Are You Confused About Features and Benefits?

When copywriters say that sales copy must focus on benefits and not features, what do we mean?
Features and benefits in copywritingWell, a feature is all YOU as the vendor, describing the product. For example, “I have a squillion qualifications”….but really, who cares? No one could give a toss unless there is something else in it for them, such as added security you can deliver what you promise.
A benefit, on the other hand, is all about THEM, where the ‘THEM’ is the reader and what the product feature means to them.
There is a table currently on the market with a large plastic top which can be sloped at an angle towards you and has a rim to hold any spills.
These are the features.
A simple technique to work out the benefits is to write ‘which means’ after the feature and then finish the sentence….The wipe clean surface has a rim which means… your home is hygienic, and your child is protected from spills.
The table top has a large surface area which means… it is great for playing with building bricks.
All benefits to a mum with a young child, but what if we change the target market? Being able to clean up porridge is unlikely to appeal to a seasoned jigsaw puzzle fan.But how about… The wipe clean surface has a rim which means… the puzzle stays put when you angle the table.The table top has a large surface area which means… it will hold a 5,000 piece puzzle.
The point is that the features are the same, but the benefits have changed. This comparison of the mum and the puzzle fan is a no-brainer, but what about a nebulous service such as life-coaching? If you fail to identify the precise problem for your market, then you will not hit on the ideal solution, or benefit, which means no profit.
For example, someone putting on weight because they don’t make time for exercise is unlikely to think or feel the same as the person piling on the pounds through comfort eating. Unless you are spot on with the right trigger and benefit, then neither will bite on your offer. So, before you can turn your features into benefits, you have to understand what your product means to your target audience.
True, you can and should do market research, but when it comes to understanding who your market is, what they want and how they want it, the difference between good sales copy and great sales copy could come down to intuition.