Without question, your product or service has some remarkable features. Otherwise, why would you be in business?
There’s one small problem, though. It’s highly likely that no one cares about your features.
I know I didn’t when I went to buy a car last month. It had been almost ten years since I bought my last car, which meant there were a few thousand features on new models that I didn’t know existed.
Lane departure warning indicators.
Rear bumper radar sensors.
A driving position memory system.
I’d been driving a car whose top feature was an expansive coin hole.
So when I went to the dealership, selling me on features wasn’t going to work. It would all sound like Tom-Brady-pre-snap gobbledygook to me.
But what I understood was benefits.
I don’t care the least about lane departure warning indicators. I do care about not drifting head-on into a Mack truck.
Who needs a smart key locking indicator? Well, this bozo does when he tries to lock his keys in his car.
And does anyone care about a push button keyless start? Yeah I do, now that I know I won’t get my keys stuck in the ignition like my repeat-offender ’03 Saturn Ion.
Why Uncovering Benefits Matters
Just like me at the dealership, people won’t buy something because of its features. They’ll buy it because it benefits them in some way.
On your landing page, nearly every visitor is skimming your content asking, “What’s in it for me?” And a feature is not what they’re looking for, and won’t persuade them to accept your call to action.
Instead, as Brian Clark of Copyblogger mentions in his post Does Your Copy Pass the ‘Forehead Slap’ Test?, “Identify the underlying benefit that each feature of a product or service provides to the prospect, because that’s what will prompt the purchase.”
Or to put it another way, Joanna Wiebe of Copyhackers instructs, “Explaining the benefit takes the feature and asks ‘so what?'”
Put simply, you won’t have an effective landing page if your copy focuses solely on the features and not their benefits.
The Key to Writing Effective Features/Benefits Descriptions
To write effective features/benefits descriptions for your product, it’s easiest to first lay them out in a chart format.
Copywriter extraordinaire Amy Harrison uses a simple tool called The Headline Shaker Maker to “shake out” all of the selling points of a product or service so you can see its benefits at-a-glance. While Amy uses the method to create great headlines, it’s a good practice for anyone who wants to link their product’s best features to its greatest benefits.
Of course, there’s much more to your landing page copy than just a headline. It’s paramount that you have a value proposition for every section of content on the page. A value proposition involves you taking a feature and translating it into a benefit statement that’s meaningful to the user. So if you sell a product with eight notable features, you should have eight compelling benefit statements that resonate with the user.
And to create compelling benefit statements, you need to lay out the major variables that will form them. To do this, I’m going to show you an effective method I use with clients to create compelling copy for their landing page. It’s called the Features-Benefits chart, and you can create one in just three steps.
3 Steps to Creating a Features-Benefits Chart
1. Set up the format
Open a blank Excel or Sheets file and set up the chart with four major columns:
- Feature Explanation
- Pain Points w/out Feature
- Customer Benefit(s)
It should look like this:
A few things about each of these:
- Feature – This is simply one offering of your product or service. A feature is something that makes the product or service attractive or useful.
- Feature Explanation – This should describe the feature in detail regarding what it does.
- Pain Points w/out Feature – What would life be like for your customer if they did not have this feature? You should having an understanding of your customer’s deepest frustrations and how your product or service will solve them.
- Customer Benefit(s) – Here the main benefits should be listed, following an evaluation of the feature and pain points without it.
2. Build out chart with subject-matter experts (SMEs)
Unless you’re selling thumbtacks (a product everyone understands), your features/benefits content must be informed by an expert of the product or service. Content pros can only help as much as they know the business.
For small businesses and startups, it’s not difficult to find the subject-matter experts (SMEs). SMEs may be the owner, CEO, or salesperson. Whomever it is, those people must be consulted heavily to inform a value-rich features-benefits chart.
That’s because the SME knows the business like no one else. They built the business because there was a problem or gap in the market. Maybe they experienced the pain points firsthand, and came up with features on their own to solve the problem. Perhaps they magically made a safe tack after years of suffering puncture wounds.
The landing page must address features, pain points, and benefits in a compelling way in order to convert visitors. But landing page content will only resonate and convert if its benefit statements are precise to the visitor’s need. And the foundation of that is the thorough work you’ll do filling out the Features-Benefits chart with the SME.
And if you’re the SME, well there’s nothing stopping you from creating an amazing chart on your own. Just remember the spreadsheet can only take you so far. It may be a fantastic business decision to enlist a talented copywriter to make some content magic for a reasonable fee. *wink*
Here’s how a couple of rows on the chart might look once some good, lengthy conversations have been had to fill it out. We’ll stick to the features and benefits of a minivan, because that’s what I’m into these days. (Pay close attention to the pain points column; that’s where you’ll relate to your visitor.)
3. Use the Features-Benefits chart to write benefit statements
Now that you’ve developed a comprehensive Features-Benefits chart with the SMEs, it’s time to use it to inform the benefit statements you’ll write for your landing page.
But first, why does a benefit statement matter? It matters because there is no other way to answer your visitors’ number one question: “What’s in it for me?”
The design may be beautiful and the user experience spot on, but only the words can convey the benefit.
And on a landing page, visitors are processing words and images at a rapid pace to see what’s in it for them. Essentially, they are skimming for the meat but don’t have time to carve it into pieces. You must do it for them.
That’s what a benefit statement does. It gives your visitor something compelling and digestible to chew on.
So back to our Features-Benefits chart. As you can see from our last example, there are tons of words with way too many details to be useful for your visitor needing the quick hits.
The key to creating a benefit statement is taking the pain point (problem) and revealing the benefit (solution), in a concise, compelling blurb.
Feature 1 – Heated Seats: Heated seats, in and of themselves, are not so great. In fact, I won’t even use them for 8 months of the year in my minivan. But for those four, cold, uncomfortable months, I’m expecting my butt to be hot fast.
Benefit Statement #1: Instant comfort from the cold with seats that fully heat in a minute.
Feature 2 – Rear Bumper Sensors: Rear bumper sensors aren’t special. So my car can sense stuff. I’m sure that’d be nice for those lonely road trips where my car and I discuss our feelings. Otherwise, not useful.
But when my car can sense that I’m about to back into a column of concrete, I’m grateful to be alerted.
Benefit Statement #2: No more “reverse anxiety.” Our sensors alert you to obstacles when backing up.
Build the Statements, and the Conversions Will Come
Crafting a landing page full of rich benefit statements won’t guarantee conversion success. But if you’ve done your research to deeply understand what bothers your customer, and your business actually solves it, then these statements have the guts to resonate.
But they must be conveyed clearly and seamlessly to be effective. When you combine the knowledge of a subject-matter expert, the organization of a Features-Benefits chart, and the skill of a digital copywriter, you will create powerful benefit statements capable of driving significant conversions on your landing page.