The moment of truth has arrived.
You need to squeeze out all the benefits your product or service offer, so not only you and your employees know how excellent it is, but also prospects will see the value you offer and rush to click where you tell them.
Let’s be honest, there are hundreds of products and services like yours. Or at best, dozens.
But you want to break through and push your business forward. Because you know what you’re selling is great and there’s demand for it.
Maybe the problem is that you don’t know how to express in a clear and compelling way all the good things you offer to the world, and that’s why people aren’t buying from you.
That’s why you and I are here.
I help to sell with words and you make or distribute a product, or help certain people with your services.
Not everyone knows how to sell in writing, but you can learn with time and hard work.
People aren’t interested in your years of experience or that you are the only distributor of Scottish wool socks in the Netherlands.
People are interested in what they get out of your product or service. In other words, the benefits they get.
That’s why it’s so important to know first what benefits your product or service offers the audience, and second, how to express those benefits in a clear and convincing way.
So if you want to know how to bring out the benefits of your product or service and express them in the right words, stay, because in this post we are going to see this in detail.
How to extract the benefits from a product
The first question you have to ask yourself is, who is my product made for?
There are people who will never buy from you because they are simply not interested in what you are selling.
Not because what you sell isn’t good, but because they don’t need that product or it’s not something that interests them.
For example, if you sell handmade chess pieces, your prospects will be chess aficionados or their relatives/friends, and not someone who doesn’t know how to move a bishop nor has ever interested them.
Once you have very clear in your mind who your product is aimed at you need to do the following.
Study your ideal customer profile to find out what moves them to choose one product over another
The best way to get to know your buyer persona is to study the reviews left by customers of other products similar to yours. The positive reviews as well as negative ones.
Find out what they liked, why they chose that product and not another, and also what they like best about that product and what they like least.
It’s overwhelming the amount of detail some people write in their reviews.
People who write reviews are usually those who love the product or hate it. If a product has left you indifferent, you don’t usually leave your opinion.
You most likely do when a product has exceeded your expectations or when it has disappointed you. So just study both and find out why some people love it and others hate it.
Study which words they use to define both what they liked and what they didn’t like.
Those words will help you get closer to the emotional side of the customer when you write the copy for your own product.
Don’t mix up features with benefits
This is a very common mistake.
There’re many product descriptions that only communicate the features and stop there without conveying the benefits prospects will obtain.
One way to test whether what you’re writing is a feature and not a benefit is to imagine the reader asking “So what?”
If you can perfectly well imagine the reader asking this question, you aren’t writing about a benefit but a feature.
There’s a way to transform characteristics into benefits and it’s the following.
Imagine what kind of use that feature has in the customer’s life and how it will improve it.
As an example let’s look at some of the best product descriptions. Apple’s copywriters are so good.
If you pay attention you’ll see that in this paragraph they talk about the features of the new iPhone along with the main benefits.
The headline is a big benefit in itself. We all want our smartphones to be as fast as possible.
Ceramic Shield, and you wonder what’s that, but when they explain that it’s got four times better drop performance you understand the benefit immediately because nobody wants to pay a fortune for a phone and break it at the first drop.
These are all benefits that Apple’s copywriters have extracted after studying their prospects and finding out what worries them and what they want from a smartphone.
Recommended reading The best examples of product descriptions
Adding narrative to the benefits
People like stories. Because they help us to imagine a situation and see the positive things we can get out of it.
Often telling a little story to convey in a vivid way the benefit we want to compel, helps a lot to get the reader engage and to keep reading.
The ultimate goal is that prospects read all the copy so we’ll be able to convince them that this is the product they need.
I give you an example.
I recently worked with a luxury bedding brand. I had to write the description of a linen bedspread.
The bedspreads are beautiful, made in the traditional way in Portugal. But all the benefits I could think of after doing a thorough research were already on the competitor’s website.
Every single word.
I swear, I’ve been racking my brain all week to figure out how to tell this quilt apart from all the others that ARE actually exactly the same…
Until I came up with the BIG IDEA.
Instead of just listing the materials, the colours, the fact that it is made in the traditional way, etc., I told a little story inspired by many comments I read in customer reviews.
Most of them talked about how the quilt was ideal for all kinds of body temperatures.
Then it occurred to me to talk about the whole thing of your partner being hot and you being cold in bed, and the fights over the blanket.
You with frozen feet and your partner sweating and telling you that it’s horribly hot and if we open the window in the middle of December…
Many people will identify with this story, since many customers commented on it in their reviews.
The competition said the quilt was ideal both in summer and winter because it adapts to the temperature, but they never talked about the different body temperatures in the same bed.
Using a little humour, I placed the reader in the picture by talking about the heat wars in bed. My copy helped them imagining themselves enjoying the quilt and a perfect temperature in bed.
And it’s not just me, David Ogilvy, the advertising icon, was a great advocate of using storytelling to better sell a product.
One of his most popular campaigns is the “Man in the Hathaway shirt”.
Ogilvy had to sell a shirt by the brand Hathaway. He also racked his brains to find a way to make a simple shirt stand out from the rest.
So he came up with a picture of a man with a black eyepatch. He knew that people would stop and read the ad to find out why this man had an eyepatch. Surely there was a story behind the picture.
Stories respond to that sense of curiosity we all have inside. We want to know the “why” of things and learn something new each time.
The ad was a success. Of course.
Recommended reading The Power of Storytelling
How to extract and express the benefits of a service
We have already seen how to extract the benefits of a product and now we are going to see how to do the same for a service.
The process begins in the same way and is by studying your ideal client and your competition in depth.
You need to know very well what kind of problems you intend to solve with your service.
Reading comments from prospects who have the same profile of your ideal client for whom your service is designed will help you understand what these people are looking for and which words they use to express those needs.
So you can use those exact words in your copy.
Once you have spent many hours studying your prospects, reading comments on blogs and social networks, and talking to your own clients or those people in your life who could be your ideal client, make a list of the most important problems you have seen they all have in common and describe how your service solves them.
For example, if you are a health coach and one of the most important problems of your ideal client is eating compulsively, one of the benefits may be to stop doing so.
This is where you might mixed up features with benefits. If you just say for example:
“With my programme you will learn techniques to stop eating compulsively”
Although it’s a feature which has already an implicit benefit, some of your prospects may not realize that they are eating compulsively.
To make sure they understand the benefit they will get from not doing this you can be more explicit by adding:
“With my programme, you’ll stop overeating with easy techniques that help you stop eating when you are full. So you will lose weight progressively in a natural way and without any rebound effect”.
Here we are being much more explicit about the benefit the prospect will obtain working with you. Not only will they lose weight naturally, but they won’t gain it back.
Because if you have studied your ideal client thoroughly you’ll know that regaining the weight lost is another of their big worries.
When we describe the benefits of a service we need to work harder at painting the image.
Let me explain.
A product is something material, you can see photos of it on models, or videos to see a product or an App in action.
However a service is something intangible so you need to describe better that problem and that solution so the reader can picture it perfectly.
Above all, don’t leave any loose ends.Whenever we talk about benefits we also need to talk about objections; doubting is human. Click To Tweet
When we read that a service is a marvel and we are presented with promises of improvement, our defence mechanism comes into play.
Can all this be so wonderful?
That’s when doubts and objections arise.
Is this really true?
How do I know they’re not selling smoke?
Is this service really for me?
As you write down all the benefits your prospect gets, you have to anticipate the objections that will surely arise.
Don’t worry, you should also have objections well noted down if you’ve done your research properly.
People often say things like
“I thought the programme would be long and boring at first, but on the second day, I realised that it wasn’t. With the daily exercises, I was achieving small victories which kept me motivated throughout the whole program”.
There you have an objection, many people will hesitate to buy your program because they think it might be long and boring.
Clear up all these doubts and objections in your copy, explain why it’s not long and boring and how you will manage to motivate the client.
Then you’ll find another possible reason to doubt: the price, how easy is to follow the programme online, value, etc.
Every time you express a benefit there’s most likely an objection linked to it. It’s your duty to find them both.
When writing the copy for your product or service you should focus on the benefits and the objections.
If the person who reads doesn’t see any clear benefit or haven’t got enough reasons to buy from you and not from someone else, be sure they won’t click where you want them to click.
Selling online is becoming more difficult because there’s a lot of competition and also because people are more aware of the tricks used in advertising.
In short, it’s increasingly complex to convince anyone of doing something.
However, if you know the techniques of copywriting and human psychology very well, and above all, if you work hard with you copy, you’ll succeed.
See you around!