The Difference between Features and Benefits
It’s extremely important to understand the difference between features and benefits when you write copy. In fact, not understanding the difference can be death to your sales.
Have you ever read a sales page and thought to yourself that it was just so boring that you couldn’t even force yourself to keep going even if you thought you might want the product? I’m sure you have – we’ve all seen those terrible, ineffective sales letters.
But maybe to this point you haven’t been able to identify what really separates the really effective sales letters (the ones that make you buy even when you didn’t originally intend to) from those that aren’t at all effective.
Maybe it’s the case that you’re really struggling to write effective sales copy yourself. Maybe your conversions aren’t high – people are visiting your sales page but they aren’t reading or buying.
Or, maybe you’re struggling to write a sales letter at all. You know that you’re not yet a highly skilled copywriter and it scares you to even try.
Of all the elements that go into writing an effective sales page, understanding the difference between features and benefits just might be the most helpful. If you understand how to identify the benefits of a product, then all of a sudden things like writing the headline, bullet points, and persuasive copy just start coming together.
It’s about understanding human psychology. It’s one thing to know the features of a product, but it’s another thing to be swayed enough on an emotional level to go ahead and buy. You’re not going to tap into those emotions unless you understand and pull out the benefits of your product. That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
What Are Features?
At the core, features are what something is. It’s the descriptions and stats on a particular product. For example, you can describe a soda can as being red, made of metal, and containing a liquid.
But, who cares? You certainly don’t see Coca-Cola advertising their product that way. Sure, it’s good to know those things and in many cases people do make features part of their buying decision. But that’s not what’s going to capture people’s attention in the first place.
If you fill your sales copy full of features and only features, people are probably going to click away unless they were already highly motivated to buy the product.
Yes, features are important to talk about, but only after people are already interested. The first focus, for you and for the customer, has to be on the benefits of a product.
What Are Benefits?
Benefits are what something does. It’s the result of using or having the product.
So, in the case of having a Coca-Cola, it’s crisp, delicious refreshment. It’s something that puts you in a moment of pure pleasure, nostalgia, relief, and happiness. At least, that’s what Coke wants you to think.
You don’t really care that it’s a red can that contains a sweet liquid. You do care that it adds pleasure to your day and gives you the refreshment you so dearly need.
When you have your list of features for your own product, ask yourself why those features matter. Why does it matter that there’s a sweet liquid in that can? What’s the result people are looking to find?
When you ask yourself why the features matter, what really matters about the product, you can come up with a list of benefits.
The classic way copywriters describe this is “selling the sizzle, not the steak.” People are buying the hole, not the shovel. People are buying the result, not the thing itself. Once you understand this, it will be so much easier for you to write copy.
How to Pull out the Benefits of Your Product
Now that you understand more about the difference between features and benefits, it’s time to learn how to pull out the benefits of your product. I suggest you go through your product and take notes on everything that really matters about your product.
What sets this product apart? Which results are people going to find by going through your product? Write everything down that comes to mind.
After you’ve written your list, go through it again. Ask yourself what really matters…again and again. Dig deeper. If you’re selling a product that will help people make more money, it’s easy to think that money is the result people want. That’s typically not the case.
Money isn’t the true benefit… The true benefit might be freedom, living life on one’s own terms, and so on. Keep digging, keep asking yourself what matters most to your audience.
By the way, some benefits will be more important than others. Again, keep asking yourself what matters most—I can’t stress this enough.
You’ll use the top, most important benefit in the headline of your sales copy. You only have a short amount of time to capture people’s attention, so you really want to make it count. Sell that sizzle, get people interested, and then you can start explaining features and additional benefits.
Using Benefits in Your Bullet Points
In addition to using the main benefit within your headline, you’ll probably also want to include benefits in the form of bullet points. Remember that people are typically skimming through copy when they first read it. Even if they’re intrigued by your headline and by the benefit you promised, they aren’t quite sold on it yet.
You want to make it really easy for people to decide that they want to buy after all. Include the rest of the important benefits you came up with within bullet points in your sales copy. Bullet points capture people’s attention. When it’s all laid out there for them, the benefits are clear and they’ll be a lot more likely to buy.
Reiterate That Main Benefit All throughout Your Sales Copy
Again, you have that main benefit that you put in your headline. That should be the thread that pulls your sales copy together. Reiterate that main benefit all throughout your sales copy. This pulls people through the sales copy and brings it all together.
Features Are Important Too…
I don’t mean to make it sound like features aren’t important at all. You actually should include the features of your product. But, they’re not the main focus. And you don’t really want to list the features until people are already swayed by the promised benefits. Don’t leave those out, but don’t rely on them to capture people’s attention either.
Understanding Features vs. Benefits Will Help You Write Better Copy
I hope you’re really excited by all of this. Finally understanding the difference between features and benefits can help you become so much better. You’ll be able to write much more effective copy, make more sales, and make better connections with your audience overall.