Isn’t that a very good question for businesspeople to ask themselves?

In our efforts to promote our website, we use a lot of different advertising methods to get our message out there. Like classified ads (online & offline), ezine ads, banner ads, safelist ads, solo ads, website ads, feed ads, social-business networks bulletins, blogging, postings in forums and groups, press releases, pay-per-click, and more.

Whenever we post ads anywhere using one of the methods just listed, we always take the time to check out the other ads, some of which are from our competition. What we see 90% of the time just baffles us. To be blunt, most ads out there stink! Not that they’re badly written—some are jewels of literature. It’s just that their message is…blah—it’s missing a key ingredient.

It’s funny how some people will use common sense in their everyday life (most of the time) but not in their business life. For example, would you try to mow your lawn using a lawnmower that has no blade, or try to go for a bike ride on a bicycle that has no handle bar, or do some online research on a computer that has no screen? Silly, right?

Well, writing and paying for an ad that contains no benefits—the KEY ingredient—is just as silly. Yet, 90% of the ads we see are just like cars without engines, power drills without bits, swimming pools with no water. In most cases, a total waste of resources—time, money, and brain cells!

Benefits are crucial to the sales process—that is especially true online. In the brick & mortar world, we can walk into a store and we can handle the products: we can touch the wool sweater or the leather jacket, smell the cologne or the fresh bread, taste the chocolate or the watermelon, inspect up close the fine craftsmanship on a carving or a painting, hear the quality of the sound system. Because of that, we can make up our mind to buy without needing an ad in front of our face blasting the benefits—we can ‘experience’ them. And we often can take our time to make a decision.

But online, the visitors don’t have those options most of the time: no touching, no smelling, no tasting, no “feeling things up”. And there are thousands of other ads waiting in line to be seen so the visitors must decide fast. Do we buy, or not? Do we subscribe, or not? Do we fill the form to get more info, or not? Yes or no? Make up our mind quick, quick, quick!

And what does your potential lead, prospect, client, or customer need to make up his or her mind quickly? Benefits—NOT features! One or two awesome benefits and you’ve now got their attention. And in today’s fast-paced online marketing, that is quite an achievement. Grab the attention of enough viewers and you are on your way to BUSINESS SUCCESS!

Back to the opening question: Are Your Advertising Costs an Expense or an Investment? To answer simply, if your ads are giving prominence to features, your advertising costs are an expense. If on the other hand, they spotlight the benefits of your products or services, then they are an investment. Bravo!

“Nobody wants to buy your product. They all want to buy the product of your product, the benefits. So the more you are able to focus on them, on what is in it for them (WIII-FM), the more you are able to win their trust. You earn their trust based on merit. And merit is always defined on the terms of the buyer, never on the terms of the seller. Ultimately, it’s the buyer who will decide if there is something for them in what you have to offer.” - Nido Qubein, businessman extraordinaire, speaker, author

Not sure of the difference between features and benefits? Well, features are what you and your products and services ARE, while benefits are what you and your products DO. What EXACTLY do you DO for your customers and clients? If I buy one of your products, or attend your seminar or workshop, what SPECIFICALLY will I get out of it? In other words, WIII-FM—What Is In It For ME? Can you answer that?

Amazingly, most businesspeople can’t. It’s especially evident in their ads and on their website—which for many is the most expensive component of their marketing. A year ago, we were featured on a local TV business show. We were invited to talk about our unique workshop that we delivered to business people in corporate boxes at the ballpark, before the game. The title of the workshop was, appropriately enough, “Getting to First Base”.

During the conversation in the “green room” before going live, the host told us that her biggest frustration in researching guests for her popular show was the incredible amount of time wasted on websites where after 20 minutes of reading “…you still don’t know exactly what that person or company does—what benefits they provide.” She went on to complain about “… graphics, images, audios, videos, and text, text, text that spotlight the ‘features’ instead of the benefits.”

Hey, if you want some action, you’ve got to get to First Base! That’s a principle that applies with your date on Friday night, or with a visitor to the home page of your website. First Base means you got their attention. What’s the best way to get someone’s attention? Sharing benefits that make them think “Tell me more.” What’s the best way to ‘strike out’—aka not getting to First Base? Boring your audience with a litany of features that make them think ”So what?”

”So what?” is the death of you as it’s usually followed within seconds by this horrific sound: “Click!”—the sound made when someone leaves your uninteresting site to go look for something more captivating. And they won’t come back.

Our advice? Go to your website, read your content—particularly your ‘sales page’—and after each bullet point, statement, or paragraph, listen to your inner voice… Is it saying “Tell me more” or ”So what?”. “Tell me more” means you’ve invested your money wisely. ”So what?” means your online advertising costs are an expense—and not a good one at that.

I wish you ALL the business success you desire and deserve. Remember that the success you desire is function of your ambition, but the success you deserve is function of your ACTION!

Daniel G. St-Jean
BizzBooster, and The Sparkplug of Personal Development
Author of 7 Simple Keys To Spark Change In Your Life Now!
Co-author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life – volume 2

Author's Bio: 

Daniel G. St-Jean is half of The BizzBoosters Inc. He and his partner Laurel Simmons have produced a powerful new Special Report entitled Discover How You Can Easily Avoid the Biggest Marketing Mistake
Made by 97% of Businesspeople—Even Gurus—That’s Costing Them Thousands of Customers and Millions in Sales! Go get your complimentary copy NOW at