(Chuck Muth) – I’ve been studying direct response marketing and copywriting for the better part of three decades now. But a few years ago, I learned that something that I’d been taught to do was wrong.
Or at least open to testing.
Traditional direct mail fundraising letters and emails – as political copywriters have been taught by the DC insiders – end with a P.S. that repeats the “ask” and urges the donor to “act right now.”
Indeed, open up almost any campaign fundraising pitch and more often than not, you’ll find exactly that kind of ending. So I always thought that was the right way to do it.
Until I read a column by high-dollar direct mail guru Kevin Gentry, who quotes direct mail svengali Mal Warwick, on the CORRECT way to write a P.S. Consider…
This might seem counter-intuitive, but most studies show that readers usually turn to the P.S. first. They will frequently jump from the opening line straight to your postscript, though sometimes they will quickly scan the body text of the letter to see if there’s anything especially interesting.
Here’s a bit of a twist on this, from Mal Warwick –
Don’t…use the postscript to restate and reinforce the ask. The overwhelming majority of fundraising letters make this mistake. Simply pleading with the reader to “act now” or “send your gift today” is a waste of this valuable real estate. That’s boring.
Use the P.S. instead to disclose some benefit or intriguing fact or to comment on an enclosure in the package that’s not discussed in the body copy. Make the P.S. irresistibly interesting. After all, its function is to involve the reader and motivate him to turn to the lead of the letter.
P.S. MERRY CHRISTMAS!