The first thing any new copywriting learns is the difference between features and benefits, along with the superiority of benefits over features for persuading customers, as per Theodore Levitt’s oft-quoted wisdom: “People don’t buy quarter inch drill bits, they buy quarter inch holes.”
And this is great when you’ve got an entire landing page or a magazine ad to make your case — you can emphasize the benefits, and then substantiate those claims by explaining how the features are able to provide those benefits. But in PPC land, you often have to chose one over the other: benefits OR features.
So do you just automatically opt for benefits?
Nope. What if the feature was the search term? Or the feature addresses a key buying concern? Or what if the benefit is a bit too generic, but the feature is rather striking? Or… what if you’ve got a contest like this:
Is “Customizable Reports and Dashboards” a benefit or a feature? And would “Your Sales, Marketing Tracked Online” count as a feature or a benefit? Frankly, I think customizable reports and dashboards counts as a feature — technically speaking at least — but it functions as a benefit. And by that I mean that the mental image of a customized dashboard causes people to imagine their own benefit.
In comparison, while “Your Sales, Marketing Tracked Online” should be a statement of a Benefit (resulting from CRM software), it functions as a feature, in that there’s no emotional payoff for the reader.
So when is a feature not a feature? When the feature causes the reader to imagine the benefit for herself! That’s one reason why the winning ad managed to more than double Click-Through Rates. And that’s a tip from the boosters you can take to the bank!