For Everyone Who Has Ever Struggled Sorting Out Benefits From Features - "SWAT Them!"
SWAT is not actually an acronym. It is a compaction of the question "so what?"
You see, one of the biggest problems that even experienced copywriters and marketers fall into is being clear on what benefits their product or service actually delivers to their customers.
SWAT provides the solution.
Here is how it works:
- Take a piece of paper. Divide it into columns one headed features and one headed benefits.
- Under the features column list all the features that come to mind.
- Under the benefits column list all the benefits you deliver. (Don’t worry about neatness there will not be a one-to-one correspondence between features and benefits)
- Now, get yourself back in your customers’ mindset. Take each feature in turn and ask yourself "SO WHAT?"
- And keep on asking the question until you can't think of any sensible, benefit oriented, answer.
- Do this for every feature in your list
- Now go back and repeat the process for every benefit you originally listed
It is pretty certain that the same benefits will occur many times over as you run through this exercise. That's fine. These are the ultimate benefits you have been looking for. These are the benefits you will 'sell' to your customer.
I wear a pretty cheap and tacky diver’s watch. Its features include:
- water proof to 50m (that’s about 164 feet)
- accurate to 1 second per year
- tells the time in 2 time zones
- dual analogue and digital display
- shock proof
- stop watch
- back light
- day, month date function
- 5 year battery life
Now for certain prospects this list of features is pretty powerful on its own. Principally young men who like to dazzle their friends with the latest gadgets and gizmos.
But let's try to figure out some marketable benefits for a wider audience.
"Water proof to 50m"
You can wear the watch while diving
You can be sure it is waterproof enough for all day-to-day use
You can put the watch on and forget it - no matter what you are doing
Accurate time keeping -anytime, anyplace.
Your thought patterns would obviously be different to mine. But I am now stuck. The question "So What?" doesn't lead me to another statement. No matter. I am pretty happy with the last couple above. Either of them talks to me of the real benefits the watch could bring.
Now I would need to go away and do the same thing for all of the other features. When I first did this exercise I ended up with over 120 benefits (and this for something that is definitely pretty cheap and tacky). I am not going to do that here again.
The benefits that kept repeating were the go anywhere, do anything, super accurate timekeeping.
I was able to produce 30 plus benefit driven headlines. And I had no difficulty in sorting out the benefits from the features.
And all in a little over an hour.
Seems a pity that I don't actually sell watches.
Keith Longmire is the owner of JKL Business Growth Solutions. JKL specialises in bringing main stream business improvement and marketing solutions into the reach of smaller businesses.