Selling The Sizzle, Not The Steak!


Understanding and using different direct response marketing techniques is important for marketers to get the best conversion rates possible.


One of the most important direct response marketing techniques is understanding how to sell benefits to a client instead of features. 


If done properly, your direct response marketing campaign is much more likely to be successful.

Before getting into how to create a real need in customers that drives sales time and again, let’s do a quick overview of what direct response marketing is to make it easier to understand why you need direct response marketing techniques like this to improve your conversions.


An Overview of Direct Response Marketing


Put simply, direct response marketing is a marketing technique that involves getting a customer or client to take immediate action. While this may mean a small or a big ask, direct response marketing is built off of getting customers to click, sign up or purchase when asked.


And that’s the thing—marketers need to ask. Without asking, there is no direct response.


Direct response marketing is a tactic that is generally used with:

By asking the customer or client to take action, a marketer significantly increases their chances of making the sale.


There are a few different direct response marketing techniques involved in running the perfect campaign, and one of the most powerful was mentioned above—selling benefits instead of features.


In order to know how to do this, though, it’s necessary to understand the difference between benefits and features.


Selling The Sizzle, Not The Steak


While people often say “features and benefits” like it’s one thing, these are actually two fundamentally different aspects of a product or service.


In order to properly sell a product or service, it’s necessary to know both the features and benefits. To get a direct response, it’s extremely important to learn how to lean on the benefits.


So, what are features and benefits?


Features are basically the facts and figures of a product or service.


For instance, a computer may have 8 Gigs of RAM and a 1 TB hard drive. Unless you are a computer person, that probably sounds pretty dull…


Benefits, on the other hand, get to the root of why a customer is purchasing something. Benefits are what the customer gets out of a product or service—which is generally what they are more interested in.


So, if someone is selling an extremely powerful computer, they shouldn’t prattle on about the technical info unless they are selling to someone who cares about that information.


Instead, they should talk up how fast it runs, how quickly it boots up, how long the battery lasts and how much that computer will make the customer’s life easier overall.


By understanding the benefits of a product or service, a marketer is able to push for a direct response by…


Creating a NEED


At the end of the day, people are more likely to purchase things that they need over things that they want.

Something that they want can be put aside until later. It can be saved up for or it can be forgotten.


Something that a customer needs, on the other hand, can’t wait. It’s something that will make their life significantly better and easier.


It can even improve their quality of life drastically!


Marketers know that part of selling the benefits of a product means tapping into the basic needs of a customer. They know that they need to provide a solution to a problem that the customer is having—even if the problem isn’t really that pressing.


Think about it this way—all products solve some sort of problem. Even a video game system solves the problem of boredom.


By describing the benefits of a product or service, the marketer is better able to describe the problem that the customer is having and solve it.


Let’s go back to the computer example…


What problems may a computer owner have?


Let’s say a student is considering purchasing a laptop.


The salesman understands the needs of the student, so they start describing the benefits in a way that taps into the needs of the student.


The salesman says, “I know that, as a student, you’re out a lot of the day going from class to class. Because of this, you NEED a computer with a battery that lasts through your entire school day. This computer will allow you to go through your whole day without charging it once…”


Once the needs and benefits have been addressed, the salesman can then pitch a direct response—the student leaving the store with the computer TODAY.


If the customer is still hesitant, a salesman (or marketer) can create scarcity. For instance, the salesman may say, “This computer is actually on sale, but the sale ends at the end of the day…”


From there, a direct response is easier to elicit.


If you are starting a digital business, you’ll want to learn more about creating scarcity and putting together a pitch that provokes a direct response.


Our completely free Copywriting Bootcamp course can help you do just that.

Tell a Story


Customers are actually more interested in the “why” behind a sale. They want to know why it is that they should purchase one product over another—or why they should purchase anything at all.


This is where storytelling can come in handy…


A good story can help to really express the benefits of a product and can make the direct response that much easier to come by.


This is actually why video sales letters (VSLs) are so powerful. Most VSLs tell some sort of story about how a product changed a person's life. 


It took them from a low point to a high point.


What’s important is that the customer empathizes with the story and then sees that they can change their life too! Then, when the ask comes, they are ready to pull out their wallet.


Improve Your Direct Response Marketing Techniques


Selling benefits instead of features is just one of many powerful direct response marketing techniques.


However, it's really the foundation for making just about any sale.


By selling the benefits, you can easily lead your customers or clients to the water. You can explain to them why they need water to survive, and then encourage them to take a sip…


Remember, selling the benefits of a product or service is a skill, and to learn this skill, you’ll need to learn how to write amazing copy. 


If you want to learn more about selling through the art of the written word, our Copywriting Bootcamp is completely free and will help you learn more about crafting persuasive copy and other direct response marketing techniques.


You’ll then be able to communicate benefits that much more effectively to start massively increasing your sales!