There’s a famous saying in marketing (as Veronica Fullovit from Bullspit Marketing tells us in the video):
Sell the sizzle, not the steak.
What does this mean? Simply that your copy should lead with the experience, the positive emotions your customer will experience rather than the facts and figures.
In copywriting, this is reinforced but the advice that you should focus on ‘benefits’ and not features. But it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean you should omit features altogether. They’re a key part in proving the promise you make in your copy.
What is a feature and what is a benefit?
Think of features as the ‘facts’ about your product. In the video, we saw how car adverts don’t focus on how many millimetres long a car is, or their specific turning circle. Car adverts paint a picture of emotional and evocative experiences:
- Wind (or hairdryer) blowing through your hair
- Looking good…
These are benefits.
As creatures, we base our buying decisions on emotions which is why these factors are usually the first to catch our eye.
But features are still important.
Let’s say I fall in love with a car. It’s still a big purchase and there will be features I want to know about to make me feel good about the purchase – the category of tax it falls into, fuel consumption, engine power etc.
Identify your benefits
Benefits are extensions of features and you can identify the benefits of your product by simply asking :
- What does this feature mean to my customer?
- How will this make them feel?
For example, our car is 4255mm in length. That’s a feature
1.What does this mean to my customer?
Well perhaps the length means it’s shorter than average which means it’s easier to park and more comfortable to drive in high-traffic areas.
2.How will this make them feel?
More comfortable, more confident, less nervous about bumping it or scraping it where narrow roads are congested.
This is a very simple introduction to features and benefits to help you start seeing the distinction between the facts (features) and the impact those facts have on your customer (benefits).
To master more copywriting lessons using features and benefits, check out the following articles:
- Benefits, Features and Salient Points – My Interview with Guy Kawasaki
- How to Write Compelling AND Credible Benefits
- Why You Need an Impact Table to Write Better Copy (Waaay Faster) – over on Big Brand System
- Copywriting: Selling The Benefits Step-by-Step – Slideshare Presentation
Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts on benefits and features in the comments below!
Bonus content… my tips on writing better sales copy
Recently I did an interview where I answered the following questions:
- What is your unique approach to content writing?
- What are the most common problems your clients come to you with?
- What are the biggest copywriting mistakes you see brands making?
- What are some good habits effective copywriters need to develop?
- What advice do you find yourself repeating over and over?
And more… You can read the interview here on Media Shower.