mr potato head features vs benefitsI had to learn this one on the fly. I had a client who asked me to write an Amazon product listing. I was instructed to showcase the features up top and save the benefits for a little further down on the page. My first thought? What the heck is the difference between a benefit and a feature?

This one can be tricky — they’re very similar — but not at all alike. “Gee, thanks Aimee … they’re exactly the same but completely different. That’s helpful,” you say. Not to worry, once you get the hang of identifying the differences between benefits and features, it’ll seem pretty simple. So let me help clarify for you.

First, channel your inner child.

Now think about Mr. Potato Head. He’s just a spud … until you begin to add features, like two eyes, a nose, a mouth and ears. Dress him up with some shoes, glasses and a top hat, and you’ve added more features.

Now think about why you’re playing with Mr. Potato Head. Is he just oodles of fun? Does he feed your creative soul? Is it easy to add features to his face? Is he easily to carried in a backpack? Is he teaching you fine motor skills? (Remember, I’m talking to your inner child.) So when you aks yourself, “Why am I playing with Mr. Potato Head?”  The answer is all of the above benefits.

OK, now put down the potato and bring back the grown up you so we can talk about how to write benefit-rich copy vs feature-rich copy.

Feature-rich Copy

Answer these questions to uncover features:

  • What makes the product/service special?
  • How is it different and/or better than the others?
  • Does this product come with accessories?
  • Does this service come with any extras?

For example:

My new BlackBerry KeyONE came with the following features:

  • Android operating system
  • Physical keyboard

Benefit-rich Copy

Answer these questions to uncover benefits:

  • What can this product/service do for me?
  • How can it help me?
  • How does it make me feel?
  • Why should I buy it?

For example:

My new BlackBerry KeyONE offers me the following benefits:

  • BlackBerry now runs on Android operating system, which is easy to integrate with my other devices (compared to the old BlackBerry OS)
  • The physical keyboard lets me type with fewer mistakes than the touch-screen keyboard on most other phones.

The Feature is the “What” & the Benefit is the “Why”

Hopefully that helps you better understand the difference between writing feature-rich copy and benefit-rich copy. If you found this post helpful, I’d be super grateful if you’d like and share it so others can benefit from its features, too!

(Nudge, nudge, see what I did there?!)