Direct Marketing, Mail Order, and E-commerce News from the National Mail Order Association


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All About Post Scripts and Post-Post Scripts

by Ray Jutkins

The P.S. is a key element in direct mail.

Research has shown that 79% of all people who open your direct mail will read the P.S. first. Before reading anything else in the letter. Or any other part of the mail package.

Several studies have indicated other parts of a letter may get read more thoroughly. Yet, no one disagrees a P.S. plays an important role in successful direct mail.

So, what is in a P.S.? Let's start first with what is NOT in a P.S. What is not in a P.S. is a "new" thought. Something not described elsewhere in your letter.

If you introduce a new idea in the P.S., and your reader is one of nearly 4 out of every 5 people who read the P.S. first -- you now have a confused reader.

Why? Because you state a fact or figure, outline an offer, give a deadline date -- do something different, possibly exciting. You do it in the P.S. And only in the P.S. So, what does the reader think? The reader does not know what to think!

In reverse, what IS in your P.S.? Let's start with why you have a P.S. at all. Other than the fact that most of your marketplace will see and read it first.

What is your real objective with your direct mail ... how can a P.S. help you achieve your objective?

Your P.S. can be strong -- or soft. It can be hard-sell, or very soft and comfortable. It can remind and suggest and recommend -- or it can be tough and tell your audience what to do.
Your P.S. may recommend how the two of you might do business together. Or it might suggest a certain purchase could be a good buy.
The P.S. might come on heavy to your reader, and tell them who and when and how to call, to take this action. And to do all of this by "X" date or they'll miss the deadline.

Hard or soft - neither is right. Or wrong. They are just different.

Here are 9 things that can be in your P.S.

P.S. Idea #1. Remind your reader of a premium, a gift, a special "something" they will get, earn, make, save -- IF they respond. Remind them of your "goodies"! The extras you bring -- you offer.

P.S. Idea #2. Emphasize your guarantee. A product or service guarantee in direct mail can play a critical role in reaching your objective. People get "comfortable" with you when you talk guarantee.
This can be particularily important when your audience is a marketplace that has not previously done business with you.

P.S. Idea #3. Talk about savings. Talk about money, and what can be earned, or saved. Talk profits. Talk bottom-line results. Talk measurability. Facts and figures get attention -- use them in your P.S.

P.S. Idea #4. Repeat your key benefits. You may have a laundry list of product and service benefits ... yet you know the top of the list has 2 or 3 or maybe 4 real reasons why people do business with you. In your P.S. remind your readers of these key benefits.

P.S. Idea #5. Repeat your telephone and facsimile numbers. Remind people they can return the reply card, walk into your store, visit your showroom or trade show stand, take a demonstration -- let your marketplace know you are available to do business. And want to do business with them. Now!

P.S. Idea #6. Repeat your Limited Time Offer -- your deadline date, time, number. LTOs gain additional response because of the urge to action. If you have a LTO -- repeat it in your P.S. Remind your audience of what they will get by doing business with you now -- before the deadline passes.

P.S. Idea #7. Repeat the last call to action. Obviously, in direct mail you are asking your marketplace to do something. To take some action. To call this number, send this fax, complete this application, visit this store, sign-up for this conference -- Do something! Repeat your call to action in the P.S.

P.S. Idea #8. Reinforce your offer. Repeat it and outline the one or two key benefits of your offer. What it will do. Or make, earn or save, how it will make you look or feel so good. Tell your offer story from the customers side of the fence.

P.S. Idea #9. Summarize your entire sales message in your P.S. A 2 page letter can be summarized in a single paragraph P.S. A 4 to 6 page letter may need a P.P.S., too. Yes, it is possible to distill to a few short sentences your sales message. Do it in the P.S.

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About Ray Jutkins, October 3rd, 1936 — January 6th, 2005. Ray was one of the NMOA’s most generous contributors. Over the years Ray supplied the NMOA with hundreds of tips and articles for members. This is just one of many. Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa. Keep an eye out for more of Ray’s marketing tips and how-to articles in the pages of Direct Marketing Digest and the article archive on the NMOA website.

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