There Are Benefits, and There Are Benefits (and Then There Are Benefits)
Copywriting experts will tell you that your sales letters need to focus on benefits, rather than product features. What they won't always tell you is that there are three kinds of benefits. And that you need to talk about all three.
Direct benefits are the things your product gives the user. For example, a direct benefit of SEO Content Factory is that you'll be able to write and publish blog posts quicker and easier. A direct benefit of an iPod is that the white headphones will make you look cooler. A direct benefit of kid's sneakers with a racing stripe is that you'll run faster (...well, so they say).
Indirect benefits are the things that the direct benefits give you. If you can blog more easily, you'll get a blog full of content. If you look cooler, you'll get more dates. If you can run faster, the bullies won't be able to catch you and beat you up.
Deep benefits are the things people crave. If you can tie your products to deep benefits in your prospects' minds, they'll sell themselves. With a blog full of great content, people will look up to you as an expert and thought leader. More dates will give you self-confidence. If you're not getting beat up by bullies all the time, you'll have more self-confidence.
Notice how three completely different products can all lead to similar deep benefits. That's no coincidence. There's a lot less variety when it comes to deep benefits. This is the realm of basic human desires.
It Takes All Three
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A minute ago, I said, "If you can tie your products to deep benefits in your prospects' minds, they'll sell themselves." Does that mean you only need to talk about deep benefits?
Nope. The direct and indirect benefits are necessary parts of the chain that ties your product to the deep benefits. If all you say is, "buy my product and you'll feel great about yourself. Here are testimonials from 100 customers who did just that," your claims will lack credibility, because you haven't shown how your product gets people there.
Of course, very few sales letters skip both the direct and indirect benefits. But you've seen those that try to skip direct benefits. They're the ones trying to sell some get-rich-quick secret. They go on forever showing commission checks, bank statements, and all the things the seller has bought with their riches. But they're very vague on what the product is -- all they'll say is that it's a way to make money on the internet.
These sales letters can be successful with the biz-op crowd. But since they don't reveal any of the direct benefits that supposedly lead to the indirect benefits, they have zero credibility with a lot of other people.
Similarly, you'll be less convincing if you skip indirect benefits. "Run faster and you'll have more self-confidence," isn't necessarily a bad pitch. But leaving out the middle step makes it a little more hollow -- much less powerful than, "run faster, leave the bullies in the dust, and you'll have more self-confidence." The indirect benefits helps the prospect to connect the dots.
And finally, leaving out the deep benefits similarly weakens your pitch. It's not that the direct and indirect benefits aren't appealing. It's just that they appeal less to the "lizard brain". Leave them out and you'll fail to enlist the whole mind in the effort to make the sale.