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Features vs Benefits: What’s the Difference and Why Does It Matter?
Copywriting / 07 Mar 2022
Stand-out marketing copy doesn’t just sell a product. It fosters a connection with the audience and reels them in. That’s the difference between a mediocre and a masterful copywriting service.
Excellent messaging communicates the benefits or features (or both) of your product or service, enabling you to tell potential customers exactly what they need to know in a clever and succinct way.
But without knowing the difference between benefits and features in your content, you can scare people away with poor, inconsistent, or ineffective messaging. It’s important to know when you should use benefits vs features in your copy, or if it’s appropriate to use both.
That way, consumers know what’s included in a product or service and can learn how it will benefit their lives.
Knowing the difference – and how to apply them – is crucial for your content strategy.
What’s a feature?
A feature is a functionality or attribute of your product or service. It can be something your product has or something it can do.
Listing features help to describe your offering to people seeking a specific product or service.
In most cases, it’s important to show off features because they’re a part of the product that can be supported by data collected via testing and measurement.
People looking for a particular product or service often want quantified information that shows its usefulness. For example, how much fibre is in a pack of pasta or the cashmere content of a jumper.
What’s a benefit?
On the other hand, a benefit is how a product or service can enhance or add value to a person’s life.
Typically, benefits answer what the product or service can do for someone. Listing the benefits of a product can be especially important when its features are highly technical.
For example, if you talk about how much wool content is in a scarf, not everyone will know how much wool is considered a lot. But, if you discuss how the high wool content benefits someone by keeping them extremely warm and cosy in the winter, they’ll know that it’s a high-quality scarf that they can rely on to keep them toasty in the colder months.
What’s the difference between benefits and features?
It can be easy to get benefits and features confused. Even great marketers use them interchangeably by accident.
Features are what the product or service does, aiming to show how it’s different from the competition.
Benefits show why those features matter and how they’ll improve the target audience’s lives. For example, a coffee cup’s feature may be that it’s reusable. The benefit, however, is that using it helps the planet and helps save some money when you buy your morning coffee.
How to know when it’s best to use features or benefits
As any good copywriting agency will tell you, it’s best to lead with benefits when writing copy. While a list of features is important – it gives people the important information they need to make a purchase – it’s almost always the benefits that result in those all-important conversions.
Benefits typically compel people to purchase as they can envision the advantages the product or service would bring them in their lives. Instead of thinking about that high wool content, they are daydreaming about a warm, soft, sweater in wintertime, and that’s something worth leaning into.
That said, it’s also important to know that in some cases, features can help sway a consumer – especially in a saturated market.
For example, a meal-delivery company in London will have plenty of competition. After all, big-name brands like HelloFresh and Mindful Chef are already on the market.
For most of these companies, the benefits are similar – meal services help people save time, offer nutritious meals, and so on.
A newcomer to the playing field could communicate their brand’s competitive advantage by listing unique, one-of-a-kind features to stand out. For instance, highlighting a specific cuisine, offering a lower price point than their competitors, or presenting a certain perk such as a free dessert or discount with purchase.
Features are not only useful for your ideal customer, but they are also a great tool to utilise in SEO content writing.
Benefits work well for products already within a niche market or for ‘drier’ topics.
Product benefits should answer the following questions:
- How does the product or service work?
- How does the product or service improve a person’s life?
Transforming benefits into features
If you want to focus on benefits, it’s best to determine your features first and work from there.
The best way to transform benefits into features is to ask each feature: ‘So what? Why should anyone care? What’s the big deal?’
Answering some of the following questions can also guide you to your benefits:
- What specific pain point of theirs does the product solve?
- How does the product make their life better, easier, more successful, and more enjoyable?
- What value does the product add?
- What’s unique about the product?
- How will the product improve their business, world, and life?
- What, specifically, do your existing loyal customers rave about?
Sometimes, it can be difficult to pull the benefits from a list of complex features. This is where a copywriting service would be able to help. Stuff like this is our bread and butter.
Applying benefits and features in your content writing
The benefits or features marketing method can be applied to almost any product or service, from food items to toiletries.
Next time you create marketing copy for a product, determine what you want to say to your audience and work out which messaging method will work best. You may find that you want to use both features and benefits, but try not to overwhelm your reader with information.
Ask yourself ‘does this ad convey features or benefits?’ It’s essential to know the difference between both so your audience picks up clear messaging that shows why they should choose your product or service over the other guy’s.
Need some help with your messaging? It might be worth enlisting the help of a copywriting service. We’re a copywriting agency that can make your content sparkle – give us a call today to find out how.
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