- By Jonathan Hook
- Published 04/26/2008
A common mistake made by many inexperienced copywriters is to focus too much on a product’s features and not enough on the benefits it provides. While features are important and should be mentioned, if you want consumers to take out their wallets and hand over their hard-earned money you need to convince them of the benefits your product offers. What’s the difference? – A feature is simply a characteristic of a product. – A benefit explains what the customer has to gain by using the product. – Anyone can make a list of a product’s features. But it takes a bit of work to convert each of those features into benefits. – A handy trick you can use is to add the phrase “which means…” to the end of each feature. – A feature of a razor blade for women could be that it has 3 blades. That in itself is unlikely to win many sales because it means nothing to most people. But add the phrase “which means you’ll have smooth and sexy legs” and women will know exactly what they will gain when they buy it. Let’s look at a few more examples of benefits vs features: A Car – Feature – All wheel drive. – Benefit – You are less likely to get stuck in the snow. – Feature – Gets more miles per gallon than competitors. – Benefit – You’ll save money on gas. – Feature – Side-impact airbags. – Benefit – Your family will be safe in an accident. A DVD Recorder – Feature – Time shift recording lets you pause live TV. – Benefit – You will never miss a second of your favorite show. A Pair of Boots – Feature – Waterproof. – Benefit – Your feet stay warm and dry. Not long ago I was stopped at a red light, and as I looked at the van in front of me I saw the perfect example of focusing on benefits over features. The van belonged to a small handyman business that does small jobs in several neighboring towns. On the back of the van was a simple drawing of a man carrying a small child on his shoulders. Underneath it read, “We’ll take care of the little problems, so you have time for more important things.” As a parent who struggles to find every minute I can with my family, that simple bit of copy struck a nerve. Rather than listing the various types of projects they specialize in (which I would never bother reading), they tapped into a common problem (finding time for the family) and offered a solution. Sure, I could power wash my house, clean my yard, and paint my garage myself. But if I hire these guys to do it I can spend more time with my kids. Brilliant!
Remember, always focus on benefits. Show customers how your product solves their problems or makes their lives better and they’ll line up to buy from you.