Writing a great copy might not be your forte. But when your budget doesn’t allow for a copywriter, that’s exactly what you might find yourself doing for your business. With a few tricks, you can do it yourself!
Arguably one of the most essential rules of copywriting is to translate benefits into features. Once you’ve mastered that, you’re already considerably more likely to pull in your ideal customers.
What does ‘translating benefits into features’ mean?
Imagine yourself as a hat seller, about to launch a brand new line of waterproof Shabbos hats. Here’s what your ad might look like:
‘introducing (insert name of hat), the first ever waterproof hat’.
You’ve mentioned a feature- the fact that it’s waterproof.
Now let’s convert that feature into a benefit
Introducing (name of hat), the hat that doesn’t get wrecked in the rain’.
Here, we’ve pointed out what there is to gain by the hat being waterproof- that it doesn’t get ruined in wet weather. That’s a benefit.
In short, a feature is a characteristic of a product/service. A benefit tells the customer what he/she stands to gain from that feature.
We’ll come back to see how we can improve on that benefit in a minute. But first…
Why does it matter?
Your customer is interested in knowing one thing: What’s in it for me? Why should I care about what you have to offer? What problem does this solve for me?
A benefit gives him/her a reason to sit up and take interest. It gives your customer the confidence that this product or service will help him in some way.
Doesn’t the customer already know the benefit of keeping a dry hat? Everyone with half a brain knows that hats don’t do well in water. Don’t they?
No. Not necessarily. Someone who’s never owned a hat before might be somewhat clueless about the effects of rain on a hat. He’ll need some education. And yes, there are those out there who may be wondering why their hats don’t last as long as they want them to. Never assume that your audience knows everything.
Even if they are aware and aren’t particularly bothered about the effects, they may be convinced if we take it to the next level.
Level 2 benefits
At the moment, the benefit for our hat isn’t very convincing. What if the potential customer isn’t too bothered about it getting wet in the rain?
Now we need to take it a stage further. Now we have to ask why having a dry hat might be important. Well, it means that the hat will last for many years. So now the line can become ‘introducing (insert name of hat), the hat that lasts longer”
Now that’s a bit better. If I don’t enjoy shopping too much, the prospect of buying a hat every other year might not excite me particularly.
The ultimate gain
But it could still be better. I mean, what if I enjoyed the experience of shopping and wouldn’t mind getting to the shops more often?
So then we take it to the third step. Why would he want a hat that lasts longer?
One answer could be that the customer wouldn’t have to spend more money down the line. A hat that lasts for ten years could potentially save someone a good £1000.
So, our line could evolve further to this.
‘Presenting (x), the hat that will save you money for the next 10 years.’
What you’ve now done is narrowed things down to their ultimate benefit. You’ve now addressed a problem that many face- having to spend more money than they would like to over an extended period. This is an issue they may have never considered before.
But how do you get that deep? How do you get to the core benefit like that?
One trick that copywriters often use is the ‘so what?’ exercise.
Start with the initial benefit:
This hat is waterproof
It will stay dry.
It’ll last longer.
You can keep it longer
You get to save money.
Keep questioning until you can’t dig any deeper.
Remember, sometimes there could be more than one benefit. Perhaps our hat wearer is very careful with his hat and would like something that he can wear happily in any weather. In which case your line could become ‘the hat for all weather’.
By focusing on the value your customer can get, you increase your chances of earning their trust.