted with care and attention to detail.
  • traditional – so what? – It allows customers to immerse themselves in the culture and experience authenticity.
  • bite-sized – so what? – Perfect for those who want a guilt-free, convenient treat on the go.

Just like a custard tart, your product should have an irresistible appeal! It should align with your customer’s desires, whether that’s saving time, reducing costs, or improving their overall well-being.

Understand what motivates your customers and position your product as the solution to their needs.

Stop being a plain croissant in a bakery of custard tarts!

Many business owners get caught up in day-to-day operations. They don’t take the time to step back and evaluate their differentiators.

It’s understandable, but not identifying these unique selling points can make your marketing efforts fall short. By understanding your product’s or service’s key benefits and positioning them to align with your audience’s desires, you can set yourself apart from the competition!

So, make a start by:

  1. researching your audience – understand their pain points
  2. writing down all the features of your product or service
  3. asking yourself – so what?
  4. aligning the benefits of your offering to your ideal clients’ struggles
  5. using these in your marketing
  6. increasing sales!

When you know your business inside and out, you may find it tough to articulate the benefits of your product or service. I get it.

So if you’re unsure where to start, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

I can help you to make sure that your brand is the most irresistible custard tart on the market!

First published on Paloma Fox

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