- By Cathy Goodwin
- Published 06/4/2008
- Writing for the Web
Recently, while sorting through my e-mail messages, I found this question from an e-zine subscriber: I’ve recited the copywriting mantra – features and benefits, features and benefits – over and over again. My sales letters practically scream benefits. But I am not getting results. What’s going on? When you start to write copy — the words that motivate visitors to buy — you probably learned the difference between features and benefits. For example, your unique 3-step time management program is a feature; “gaining an extra 2 hours a day” is a benefit. But when sales letters deliver results, they do not just promise benefits. They showcase Beefy Benefits. Beefy Benefits are big, juicy and filled with flavor. They make the reader’s mouth water. They create vivid images and awaken the reader’s senses. And they don’t just make airy promises: they’re accompanied by a hint of features so you know they’re for real. Bland, watery benefits make the reader’s eyes glaze over. You might as well invite guests to a steak dinner, skip the main course and serve up limp overcooked broccoli. Here’s an example from a sales letter I just received, inviting me to purchase an information product I’ll call “The Powerful Woman Program” or PWP. (Details of the real product are disguised.) I suspect the PWP product is a good one. But many readers will never get a chance to find out. The product supposedly is about helping women discover their inner strengths and become more independent. So we’re promised benefits like these:
* View Overwhelm as a Blessing, Not a Cu
rse * Create Your Own Inner Circle of Strength: * Win With the Three Ss of Stamina, Strength and Success * Recognize that the Best Way to Join a Winning Team is to Create One * Take Charge of Your Choices Did you start yawning halfway down? I sure did. Let’s turn these watery ho-hums into Beefy Benefits: * ‘Discover why women’s brains are hard-wired for time management (so you gain hours every day from a special kind of multi-tasking) * ‘Create your own army of advocates who fight for your success (so you reach your goals faster and more effortlessly than you ever believed possible).’ * ‘Learn 1 simple step to start building your confidence today (so you start saying ‘yes’ to life-changing opportunities).’ Needless to say, I’m not presenting these bullets as finished copy. When you are a client, your copywriter should spend a lot of time digging into target market, position and a host of other topics. But aren’t these new benefits more…well, beefy? Once you understand these principles, you can start attracting nibbles to your own offers. You can make sure your copywriter doesn’t turn out limp substitutes like the “before” bullets we just reviewed. Of course, in all fairness, I have to add: copywriters work with what you give them. So you need to start building Beefy Benefits into your product well before you write The End. Think of adding beef to every chapter title, every how-to exercise and every section. Then, if you’re chosen your market, you should see an increase in revenue while you have more time to relax and enjoy quality time with your family.
And that’s the Ultimate Benefit of stocking your website with Beefy Benefits.