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Features Vs Benefits: What’s the Difference, and Why You Need to Know

Do you know what your clients want from therapy?

Maybe that sounds like a strange question, but it's important to consider, because if you don’t really understand what their needs are, you will struggle with knowing what to say in your marketing to attract them. 

So let's explore this fundamental marketing principle of features vs benefits and discover what's the difference, and why you need to know. 


I came across the idea of features Vs benefits many years ago, and it's one of those incredibly simple things that makes a significant difference in your marketing, so it's worth taking a look.

Because you know your clients have worries and issues and things on their minds when they come to you, and they may be battling with any number of issues. 

But what do they actually want from therapy? 

To feel better? Yes!

To feel happier? Yes!

But what does that actually mean for them? What tangible difference would it make in their lives?

What will they be able to be, do or have as a result of therapy?

An example of a feature and a benefit:

Imagine this: You want to hang some pictures in your therapy room, so you need to buy a drill. 

Off you go to the DIY shop and you look at the massive choice available and frankly feel a bit bamboozled! 

Which of these would you be most likely to buy:

A. This drill has a newfangled thingy that’s made of the strongest metal known to man. It was designed by NASA scientists, it glows in the dark, has an inbuilt satnav and has Bluetooth so you can listen to music while you work.


B. With this drill you will easily and effortlessly be able to hang your pictures.

It's B of course, because it will do the thing you want it to, easily and effortlessly.  

There's a saying:

Meaning people don’t want to spend their hard earned cash on a drill, but they do want a nice environment for their clients and their pictures hanging on the wall.

But Jane’, I hear you cry ‘I’m not selling drills. I’m a therapist. Step AWAY from the vino’.

Okaaaay…. How about this……

  • People don’t want hot wax spread over their bodies and their hairs to be ripped out by the roots – but they do want smooth, sexy skin.
  • People don’t want acupuncture needles stuck all over their bodies, but they do want relief from their symptoms.
  • People don’t want to talk about painful things in the counselling room, but they do want to feel happier, less stressed and more content.

These things in and of themselves are not things people want to do, but they DO want the results, and that’s why people pay - to get those results.

They need you to help them go from A to B, and it's the job of your website and other marketing materials to let them know you're a good fit.

What is the difference between a feature and a benefit?

This is all about features Vs benefits:

A FEATURE is the hot wax ripping out hairs from the roots

A BENEFIT is smooth sexy skin.

For your website to attract clients, it needs to concentrate on the BENEFITS not FEATURES.

A feature is factual information about a product or service,

but features aren't what make clients choose you. That's where benefits come in.

A benefit answers the question "What's in it for me?,"

and provides the customer with what they want or need.

Why is it important to talk about the benefits of therapy?

Often on therapists websites and profiles, I see lists of issues and an explanation of how their modality of choice works:

'...the person centered approach - also known as person-centred counselling or client-centred counselling - is a humanistic approach. I will facilitate your actualising tendency and enable your personal growth by allowing you to explore and utilise your own strengths and personal identity. I will aid this process and provide vital support blah blah yawn'.  

Put yourself in the shoes of the reader. How will they be feeling?

I think probably a bit confused, and thinking 'Ok, but can you help me stop getting involved with inappropriate partners?'

When someone lands on your homepage, you only have a few seconds to let them know who you help and the benefits they can expect to experience.   

Your qualifications, experience and way of working are features. Of course your clients need to know that you're qualified and know what you're doing, and they might have an interest in how you work, but include that in a section on your 'about' page, not your homepage.

And highlight the benefits they will experience. 

For example: John has been having panic attacks and they're getting both more severe and frequent.  This is having a detrimental affect on the quality of his life, and he feels embarrassed by them, out of control and weak.  

When he's looking for a suitable therapist he sees:

'Together, we will explore the triggers for your panic attacks and I'll show you simple, effective ways to manage them, giving you more control of your life.'

He'll pick up the phone, because you're going to give him what he wants - he wants his life back. 

How do I know what the benefits are?

A simple way to work out the benefits clients can expect to experience after working with you is to ask yourself 'so what?'.

In this example, your niche is childhood sexual abuse:

You: 'I have 15 years experience.'

Client: 'So what?' (what's in it for me?)

You: 'Being experienced means I bring a wealth of knowledge'

Client: 'So what?' (What's in it for me?)

You: 'In my experience, many people feel anxious talking about their background but you're in safe hands. We'll explore your past at a pace that's right for you, so you can move forward with your life feeling lighter and more empowered'

Do you see how that's more attractive to a nervous client?  

So benefits might be reduced stress, better sleep, improved work/life balance, fewer arguments, greater intimacy, more resilience, better decision making etc. 

(for more inspiration, take a look at these 101 examples of features VS benefits)

Put yourself in your ideal clients shoes:  they're often nervous, anxious, apprehensive.  Ask yourself, what do they need to know?

Ethical considerations

As therapists, it's important for us to work in an ethical way without making claims or promises about results.

And rightly so!

After all no matter how qualified and experienced you are, counselling simply won't work with 100% of people 100% of the time. We all know there are no magic wand solutions, no guarantees.

However, there's a massive difference between thers 2 statements:

  • If you're struggling with depression, come to me and I can make you feel happy again
  • I'll help you to discover your needs and learn how to communicate them effectively. 

Today, we've explored features vs benefits, what's the difference, and why you need to know.  

We have explored the importance of sharing the benefits your clients may experience on your website and other marketing materials to enable them to understand why therapy is a good choice for them. 

So your action step - because it’s taking action that will make a difference to your practice - is to take a look at your website and/or directory entry from the clients perspective, or get feedback from a friend you can trust to be honest, and ask yourself:

  • Is it crystal clear who you work with?
  • Does it highlight the benefits they can expect after working with you?

If not, grab a drink and a pen and brainstorm - consider what clients say at the final session with you after a successful course of therapy. 

And be sure to let people know about these benefits on your website, profiles, social media, blogs and anywhere you advertise

This is such an important element of marketing that we explore it in depth in the Foundations course of the Grow Your Private Practice membership. You will explore who you want to help and why and then flex your empathy muscle to really understand their wants and needs.

Because this will make ALL your marketing clearer, easier and more focussed. 

Click the button below to see how the Grow Your Private Practice membership will help you. 

Join the Grow Your Private Practice Club, and learn how to attract more clients, more easily

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Jane lives in beautiful Lincoln with her 2 boys and rescue dog. When she's not talking about herself in the third person, she's usually found with her feet up and eating Maltesers. Sometimes she even shares them with friends.