Is It a Feature or Benefit?

One of the most basic pitfalls in copywriting is to focus on features, rather than benefits.

Features are raw facts, statistics and information about your product or service: a report on an event … the numbers of clients served … a description of a product … like this:

“More than 200 Walk-A-Thon participants helped raise $20,000 for our program.”

These are good facts. But they provide information only.

Benefits, on the other hand, show the advantages of a product or service – how its features are useful, affordable, interesting, or productive to the reader.

“Ten Children’s Home residents now have independent mobility in specially-equipped wheelchairs, thanks to $20,000 in gifts raised by our 200 generous Walk-A-Thon participants and their donors.”

The fundraiser changed children’s lives. Supporters made it happen. These are powerful benefits!

See the difference?

  • Features give facts.
  • Benefits present the facts in a way that shows their advantages or outcomes.

Benefit-oriented writing is customer-centered.

It translates the facts into results, thereby connecting the dots for your reader. When you write about benefits, you provide the missing link – the “why?” Benefits are persuasive. They become your presentation points!

Use this quiz to practice telling the difference between the two

Label each one as a “feature” or “benefit.” Then check out the answers at the bottom of the page. Once you can see the difference, you’ll be able to show ministry benefits to your readers, rather than just tell them about your ministry’s features.

  1. A. 56 volunteers attended a day-long training.
    B. Dozens of volunteers learned how to care for shelter pets, identify potential adoptive homes and match pets with new owners.
  2. A. Our new inner-city shelter is helping fulfill Help Association’s mission.
    B. Our new inner-city shelter is helping transform the lives of homeless men, women and children, by providing food for their bodies and souls.
  3. A. The Kids Kan! Program serves 400 children after school.
    B. Maria is one of 400 children who no longer worries about scavenging for dinner or struggling to understand her homework – thanks to the Kids Kan! Program.
  4. A. You can now donate online.
    B. Easy, convenient and safe: donate online today.
  5. A. We acknowledge the receipt of your gift.
    B. Thank you for your generous gift, which makes it possible for us to minister to prisoners and their families.

More on persuasive writing

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Persuasive Copywriting Techniques 1: one question you MUST answer ...

More on basic copywriting

Basic copywriting: what is it and why do you need it?

Basic copywriting: know your audience before you write ...

Basic copywriting rule: how to make the "You Rule" work for you ...

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Answer Key

A: features
B: benefits

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