Leveraging the P.S. — Why Postscripts are Important

04 May 2009


I’ve been working on a direct mail marketing letter and wanted to share a little pearl of wisdom with everyone: how and why the P.S. or postscripts line is so important.

Research shows that almost 80 percent of people will open a letter, scan the return address to see who sent it, then skip straight down to the postscript. (It’s so true too – try it yourself!)

So that means that your P.S. is both your first and last opportunity to get through to your reader – it’s the one line that’s going to get read the most thoroughly. So, what should you include in your postscript? I happen to have a few ideas in mind…

• DON’T include any new information in the postscript. The body of your letter should get straight to the point, including all benefits and features. If a piece of information isn’t in the letter, don’t include it in the postscript – that’s confusing to the reader, and just bad writing. One exception: you CAN introduce a good teaser – like a special offer – in your postscript to get people to act immediately.

• DON’T write a paragraph. Postscripts are short, so keep it down to a sentence or two.

• DO summarize your sales message, or drive it home. Remind the reader of what you’re offering – and make it punchy: give people a timeline, or create a sense of urgency with phrases like “Limited time offer” or “One week only.”

• DO repeat your key benefits, but briefly. Are you saving people money? Why should they give you their money? Any key benefits in the postscript should reinforce the message in the body of your letter.

• DO give contact information and encourage people to learn more about your product or service.

• DO have a call to action. Use action verbs that spur people to pick up the phone, buy your product, log on for more information, etc.

• DO make sure that you’re effectively targeting your audience in the postscript and providing relevant information.

• DO keep it personal and conversational. This should be done throughout the body of your sales letter, but especially in the postscript, since 4 out of 5 recipients will be reading it first. Save those five-dollar words for someone else.

Let’s look at a few good postscripts:

P.S. – Remember, due to space constraints, you must reserve your seat at the Annual Charity Luncheon by Thursday, March 21st. For reservations, call 123-456-6543 or log onto our website, www.charitylunch.com.

P.S. – Our widgets are proven to help shave at least 10 percent off your total electric bill. We’re so confident in our widgets that we’re extending a special offer, until July 3rd. Call 974-213-6809 to order your widget and receive an extra widget free of charge.

Most professionals would agree that a sales letter isn’t complete without a postscript. Those two little letters carry a lot of weight, and can mean the difference between a new sale or your hard work down the drain. There are a million variations on writing good postscripts, just remember a few of the rules above: keep postscripts short, benefit-oriented, and compelling.


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