Website Copy

Understanding the Features vs. Benefits of what you sell

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Each and every service or product you sell is individually made up of two important things: Features and Benefits. And you need to clearly have a grip on each for every single thing you sell.

In case you don’t fully understand what the difference of benefits vs features is or you need a reminder, I want to share this quote:

“People don’t buy features, they buy benefits. Features answer the question, what is it? Benefits answer the question, what’s in it for me?” Tom Abbot

“People don’t buy features, they buy benefits. Features answer the question, what is it? Benefits answer the question, what’s in it for me?” Tom Abbot

A tale of pumpkin spice

Let’s say you are out and about looking for a new pumpkin spice candle in the Fall. You know you will…

When you show up to Target, you head to the candle aisle. You know right where it is. You’re on a mission and nothing is gonna stop you.

Until you realize that there are 5 different candles boasting pumpkin spice as a scent to fill your home.

You first investigate the benefits of your options (even though you don’t think about the fact you are looking at the benefits). One is in a beautiful mercury glass jar. That would perfectly shimmer on your kitchen counter and pair so well with your white hand lettered pumpkin you grabbed last year.

Another option is a glass jar with a darling little pumpkin on the label. Not as elegant as the first but certainly conjures nostalgic memories of Falls past as a child.

You like both, but which one should you choose? To make the decision easier, you start investigating the features of both options. The mercury glass one says it has a burn time of 25 hours. It is made up of paraffin wax.

The glass one with the pumpkin has a burn time of 30 hours. Hmm. It says it is made of soy-based wax. The label says their soy candles are made in America and due to the nature of the soy wax, it is a cleaner burn without harmful toxins that paraffin wax can put off, has a high-quality fragrance from essential oils, and supports American Farmers.

You quickly Google what the deal is with soy wax and learn that it is preferred over paraffin because paraffin is made from petroleum and are more likely to trigger allergies because of their toxins.

Eww.

The mercury one is simply stunning, but the thought of burning a leftover by-product from the petroleum refining process sounds gross.

So you pick up the glass candle and head to the checkout. Whether or not you stopped by the kitchen section and the office supplies section is your business. No one else’s. Ha!

The features or what the product IS, can be summed up by an American made candle with non-toxic soy wax that burns for 30 hours. But what’s in it for you, the real reason you buy it, is that it fills your home with the warm, cozy, and inviting scents of Fall.

Understand the difference between features and benefits to write better website copy

Lead with the benefit. Justify with the features.

The thing is, it isn’t that the features don’t matter. They do. To further expound on Tom’s wise quote, I’d say,

People first decide to buy because of the benefits and then they justify their purchase with the features.

People first decide to buy because of the benefits and then they justify their purchase with the features.

So when it comes time to write the sales copy for your service page or product page, it is important that you always lead with the benefit. You can tell them straight up or paint a picture through a little storytelling like I do to explain what is in it for them, but no matter how you approach it, that is the key to powerful sales copy.

Lead with the benefit, justify with the features.

Features vs. Benefits Excercise

Pull out a piece of paper or open a fresh Google Doc. Start with ONE product or service you sell.

List the Features

Write down all the features first since that is what we naturally think about when it comes to what we sell. Answer questions like:

  • What is it made of?
  • What does it include?
  • What are the dimensions?

Make note of anything where you can show numbers. Like the 30 hours that pumpkin spice candle burns.

List the Benefits

Next up, think through and write down the benefits. What is in it for your customers? Think through concepts like:

  • The transformation they will see
  • The enjoyment they will get
  • What it could protect them from
  • The feeling it evokes

And repeat

Repeat the process for all the services and products you sell!

When you go to write your first or next product/service page copy, keep this document handy. Remember to lead in with the benefit to really connect with your ideal customer and then justify why they should say yes with all the features of your offering!

Understanding the Features vs. Benefits of what you sell and how to use them strategically on your product and service website pages


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