Why Marketing Product Benefits is the Key to Better Sales Copy
When you’re selling a great product with unbeatable features, it makes sense that you’d want your market to know about those features.
For instance, if you’re selling the best automatic pool vacuum on the market, you’re going to be proud and excited to tell the world about your ergonomic design, high capacity, ease of use, the eco-friendly materials it’s manufactured with, and the fair wages you pay workers to assemble the products. You may even mention the charity that receives a portion of your profits.
If your current sales copy focuses on the features as described above, your sales aren’t where they could be. In this example, people who buy pool vacuums just want a clean pool, and they want it to clean itself while they enjoy their life. The features are secondary to their need for a clean pool.
Solutions Are Personal, Features Are Impersonal
When Apple introduced the iPod, MP3 players weren’t new, however, they were advertised according to impersonal technical specifications. For example, they were marketed as a way to “store 1GB of MP3s.”
Apple dominated the MP3 player industry by marketing the iPod as “1,000 songs in your pocket.” You can’t get more personal than that.
While there’s good reason to be excited about your product’s features, your sales copy should focus on the benefits first. Here’s why:
1. People buy solutions to their problems.
You only have a short amount of time to capture your market’s attention with sales copy. To be effective, sales copy needs to promote your product as the solution to your market’s deepest problems. There’s just one catch: you need to be certain that the problem you’re solving applies to your market.
Not Every Problem Your Product Can Solve is Your Market’s Problem
People buy solutions to their problems, not other people’s problems. People with arthritis don’t care if a pen works underwater or while they’re hanging upside down. They want a pen with a comfortable grip.
The important question to ask is, “Does my market consider this a problem, or is this someone else’s problem?” An example of how a problem may not be your market’s problem can be seen in the trend to make everything eco-friendly.
Unless the eco-friendly demographic is your market, appealing to the desire to be environmentally conscious isn’t a solution to your market’s main problem. These features should be mentioned in a bulleted list, but not make up the main content of your sales copy.
2. Features don’t always solve problems.
Normally, features don’t solve problems. They’re cool, fun and convenient, but they’re not usually solutions to a problem. For a feature to be considered a solution, it has to be the main focus of what the customer wants.
For instance, a yo-yo beginner wants a yo-yo that will spin for long periods of time to make learning tricks easy. Yo-yos with a fixed axle made of plastic, wooden or metal posts won’t spin as long as a ball bearing yo-yo. Choosing a ball bearing yo-yo solves the beginner’s problem of needing a longer spin time.
If you’re marking yo-yos to kids who just want to play around, they don’t care about the materials. They just want to play. In this situation, the features don’t solve a problem.
Another example of a feature doubling as a solution is with cars. Today, people expect technology to keep them connected to their network and charged up everywhere they go.
Twenty years ago, features like Bluetooth, a 3.5mm jack, a CD player and a USB port in a car were considered optional luxuries. Today, these features are standard in most cars. In this situation, these features are solutions. They contribute to the decision to purchase because they fulfill the desire to stay wirelessly connected on the road.
If You’re Stuck, Hire a Professional Copywriter
If you’re struggling with differentiating benefits from features, or identifying the problems your product solves for your market, a professional copywriter can help. Before hiring the first writer you find, understand the difference between content writers and copywriters.
Content writers craft content in the form of articles, whitepapers and video scripts. This content is usually published on blogs and web pages.
Copywriters craft content designed to get readers to take a specific action such as on landing pages, sales pages, direct mail pieces and infomercials.
Professional copywriters are trained to craft copy that emotionally hooks the reader by crafting your product’s narrative around their deepest desires and needs. They have the experience necessary to know what readers respond to, and what they ignore.
Chances are a professional copywriter has previously written for your industry and can rework your copy to gets results.
Anna Johansson is a freelance writer who specializes in social media and business development.