Copywriting 101: Features vs. Benefits (And How to Know the Difference)
If there’s one thing that confuses and frustrates new (and even seasoned) copywriters it’s the not-always-obvious features and benefits.
When you are trying to sell something, such as a new course, the way you present it (and the sales page you write) needs to address your audience’s pain points, not just inform them of what you are offering.
We want to share all the great things about our new coaching program, so we say things like:
- 6-week self-study course
- Includes workbooks and live training
- Members’ only discounts
While these are all good points, they’re pretty bland. That’s because they’re features, not benefits. They tell us about the program but not why we should buy it.
Benefits, on the other hand, tell us the “so what” of features.
“6-week self-study course.” So what? Why should your reader care?
- Because she’s busy and needs to work on her own schedule, not yours.
- Because she’s already studied shorter, less comprehensive courses and needs more in-depth information.
- Because she prefers to learn on her own, not in a group.
“Includes workbooks and live training.” So what? What are the benefits of workbooks and live training?
- Your student can put what she learns into action with workbooks.
- She can get her specific questions answered during live training.
- She can work through complex issues with the help of the group.
As you can see, benefits go much further than simple attributes, such as length and format. They show your prospective client not only what’s in the program, but why the product is exactly right for her, at this specific moment in her life and career.
Features and benefits work together in sales copy as two halves of a statement, like this:
“6-week self-study course so you can learn at your own pace, when it’s convenient for you.”
In fact, this powerful feature/benefit combo is often the basis for the bullet points you see in sales copy, and the format of them makes them easy to write, too.
Simply list all the features of your product, then for each one, ask yourself “Why?” Why should the reader care? But don’t stop there. Dig deeper to uncover “the why behind the why” and you’ll soon be crafting truly irresistible sales pages that convert far better than you expect. In the above example, the why behind the why might be, “so you don’t have to spend family time on webinars that have been scheduled to benefit someone else.”
Now not only is your prospective client working at her own pace, but she’s also freeing up time to spend with her family. That’s a great benefit she won’t find with most courses.
Continually keep asking this ONE QUESTION – how will my audience benefit from this feature?
It’s easy to list all the features of your product or coaching program, but far more difficult to uncover the benefits that will drive sales. When you truly understand the difference though, it will become easier, and your sales will reflect the change in your copy.