How to P.S. effectively

Dear communications manager,

I love your emails.  I learn about the relevant, impassioned work that supports the noble mission of your organization.  I come away feeling inspired, outraged, hopeful, scared, informed. Sometimes I click through to your page to read more, especially if it is something that speaks to me personally.   Then I delete your email and move on.

Thanks for your hard work!

Danielle Vick

P.S.  Why didn’t I take the action you wanted me to? Because you forgot to leave me with an enticing little nugget here, in the P.S…

Sound trite?  That a prospect simply won’t act without a great P.S.?

It’s not.

The P.S., even in emails, is read in full by a staggering 80% of your prospects.

Here’s how a prospect’s eye moves through your promotion, fundraiser or email:

  1. First, she will look at what you’re asking.  In the reams of environmental emails I read every day, these are usually highlighted in bold, asking me to click here to contact my Congressman, Donate Now to save this blade of precious grass, or some other call to action.
  2. Second, she looks at your P.S.
  3. And then, only then, if she feels like continuing on will outweigh the risk of wasting her time, she will read your carefully written body text.

How, then, do you make sure she reads the rest of your content?

You make your P.S. irresistible…

  • Emphasize emotion.  Many P.S.’s hold a standard call to action. While in theory this is a great way to leave a prospect, in reality they’ve seen right through you. Instead, passionately invoke real emotion.  Emotion is what will inspire her enough to eventually take action.  And it is that emotion that will pull her into your body content where your call to action is strategically placed, after she’s already emotionally engaged.
  • Reword your original promise.  What, exactly, are you promising with your message?  A sustainable future?  Cleaner water?  More wildlife?  The sure defeat of a troublesome bill? Whatever it is, return to it, rephrase it, and highlight what her donation will help achieve.
  • Supply extra credibility.  Play to her rational side and use some solid proof she’s smart to support you.  Demonstrate what you did with her previous generous donation. Shine a light on science, technology, new data, celebrity endorsements… anything that will get your prospect to believe what you are doing is legit and important.
  • Communicate urgency…without sounding prophetic.  There’s nothing that turns me off a call to action more than doom and gloom tactics.  “Act now, or global warming will kill your children!” typically makes me want to puke.  At best, I roll my eyes and discredit your campaign.  At worst, I throw you in the recycle bin.  But… urgency is still what draws high click-throughs and donations.  There are plenty of reasons to act now in strong environmental work.  Find a way to do this without inducing vomit, please.
  • Reiterate benefits.  Every person who donates to your environmental organization is doing so because of personal reasons.  Everything from tax deductions to securing a better future to simply a warm and fuzzy feeling incites a personal benefit a prospect will gain from donating to your organization.  Play that up with style and you’ll be sure to get their admiration.

Try a P.S. on your next communication and split test it.  Send half your prospects an email or fundraising letter with a P.S. and one without.  Once you see a higher Return on Investment from that piece, next time try two different P.S.’s that use two of the above tactics and split test again.

Make your P.S. strong and irresistible, passionate and persuasive, and you’ll be able to use all those extra donations to increase your credibility by reinvesting it back into your business.

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