Copywriting Codex: Features or Benefits?

Last post, I said I’d write my own “and” vs. “or” posts a la Ford Fusion about copywriting and fiction writing.

Copywriters have their treat today. You fiction folks will have to wait ’til tomorrow.

This is a big question in the copywriting world. I’ve heard things like “sell the sizzle, not the steak” about this.

But the question itself is…

Features or benefits?

This issue applies to emails, sales letters, postcards, everything. 

Should we concentrate more on features or benefits?

First of all, we have to ask, “What the heck are features and benefits?”

Features are what the product/service is. Things like color, size, does the product takes batteries, etc. It chops onions, or plays DVDs, or what-have-ya. And if these features solve a problem, or fulfill your prospect’s wants or desires, so much the better.

Benefits, on the other hand,  are what those features mean or can do for your prospects.

This is huge.

There are levels to benefits, as well. Things can go really deep here (What does that benefit mean? And what does that resulting benefit mean?)

Benefits are the Matrix rabbit hole of copywriting–they really are. You can (and should) drill down as far as you think you can.

And then go further. And further. What are prospects looking for when they buy this product? Is it just a knife, popcorn machine, or laptop? Think of the product like a best friend, or something. Strengths, advantages, good, bad, or in between.

But features and benefits have a symbiotic relationship. Without benefits, prospects may not care as much about the product. But without features, benefits have less of a footing.

Features say “this is what it is.” Benefits say “this is how those features work to solve your problem.”

And you need both. Just like nuts and bolts.

Until next time,



About Ty Mall

Thanks for stopping by. I've almost always been interested in writing, among other things. Along with discovering pop culture, I've uncovered a lot about the craft over the past 10 years. And whether you're a fiction writer or email copywriter, I'm here to pass on what I've found out. And have a ton of fun in the process.
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One Response to Copywriting Codex: Features or Benefits?

  1. Pingback: Fiction And Copy Decoded In A (Huge) Nutshell, And Why You Should Care… | Fiction and Copy Decoded

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