Copywriting Essentials: What You Must Know About Features and Benefits to Write Great Ads
Copywriters understand the difference between features and benefits. However, you don’t need brilliant copywriting skills to write a great ad. You just need to know something very simple — how to use features and benefits in your advertising.
I tell my copywriting students: “No one buys a product. They buy benefits — what the product will do for them, especially emotionally.”
You may be too young to remember the Pet Rock craze of the 1970s. Advertising executive Gary Dahl created the perfect pet. It didn’t require feeding, walking, or grooming — it was a rock.
Pet Rocks, still available in various forms, can teach you the difference between features and benefits.
Here are the features of Pet Rocks:
* a rock
* packaging, which was a cardboard “pet carrier” box with air holes.
If you were selling Pet Rocks, would you sell them on their features?
Hardly. No one needs a rock — they’re everywhere.
On the other hand, think about the benefits of Pet Rocks. They include:
* an instant conversation piece
* instant feel-good factor
* instant amusement
Can you see the difference between features and benefits? Features are facts. Benefits reveal an emotional connection.
Whenever you want to create an ad, create two lists. The first list is of the features of your product. The second list contains the benefits of those features. Focus on your prospect’s emotional connection.
Marketing Pet Rocks was a breeze. The multi-billion dollar pet industry exists because for many people, their pets are much-loved family members. Pet Rocks tapped into that emotion.
When thinking about benefits however, avoid one mistake: the laundry list trap.
Avoid the “Laundry List” Trap
Avoid listing your benefits like a laundry list. This is a mistake I see my copywriting students make when they first focus on benefits.
If you create a list, you risk the “so what?” response. The little list of Pet Rock’s benefits above would get this response.
You need to personalize your benefits. The easiest way is to tell a story; we remember stories, and identify with the characters in the story.
So, there you have it. You now know enough about copywriting features and benefits to write great ads.