When you go to any of the corporate sites in the world, you'll see about great lists of features of their products. I don't know why corporations think that a different set of copywriting rules apply to their products and services. I don't think that their audience buys any differently from any other audience.
People want to know "What's in it for ME?" And that's really where your ability to turn features into benefits can shine. Features don't typically sell. Benefits sell.
Let me put this another way. You can't rely on your audience knowing how every feature will directly benefit them.
Most people who want the benefits of your product or service only want the benefits, the result, the big promise of whatever you're selling.
So you write to the most people. If you must include features, be sure to
also include the benefits of each feature.
How to Turn Features into Benefits
Here's a practical exercise for you. It won't take long.
Get a thing in front of you. List the features of that thing.
(How long is it? What color is it? Does it have an extrusion? What's the thing made of? What's it weigh? What do people call it? Those kind of features.)
Now, next to each feature, list how that feature can benefit the user of that thing.
Something like, (if you have a pencil, for example) "The six inch length ensures that you can use your pencil for a long time, write pages and pages of that vital information. The #2 lead makes the lead strong enough to rarely break, even after a fresh sharpening. An ample eraser makes is simple to erase those occasional (or frequent) mistakes without leaving a dark mark on your paper. And that eraser is kept on with a strong as steel binding that keeps it in place through lots of erasing."
That's only some of the benefits of some of the features of a pencil, but you get the idea. And, granted, I could have put those benefits in bullet points to add to the effect. This is a simple exercise, though, and I don't want to get complicated here. Yet.
Actually, it's not complicated to turn features into benefits at all.
Oh, and power verbs sell better than adjectives. So don't follow my example above too closely. LOL :)
Getting the Benefits that Your Audience Wants
Your audience wants certain things. Right? They want the results or the benefits that your product or service product. They don't just want the features. In fact, they don't want your product or service at all. They want those results or benefits.
So, you should have a full and complete list of all the features of what you're selling. If you do, great. If not, make one.
Write down how each feature will benefit your customer. Just like you did with the pencil above.
Now we get to what you know your audience wants. Though each wants something different, there will be a few things that they want more. Benefits. Results.
Now, paint a word picture of the person having achieved the result of the first benefit. Then the second. Then the third and so on.
Now, if you can, turn the word picture into a curiosity, something that will make the person curious.
Here's an Example for you...
Here's an example: Let's say you have an information product about Making more tips as a waiter or waitress. Well, the features would be the information. The physical features would be length of the product, how many pages, what format.
But they wouldn't buy for any of those physical (or digital) features. They pay for the information. So one section you have is on How to Greet Your Guests to Double the Tip They'll Leave.
That alone is a good bullet point benefit. But how could you word it so it not only creates curiosity in the reader, but also paints a picture with words?
Something like, "Discover the Top 5 Ways to greet Your guests so it doesn't matter one bit how overcooked their steak is, how dry the shrimp is, how hard the potatoes still are - those guests will leave 20% or more - Every time! Getting only 20% lies completely in your greeting - and that's not including the other tricks you'll learn..."
Or you could turn it into what NOT to do: "Are you making these common mistakes in greeting your guests? Do you just say, 'Welcome to (your restaurant). My name is... Our Specials for the night are...' Do you just smile when you say it? Then just ask for their drink order? Ask if they want any appetizers? Dessert? If that's all you do, you're costing yourself hundreds of dollars every month. There are 5 high-tip ways to just greet your guests that are absolutely guaranteed to increase your tips by 25%."
If I were a server, I'd want to know that. And that's only one small part of the product.
More Tricks to Building Fantastic Benefits
A very powerful method of creating a benefit from a feature is to assume that each and every benefit, all by itself, absolutely MUST sell the product.
Another trick is to relate to your prospects in each bulleted benefit. That also helps them the understand that you know what the heck you're talking about.
Make sure the you paint a word picture with each benefit.
Make sure that there's some curiosity invoked in the reader. (That curiosity can't be about the ability of your product or service to really render the benefits or final result.)
You can use a specific number to show how many ways there are to solve this or that kind of problem, avoid this or that pain, attain a specific result.
You can state a benefit, then give an actual example of it being attained.
You should hit 'em where it hurts in each benefit, too. Evoke and build on some emotion. People decide to buy for emotional reasons. Then they justify that emotional decision with logic.
But what ever you do in writing down each benefit, make sure that it definitely:
You can bullet point your benefits. You can paragraph your benefits.
Just make sure they're benefits and not features. And make sure that the actual, end result benefit is what's given.
One More Example
Let's say you're offering a service that will clean up someone's credit ratings.
What is the REAL benefit there? Well, personally I don't think there is one because getting credit and buying on credit really only reduces your own future disposable income, but I'll pretend that you have no heart and only want people to get in more debt.
Remember from the basics that you also want to evoke an emotional response from your readers. And you want to motivate them to take an exact action.
So, looking over helping someone's credit ratings, what's the actual thing that people are looking for? Confidence. Having stuff, whether paid for or not, tends to give people confidence. (And money is an idea backed with confidence.)
You could say, and I don't know if this would actually work, something like "12 ways you can restore your credit rating in 90 days or less. Not that you would take advantage of it, but you could buy your spouse that special gift without having to save for it. You could gain more respect from your children by giving them those new PlayStation games that they want. You know, stuff that you can't do now because someone messed up on your credit ratings report. It's not usually your fault. You can have the credit you deserve, and the confidence in knowing that you can get the money you need."
All that one does is states a benefit, then gives heartfelt reasons to make the person really want that benefit. And it let's the reader know that it's not their fault, then reassures the reader that it can be done.
If you've given them problem after problem that they didn't even know they had, you know, because you've done a ton of homework and have found the trends in their lives that really show that they have problems they didn't even know they really had...if you've done that, your benefits will sell better. The problems make them have to take the action. The results show you have a solution, and it's the right solution.
That's it for this tutorial. There's more than enough to work with to produce good results. There's more in the resources below.
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© 2000-2010 by
by Russell Burnham. All Rights Reserved. Modified May 19, 2008.
Modified May 19, 2008.