Content Marketing and Copywriting

Published on September 27th, 2006 | by Janine Popick


Writing Email Copy that Sells – Features and Benefits

Sitting down and coming up with copy for anything can be a daunting task right? Even if you’re writing about something you know pretty well. One of the things I’ve been wrestling with is that fact that so many companies are so enamored with their "features" they fail to talk about the benefits, that is, what problems the features are going to solve.

Today I’d like to focus on writing benefit-oriented copy in your emails.


Make your copy more benefit-oriented and tell your recipients why they’d want your widget, not just how cool your widget is. People are emotional, they buy because they want to know how your product or service will benefit them first, features are secondary.

When you’re writing your copy and you list a feature, always pay off the feature with what goes after "…so now you can…"  or "…for better…" in your copy.

I went through my inbox and found a few emails that outlined both the need for and good use of benefit-oriented copy.Bestguestemail2 - In the excerpt from an email to the right, we’re never told "why" it’s going to be better for us to shop using our existing account information.

We might have suggested:

"… so now you won’t have to create another new account and manage yet another user name and password! More time for shopping and saving!"

… or something like that.

The Sport Tec jacket
  – What an amazing invention. So many pockets and zippers. But what are they all good for? You wouldn’t know with this email:


We might have suggested something like:

  • 21 pockets – Holds your iPod, your cell phone, your pda so you can walk into your trade show without having to carry a computer bag or hike around the mountains without a painful backpack.
  • Detachable sleeves – Hotter than you thought? Unzip the sleeves and store in the handy sleeve pocket so you can air out!

…you get the point.Main1_11_2

Dell  – Dell does a great job here with three features and benefits related to them.

They list a few of their popular cool features and the reasons why they are actually cool. Kudos to Dell.

Lastly, revisit your copy - Write your copy first then revisit it and make sure you’re outlining "why" someone would want your product or service.  I jot down my ideas first then revisit my blog two or three times to make it better before I publish it.

Got any ideas of your own? Comment on this post.

© 2006, VR Marketing Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse.

5 Responses to Writing Email Copy that Sells – Features and Benefits

  1. Marsha says:

    Oh mercy me! I can’t believe I’d forgotten something so fundamental! I had started to believe that everyone would know the benefits of my dance classes without me telling them. Thanks for the timely reminder; now I might turn a few more of those “potentials” into “buyers.”

  2. Rob says:

    Great post with two key points. Selling features not benefits is definitely the biggest mistake most people make. Your other point isn’t so obvious — “revisit your copy”. Totally agree — not only can you make it read better, but often you’ll find you can rip out at least 10% or 15% of the words and actually strengthen the message.

  3. Thanks for all the great tips! VR is the best…

  4. Glenn Ross says:

    Excellent points. Long before there was an Internet, my first sales boss drilled into my head, “facts don’t sell, benefits do!” It’s even better when you know what their dominant buying motive is. For example if the mom buying the car is more interested in safety, key your benefits to that. If it’s an 18-year old interested in sportiness and coolness, go with that.

  5. Henrik says:

    Thanks for a great newsletter. Good tips. Now, I’ll go back and revise my in-the-works newsletter:)

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