Features v benefits

Features v benefits: what’s the difference and why does it matter?

Features and benefits are both important elements when it comes to effective copywriting. Put simply, a feature is a characteristic of your product or service, whereas a benefit is what the product or service does.

What’s a feature?
A feature is a characteristic that physically describes your product or service. It could be the operating speed or battery life of a gadget or piece of machinery, the interest rate on a personal loan, or a money-back guarantee if the customer isn’t satisfied. The technical specs listed when you buy a new camera or power tool are typically product features.

What’s a benefit?
A benefit describes how your product or service will help your customer to solve their problem. Writing with a benefits focus essentially means translating features into benefit statements that demonstrate what the customer will gain by using your product. They’re the “so what?” to the features you’ve chosen to highlight.

Say you’re selling a digital camera. The feature you’re looking to promote is that it’s waterproof. What does the customer benefit look like? “Never worry about using your camera by the pool or at the beach again” or “capture your shark dive on film”.

It’s important that your marketing materials focus on both features and benefits, but you should spend more time explaining your benefits, or “what’s in it for me?” for the customer. Customer-focused copywriting hone in on how your product or service will make the customer’s life better or easier, and effectively educates and persuades your customer at the same time.

But don’t forget about features – they’re still important. They allow potential customers to understand exactly what it is your product or service is and does, and make comparisons.

What benefits does your product or service deliver?
Are you clear on the benefits that your product or service delivers for customers? Unless you are, it’ll be tough to create copy that focuses on what’s in it for them.

The following three steps are a simple way to extract benefits and ensure your copywriting is customer focused:

1.   Write a list of your product or service’s features
2.   Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, and for each feature, ask “what’s in it for me”
3.   Translate this into a compelling, benefit-focused offer, like “capture underwater memories
with confidence with x camera”

Once you’re done, you can use your features and benefits list to rev up your website, brochures and other marketing materials by ensuring that your copywriting is clearly oriented towards your customers.

If you’d like some help with ensuring your copy is customer and benefits focused, please call us on 0401 202 085 or email kate@wordsthatwork.com.au.

leave a comment