Web Copywriting – Features Tell, Benefits Sell

Web Copywriting – Features Tell, Benefits Sell

Think Why People Want What They Want

It took me a little while to fully grasp this concept and learn how to use it appropriately so stay with me on this. You’ll be happy you did.

Most people believe that if they spend as much energy telling their business prospects about all the features of their product or service that they put into its development, that they’re practicing good marketing. Actually, that’s a mistake. Ok, I think mistake is a hard word – so let me say – it’s not the optimal way of doing things for getting the results you want.

Although the business owner or developer may have spent hundreds of hours adding rich features that people will like and will happily use, the features themselves shouldn’t be the focus of their marketing efforts.

The human mind is a mysterious thing. In all aspects of our lives we think we use logic and knowledge to make our decisions. In some cases we actually do. But when it comes to buying anything, we actually tend to make decisions based on feelings and emotions instead of logic. Did you get that? Feelings and emotions, not logic. And the MBA people scoffed when I used to talk about this stuff – they called it fluff. Well, now I’m proof that understanding the human condition is more important in selling than finance or accounting.

Sorry for that rant! Here are some examples of features and their related benefits to help illustrate this concept:

  • Feature: Hybrid car reduces gas consumption (Logic)
    Benefit: This car saves you money (Wallet)

 

  • Feature: Golf Club Built with Titanium (Logic)
    Benefit: Hit balls farther with less effort (Ego)

 

  • Feature: Resealable packaging (Logic)
    Benefit: Food stays fresh tasting longer (Tummy, Wallet & Ego)

Benefits answer people’s main question – “What’s in it for me?”

When you answer that question with benefits, people become more involved and perceive your product or service as having a higher value. You’ve touched them and sparked their buying interest in some way by focusing on benefits.

Benefits reach and activate the buyer’s imagination. When you ignite their minds and get them thinking about how good they’ll feel, or how much money they’ll save, or how smart they’re going to appear…..you’ve got them hook, line and sinker.

The best way to use this concept to your advantage is to do the following exercise:

Take a sheet of paper or a spreadsheet and split it into two columns.

On the left side of the table, list all the features of your product or service. Think it through, analyze it and write everything down.

After you’ve done that, read each feature one by one and let your imagination run free. Take a feature and think how can I use this feature and what will it do for me? (See, the what’s in it for me? concept). You can usually come up with several benefits for each feature by looking at it and thinking about it in different ways.

Take a real life example from my consulting practise to help you. I was writing a sales letter for a company that gave seminars on leadership. They gave me a bunch of material to look over and it was a lot of really brainy material that focused on the types of things people learned in their seminar. Now first thing’s first, I believe in them and their services so it made it that much easier.

Feature Benefit
Learn the Comfort Zone Theory Learn what’s been stopping you from achieving success and how breaking free from destructive patterns will improve your quality of life
Learn Leadership Language Relax and have confidence knowing how to Inspire and Motivate others and get them to respond positively to everything you say
Learn Group Dynamics Learn how to foster the best team that produces the results you need in less time and without any ego-battles

Do you see how I flipped things around? I got the readers to use their imaginations. I created a picture for them, allowing them to fill in any gaps to make a story. In addition to outlining the logical elements (features) of the seminar alone, which are factual and appeal to their logical cores, I’m appealing to a deeper side within them.

Now with their imaginations going, their hearts are getting excited about having your product or using your service. Eureka! they’re thinking, they’ve found what they’re looking for.

The funny thing is, they may not have even realized how much they wanted it before you kick-started their imaginations and got them connecting with their ultimate wants and desires.

Now they know what they have to gain and that really is the key to marketing effectively on the internet and anywhere else. Marketing after all is creating desire.

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