P.S. Don’t forget to include a sales letter postscript
Did you ever wonder why professional copywriters add a P.S. to their sales letters?
For the answer to that question, let’s take a quick look at what a P.S. is, then I’ll give you some simple but effective ways to use a P.S. in your own sales letters.
So what exactly is a P.S.? Here’s what Wikipedia says:
The term comes from the Latin post scriptum, an expression meaning “written after” … (which may be interpreted in the sense of “that which comes after the writing”).
A postscript may be a sentence, a paragraph, or occasionally many paragraphs added, often hastily and incidentally, after the signature of a letter …
Basically, a post script is a letter-writing technique that says, “Oh, I forgot to tell you something,” or “By the way, here’s one more thing you should know.”
If you think about it, the P.S. it antiquated. It comes from a time when letters were written by hand. If you thought of something you wanted to add after you wrote the letter, you had only two choices: rewrite the letter or add it to the end of the letter.
Today, there is no logical need for the P.S. If you forget something, you just edit the letter on your computer before you print it.
However, like so many things in advertising, the P.S. is not about logic but about persuasive power. It is a convention adopted by copywriters to highlight an important point. It is not an afterthought, but a purposeful piece of copy.
Many copywriters think of the P.S. as a “headline” at the end of the letter. Others have called it a “hotspot,” since people often glance at the end of a letter to see the offer and the signature before they read the entire text.
There are 2 basic ways to approach the P.S. The first is to summarize or repeat information from the body of the letter. Here’s a an example from a company that sells college-level courses on CD and DVD:
P.S. Order now! Call 1-800-TEACH-12 (1-800-832-2412) to speak to our highly educated, friendly, and engaging Customer Care Team. Knowledgeable about all of The Great Courses, our representatives are standing by to help select the best courses for you!
Apart from telling the reader than the people answering the phones are knowledgeable, this P.S. adds nothing. It simply repeats the call to action.
The second approach is to add something extra not mentioned in the body of the letter. Here’s an example from a letter I wrote recently for a health insurance company in California:
P.S. Supplies are limited. Please respond by December 31 to request your FREE copy of The Complete Guide to “No Surprises” Medicare Health Plans with no obligation.
The letter doesn’t mention limited supplies. I mention it only in the post script as a way to encourage rapid response to the offer.
Either basic approach is okay, but I prefer the second approach in most cases because I like to use the P.S. “hotspot” to accomplish a strategic objective.
Here are my thoughts on using a post script in your sales letters:
- Always use a P.S. at the end of the main sales letter in any direct mail package.
- Remind your reader of the deal or special offer.
- Add urgency with a time limit or reminder about limited supplies.
- Instruct the designer to use handwriting for the P.S. for more credibility.
- Add multiple post scripts (P.S., P.P.S., etc.) for an unusual twist and to call more attention to the postscript area.
- Instead of P.S., try “NOTE,” “By the way,” or “One last thing …” after the signature.
- Don’t use a P.S. on a lift letter or other note in a direct mail package if you already have one on the main letter. Too many afterthoughts look phoney.
- Keep the P.S. to 2 or 3 lines maximum. It’s an afterthought, not an after novel.
- 30 sales letter openers to kick start your sales pitch
- Storytelling and the greatest sales letter of all time
- How to write the perfect sales letter