A-List Swipe File Secrets Every Copywriter Needs To Know
What you’ve been told about swipe files… and how to use them.. Is all WRONG!
Here’s the common advice I see shared about swipes and how to use them.
First, you should add anything that you find interesting or think is well written to your swipe file. Find a website with some old direct mail pieces? Download them to your swipe file. A Facebook post that your buddy wrote that got hundreds of likes? Better copy and paste that to your swipe file. Saw an interesting headline on a news site? CRTL-C and CRTL-V right to your ever expanding swipe file collection. An email that caught your attention? Add it to the file!
Now that your swipe file is bursting at the seams it’s time to write some copy. So what do you do?
Well, you like the headline from letter A so you copy the headline and lead from that letter… then take a few bullets from letter B… and oh you thought this turn of phrase from letter C was clever so you want to use it as well… and then you copy and paste the close from letter D.
Now all you have to do is change the words around to match your product and…
Viola! Sales letter is done!
This may sound familiar to you… you may even do this yourself right now… but understand that this isn’t how A-List copywriters write copy or use swipe files.
And that’s because there are three HUGE mistakes that copywriters make if they follow this process of swiping.
Mistake #1 - Collecting Swipe Files That You “Like”
Unless you’re a part of the target market you’re writing too, what you “like” is completely irrelevant.
The only swipes you should be adding to your collection and using as reference are ones that are PROVEN to be successful.
Of course, without access to the actual conversion and sales numbers it’s hard to tell if something is successful or not but you can generally be safe with the following guidelines:
Old school direct mail promos that were written by A-List copywriters. Letters that have been mailed by big direct response companies like Agora, Boardroom, Phillips Publishing etc.
If they are spending money to mail it out it’s likely to be working (or worked at some point in time - this is a very important point that I’ll talk about in Mistake #2).
Mistake #2 - Using Swipes To Create Frankenstein Sales Letters
Because you’re taking pieces of different letters and stitching them together it is very unlikely to work for a number of reasons.
First, the entire flow and structure of the letter will be off. It’s like copying the beginning, middle and end of 3 different songs that you like and creating 1 new song from it. It will just be a garbled mess.
Second, and more importantly, the message-market match may be completely missed. Each of the letters you are copying from were written with a specific market in mind. At a specific point in time. The market that you’re writing to today may be completely different.
Sophistication levels may have changed. So while a straight benefit headline may have worked for when the swipe was written. The competition may have flooded the market with low quality products and now your prospect is highly skeptical. And talking about being able to lose 20 pounds in 4 days will just get your letter thrown in the trash.
Mistake #3 - Ignoring The Gold Mine Right In Front Your Face
This is the mistake that separates the newbie copywriters from the A-list copywriters that get paid the big bucks for their copy.
And I know that for a FACT.
That’s because when I spoke to A-List copywriters like Doberman Dan, David Deustch and Kim Krause Schwalm for the Health Copywriting Profits summit about how to become a better copywriter the common theme was about being creative and approaching copy from a unique angle.
Kim in particular went into detail about how she was able to consistently beat other copywriters and churn out control after control.
Do you know what she did NOT do?
Copy and paste pieces of the existing control and change a few words.
That process of swiping (it’s stealing really) may work for the low paying, get-it-done as fast as you can, 5 cents per word copy jobs being offered by businesses that don’t understand and value real sales copywriting.
But for the aspiring copywriters that want to take their copywriting skills to the next level, break into the upper echelons of the A-List copywriters, have clients booked for months in advanced to get a chance to work with them and land those high paying, royalties and 5-figure upfront fees…
Kim revealed exactly what you need to do instead:
Analyze the old controls for weaknesses and use it as a gold mine for ideas.
Was there some more interesting and intriguing point that the original copywriter overlooked that could be used as the big idea instead?
Were there any key objections the market might have that they failed to address?
Has the market awareness and sophistication level moved on since the control was written?
Do you see how much deeper you have to go to get the full value from these old controls?
Not to mention the fact that this analysis comes AFTER doing your own research into the market and competition.
I hope by now you are starting to see the big difference between how A-List copywriters use swipes and how most other copywriters use them.
Swipes aren’t the starting point of your writing… Swipe files are just another tool in your arsenal. Use them as models and case studies. Dig through them to find interesting ideas that you can use to create a brand new angle for a promo.
That’s why I got the inspiration to put together…
The Last Swipe File You’ll Ever Need
The Ultimate Health Swipe File Index is a collection of over 60 health swipe files and controls that have been carefully curated to ensure they are PROVEN to be successful.
Here’s some of what you can expect to find in this treasure trove of successful, winning copy:
What Mahatma Gandhi, Christopher Columbus and Cleopatra have in common - swipe #39 reveals how to cleverly bring unrelated ideas together to create a unique, big idea
The little talked about secret for unlimited ideas from old school direct mail promos - Turn to page 23 of swipe #51 to see what I used to model and craft the headline for this sales letter
Swipe #4 is the perfect case study in showing how to take complex, medical jargon and break it down into language that your prospect can easily understand
A sales letter that was written by the legendary Gary Bencivenga that saved an entire newsletter line from being canned (that went on to bring in millions in sales). Swipe #9 is something you won’t find anywhere else… as far as I know it was only ever made available to people that purchased Brian Kurtz’s $2,000 Titans of Direct Response product
The single best example I have ever seen of a story lead - Make your copy read like a best selling thriller that your prospects can’t stop reading (Swipe #48)
Carline Anglade-Cole’s secret to creating a no-brainer offer that prospects can’t resist buying (Swipe #2)
But just giving a package of swipes didn't seem like it was enough. I wanted to add some more value to what I was offering. That's why I came up with the idea of creating an index of the swipes I had gathered. This would basically be a cheat sheet for the swipes where I list some important details about the letter (product type, medium it was used, topic it covers, big idea, lead type, what the letter does well).
This way, if you were working on something you would be able to easily filter down and find the swipes that might be relevant to you. For example, if you were looking for inspiration for an anti-aging supplement you'd be able to filter by those specifics and find the letters that fit.
Consider it your own personal “inspiration” cheat sheet.
Not to mention all the valuable lessons you can learn by reading and analyzing these winning ads yourself.
Now, imagine never getting stuck or facing writer’s block while staring at a blank page because you’ll have access to a gold mine of ideas right at your fingertips… how much would that be worth to you?
Well considering many A-Listers sell individual control swipes for as much as $30 a pop… this package is easily worth at least $1,800. And that’s not even including the added value of the mini-breakdowns you’ll get with the index.
Or consider the decades of experience you’ll be getting a sneak peek into by learning from some of the best copywriters to have ever lived. How much would it cost to mentor under just one of these copywriters for a few months?
Coaching from a top copywriter is going to cost you anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000... And that's if they even have the space to take you on as a copy cub (many of the best copywriting coaches work with apprentices by invitation only and only once a year or so).
What about the market research used by million dollar direct mail companies? How much would that cost? I’d argue this is probably the most valuable of all… they wouldn’t even sell that type of information and would instead keep it in house for their own team to use and take advantage of.
But that’s the same market research that would have gone into writing the controls… And getting access to that is priceless.
Which is why it is an absolute steal of a deal at $297.
I have even included another lower priced package at $267 where you will receive the swipe file with all the controls but it does NOT include the index file that gives the mini-analysis of each piece of copy if that’s not something you’d be interested in.
Although, in my opinion, it is even more valuable than the swipes themselves since it gives you, at a glance, the key ideas and themes for the letters and what made them work so well. In seconds, you’ll be able to see what approaches and themes worked for writing to that market at that time and start coming up with your own unique angle to stand out from the competition.
The index is like taking all the information from those sales letters and condensing it down into one, super concentrated drop of copywriting gold.
Now 2 very important things to note before you buy:
- The index will NEVER be available as a stand alone product or upgrade… meaning if you do decide you want to get the index after purchasing only the swipes you’ll have to pay the FULL price of the swipes and index package (whatever that price may be at the time).
- There’s nothing stopping some shady person from paying for access to the swipe files and index, downloading them all to their computer and then requesting a refund. I have no way of recalling the swipes or index. I would hope there’s no one on my list that might think about doing this but you never know… so to prevent any of that from happening there will be NO refunds offered for the Ultimate Health Swipe File Index and all sales are final. There’s a checkbox that you will be required to accept during the checkout process stating that you agree to this condition.
Ultimate Health Swipe File Index
Collection of over 60 health swipe files and controls with the added bonus of an index file with a mini-analysis of each swipe giving you a high level overview of things like the medium the ad was used, what product the ad was promoting, the type of lead they used, what the letter does well and more.
ultimate Health Swipe File only
Collection of over 60 health swipe files and controls ONLY. Does not include the valuable, time saving index file.
Please note: the index will NEVER be sold separately meaning if you decide after purchasing you'd like to also get the index you will have to pay the full swipe & index package price.
Remember, swipe files aren’t some golden ticket to copywriting riches where all you have to do is copy and paste a headline and lead from letter A, take the body from letter B and then the close from letter C. Then change the words around.
To use them to their full potential you must be willing to elevate your thinking beyond the templates, formulas and checklists that newbie copywriters use and start using your own creativity and brain power to analyze them like A-List copywriters do.
P.S. This is not to say templates and formulas and checklists don’t have a place or a role to play. They are still important, especially for people just starting out in copywriting, but what separates the greats from the rest is their ability to generate new ideas and angles that the market has never seen before but resonates with them deeply. And that’s something that can only come from market research and training your brain to start thinking differently which is exactly what these swipes offer.