A lot has changed in advertising over the past few decades. There are new audiences to reach, and new channels with which to reach them.

But what hasn’t changed are the proven practices of results-driven advertising. One of the most important among these is moving past a product or service’s features and leading with its end benefits.

This is especially important with today’s wide array of character-counting social media platforms. With a finite number of words with which to sell something, how do you decide what your lead message should be? Start by asking a simple question:

“So what?”

This product has this feature, that feature, and another feature. So what? How are these features of interest to your audience? Why should they care? The answers to these questions are your end benefits.

Consider a mortgage company that offers a term-reduction refinance to its customers. What might the lead message be for such an offering?

You can reduce your home loan term with a 15-year refinance.

Well, okay. That’s simple, direct, and accurate. But…so what? Why should a customer consider going through the hassle of refinancing their 30-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage based on this statement alone? 

Good question. Here are two good answers:

  1. Save $120,598.00 in interest when you refinance now.
  2. Refinance now and pay your mortgage off 12 years, 7 months sooner.

These are two of the end benefits of refinancing to a shorter loan term. Even better, they both answer this additional important question:

“How much?”

Specificity adds credibility to an end benefit. Saving $120,598.00 is more enticing than saving a bundle when you refinance. Specifying the exact date a customer could be mortgage-free is also a powerful, personalized message.

Whenever possible, quantify the end benefit. If this is not possible, be sure to phrase each end benefit so that it is clear and relevant to your audience. Help them relate these benefits to their own lives:

“By refinancing to a shorter loan term, I could have my house paid off by the time I retire. And every dollar I save on interest is one less dollar I need to put away for retirement. Nice!”

– John Sample

Your customers may not come to these important conclusions with a more general, feature-based lead. And if you bury your end benefits in the copy, they may not read long enough to even see them. 

So, the next time you create a marketing message of any kind, remember to ask yourself, “so what?” And to start at the end.