If you do any sort of advertising or marketing online and are not yet using a swipe file you may be wasting time and losing money.
Today I’d like to share the basics of a swipe file and how you can begin building your own in under 5 minutes … FREE!
What is a swipe file?
A swipe file began as a tool for professional writers, mostly in the advertising industry. Ad writers would collect headlines, calls to action and bullet points they liked and re-word them for use in their own advertising.
NOTE: Never copy anyone’s headlines or call to action and use it as is. That is stealing. But do use great headlines and other writing as inspiration for your own work.
Here is how Wikipedia defines a swipe file.
How to build a swipe file of your own
Building your own swipe file is easy if you follow a few basic rules.
Keep your swipe file in an easy to use location. Some people use Evernote or a Word doc on their desktop or online. You will refer to your swipe file often so make it easy to find. I keep mine on Google Docs.
Categorize your swipe file for ease of use. You will want to collect different types of information over time, so starting out with categories is smart. Here are the categories to start with.
- Email subject lines
- Guarantee statements
- Calls to action
- Bullet points
You don’t need multiple documents here, just one document with headings for the items on the list above.
Gather your swipes from sites you like and emails you read
One of the greatest sources for a swipe file is your email inbox. Email marketers know that they will fail if they can’t get you to open their email.
So they work hard to create curiosity and benefit based email subject lines to get the job done.
These email subject lines can work for you too, and often make great raw material for blog post titles or sales letter headlines.
Here is a screenshot from my inbox this morning. I have blurred out the parts that would tell you who sent them, but just look at some of these subject lines. They make people want to click!
Here is how to use these subject lines.
Let’s take but one example of a great email subject line from my inbox. Look at the first subject line in the image above.
Do you struggle with product launching?
… Could be …
- Do you struggle with weight loss?
- Do you struggle with loneliness?
- Do you struggle with acne?
- Do you struggle to make money online?
- Do you struggle with anger?
See how it works? You take inspiration from a subject line you like and you feel certain is working now.
I know this subject line works because I happen to know the person who sent it. And I know his marketing works.
This is why it is wise to be on the mailing lists of top people in your niche market.
Another way to find great swipe file material is to visit your favorite blogs. The key here is to make a copy of the blog post titles that appeal most to you.
There is no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to a swipe file. What appeals to you is probably going to appeal to others, so choose the things that have an impact when you read them.
How to use your swipe file
Using your swipe file is easy and fun. Let’s say you are promoting a weight loss product. And let’s say that you know that people struggle with weight loss.
All you have to do is scan your swipe file for headlines (or subject lines) with the word “struggle” in them and you will have all the inspiration you need.
If you keep your swipe file in Evernote, Word or Google Docs you could even search for that term to save more time!
Another example: Let’s say you are writing an article about how to save time doing a certain activity. Scan your swipe file for the term “save time” and you will find all sorts of inspiration for writing a “how to save time” title for your blog post.
Building a swipe file is free, fun and easy to do. Start today using your email inbox and see how many great subject lines you can gather. The next time you need to write a selling email or place a solo ad or write a blog post dig into YOUR swipe file to save time and sell more.
Because saving time and selling more – those are very beautiful things indeed!