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Sep 7, 2018

No longer confined to the copywriting and journalism industries, a swipe file can lead to new avenues of creative marketing in your eCommerce business. Starting, maintaining, and referring to a swipe file can be a fun process, and I explain 3 methods to consider on this episode of Marketing For eCommerce. I promise it’ll inspire you to leverage new ways of marketing, and if you start today you’ll reap the benefits today. Be sure to check out this episode!

What is a swipe file and why do you need one?

A swipe file is simply a collection of ideas and inspiration. The contents of your swipe file will vary, but most people have a collection of headlines, ads, emails, calls to action, photos, graphics, etc. Any time you read or see something that inspires you, draws emotion, or makes you want to buy a product, that’s a piece that can be added to your swipe file! After a few weeks, months, or even years of collecting and curating this information, you’ll have a treasure trove of info that spans industries and time periods. Then, when you’re thinking about a new campaign or marketing email, simply dip into the file and pull out examples that previously captured your attention.

You can choose to house your swipe file digitally, in your email, or in print. Always remember that this file is meant for modeling, not copying, and that each piece should be appropriately modified for your business.

Method #1 - Seek out and learn from your competitors

The first method for building a swipe file involves identifying your direct and indirect competitors and simply watching what they do. Create a second email account (this will be your swipe account), and start subscribing to everything! People who are catering to your market will be sending out great content that can be then filed into categories such as introductory emails, upsells, etc. Whenever you want to send a creative new email, you’ll have 12 examples sitting in your email account, ready for review!

It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s also immensely helpful to purchase your competitor’s products. By following their entire purchase journey, you can see critical steps of the process that aren’t immediately available to the public. It’ll be a useful investment and you’ll have an even better view inside your own market.

Method #2 - Examine the Facebook “Info and Ads” tab

The second method involves taking a look at the “Info and Ads” tab on Facebook. This new tab allows all Facebook users to view a Page’s active ads and campaigns. These insights can be leveraged in your swipe file! Check out the ads your competitors are running and see what’s working for them. Layout ideas, copy, color schemes, and more can all be added to your swipe file. Adapt those ideas for your eCommerce business and you’ll start seeing even greater digital marketing success.

Method #3 - Take advantage of new verticals

Finally, don’t be afraid to step out of your industry comfort zone. Businesses that are totally unrelated to eCommerce have fantastic videos, ads, and campaigns that may not be used in your industry. If you go to a completely unrelated vertical and research how they’re approaching their market, you’ll come back with original ideas to put to use in your market. Consider watching webinars, subscribing to YouTube channels, reading printed magazines, etc. and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your creativity starts to flow.

Having a swipe file allows you to shortcut the brainstorming process and jump right into developing creative, engaging digital marketing content. Make it part of your routine, and you won’t be sorry. Be sure to catch the full story on swipe files and why you need to start creating one, all on this episode of Marketing For eCommerce.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:30] You need to build a swipe file for your business
  • [1:30] What is a swipe file?
  • [2:44] Here’s how to build a swipe file
  • [4:30] Method #1 - Seek out and learn from your competitors
  • [8:10] Method #2 - Examine the Facebook “Info and Ads” tab
  • [9:04] Method #3 - Utilize different verticals

Resources & People Mentioned

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