“Sell the sizzle, not the steak.”
If you’ve been in sales or copywriting for long, you may have heard this age-old adage from salesman extraordinaire, Elmer Wheeler.
You may have heard it a hundred times.
You may even say it’s trite and overused.
But let me ask you a question.
Have you ever really stopped long enough to truly grasp what it means?
Me? I’ve got it pinned to my office wall in BIG, BOLD letters!
The lesson of “features versus benefits” is taught early and often to newbie copywriters, because it’s so incredibly important and yet so easy to screw up.
So let me give you my take on the matter.
To be fair, I didn’t make this stuff up all by myself.
I learned it from my mentor, legendary master copywriter Clayton Makepeace, and it’s served me well over the years.
First things first…
Features or Benefits: What’s the difference?
Features are the concrete, tangible components of a product or service.
Benefits are what those features do for the person using it.
To illustrate, let’s brainstorm a few quick features and benefits for a simple, ordinary number 2 pencil…
Feature: Yellow in color
Benefit: Easy to find on your desk
Feature: Made of wood, generally cedar
Benefit: Easy to sharpen so you never have to worry about it getting dull
Features: Graphite powder center
Benefit: Erases easily, works well with a scan-tron machine
Features: Has a built-in eraser on the end
Benefit: You’ll never have to worry about losing your eraser
Feature: Has six sides
Benefit: Stays in place, so it won’t roll away
Okay, I could go on… but you get the point.
Newbie copywriters tend to focus on features to the exclusion of all else.
They focus on what the product has, rather than what it will do for the prospect.
Features are important, but it’s only scratching the surface.
You’ve still got to transform those boring features into rich, emotionally-charged benefits that leave your prospect salivating uncontrollably.
When you do that, you’ll find your copy takes on a life of its own.
So let’s take a look at how to do that…
5 Steps to Writing Powerful Emotional Benefits …
I like to call this 5-step process “The 5 Ladder Method.”
So named because each step in the process is like taking your prospect one more step up a ladder that brings them ever closer to a sky-high emotional state.
The majority of people who write sales copy stop at step 2 or 3.
A few venture as far as step 4.
Very few people ascend to writing copy that integrates all five of these steps.
So here’s those steps now, along with copy for a fictitious product in italics to demonstrate…
Step ONE: Primary Feature
List one of the main features of your product.
Remember, a feature is merely a concrete, tangible component or element of your product or service.
“Action Plan” worksheets for each module/chapter.
Step TWO: Reason Why
What is the reason why this feature exists?
How and why is this feature advantageous to your prospect?
What does it mean for them?
Why might they like it?
You get more than three dozen detailed “Action Plans” – checklists covering everything from finding your niche and selecting keywords, to researching your competition and creating your first online course – walking you through everything you need to know to start your own highly successful online business.
Because in order to achieve real and lasting success (without having to experience all the painful trial-and-error I had to go through) … you need to have a complete road map that shows you step-by-step exactly what to do and in what order.
Step THREE: Functional Benefit
What does this feature actively do for your prospect?
What benefit is the prospect actively seeking that this feature will give them?
What makes this feature so fantastic that a prospect will be willing to part with their hard-earned money in order to get it?
Makes it easy and enjoyable for you to build an online business from scratch – by helping you get more done in less time, so you can build your new business as quickly as possible.
Step FOUR: Fully Dimensional Benefit
Write a vivid description of what that benefit looks like in your prospect’s life.
Give it more detail, while making it richer and more seductive.
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Instead, you’ll discover the path to achieving your dreams truly can be a simple one – with the freedom to pursue your passions, to spend quality time with friends and family, and to become financially free once and for all!
Step FIVE: Emotional Benefit
How does that benefit make your prospect feel?
Which positive emotion will it help your prospect feel?
Which negative emotion will it give them relief from?
Imagine the joy, freedom and exhilaration of building your own online business from scratch – using nothing more than your laptop and the simple, step-by-step process you’ll find in this training program.
No more lingering self-doubts about whether you’ve made the right decision. No more worries about waking up one day to find you’ve spent three months stuck down a dead-end rabbit hole…
…Just the satisfaction of knowing you’re on your way to building your very own high-profit business. And all the while, you’ll be building a legacy that your family, friends and colleagues will admire and respect!
Can you see how going through this powerful process with each and every feature your product has to offer will help you uncover all of its rich, emotional benefits?
Can you see how doing it will virtually write your copy for you?
One Last Thing…
This underscores the critical importance of knowing your prospect.
When you know and understand your target prospect on an intimate level (both emotionally and psychologically), you know what will move them to action.
When you know what will move them to action, you know what product benefits you must showcase, dimensionalize, and magnify in your sales copy.
If you skip over getting to know your prospect, this entire process will flat flat.
And your sales will fall flat right along with it!