Copywriting Tips

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John Powell

All the experts tell us that to produce good advertising copy, you must sell the benefits. That’s because it’s the benefits derived from a product or service that people want.

Since this lesson has been taught forever and to every kind of sales person, not just advertisers, it’s a little strange that there is still confusion about defining the benefits. That is, separating them from the features.

This problem is widespread, and it’s not only lay people who get it wrong. I recently picked up a brochure from an ad agency offering to produce brochures for corporations. On the back cover of their own brochure they listed what they called the benefits of using their service. The list contained 12 features and there wasn’t a benefit in sight.

So let’s take another look at defining benefits.

A benefit is a feature in action. And the best way to uncover the benefit of a feature is to apply Pat Quinn’s world-famous ‘So What?’ principle.

Like so.

This panel is made of aluminium. (Feature)

So what?

It won’t rust. (Advantage)

So what?

It will reduce your annual replacement costs by 60% (Benefit)

The above illustrates that a feature produces an advantage, and the benefit is the personal value a customer gains from the advantage.

Another example.

This washing machine has an economy cycle. (Feature)

So what?

It reduces energy consumption. (Advantage)

So what?

You save money in energy costs. (Benefit)


These security sensors measure mass. (Feature)

So what?

Pets and insects won’t trigger the alarm (Advantage)

So what?

You wont have false alarms, just happy neighbours. (Benefit)

Easy isn’t it?

© Markethill Publishing 2005.

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About Staff Writer

Helping copywriters attract top earnings with words that sell without struggling for years. Transforming frustrating jobs into extraordinary freedom with sales persuasion insights. Inspired by world-renowned copywriter Patrick Quinn.