Product Marketing 101: How To Write Copy That Sells The Benefits, Not Tell The Features

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

A benefit tells someone why your product is going to change their lives. Gear your copy toward this if you want to sell big.

Writing copy is a part of building up your sales platform. It may sound easy to write 500 words about how great your product or service is.

The problem is that people don’t realize how powerful copy is. A simple word here or there can make all the difference to whether someone buys or not. 

One of the aspects of copy that people don’t consider is the difference between a benefit and a feature. A product feature is something that you are going to find in the manual.

You’re not selling this to anyone because a lot of people didn’t come to your landing page because they heard about your specific feature. They came to find out why they should buy your product.

A benefit tells someone why your product is going to change their lives. Gear your copy toward this if you want to sell big.

Transforming Features Into Benefits

The great thing about features is they all have the potential to be turned into benefits through a simple piece of wordplay. The easiest way to do this is to visualize why a feature would make a difference to a product. Consider why that feature is so important and why anyone would want to take advantage of it.

For example, a great gas per mileage rating on a car is just a feature. But the benefit of that feature is that you’re going to save money on gas. A pocket on a pair of jeans is a feature. But the benefit of that pocket is you have a safe place to store your keys and a place to keep your hands warm.

Adopt this line of thinking and you’ll be amazed at how easily you can switch every product feature into a benefit. Then you can start to condense your benefits into a piece of copy that sells.

Related Article:Telling Your Brand Story: How to Engage the Masses

Tell a Story to Showcase Your Benefits

Now that you have your benefits you cannot just list them. Listing them is going back to that same manual-style format that you were doing with your product features. People respond to stories. That’s how you are going to engage with your target audience.

In my company one thing we always ask any client who needs our help in creating a sales page is for them to tell us their brand or product story. Most times, they list the features of their product while leaving out how it benefits their target market or the story of how the product was created to solve the prospects’ pain points. That’s a mistake you want to avoid.

A good story will help to create that emotional connection that encourages people to get interested in a brand. Describe a scenario where these benefits can come into force. It could be in the form of a customer testimonial, an image, or it could be a video advertisement.

How this website made the most of storytelling is a good example. To tell the stories of their customers, they approached some of their previous clientele and received stories about how their alarm system had, in some cases, saved their lives.

At no point were any benefits specifically mentioned. The stories were all about showing not telling. There’s a huge difference, and it makes your copy all the more powerful. 

Just make sure you know your target audience before trying to tell a story. Most companies have multiple segments of their target market that they can hit. Rather than trying to target the majority, segment your audience and aim different pieces of content at each niche. This will lead to higher conversion rates in the long-term. 

Related Article:Telling Your Brand Story: How to Engage the Masses

The Benefits Need to Solve a Problem 

Do you know the biggest reason why your copy isn’t selling? It has nothing to do with your product or what it does. The issue lies in the fact that you are not hitting your target audience and their needs. You need to study the problems of that target audience so you know which benefits to prioritize.

Your brand cannot be the hero in order to encourage people to care about what you have to say. Everything you do should be about solving problems. Some benefits will be added extras, whereas only one or two will be positioned front and center to attract your target audience. 

Study your customer by asking them what they want to see. So many customers are almost afraid of approaching their target audience directly because they are scared of what they might hear in return. Customers appreciate when companies are interested in their opinions, though. Find out what they want from a product in your niche and then cater to that.

Verify Your Benefits with Features

But you cannot list a benefit alone. It works both ways. Features are not useless by any stretch of the imagination. They may not possess that emotional connection, but what they do provide is proof. If you say your product will help someone save money, you need to mention the feature that actually helps them to do that. Think of features as pieces of evidence in a white paper. They are the statistics that give authority to your copy.

For example, if you say that a house is an ideal place to start a family, you have listed a benefit. But where is the feature to actually back that up? You should have mentioned that crime is low in the area, there are lots of green areas, and the house is positioned in a good school district. 

As you can see, you have used features in order to verify that single benefit.

Related Article:Beyond the Mission Statement: Building Your Brand With Effective Storytelling

Sometimes Benefits Can Be Emotional 

Don’t assume that all benefits have to be listed in relation to a literal problem. Sometimes a benefit can be used exclusively to play upon the emotions of your target audience. Sometimes features are there to make an emotional connection only, rather than anything practical.

One of the better examples of this is purchasing a handmade bracelet from a store. The emotional benefit here is that you are purchasing an item that is unique in the world. Nobody else can have that item. It makes no difference to the life of the purchaser, but to them, it’s still a benefit because it’s going to make them feel good about themselves. 

Conclusion

These tips will help you to create more benefit-driven copy. Incorporate these tips for creating all types of copy, including written, visual, and video. What are your top tips for creating copy that sells?

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