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If you're not an experienced copywriter, it's really hard to write about what you offer. Whether you're selling hand-crafted baby wraps, videography, social media marketing services, or HVAC installation, you naturally think about describing your product based on what it offers. Here are a few examples:
- Hand-crafted baby wraps: 100% handspun organic cotton, sizes 2-6, 12 limited run patterns, comes with instructional DVD of how to wrap.
- Videography: create commercials, animations and edit tutorials. Create high-resolution, professional HD files
- Social Media Marketing Services: 50 posts/month, reports, Facebook group management
- HVAC Installation: Furnace maintenance, humidifiers, custom duct work
What's missing from those is the problems you solve for…what do people GET from your products and services?
That is the difference between focusing on features versus benefits.
When you take a step back and look at the problems that you solve for your customers or the additional value that you bring to their lives.
- Hand-crafted baby wraps: comfortably carry your baby and toddler in a variety of ways fashionably
- Videography: Promote your business with professional, eye-catching videos
- Social Media Marketing Services: Grow your business with social media without the headaches of logging in.
- HVAC Installation: Be comfortable at home with the right climate controls
Do you see the difference? Here are about 100 more that may inspire you.
The benefit-oriented statements paint a picture of what the customer gets. It's not about the thread count or the software that you use – it's about how they feel. The freedom of movement when wearing your child, or how professional video will change the face of your business. The success you feel when your business grows without wasting your precious time doing the infinite Facebook scroll. The comfort of getting up and going to bed and the temperature in your house being just right.
One simple question for features vs benefits
Another way to identify the benefit of a feature is to answer the question “so what?”
Let's look at an example that most of us have had at some point in our lives – either as a babysitter or with our own kids. Trying to get a kid to eat their veggies.
“Sam, you should eat your broccoli.”
“Whyyyyyy? I don't wanna.”
“Well, broccoli is good for you. It's got lots of vitamins and minerals and fiber.” (Features of broccoli = vitamins and minerals and fiber)
“So what? I like cookies better!”
“Well, vitamins and minerals help you grow up big and strong. Plus the
y give you more energy to play. Remember that slide at the playground that you kee
p wanting to go on? Well, soon you'll be big enough to go on it – if you eat your veggies every day!” (Benefit to Sam to eating his broccoli: Achieving that goal of going down the bigger slide!)
Phrased correctly, focusing on the benefits of these features doesn't make your customers feel like a five-year-old either. Instead, they actually feel smarter – which makes you a hero in their eyes.
A Four-Step Process to Get to Benefits from Features
Here's an easy process to use to make sure you're focusing on the benefits and not just the features when creating marketing and sales copy for your business.
- List all of the features of your product or service.
- Describe what each feature does.
- Answer the question “So what?”
- Align those answers to the goals and desires of your customers.
You may need to go through step three a few times to really get to those emotional answers that you can tie back to those goals and desires. For example, I worked with a client that made project management software. One of their features was the ability to track time on project tasks.
Feature: Time tracking
Description: Track how long each project task takes, so you can see how much time was spent on your whole project
So what? See where your team's time is going and how long each time takes for better planning.
The better planning is starting to get to the goals and desires, but let's take it one more step…
So what? Make sure you allocate enough time for future projects, and charge enough for them.
There we go… now we're getting to what the client cares about – are they making money on those projects!