It’s one of the first things you’re told – or taught – when you go into any marketing field: Sell the Benefits, not the Features.
And this pearl of wisdom is aimed at copywriters and sales people more than anyone else.
We’ve all seen a great salesman or woman leave a prospect drooling with anticipation after delivering the perfect sales pitch. But how did it get to this point? What were the magic ingredients that translated a dull list of product features into a single compelling benefit that resonates with the customer almost instantaneously? And, at the same time, how did the copywriting differentiate the product or service from that of competitors who generally serve up much the same features?
First off though, what is the actual difference between features and benefits?
Some people describe it like buying a bed. You don’t necessarily want to buy a 6 foot divan with a mahogany headboard. You want to buy the best night’s sleep for your money.
Copywriter Jay Conrad Levinson summed it up like this: “A feature is a factual statement about a product or service. Factual statements aren't why customers buy; benefits are.”
People have written tomes on this topic but here’s a great visual example of the difference between Features and Benefits:
OK. It’s easy to see how this works when you’re presented with a finished image like the Apple example above. But if your business makes a complicated, feature-heavy product, it can sometimes be very difficult to single out the one feature that will then translate into the most compelling benefit for your audience.
This is where a good copywriter will earn his crust – by being able to generate an emotionally engaging benefit for your product: one that connects with prospective customers in a way that your competitors aren’t doing.
If the copywriter’s headlines and copy can quickly propel the customer’s imagination into almost ‘experiencing’ the product in action, you’re already a lot closer to your sale.
Brian O'Fril | Copywriter
Elm House Creative
Belfast, Northern Ireland
t 028 9023 8850
m 079 7025 3809