The Power of the Postscript
Seventy-nine percent of donors and prospects who open direct mail appeals will read the postscript first, maintains direct mail copywriting and creative consultant Ray Jutkins.
Only the running headline and Johnson Box at the top of the letter fetch more attention, he says, and a good P.S. can help you reach your direct mail objective by restating the benefits or offer, or urging action.
“The primary thing not to do with your P.S. is state a new fact, introduce a new idea or start fresh with a different thought,” Jutkins cautions. “The P.S. is a place to repeat the call to action, remind the reader of the key benefits and ask for a [gift].”
The reason for this, he says, is because for those four of five who read it first, you share news and then fail to talk about it elsewhere in the letter. You confuse the reader when you introduce new material and cover it only in the P.S.
“The P.S. is a good place to remind your reader of the special something they will get when they respond,” he says. “A re-statement of the ‘extra’ awaiting them, the extras you bring to the table.”
Example: “P.S. Be sure to use the enclosed labels on your holiday correspondence, as a reminder of what your love and compassion are making possible.”
What’s more, the P.S. can be used to repeat your telephone and fax numbers, physical address, e-mail and Web site. It’s almost impossible to restate your vital contact data too often, he says.
“This is direct mail, meaning you are looking for some direct action,” Jutkins says. “A response. A reply. A final call in the P.S. is fitting.”
Example: “P.S. I know letters can cross in the mail, so if you have already sent a gift, thank you!”