How To Turn Features Into
Benefits When Writing Sales
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How To Turn Features Into Benefits When Writing Sales Copy
Many folks find it difficult to understand the difference between features and
benefits when they're composing their sales copy. Even some experienced
copywriters and marketers occasionally get it wrong.
If you’re new to the copywriting game you might be thinking,” does it really
matter?” For an answer to this you just have to look at any successfully converting
sales page. The features will always play Cinderella to the benefits. Why? Because
people are only interested in what’s in it for them if they buy the product about
which you are writing. They haven’t the faintest interest in how the thing works,
just as long as they can believe that it does.
It’s your job as a copywriter to paint a picture for the reader, one in which he or
she can see the successful end result of using the product. If you leave your
readers to do the painting themselves then your sales copy isn’t going to be very
effective sales copy.
A few definitions and examples will help to make things clearer.
Features are what a product has or does. So features for a car could be that it has
four-wheel drive or windshield wipers that are activated by rain. Product features
can be thought of as being independent of any buyer – they may or not be of
interest to him.
Benefits, however, are what the reader will gain from using those features. In
other words, the end-result of using a product.
Here’s an example.
Car salesman: “This model has four-wheel drive.” (Feature).
Customer: “So what?”
Car salesman: “It gives it more grip in slippery conditions so you’re less likely to
get stuck.” (Benefit).
Customer: “That’s great! Just what I need to get up the hill at the bottom of my
There is often an element of evolution with benefits
In the example above the customer hears that he is less likely to get stuck when he
has four-wheel drive on his car and his mind sees the benefit this will be when
trying to reach the top of a steep hill in winter. This, in turn, gives him a feeling of
confidence or safety when driving in adverse conditions.
Benefits, therefore, are concerned with triggers. What motivates people to buy,
specifically your potential customers? Depending on the product this could be the
lure of freedom, a cure for a troublesome complaint, big muscles, more free time
for hobbies, and so on.
To make this work you have to really come to know the potential buyers of your
product. What will motivate one group to buy may be a source of complete
indifference to another audience.
For example, someone living in a hot country might not care about the benefits of
having a car with four-wheel drive in the winter. The benefit for them of having
four-wheel drive might be better put as the capability of driving off-road or on the
beach in the summer. This is why it's vital to be aware of who your potential
customers are and what is likely to motivate them. What is that they’re looking
for? What problem can your product solve for them to make their lives easier,
better and happier?
Read your sales letter as if you were in your reader’s shoes. Would you really care
if you read that the diet program you’re promoting has a meal plan for every day of
the week? Probably not, but you would be whipping your credit card out to buy if it
says that you would shed 10 pounds of fat within the next two months!
After reading the above I hope that you are no longer puzzled about features and
benefits when copywriting. One tip is to list all the features that you can think of
and then, taking them in turn, write down the benefits they will provide. If you find
it difficult just remember the “so what” example above. Remember also that, when
it comes to persuading people to buy, features are king!