Monday, August 1, 2011

Benefits or Features? And why...

Before I got into copywriting I, like most people, had no idea what the difference between a benefit or a feature actually was. I didn't need to know, and frankly I didn't care. Whatever adverts I'd seen or read had obviously worked (or they hadn't), and I wouldn't have been able to offer any explanation as to why, if I tried.

So that got me thinking. How many people out there want to entice people into buying their product, but don't know how to offer it? Well, here goes.

Features.

The features of a product could be described as its specifications - such as your car's weight, your washing machine's speed, or the amount of blades in a disposable razor. That's all very nice to know, but does it matter to the buying public? Well, generally no.

You see, your new car might be significantly lighter than the old model, and you can see this on paper, but what does that mean to you? Nothing... yet. You could tell your friends about it, but they probably won't care either. So how could we make it more beneficial to you, or the owner?

Benefits.

Well, it now weighs less, so it'll almost definitely go further on the same amount of fuel. Cheaper to run - that's a benefit. It may also handle better because there's less weight to carry - yet another benefit. Suddenly, this car is sounding good, maybe better than the competition and it might be the one to own. 

Likewise, the razor with three blades might sound good (a feature), but if it's guaranteed to give a smoother shave, in less time, then the benefits start to make it look like a worthwhile purchase. And on it goes.

So, you can see the latest features, but you can feel the benefits - they make a real difference to you and your life. It's emotional, and that's how you need to appeal to the public.

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