Never as an Afterthought …

Some copywriters write this part of their sales letters as an afterthought … or not even at all.

It’s usually not more than one paragraph long. Sometimes a little bit more. It’s short enough that mediocre copywriters don’t think they have to give a lot of thought to it.

And, that’s a big mistake.

I’m talking about the P.S.

Yanik Silver – entrepreneur, author, and well-known digital marketer – contends the P.S. is usually the second most read part of your letter after the headline.

Legendary copywriter and marketer Ted Nicholas agrees.

He, Silver, and many other pros base their belief on studies of “skimmers” – people who don’t read the letter straight through from beginning to end. Eye-scan studies show skimmers often start by reading the headline. They then go to the P.S. And then, if they see something they like, they go back and read the rest of the letter.

So, you can see how important the P.S. can be. If you choose to use a P.S. in your letter, you better do it right. A weak P.S. can undermine an otherwise well-written promotion.

Why would you want to use a P.S.? After your reader has read your letter, a well-written P.S. can …

Add additional motivation or urgency to act …

Take a look at these three examples to see how that works …

P.S. If you accept my invitation immediately, I’ll rush you one additional special report. It’s called 33 Days to Online Profits.

P.S. We’ve ordered enough FREE CREELS – we think – to meet the anticipated response. But they’re likely to go fast, so why risk waiting months while we re-order? Since your creel will be shipped as soon as you pay for your subscription, why not get it immediately by enclosing payment now?

P.S. We will not repeat this offer in 2011. Please act now. This offer expires March 27th!

Each of these P.S.’s restates – in different words! – some aspect of the offer with an additional urgent push:

  • Act immediately and get an additional special report.
  • We hope we have enough free creels.
  • The offer expires on March 27th.

You can also see how this approach can entice a skimmer to read the entire letter to find out more about the special reports, the free creels, or why the reader has a limited time to respond.

A well-written P.S. can also be used to …

Reinforce the offer …

P.S. As I mentioned before, your Gift Certificate bears your name and may not be used by anyone else. A mailing like this – for a publication like this – must remain quite selective.

P.S. You’ll be pleased with your decision, your 2 magazines, your membership, and all your other benefits!

Standing on its own, this type of P.S. might not be as strong as the previous type. But, if the letter is especially well-written and convincing, this approach is a good way to remind your reader why he feels compelled to take action.

A well-written P.S. can also be used to …

Emphasize or introduce a premium or bonus …

P.S. Remember, this special offer for ORGANIC GARDENING™ brings you these three free gifts. Each one is full of some of the best tips money can’t buy. So use the easy subscription activation form today for a garden your friends and neighbors will envy.

P.S. Special call-in bonus: Place your order by dialing TOLL-FREE 1-800-471-4007 now, and Health Resources™ will include an eighth gift FREE!

P.S. I nearly forgot to mention one more unique comfort of membership … our exclusive tapestry-print Floral Tote. It’s stylish, sturdy, practical, and best of all – FREE (with membership). In fact, it’s yours to keep, even if you choose not to remain a member.

Your reader is excited about what you’ve written. He’s eager to respond. Right at the moment he’s about to fill out the response form, you add a new premium. Now he’s really jazzed!

And, if he’s a skimmer? “Hmm,” he thinks, “I want to know more about that.”

A well-written P.S. can also be used to …

Emphasize the price or terms of your offer …

P.S. As mentioned earlier, this invitation is non-transferable. It is valid in your name only. If you decide not to accept my offer, please do not pass it along to anyone else. I would prefer you simply discard it. Thank you.

P.S. Please remember, your free no-risk trial is exactly that – totally free to you and without any risk whatsoever. In fact, the only way you could incur any risk at all is by not accepting this invitation, and thus depriving yourself of the greatest success advantage that you might ever have the opportunity to discover.

In the first P.S., this “restrictive” part of the offer really isn’t a barrier for the reader. The P.S. emphasizes the exclusivity of the invitation.

The second P.S. uses a good approach to discussing risk. The only risk is not accepting the offer. And once again, the skimmer’s curiosity is piqued. He’s pushed to read the letter so he can learn more.

So, how do you decide whether to use a P.S. or not?

Ask your client. If he says not to use one, then that’s your answer. If he says he doesn’t care or that he wants you to use one, then you can use these models from highly successful letters to guide you.

Just remember, though, the P.S. is not an afterthought. Give it all the time and attention you give any of the other components of your promotion.

Next week, we’ll chat about one of my favorite topics to write about. Until then, keep reading.

And most important, keep writing!

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: May 12, 2014

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