Features lack flavour – Benefits increase sales

| November 11, 2009

People don’t buy products and services because of the features

Copywriters always use benefits as the basis of their messages. When deciding to buy, people want to know what’s in it for them. So if you’re clever you’ll tell them up front.

If you make the benefits ultra-clear, people can’t misunderstand. If you highlight the benefits early on, people are less likely to lose interest before they’ve ’got’ your message.

Focus on the benefits

A feature without a benefit is about as much use as a one legged man in an arse kicking contest. A car might offer air bags as standard in the passenger and driver seats. Jolly good. But so what? The benefit of having air bags in both front seats is that the passengers feel safer. If there’s an accident they know they’ll be protected. Because it leads with a benefit, the message suddenly has power. You’re selling physical safety, not airbags. Benefits increase sales.

In the same way, a hat might be shower resistant and UV proof. Big deal. The benefit is that you can wear the hat in all weathers: it’ll keep you warm and dry in winter, cool and protected from the sun in the summer. You’re not selling a hat. You’re selling comfort in all weathers.

OK, a computer might have a few terrabytes of memory. But does this face look bothered? It’s a yawningly dull message until you realise the benefit: that you can save hundreds and humdreds of exciting things on your PC without running out of space! You’re not selling bytes or even a PC, you’re selling hours of fun, education and entertainment…

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Category: copywriting and marketing

By Kate Goldstone - ()

Originally from Middlesbrough, I lived in Brighton for many years before moving to North Devon. I’ve had a passion for words all my life and this is my twelfth year as a freelance writer. In my spare time I draw, paint, sculpt, carve wood and rock, garden, read, write poetry and enjoy long distance hiking. I sing and play the recorder. I collect modernist paintings, vintage rugs and mid-century German art pottery. I’m a member of The Poetry Society. And I am an experienced volunteer shepherd, a ‘Lookerer’.

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