On another website of mine, I sell some affiliate products.
In a split-run test for one affiliate product I sold, the ad listing features outperformed the ad, which had no features listed. Everything else was identical. Same benefits, same headlines, same call to action, same bullet points, everything.
And it’s not just that one was adequate and the other wasn’t because they both pulled profit. But why did the one with features work so well? The great copywriters of yesteryear have always warned us off of listing features instead of benefits to the customer, so what gives?
I was confused about it at first. I thought it was a fluke or a market swing that happens from time to time. But subsequent tests have verified that these results were not an accident, and I have since realized why.
Why Listing Features Sells More Product
This is not such a surprise. What is a surprise is how much of a difference it can make in listing the product features.
Don’t believe me? Well, let’s test it then!
I’m going to sell you an ebook on how to raise beef cattle. You want it, but my competitor has another that may be just as good. Oh yeah, and my competitor is a cheating bastard, and he’s copied everything else about the ad, and his book is cheaper by a few bucks.
Which of these would you instead buy, all other things being equal?
An ebook with 52 pages
An ebook with 695 pages
A unique ebook
The original ebook on cattle raising, the first ever of its kind
A once in a lifetime opportunity
Updated for FREE every month
Written by an experienced cattle-man
Written by the wealthiest and most successful cattle-man in California
Its file size is compressed and downloads in milliseconds.
This is a facetious example, but you see the point, yes? You could argue that these are benefits, but they’re not. These are product features and nothing more; any use to the reader is indirect or implied. Also, did you notice the word “you” doesn’t appear anywhere in that list? The significance is that “you” is the second most important word in sales copy, right after “free.”
If your ebook is the biggest ever, brag about it. If your ebook is fatter, more unique, or special in some way, let your customer know.
Long copy usually outsells shorter copy because it gives you more time to explain the product to the customer. This increases familiarity, which improves comfort, which makes him want it from you and not the other guy.
Listing features do the same thing. It may not make a huge difference that your book has two more pages than a competitor’s, but it’s information your customer wants to know. It makes your product a little more real to him, a little more tangible. That will increase sales all by itself.