Sometimes it suddenly dawns on me that things that seem so easy to me are a real hurdle for others who are in different professions. That statement is actually a no-brainer when you think about it, but it still comes as a shock when it happens in reality.
For example, the whole “Features vs. Benefits” thing is a real challenge for most business people. It is hard, as an example, for many businesses to translate what they DO into language that means what they can DO FOR the client. The reason is that to an insider, features are code words for what these things do for the customer. A car maker, for example, automatically leaps the gap between "Anti-Lock Brakes" and "safety on wet or icy roads."
But to the consumer, "Anti-Lock Brakes" may sound like just one more gizmo on that new car. Because of this, it is always necessary to run descriptions of your product or service through the “what’s in it for me” filter and think about it from the point of view of your customer.
With all this in mind, I am going to devote the next several days to writing about how to translate all the facts and information about a product or service into benefit statements that can be used on your website, advertisements, white papers, direct mail, etc.
So let’s launch this series of articles off by recycling an article I wrote on October 16 of this year called, ”Pile On The Benefits Until They Can’t Say No.”
What happens when you read a sales letter that contains a long list of bullet point benefit statements? What happens to me is all my resistance just crumbles away under this machine-gun fire of reasons why I must buy this service or product.
When a copywriter writes copy that lists one benefit after another in bullet point form, my mind simply cannot come up with objections or reasons not to buy fast enough to keep up with the copywriter.
As a freelance copywriter myself, I can appreciate the kind of work that went into writing this kind of copy. Many writers barely seem to be able to come up with one or two benefit statements, let alone an entire list. So I know this isn’t a writer who just sat down and quickly slapped down some copy.
But writing a long list of benefit statements is not as difficult as it first appears. There are several ways to organize your thoughts in order to write out a long list of benefit statements:
- Write out every possible problem your product or service solves for the customer.
- Write out consequences of not doing business with you or the consequences of delaying action.
- Think of every emotional reward your product or service can give your reader.
- Now also write down the logical rewards your product or service offers.
- List every reason why your reader should do business with you.
- Look at your product or service from your potential customers’ point of view. List their wants. You are brainstorming here, putting yourself into the mindset of your potential clients.
- Write out a list of what they don’t want. Put down on paper every hassle, problem, pain or aggravation you can think of.
- Go back over the last two lists and write out why your clients want or don’t want these things. Probe into reasons and motives. Again, you are brainstorming here. Your goal is to try to understand the emotional benefits behind first level benefits.
- Go back over everything you’ve written and write benefit statements. Use action verbs and paint word pictures. Poke at the painful areas. Discover different ways to state the same benefit as a positive or a negative, what the customer gets and what she avoids. Try to write over a hundred benefit statements if you can. I guarantee nothing you come up with will be wasted.
The simple fact is that the more benefits you roll out, the fewer objections your reader can think of. As they read a long list like this, readers begin to run out of reasons not to do business with you.
COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown