The PS - Almost As Important to Your Marketing Message As the Headline

The P.S. to a letter used to be an afterthought - something you should have said in your letter but forgot. That, of course, was before we had word processing programs that let us go back and change things instead of having to re-write the entire letter.

But somewhere along the way, that changed. Now the P.S. is one of the most important components of a sales letter. As such, it deserves as much thought and planning as does the headline.

It's true that without a good headline your message probably won't be read. But without a good P.S. much of your message is apt to be forgotten.

There are two reasons for this, and two ways to look at the P.S.

First, eye studies reveal that people first read the headline, then they check their own name, and then the P.S. They expect to find a clue there that will tell them if reading the rest of the letter is worth their time.

So when you reinforce the message in the body of the letter or when you add urgency to your message, your P.S. acts much like the headline. It entices people to back up and read the whole thing - or at least to skim through to see if something else catches their eyes.

The second reason why the P.S. is so important is the memory factor. Whether your reader skims the letter or reads the entire message, the P.S. is likely to be the last thing he or she reads. That makes it just as memorable as the headline or a compelling story in the body of the letter.

So when you sit down to construct your letter and the P.S., think about what you can say that will draw your readers back up to read the whole message, and what you most want your readers to remember about your message.

  • Is it the way your product or service will solve or prevent a problem?
  • Is it the special price you're offering for a limited time?
  • Is it a celebrity endorsement?
  • Is it the fact that you have only 67 widgets left and when they're gone, they're gone?
While most writers use the P.S. to re-emphasize some point in their letter, you can also use it to add an extra benefit or a bonus. As in: "P.S. When you order by midnight tomorrow, we'll also include..."

Don't treat your P.S. as an afterthought. Plan it and write it well, knowing that most of the people who read your message will read it even if they don't read the whole letter, and that if they remember anything about what you've said, the P.S. will be one of those things.


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