The Write Stuff – Blog

Mar 29 2011 What?s In It For Me? The Benefits of Benefits
Copywriting - focus on the benefits

So what makes great sales copy? Is it well-written text? Broad appeal? A unique product?

While all these elements are important and certainly help strengthen your message, probably the most critical of all is answering ?What?s in it for me??

Think about it ? you could have an absolutely brilliant product, but if you can?t convince your audience of all the benefits they’ll reap from buying it, you might as well pack up and go home.

Don?t confuse features with benefits

One of the biggest mistakes novice writers make when writing their sales copy, is focussing solely on the features of their product or service, rather than the benefits.

For instance, let?s say you sell Stanley knives; some of the features of each knife might be:

  • a retractable blade
  • rubber casing
  • bright colours
  • replacement blades

That?s all good and well, but how does that help me?

Let?s take a look at the benefits of each feature and find out.

Retractable blade: Avoid nasty cuts or damaging other tools and equipment with a blade that safely and conveniently retracts fully into the handle of the knife.

Rubber casing: A firm, comfortable grip ensures maximum control for precision cutting, making an accurate job quicker and easier.

Bright colours: A range of bright, visible colours mean you no longer waste time hunting around for your precision knife and reduce the risk of losing it to someone who mistakes it for their own.

Replacement blades: Save time and money by having 10 spare blades on hand, where and when you need them.

Rather than just offering a brightly coloured knife with replaceable, retractable blades, you?re instead offering a tool which is:

  • accurate
  • easy and comfortable to use
  • helps protects you and your equipment
  • saves you time and money

See how more attractive that second list is? Why wouldn?t you want one?

So remember, when you?re trying to write effective sales copy, don?t just tell me how good your product is. Tell me WHY.

As the old saying goes: It’s not about selling the steak ? it’s about selling the sizzle!

5 Responses to “What?s In It For Me? The Benefits of Benefits”

  • Reply Belinda Weaver March 31, 2011at 9:28 am

    Great post Anna and thanks for the reminder. The fundamentals are soo important but it’s easy to lose the forest for the trees.

    I was taught a great technique to tease out those benefits and that’s to tack on “which means that” after ever feature. If you keep trying to answer that question, you end up at the basic (and usually most important) benefit. It never fails!

    • Reply Anna Peterson March 31, 2011at 9:40 am

      Thanks for your feedback Belinda – and a great tip about asking “which means that..”.

      I always try to imagine a surly 15 year old asking “SO..?!!” 😀

  • Reply Chris Dale March 31, 2011at 12:08 pm

    Great post Anna. My favourite example of selling the benefits is how Apple sold the ipod, they called it “1000 songs in your pocket”. It has much more sizzle than saying it has x amount of memory….

    I like that tip from Belinda too..good one.

    • Reply Anna Peterson March 31, 2011at 12:37 pm

      Thanks Chris, and an excellent example!

      “1,000 songs” certainly makes more sense to me than “X GB”, after all, I have no way of understanding how many songs “X GB” would give me (I’m somewhat tech-challenged with things like that..!). Immediately “1,000 songs” builds a picture in my mind of how many CDs that would be, and what awesome, portable, storage capacity that translates to.

      A great benefit! (thanks for sharing)

  • Reply 5 Fab Phrases to Fuel Your Sales Message November 12, 2011at 9:17 pm

    […] course, don?t forget to focus on the BENEFITS of your solution. There?s no good having your audience read this far, only to lose them by […]

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