Posted Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Should your sales letter contain a P.S.?
If you aren’t using one, you’re probably leaving money on the table. So the short answer is “yes.” A well written P.S. (for “post script,” literally meaning “after writing”) following your signature is your last chance to influence your prospect favorably and close the sale. If it isn’t as strong as possible, these prospects may toss your letter aside or click to another website.
No marketer wants that to happen of course. So to avoid this unfortunate outcome, I recommend you put some serious thought behind your P.S. And one of the first things you need to think about is changing your understanding of how the P.S works.
Right now, you need to stop thinking of the P.S. as the last part of the letter that anyone sees. Instead, think of it as one of the first parts to be read. Then, imagine its effect on your prospect in that light.
What do I mean?
Oddly enough, the opening headline and closing P.S. of your letter are often lumped together by your prospects. These widely separated parts of your letter are really Siamese twins of sorts, joined at the hip. Studies of reading behavior have shown that many readers scan the opening headline first, then jump right to the P.S. to try and quickly figure out what the letter is really all about.
Don’t you find yourself doing that sometimes?
This fact should raise an alarm somewhere in the back of your mind. If your prospect is skipping the “meat” of your letter and making a snap judgment based on the P.S., that means your carefully constructed appeal has just been short circuited, right?
Not necessarily. The best sales letters make an emotional connection with the intended prospects before any “selling” is done. That’s because people will generally buy something for emotional reasons, then justify their buying decision with logic. If your P.S. can ignite some emotion or sense of passion in your prospect, it can help bring your prospect back into the rest of the letter.
If it appeals only to logic, it may not be enough to get your prospect to go back to the beginning of the letter and ultimately, to the decision to buy.
A well written, emotionally appealing P.S. can be called upon to do one or more of the following, although this list isn’t exhaustive:
1. Restate the primary benefit of your product or service
2. Introduce a completely new surprise benefit
3. Describe one or more special bonuses that you are including with your offer
4. Enhance the credibility of your offer in some way, perhaps by including an additional testimonial or endorsement
5. Provide a powerful sense of urgency that prompts your prospect to take immediate action
6. Reassure your prospect with your money back guarantee
How does one write an emotionally appealing P.S.? Here are three examples.
The first tugs at the heartstrings of its audience, potential buyers of a United States Historical Society stained glass plate commemorating the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima. It describes an additional benefit not previously mentioned in the letter, and does so in an emotionally appealing way.
“P.S. In years to come, this treasured work of art will be a reminder – perhaps to generations yet unborn – of America’s finest hour.”
The next one comes from a sales letter seeking subscribers to The Economist magazine. The body of the sales letter describes the magazine as read by “… presidents (of countries, banks, universities and Fortune 500 companies).” The P.S. plays to this sense of exclusivity, a sophisticated emotional appeal that probably hooked a lot of new subscribers.
“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.”
The last example is from a sales letter for Prostanol, a men’s prostrate health supplement. The copywriter could have just blandly stated the guarantee. But with fear of contracting prostrate cancer on the minds of many men over age 40 (the target audience here), the P.S. was written instead in an emotionally attention getting way that is much more effective.
“P.S. I’ve seen men who were completely distraught from the debilitating effects of poor prostrate health come back to life again. That’s how powerful this formula is and why I can confidently offer you my unequaled guarantee: unless Postanol works for you in just weeks, IT’S FREE. I’m that confidant in this scientifically-proven formula.”
To summarize, decide what you want the P.S. to accomplish, then write it in such a way that it strikes an emotional chord with your target audience. If you do, it won’t matter that it may be one of the first parts of the letter read by your prospects.
About the Author
Copywriter Vincent Czaplyski owns Hampshire Cove Marketing, Inc., which provides copywriting and marketing services and products Subscribe to his free bimonthly newsletter full of powerful marketing tips at (http://www.SolidNetGold.com/mh-signup.htm). Contact him at email@example.com