Marketing Writing 101: Turning Features into Benefits

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Steamy weather means summer is here to stay, but those Target aisles stocked with notebooks and pencil sharpeners imply otherwise.

Is it back-to-school season already?

Hope not! But copywriters know it’s never too early or too late for a crash course in conveying benefits.

What are Benefits?

Verbs. Benefits are verbs. They allow consumers to do something pleasurable or avoid something painful.

Features, on the other hand, are combinations of nouns and adjectives. They fail to paint a complete picture of how a consumer’s life could improve by using a product or service.

Compare a feature and a benefit for a new dragon kite:

  • “Extra-long line length.”
  • “Fly higher than you ever thought possible.”

Which one motivates you to buy the product?

Different Kinds of Features

When converting features to benefits, try to visualize what the feature will look like in action. Of course, that’s often easier said than done.

Here are some tips for those more difficult situations.

(1) The Highly Technical Feature

What’s a beach vacation without vivid photos?

The box your digital camera came in boasts a BX-2 sensor. But do you know how it will affect your pictures?

Hope not, because the BX-2 camera sensor doesn’t exist! I made it up to give you a glimpse into the frustration your readers feel when they can’t understand what a technical feature does.

The more technical the feature, the more tangible the benefit should be. Try something like this: “Make every grain of sand sparkle in your photos, thanks to better light intake.”

(2) The “Time and Money” Feature

“Bob’s Beach Umbrellas – amazing savings of time and money!”

What a groaner. This lazy copywriter skipped straight to happy hour.

Solution?  Make it more specific.

Cut your beach umbrella set-up time in half.OrSave 20% more compared to the leading umbrella brand.”

Better yet? Remind consumers what else they could be doing with their extra time and money.

“Spend more time surfing and less time setting up your umbrella.” Or “Buy some saltwater taffy with the money you saved on your umbrella.”

(3) The Aesthetic Feature

This one can be tricky.

After all, what purpose does the metallic green color of your Ray-Ban sunglasses actually serve?

The implied benefit is that you will look super-fly, but that’s not what you want to write in your copy.

Often, aesthetic qualities have other benefits. So dig deeper. Maybe the green color will make your specs easier to spot if you drop them in the sand. Or less likely to be mistaken for someone else’s when you take them off at the hippest party in town.

Turning features into benefits isn’t always a day at the beach, but it’s well worth the effort. For more help turning your products’ or services’ features into benefits, call (410) 312-0081 or email choffmaster@impactmarketing.net.