Quick Tip:
Digging Out the Deeper Benefits

Understanding features vs. benefits is one of the first – and most important – lessons many copywriters learn. Features tell, but benefits sell.

But separating your product’s features from its benefits is just the first step. And that first step is where the average copywriter often stops. To put your copy over the top, you have to identify the benefits that really push your prospect’s emotional hot buttons.

These powerful benefits often aren’t obvious. You have to dig a little to find them. But the power they add to your copy is well worth the effort.

Here’s an example:

Michelin makes steel-belted radial tires. “Steel-belted” and “radial” are features. It’s useful information, but won’t sell tires to the average Joe.

One direct benefit of steel-belted radials is that they grip the road better than “ordinary” tires. That’s a benefit … but it’s not very exciting, is it?

Tires that grip the road better are also superior performers in emergency maneuvers. Now we’re getting somewhere.

But Michelin took their advertising one critical step further a few years back. Remember their ads with happy babies sitting inside tires? The message was clear: “Your precious family will be safer if you use Michelin steel-belted radials.”

Brilliant! The campaign sold boatloads of Michelin tires.

Here’s the trick to going from “steel-belted radial tires” to “protecting your precious family”:

Simply keep asking, “Which means?” Like this …

  • Michelin makes steel-belted radial tires.

“Which means?”

  • They grip the road better than ordinary tires.

“Which means?”

  • They perform better in emergency maneuvers.

“Which means?”

  • They protect your family in critical driving situations.

Bingo! Now you have a benefit that pushes your prospect’s emotional hot buttons – and helps your copy stand out from the pack.

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Published: February 11, 2008

2 Responses to “Quick Tip: Digging Out the Deeper Benefits”

  1. I enjoyed it, thanks.


  2. Challenging your own content is the best way to develop the benefits. Whereas Malcolm uses the term "Which means.." I use the term "So what?" Works every time. Great tips from AWAI.

    jersey shore writer

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