Writing Content: Customers buy benefits, not features

People search the wonderous web to find solutions to their problems – cure an ache, find true love, get a job, get a loan. And they want that information fast: on average, a visitor will spend 8 seconds on a site before deciding to stay or go. To get a visitor to stay, you’ll need a brief and powerful message that says what you do, how you will solve their problem, and why they should trust you. 

Sure, you’ll want to talk about your cool products or services and your experience and other good stuff, but unless you telegraph the benefits to your customer, it’s bye-bye time. This rule is as important for B2B technical goods and services as it is for consumer-oriented e-commerce.

So how do we write benefit-based copy? Let’s look.

Features vs. Benefits

A feature is copy on how something works. For example, one of my dental clinic clients specializes in dental implants. The feature descriptor would be “dental implants are artificial tooth roots placed in your jawbone that bond with your natural bone.” 

Wow, that’s so exciting. Are you sold on getting a dental implant? Nope -odds are low that you will click “book an appointment.”

Let’s change it to a benefit: “Our dental implants improve your facial appearance and complete your smile. Make a healthy choice to prevent further bone loss in your teeth.”

Much friendlier, right? Sign me up! 

As this example shows, benefits are focused on the outcome of the service and how the service improves the customer’s life.

How do I talk benefits instead of features? 

  1. First step is to see your product or service in terms of your customer. Are you making their life easier? Faster? Healthier? More efficient? More profitable? Maybe even more fun? That’s what people buy
  2. Describe your product or service as the best way to reach the customer’s desired benefit. If you can, use photos and visual language so your prospect can see himself/herself enjoying the benefit
  3. As best as you can, promote how you are ideally suited to provide that benefit – that you are in some way unique in how you solve their problems. The better you home in on that uniqueness, the better you will differentiate yourself from your competitors
  4. Promote action as the way your customer will benefit, using active language like “make the smart choice” and “upgrade today”

Where do features come into the picture?

Once you have hooked ‘em on benefits, a customer will want to know how you will deliver on your promises. A list of features helps the customer visualize using your product or service. Where possible, use adjectives that enhance your features, like “friendly in-clinic treatments” and “easy-to-use online dashboard.” 

Going back to my dental client example, one of their service features is that they provide a blanket that helps a patient relax during the procedure. Just by itself, that’s not an amazing feature, but stated correctly in the copy, it is one of those “little things that count” that can get a prospective patient to click on the appointment button. These ‘little things’ promise a better customer experience and in highly competitive industries like healthcare, cell phones, and automotive, they may be the only real differentiators.

Focusing on the benefit and how it improves a person’s lifestyle will resonate with your customers. Promoting with a laundry list of features does not.

Need more examples?

Give us a holler. We have a long track record of helping our clients get more clicks, and we love to talk! /Jessica