A P.S. basically means, “Oh, I forgot to tell you something”. It comes from a time when letters were written by hand. If you forgot to include something in the body of the letter and had already signed off, you had two choices: rewrite the letter from scratch or stick it at the end. Letter writers chose the time-economical option and the P.S. was born.
On typed letters these days you don’t often see a P.S. at the end. That’s because if you forget to include something in a computer-written letter, you simply go back and edit it. So does that mean the P.S. has come to the end of its life?
Not quite. A P.S. has become an important feature of one type of letter: the sales letter, the letter that forms part of a business’s email or direct mail marketing campaign.
Why is a P.S. so important in direct mail letters?
As I said earlier, a P.S. means, “I forgot to tell you something.” In sales letter terms, a P.S. means, “there’s another important reason why you should buy this product that I forgot to give you.”
Why is this important? Well, people don’t always have the time or inclination to read sales emails and direct mail letters. A P.S. is very good for the skim-reader, who gives sales letters a cursory glance before moving on to their next item of post. These people will search the letter for important points, things that stick out and things that are quick and easy to read.
A P.S. is one of these things. It’s conspicuous, easy to see and demands to be read. Research has shown that it’s a powerful place to put an important sales point. This is why a P.S. should be included in all direct mail letters and sales emails.
How is the P.S. misused and wasted?
Businesses that churn out direct mail letters on a regular basis sometimes get lazy and into bad habits. They forget about the features that make direct mail letters such a worthwhile marketing technique in the first place.
A P.S. is one of those features that gets misused. The letter writer will get to the end of the letter and realise, “Damn, I need a P.S.” When she can’t think of anything new to say, she’ll just repeat a sales point that’s already been made:
P.S. Remember that you get 10% off all sofas till the end of September.
Sometimes the use of “remember” is what gives it away. It tells the reader that the P.S. contains nothing new. Sometimes businesses decide that a certain sales point is worth repeating, but don’t use the P.S. for that. Readers know what a P.S. is supposed to mean. As I said before, a P.S. is for anything important that you forgot to mention earlier on. If you add a P.S. that repeats something from earlier on, it’s a false P.S. and readers will see through it.
A P.S. should be reserved for a key benefit or sales point that hasn’t already been mentioned:
P.S. If you order a stock or clearance item, we’ll arrange free delivery before Christmas.
P.S. We offer free parking and free tea and coffee when you visit our showroom.
If your company regularly creates sales letters for direct mail and email marketing campaigns, it’s worth considering hiring a freelance copywriter to ensure that you’re maximising their worth as a marketing technique. Sending out direct mail letters isn’t cheap, so you really don’t want to waste the money you’ve spent on a dud letter. A freelance copywriter knows how to incorporate all the important features of direct mail letters. They know how to make them stand out and have a better chance of being read, rather than be destined for the bin.
If you need any help with writing better sales letters for your direct mail and email campaigns, give me a call on 07411 331721 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about how I can help your business, please visit my services page.
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