The importance of features and benefits

Features and benefits are important in copywriting, because they’re the things that will sell your product/service to your ideal customers.

But there’s often confusion about features vs. benefits, with some copywriting advice telling you to focus purely on the benefits and some saying you need a mix of both. So which is it?

Truth is, it all depends on what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to, but we’ll come back to that in a minute.

First let’s look at features vs. benefits and understand what each one means.

What are features?

The features of a product or service describe its purpose and the components it has.

Talking about features helps your ideal customers to compare similar products/services so they can decide which one is best for their needs.

But to understand the features they need to see how those features will benefit them — which is where the benefits come in.

What are benefits?

Benefits create a picture of success. They help your ideal customers to imagine how they, or their life, will change as a result of using your product or service.

Sales copy is usually more benefit-focused, because it’s the benefits of a product or service that will have most influence over the buying decision.

Features vs. benefits examples

Now we understand what features and benefits are, let’s look at some examples that will show the difference.

Product: Electric drill

Image by Tim Gouw from Pexels

There’s a well-used example of the features vs. benefits scenario that says you’re not buying the drill, you’re buying the hole in the wall. But as numerous copywriters and marketers have pointed out, the hole in the wall isn’t the benefit. The benefit is the joy of the picture you get to hang because of the hole in the wall.

  • Feature: 18V power drill
    • Benefit: The powerful 18-volt motor makes drilling holes a breeze, so you can take your walls from drab to fab in minutes.

Product: Fridge freezer

Image by K H Leuders from Pixabay
  • Feature: C-rated energy efficiency
    • Benefit: The C-rating is one of the lowest energy ratings for a fridge freezer*, helping you reduce your energy bills and your impact on the environment.
Energy Ratings image created by Jenny Lucas

*This is a graphic showing UK energy ratings for household appliances. Most fridge freezers are around an F-rating, so a C-rating is good and worthy of a mention.

Service: Virtual assistant services

Smiling businesswoman - humanistic buyer type
Image by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
  • Feature: Remote admin support for your business
    • Benefit: Outsource your boring and time-consuming admin tasks so you can focus on running the business you love.

Product: Vacuum cleaner

Photo by Freelance Grafiker from Pixabay
  • Feature: Powerful 800W vacuum
    • Benefit: Vacuum your room in a fraction of the time
    • Benefit: Clean deep into the fibres of the carpet
    • Benefit: Pick up pet hair and allergens with ease.
  • Feature: Generous 2.0-litre capacity
    • Benefit: Vacuum for longer without emptying the bag.
  • Feature: 5.35kg
    • Benefit: At just 5.35kg, the vacuum is super-lightweight and easy to carry, so even Grandma can use it!

Product: Blender

Image by Yao Charlen from Pixabay
  • Feature: Powerful 200W blender
  • Benefits: With 200W of pure power, you can:
    • Crush ice effortlessly for slurpable slushies
    • Blend velvety home-made soups and sauces with ease
    • Liquidise fruit pulp and seeds for super-smooth smoothies your kids will love.

How copywriters use features and benefits

As I said at the beginning, sales copy is usually more benefit-focused, because it’s the benefits of a product or service that will have most influence over the buying decision.

That’s not to say we don’t talk about features, but when we do talk about features, we mention the benefits of those features to give them context and meaning.

There’s a copywriting rule that says never mention a feature without a benefit, which isn’t a bad rule to follow, but it might not be necessary in every case.

It’s all about the what and who

The way we talk about features and benefits all depends on what we’re selling and who we’re selling it to.

For example, if we’re selling computing equipment to computer geeks, they’ll be primarily interested in features and we might not need the benefits at all.

But if it’s a revolutionary new product and the main audience knows very little about it, the benefits would probably be more important than the features.

Do you need a copywriter?

If you’re a company selling products or services online and you’d like some help to get your features and benefits in order, working with a copywriter could be a great decision.

I’m Jenny Lucas, a freelance copywriter and content writer based in Leicester, UK.

I specialise in SEO copy and content, so if you need help with your website or blog and you’d like to know more about how I could help you, please head over to my main website where you can read more about the services I offer.

Photo by Matt Glover Photography

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