A benefit is the value of your product to a customer. In other words, a benefit is what the product can do for a customer or how the product can help a customer. You need to put into words the reasons your product is the best available and better than your competitors’ products based on the added value it provides to consumers. The key to success is for you to fully understand all of the benefits of your product. Only then can you ensure that the audience knows them and can relate to them.
Most people confuse a product feature with a product benefit. I remember when I was studying marketing in college and my Introduction to Marketing professor spent countless classroom hours drilling students in identifying features vs. benefits. Thanks, Dr. Mohan because I learned the difference before my freshman year ended!
In simple terms, features are like features on your face. For example, the features on your face include two eyes, a nose, and a mouth. What are the benefits of those features? Since I’m hungry right now, the first benefits that come to mind include:
- Your eyes allow you to see the colors, shapes, and textures of a fabulously presented meal.
- Your nose lets you smell the delicious food.
- Your mouth allows you to taste the delicious food.
Just as the features on your face will help you do something (or do it for you), the features on a product will help you do something (or do it for you). On the other hand, the benefits are how the product will help the customer.
Develop a Features and Benefits List for Your Products and Services
The easiest way to define your product’s benefits is by creating a list of your product’s features. Once you’ve completed your features list, describe how each feature will help a user. Write it right next to the feature. Once you have a benefit written down, personalize it and explicitly tell your audience what it can do for them. Do this for every feature on your list.
Here’s an example to help you get started. Let’s take a look at the features and benefits of the fictitious Suck-Up Vacuum Cleaner:
- Feature: Lightweight (10 lbs.)
- Benefit: You won’t strain your back carrying Suck-Up Vacuum up and down the stairs.
- Feature: On board tools
- Benefit: Save time. No more searching for the furniture brush. It’s stored in the convenient compartment on the back of the Suck-Up Vacuum.
- Feature: Bagless
- Save money. No more bags to buy.
- Feature: 5-year warranty
- Benefit: Peace of mind. No worries if your Suck-Up Vacuum stops working.
- Feature: HEPA filter
- Benefit: Better for your health. Suck-Up Vacuum will leave your house cleaner than ever before. Even the smallest speck of dust and debris is removed when you use Suck-Up Vacuum, leaving your house cleaner than ever before.
Notice that in each example, the benefits language elicits one or more emotions—from discomfort and stress to health and pride. Bottom-line, benefits copy can turn boring feature descriptions into highly impactful marketing messages.
Practice turning features into benefits in your own copywriting and I guarantee that your results will improve!
Adapted from “Kick-Ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps” by Susan Gunelius