Features vs Benefits: What’s the difference?

Features vs Benefits: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Killer Sales Copy

Are you struggling to create compelling sales copy? One of the reasons is that you focus on the features of your products instead of their benefits. 

If so, you’re not alone.

Many marketers make the mistake of talking about the features of their products over the benefits. This results in low sales and a frustrated, confused audience.

In this post, you’ll discover the difference between features and benefits and how to write killer sales copy that captures your audience’s attention and drives conversions.

What Are Features?

Features are the characteristics or attributes of your product or service.

They describe what your product or service does, how it works, and what it includes.

For example, if you’re selling a car, the features might include the make and model, the engine size, the number of seats, and the safety features.

What Are Benefits?

Benefits, on the other hand, are the advantages or outcomes that your customer will experience as a result of using your product or service.

They describe how your product or service will solve a problem or fulfill a need.

For example, the benefits of a car might include a smooth ride, improved fuel efficiency, and increased safety.

features vs benefits

Why Should You Emphasize Benefits Over Features?

Yes, features are important.

But they don’t motivate customers to buy. Unless it’s a technical product that appeals to a technical audience. 

Customers want to know how your product or service will benefit them.

They want to know how it will make their life easier, better, or more enjoyable.

By emphasizing benefits over features, you can tap into the emotional needs of your audience and create a sense of urgency to purchase.

Are Features and Benefits the Same?

Imagine you’re out shopping for a new smartphone.

The salesperson starts talking to you about the amazing features of the latest model.

They mention the impressive camera, the fast processor, and the sleek design.

But you might be thinking, “Okay, that’s cool and all, but what’s in it for me? How does it benefit me?

Here’s the deal: Features and benefits are not the same, and understanding the difference is crucial, whether you’re selling a product, promoting a service, or even trying to convince a friend to join you for a time out with the gang.

Features are specific characteristics or functionalities of a product or service.

They are the nitty-gritty details that describe what the item can do or how it is made.

In the smartphone example, features would include the camera resolution, processor speed, and physical dimensions.

On the other hand, benefits are the positive outcomes or advantages that your prospective customer will gain from those features.

Benefits answer the all-important question of “What’s in it for me?”

When talking about the smartphone, the benefits could be how the high-resolution camera captures stunning photos, the fast processor ensures smooth multitasking, and the sleek design makes it easy to carry around.

The key here is that benefits directly relate to your customer’s needs, desires, or pain points.

They highlight how your product or service can solve a problem or improve their life.

Here’s a little comparison chart on features vs benefits

features vs benefits
Source

Features and benefits in marketing and sales

In marketing and sales, always emphasize benefits over features.

Yes, features are important and can help build credibility, but it’s the benefits that create an emotional connection with the audience.

People want to know how a product will make their lives better, easier, or more enjoyable.

So, the next time you’re trying to convince someone about something, focus on the “what’s in it for them” part – the benefits.

It’s like shifting the spotlight from the boring technical specifications to the real-world impact.

If you’re still a bit confused, I’ll break it down for you.

What’s the Difference Between Features and Benefits?

Let’s break it down better.

The unending battle between features and benefits can be confusing. So I’ll make it easier in this section.

Understanding the key differences between these two can unlock the secret sauce of product appeal and make your decision-making process a breeze.

Let’s dive into the major differences between features and benefits to help you better position your business for massive success.

Let’s dive right in!

Features – The Backbone of Performance

Features form the backbone of your product. It shows its technical specifications, functionalities, and capabilities.

They are the nuts and bolts that determine how your product operates.

Think of features as the foundation upon which you build your benefits.

Benefits – The User’s Delight

Benefits, on the other hand, are all about the user!

They answer the crucial question, “What’s in it for me?” (By the way, when selling your product or service, always focus on the customer. ALWAYS!)

Benefits show the positive outcomes and advantages that users can enjoy from your product.

It’s what they’ll enjoy when they use your product.

Let’s now talk about the specific differences between features and benefits

Here are the specific differences between features and benefits:

Technical Specs vs. Real-World Impact

Features tell your prospect about the technical specs of your product.

It talks about screen size, processing speed, and battery capacity. (Assuming you’re selling a phone)

On the flip side, benefits focus on how those technical specs translate into real-world advantages. For example, faster performance, longer battery life, and better color.

Appeal to Logic vs. Tug at Emotions

Features appeal to the logical side of your prospect. It gives them a rational understanding of what your product can do.

In contrast, benefits tug at our emotions. They evoke feelings of joy, convenience, and satisfaction.

This is important because emotion-driven benefits often play a significant role in our decision-making process.

Facts vs. Stories

Features focus on facts and numbers, while benefits tell captivating stories of transformation.

Stories make your products and services relatable. It allows your prospect to see how your business can improve their lives.

Describing vs. Selling

Listing features is describing a product. Promoting its benefits is selling an experience.

Consumers want more than just fancy descriptions.

They want solutions that can make their lives better, and benefits are what seal the deal.

Clarity vs. Conviction

Features offer clarity about what your product can do.

Benefits convince your prospect that your product can deliver on its promises.

Convincing benefits shows how your product can solve problems and fulfill your prospect’s needs.

This improves their desire for your product.

Product-Centric vs. Customer-Centric

Features are product-centric, focusing on what the product offers.

In contrast, benefits are customer-centric, catering directly to the needs and desires of your customers.

Speaking directly to your audience’s pain points is a surefire way to grab their attention.

Informative vs. Persuasive

Features inform customers about what your product does. Benefits persuade them to take action.

Persuasive benefits tap into the psychological triggers that drive decision-making.

This makes your customers eager to experience the benefits for themselves.

Differentiating vs. Competitive Edge

Lastly, features can differentiate your product from the competition, but it’s the benefits that truly give you a competitive edge.

When products offer unique and compelling benefits, they stand out and leave a lasting impression on potential buyers.

features vs benefits

Now that you know the differences between features and benefits, here is how you can apply it to your sales copy to get massive sales.

How to Write Killer Sales Copy That Emphasizes Benefits

Here are ways to write killer sales copy that focuses on the benefits of your products and services over their features:

1. Understand your audience

Before you start writing your sales copy, you must understand your audience.

  • Who are they?
  • What problems do they have?
  • How can your product or service solve those problems?

By understanding your audience, you can tailor your message to their needs and create a sense of relevance.

2. Highlight the benefits

Once you understand your audience, it’s time to highlight the benefits of your product or service.

Start by making a list of all the benefits your product or service provides.

Then, prioritize the most important benefits and use them as the focus of your sales copy.

Be specific and use real-world examples to illustrate how your product or service can benefit your audience.

3. Use emotional language

As humans, we are emotional beings.

We make decisions based on how we feel, not just what we think.

To create a sense of urgency to purchase, use emotional language in your sales copy.

Use words that tap into your audience’s desires and needs, such as “imagine,” “feel,” “enjoy,” and “discover.”

4. Focus on the outcome

Finally, when writing your sales copy, focus on the outcome.

  • What will your audience achieve or experience as a result of using your product or service?
  • Will they save time, money, or effort?
  • Will they feel more confident, happy, or fulfilled?

By focusing on the outcome, you can create a sense of value and importance for your audience.

Why good sales copy includes both features and benefits

Good sales copy includes both features and benefits because they play different but equally important roles in persuading your customers.

Combining features and benefits gives your prospect everything they need to make a decision.

Let’s explore why both features and benefits are important

Features provide the necessary information about a product’s technical specifications, functionalities, and capabilities.

This information is important so customers know if the product suits their needs.

Also, not all customers are swayed solely by emotions.

Some want to make informed decisions based on facts.

If you’re into tech and you want to buy a new laptop, your major concern will be the specifications, not how pretty it is.

On the other hand, benefits tap into the emotions of customers.

An emotion-driven copy creates an emotional connection with your audience, making them see the positive impact the product will have on their day-to-day experiences.

But what if you’ve already written a sales copy for your products that contain features and no benefits?

Well, in this next section, I’ll show you how to transform your already-written features into benefits.

How to Transform Features into Benefits

Customers buy emotions. 

So, when selling to your audience, use the show vs tell method. This means showing your audience the benefits of your products instead of just telling them.

Keep reading to discover how to transform the benefits of your products into features:

We’ll skip the “Know your audience” part because you already know this. Let’s move to the meat of the matter.

To easily transform features into benefits, use the “So What” rule.

What is the “So What” rule?

Ah, the “So What” rule in copywriting!

This is a powerful technique used by copywriters to make their writing more persuasive and customer-focused.

The rule is quite simple, yet incredibly effective.

In essence, the “So What” rule challenges copywriters to continuously ask themselves “So What?” while crafting their marketing messages.

How can you use the “So What?” rule in your business?

Whenever you mention a feature or claim about your product or service, immediately follow it up with “So What does that mean for the customer?

Let’s break it down with two simple examples to see how it works.

Imagine you’re writing copy for a new smartphone:

Feature: “Our new smartphone has a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display.

So What: “You’ll enjoy stunning visuals with vibrant colors and sharp details, bringing your favorite movies and games to life right in the palm of your hand.

Feature: “The smartphone comes with a 64MP triple-camera setup.

So What:You can capture breathtaking photos with incredible clarity and precision, preserving your precious memories in the best possible way.”

By applying the “So What” rule, you can turn the features of your products and services into mouth-watering benefits, effectively highlighting the value proposition of the product for the customer.

It helps shift the focus from the technical aspects to the real-world impact on the user’s life.

This technique is useful in creating customer-centric copy that speaks to your audience.

Instead of bombarding potential customers with a laundry list of features, the “So What” rule helps craft persuasive messages that speak to their desires, needs, and pain points.

Ultimately, it encourages the reader to see the direct benefits they’ll gain from your product or service, making them more likely to take action and make a purchase.

Here are more examples from the “So What?” chart below:

features vs benefits
Source

Examples of Features vs Benefits

For the visual learner, here are real-world examples of features vs benefits. 

1. Calm (features)

Calm feature messaging example

2. OrganiGrowHairCo (benefits)

Organigrow benefits example

3. Arcadia (benefits)

Arcadia benefits messaging example

4. Airtable (features)

airtable features messaging example

5. KeVita (benefits)

Kevita Drinks benefit messaging example, features vs benefits

When is the Best Time to Use Features or Benefits?

The best time to use features or benefits depends on the stage of the sales process and the needs of your audience.

Knowing when to highlight features and when to emphasize benefits can have a major impact on the effectiveness of your sales copy.

Here are the best times to use features or benefits:

  • Early Awareness Stage: At the beginning of the sales process, when prospects are just becoming aware of your product or service, it’s best to focus on benefits. 
  • Education and Consideration Stage: As potential customers move further along the sales journey and start considering their options, it balances features and benefits.
  • Comparison Stage: During the comparison stage, customers are looking at multiple options to make an informed decision. Use features. 
  • Closing the Sale: When it’s time to close the sale, it’s vital to reemphasize the benefits.
  • Addressing Objections: If customers have concerns or objections, features can come to the rescue.

Final Thoughts on Features vs Benefits

In summary, you can create compelling sales copy that drives conversions by focusing on the benefits of your product or service over the features.

Start by understanding your audience, highlighting the benefits, using emotional language, and focusing on the outcome.

By doing so, you’ll create the type of copy that motivates your audience to take action.

The Complete Copywriting Course

Maku Seun is a freelance copywriter and direct response marketer. He helps digital marketers, coaches, and course creators boost sales by writing compelling sales copy which includes long-form sales letters, email copy, and website copy for their products and services. If you want him to write compelling sales copy for your business, click here.