Benefits and features in copywriting


Features and benefits are something I’ve looked at many times in the past.

Why am I writing about them again?

Simply because I am still seeing advertising and marketing materials that are missing the point completely.

A while ago I wrote a blog post in which I stated:

What are you really selling?

Shall I let you into a secret?

If you sell life insurance, you’re not actually selling insurance.

If you’re selling holidays, your customers aren’t buying holidays.

If you sell shoes, you’re not really selling shoes.

Have I gone completely mad?

Not yet.

You see the actual physical product or service you specialise in isn’t what people are buying from you.

They are buying because they are looking for something else; something that’s much bigger than your product or service.

They are buying a feeling – an emotion.

What are they buying?

To find the right buttons to press to convince your customer to buy, it’s vital you identify what they want.

Let’s go back to the examples I gave earlier.

When you’re selling insurance, you’re selling peace of mind that your customer’s loved ones will receive a lump sum of money in the event of their death.

If you sell holidays, you’re offering them the opportunity to get off their hamster-wheel of a life and enjoy quality time to relax with their families.

Those shoes aren’t just offering protection for your customers’ feet. They are empowering your customers, making them feel sophisticated and attractive (in the case of heels).

In the case of B2B sales, you’re selling the most precious commodity – time.

Your labour saving device will enable the business owner to reinvest their time elsewhere in the business where they will be more productive. It will release staff from mundane jobs (that lead to high churn) and allow their talents and experience to be used in other roles that will lead to business development and expansion.

Can you see where I’m going with this?

Your product or service is just the ‘thing’, how it affects their life are the benefits that they want.

So when it comes to creating your content, it’s vital that you look beyond the thing you’re selling and think about how it will affect the lives of your customers.

What is it that they really get out of it?”

A feature is what something IS: A benefit is what something DOES

A simple example is an umbrella.

Its features are that it has:

  • A curved wooden handle
  • A cloth canopy
  • A solid, unbreakable frame

Whereas the benefits are:

  • It keeps you dry
  • It keeps you shady on a hot day
  • It’s compact folded size means it fits in your bag so you’ll never get caught in the rain without protection

See the difference?

All you have to remember is that:

Features are facts about your product/service.

The benefit is the value it brings to your customer.