The Power of a PS – How to Make People Read More

| October 11, 2016 | 0 Comments

Before personal computers took off, letter writers used a PS to add things they’d forgotten to say. Today, there’s no real-life need for it. If you forget to say something, you just back-track and add it into your Word document or whatever. But it isn’t about logic. It’s about persuasion, and the PS remains one of the most persuasive elements in direct marketing.  

The power of the post script

Roll back time twenty years and the humble PS was a direct marketing staple. During my time in financial services DM, I spent a lot of time AB testing different creative approaches, copy and visuals. Research supported what we did, revealing how 79% of people who opened a direct mail pack read the post script first, before reading anything else.

Simply adding one to mailing letters consistently boosted conversion rates, often by as much as half a percent. It acted like a header, but at the bottom of the message. So does the PS translate to digital marketing? Not for web pages, sadly, since it is, by nature, hidden below the fold. But a PS still delivers a beautifully simple way to reinforce your message, create urgency and generate value in email marketing.

You can harness a PS in a number of creative ways to persuade people to respond positively. Here they are.

10 ways to use a PS effectively in email marketing

  1. Repeating your hook – Emphasising your main selling point, ie. the most important customer benefit, one more time from a fresh angle
  2. Summarising the sales message – If you can encompass your entire sales message in the post script, expressing it eloquently, elegantly and in a strictly limited number of words, it can have a profound effect on conversion
  3. Adding a new idea – Putting something brand new and exciting into a PS can inspire readers to think again about taking action
  4. Creating added emotion – If you’ve made a pretty straightforward appeal, you can bring valuable extra emotion into the PS for a dramatic impact
  5. Driving people to click a link – Making your post script into a link means readers are more likely to click through to your landing page
  6. Creating a sense of urgency – If your special offer ends in 7 days, make it clear in the PS to help drive people to early, faster action or make an impulse buy
  7. Getting personal – Make your PS feel as though it’s directed at the individual reader, something that people unconsciously appreciate
  8. Introducing an extra bonus – Focus the post script towards getting people to act now to receive a special bonus of some kind. It works a treat
  9. Presenting a testimonial – Feedback is a brilliant way to provide reassurance and boost credibility, particularly important when you’re selling something expensive or complicated
  10. Repeating your call to action – Simply repeating your call to action in a PS can persuade more people to act

There’s more…

  • Writing a PS in a font that looks handwritten often drives a better response than a PS in a regular font
  • You can also add a PPS and PPPS – research shows people will happily read all of them before they digest the main body of the message
  • Keeping your PS short works better than writing a PS several lines long

 

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Category: copywriting and marketing

By Kate Goldstone - ()

Originally from Middlesbrough, I lived in Brighton for many years before moving to North Devon. I’ve had a passion for words all my life and this is my twelfth year as a freelance writer. In my spare time I draw, paint, sculpt, carve wood and rock, garden, read, write poetry and enjoy long distance hiking. I sing and play the recorder. I collect modernist paintings, vintage rugs and mid-century German art pottery. I’m a member of The Poetry Society. And I am an experienced volunteer shepherd, a ‘Lookerer’.

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