The Pippin A-Z of Copywriting: Features

in Top copywriting tips

Or to be more precise, features and benefits.

Think of features as the essential but essentially dull facts about your product or service and the benefit as the thing that makes the features interesting or useful.

Featuring features alone is unlikely to help you make a sale because it’s the benefits that bring them to life and persuades your audience they want to buy whatever it is you have.

Here are some examples of features:

We were established in 1975

We have our own fleet of trucks

We use innovative production processes

And here are the benefits that could sit alongside them to bring them to life

We were established in 1975 so you can trust us to know what we’re doing

We have our own fleet of trucks so you can be sure your order will arrive on time not be subject to the whims of a third party delivery company

We use innovative production processes to cut down production times and make savings we can pass on to you

Let’s take some real life examples. Here’s an extract from some copy selling an HD television on the Currys website (it’s no longer on the website, unfortunately, otherwise I’d give you the link so you could see it in context):

With Full HD 1920 x 1080p resolution …

Now, if the writer had stopped there, your response would probably be, “So what?”. But they didn’t. The sentence carries on:

 you’ll be able to catch your favourite programmes in crisp detail and vivid colours for a completely immersive televisual experience.

And so you think, “Wow – that sounds cool – I want one of those.”

And here’s another example from Dulux:

Dulux Trade Flat Matt Light & Space uses revolutionary Lumitec technology…

To which you think, “OK, whatever.” But then you read the rest of the sentence:

…Dulux Trade Flat Matt Light & Space uses revolutionary Lumitec technology that helps reflect up to twice as much light around the room, making even the smallest rooms look and feel more spacious compared to our conventional emulsion paints…

And you think – “Great – that sounds amazing – that would be perfect for my dark downstairs loo.”

The simple rule of thumb is if you’ve written anything to which the reader’s response could reasonably be, “So what?” you’ve just written a feature. If the response is “Ooh – I need that” you’ve got the benefit.

And if you’d like a formula to help you construct the benefit, try this one:

[feature], which means that [benefit]

Focusing on the feature means your reader has to work hard to understand why something is important (and, let’s be honest, they probably can’t be bothered to work hard). Focusing on the benefit makes it easy for your reader to understand why they need what you’re selling (meaning you’re more likely to make the sale).

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