One of the most venerable and common elements of good salesletters, following the headline, is the postscript or “P.S.” at the end.
The end of every great sales letter should be capped with a strong P.S. We are often told that the P.S. is the second most read part of a salesletter, because after reading the headline many people tend to scroll or jump to the bottom.
It’s like the “second headline,” so to speak.
This is particularly true when we know that most people tend to read the headline or the “Dear Friend” salutation, then turn to the closing of the letter to see who signed it or who is it from. Partly out of curiosity. Partly to justify reading it in the first place.
Including a P.S. in your copy may not always be necessary. I’ve seen some great, proven salesletters that did not have any postscripts at all. But if you do include one, don’t add it just for the sake of adding one. Make sure it does the job.
In fact, you shouldn’t use a P.S. the way it’s supposed to be used…
In traditional letter writing, a P.S. is an afterthought. An additional, incidental, or forgotten piece of information. Hence the meaning of the word “post script,” as in, “after writing.”
And the reason it exists is because, in the old days of handwritten or typewritten letters, where you couldn’t go back to edit their letter or insert new pieces of information, the P.S. would allow the author to add final bits of information after the letter was finished.
Back then, we did not have the luxury of real-time editing or correction fluid as we do today, so adding a P.S. was common practice. Now, it is no longer necessary.
But salesletters keep using them, and they work extremely well, in large part because they look more personal and informal, and less like a professional, formal sales pitch.
However, with salesletters, a postscript is not really a place to introduce new pieces of information — unless those pieces are supported or discussed in the letter, or meant to arouse curiosity, forcing the reader back into the copy.
But it is a perfect tool to get the reader to take action.
As the last opportunity to convert your reader into a buyer, the P.S. is a final statement that supports the copy that came before, reminds or reinforces an underlying principle of the letter, or emphasizes the need to take action quickly.
To that end, it can be a great place for adding new, undisclosed information, such as a few surprises or twists, in order to clinch the deal. (I’ll come back to this in a moment.)
But the easiest and most common use for a P.S. is to provide a brief summary of the letter, reiterate its main purpose or objective, or restate any of its key points, such as the big idea, the compelling promise, the major benefits, or the call to action.
This follows with the three major steps in delivering presentations. And what is a sales letter at its core but a written presentation? As a refresher, the three major steps are:
- Tell them what you’re going to tell them.
- Tell them.
- Tell them what you told them.
Your P.S. can be part of that important final step.
Specifically, you’ve already told them everything in your sales letter, especially if it’s long copy. Now it’s time to choose the one aspect you believe is most likely to be holding them back from buying after reading all the way through, and to resolve it.
A strong P.S. does not beg, but rather invites the reader to take the final step before purchasing. It’s a strong and clear statement that contains the final call to action.
You can use the P.S. to recap the entirety of your offer. Tell them again what your offer includes, list the important benefits, add up the dollar value (including the value of your bonuses), and outline the extras to reinforce the value of the offer.
An effective technique is to restate your headline, or something important you’ve expressed in the headline. You won’t necessarily copy the headline verbatim, but present the same information but paraphrase it in a benefit-driven manner.
For example, your headline says:
“The Accidental Weight-Loss Discovery of a Juggling Career Mom Who Lost Six Inches of Baby Fat Around Her Waistline Without Any Exercise of Diets — In Just a Few Weeks!”
The postscript can then say:
“P.S.: If you’re a career mom or about to become one, and you’re concerned about unwanted, stubborn baby fat, then this product is perfect for you. Imagine turning heads as you melt away those few extra inches amazingly fast — in just a few short weeks! — while avoiding exercises or diets you don’t have time for, anyway.”
Also, using the “oh, by the way” approach is an effective one. This resembles the original purpose of a P.S., since it is indeed intended to be an afterthought or an important piece of information one has forgotten to mention after the letter was written.
That’s why they are perfect places, not only to add additional information we failed to include in our letter, but also to use this seemingly accidental omission to highlight a specific piece of information we want our reader to remember, absorb, and appreciate.
So while you can use a postscript to restate the primary benefit of your product or service, you can also use it to introduce a completely new surprise benefit — such as one or more special, “last-minute” bonuses you are including with your offer.
Thus, a P.S. is a great way to strengthen the offer and “sweeten the deal.”
However, one of the most powerful P.S. techniques is to highlight the sense of urgency — either by creating or increasing the scarcity factor not mentioned in the letter, or by restating or emphasizing it if one was already mentioned.
This way, the P.S. prompts the straggler to take immediate action, whether it’s buying your offer now, or at least going back and reading the letter before it’s too late.
Nevertheless, let’s not forgot the proof element. In fact, a postscript is a perfect opportunity to increase buyer confidence, reduce skepticism, and lower resistance.
At this point, you want to alleviate any lingering doubts. Expressing you understand your reader’s hesitancy — especially once they’ve read to that point but have yet to take action, which is a great indicator — can be a bridge to overcoming their final objection.
Adding another proof element may be your chosen tactic in this case.
Personally, this is my favorite. I love using P.S.’s to enhance the credibility of my offer in some way, perhaps by including an additional testimonial or endorsement, or by adding or restating the guarantee. Perhaps a newer and even stronger guarantee.
What you are looking to do with your P.S. is identify the one objection you foresee as being the key to holding your reader back from ordering. If you decide on using a testimonial, then choose the one that inherently answers this lingering objection.
To handle this objection further, a postscript may be the place you repeat an important or unique aspect of your offer. Since this is what sets your product or service apart from everything else in the market, it may be important to point it out to your reader again.
However, in doing so it’s best to paraphrase as to make it easier for the reader to understand and truly appreciate its meaning, and make it appear less repetitive.
In other words, reword the original information that was previously introduced as to specifically deal with the objection. Ideally, it will be the last piece of the puzzle your reader needs to push them over the fence and make the decision to buy.
Finally, a proven technique is to include more than one postscript (e.g., “P.P.S.” and “P.P.P.S.”), and using them with a variety of different methods discussed in this article.
If you decide on more than one P.S., then you should stick to three. Why? It’s because studies and split-tests show that, in a triad of P.S.’s, people tend to read, remember, and respond to the second one more than they do the first and last ones.
In other words, include your biggest benefit, a major selling point, or an element you want your readers to focus on the most in the second or middle P.S.
Bottom line, try adding one to your salesletter. As with all aspects of the sales letter that come before, you will have to experiment with your P.S. until it is just right. It can take a while to adjust the angle and the wording until it reaches the peak of effectiveness.
Though shorter and less intense than most other aspects of your sales letter, no less care should be taken with the crafting of this aspect. Considering its position and purpose, it’s a feature you don’t want to forget to include in your sales copy.