Now that I’m kinda settled in Austin, it’s time for me to join a gym. I need exercise. In NYC, my exercise was running up and down flights of stairs trying to catch the subway. Here, I walk the 10 feet to my car. In NYC, I had to drag my laundry five blocks to do a load of whites. Now, I just pop them into the washer inside my apartment. In short, I’m getting soft.

It’s not just that. I want to eat more cake. But I also don’t want to be big enough to have to be airlifted from my bed. I figure if I go to the gym and eat more cake, there can be some sort of balance in life.

So all of this led me to start researching my options. I picked one I thought would be convenient, I got an idea of the pricing structure, and I headed over to sign up.

gym photo

But when I got there, the pricing structure was different than I expected. I had to pay twice as much to start up the budget plan than to set up of the premium plan. Then each month, I’d pay twice as much for the premium plan than I’d pay for the budget plan. So I had some choices to make.

And as salespeople are apt to do, the woman at the counter tried to point me in the direction of the premium membership. Obviously, the gym makes more money overall if I chose the premium membership and that’s why the startup pricing was based that way. But there were also some benefits to me the consumer if I chose the premium plan. I was looking them over and thinking what I thought about that when the woman decided to help me.

“Well you would get unlimited tanning if you chose the premium package. You wouldn’t have to pay extra at a tanning salon for that. And you could keep that nice glow you have all year long.” She went on and on about this tanning thing. She talked about tanning for five or ten minutes. That’s not a long time in the grand scheme of things.

But it is a long time when you’re a black person listening to someone try to convince you to sign up for something for the tanning benefits.

There is More Than One Way to Sell a Marketing Benefit

In the area the gym is located, I’m sure that tanning is a big benefit. Austin is also a lot warmer than NYC. People show more skin for a lot longer around here. I’m sure a nice tan helps with that. I’m also told that tanning is an optical illusion that makes you seem skinnier.

But I’m obviously a black person. As a rule black people don’t tan. We don’t need to. While we may spend time in the sun and get darker as a result, we’re not going to pay money to do so.

This wasn’t the only benefit associated with the plan. It also allowed me to bring one person with me every time I worked out. If my husband and I worked out together all the time, we would get two memberships for the price of one. If I found a gym buddy, I could bring her with me any time I wanted at no additional charge.

Another benefit included was the hydromassage bed. I could use that free any time I’d like with the premium membership. If I had a bad back, that might be something I’d like. The premium package also included free training classes and an onsite trainer at all times. If I was new to working out, that would be something I’d jump on.

And yet she mentioned none of those things. She just kept harping on the one benefit I would be least likely interested in using.

Benefits Aren’t One Size Fit All

In copywriting, you need to point out the marketing benefit as opposed to the product or service feature. Make it about the consumer and what she gets. But this is a good example of how a benefit for one person isn’t a benefit for another person.

So be as specific as you can with your benefits. Using this gym as an example, its core consumer is probably a budget conscious person looking for a no frills experience. That’s me all the way. They did a good job at getting me in the door by targeting their marketing to me.

Now within that core consumer base, there are different demographics looking for different things. As a small business owner, you then need to get specific about what benefits are useful to which demographic. What you need to be careful about is latching onto one benefit and trying to beat everyone over the head with it.

Here are some examples of ways you can make sure the right person gets to the right benefit of your brand:

  • Create benefit specific landing pages on your website so you can direct certain groups to those landing pages.
  • Come up with parallel ad campaigns that showcase one benefit or one group of related benefits at a time. Then target those campaigns where the customer who would most benefit would be.
  • Ask. Surveys and marketing research groups are an easy way to get to know your customers. Or if they’re standing in front of you, just ask them what they’re looking for in your product.

Photo by I like

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