Internet Marketing Success Tips – Do You Keep A Swipe File ?

You’ve probably heard this before but a great success and productivity tip in internet marketing is to keep a swipe file. Are you keeping a swipe file or at least notes on what you do each day ? Believe me, this can really help make you more successful. Here’s why….

As you work on your day to day tasks, read books, wander round a shopping mall or whatever else you do with your time, you think of ideas or see things that you think can help your business. You need to write them down or there is a good chance you will forget them. Where you write them down is effectively your swipe file.

There are various types of things you can put in a swipe file.

The first thing is ideas – it could be for a product, a way to make your blog look better, a logo design. Whatever it is write it down. Many people advise having a small notebook as many ideas come to you when you are away from the computer. It can be a pain but it makes sense to carry a little notepad round – something about the size of your mobile phone shouldn’t be too much of a disruption.

The second thing to swipe is tips and ways to do things specific to your industry, it could be blogging tips, a plugin that looks interesting, a post you think is worth reading or whatever. Note them down. Some people use systems like Evernote to record these random tidbits.

I’m still a bit of a caveman in this respect, I just open a notepad during the day and put all the random things I see in the notepad. At the end of the day I put them into some kind of order. (Note to self : must learn more about Evernote).

In the more traditional sense of a swipe file, you want to swipe copy that  impresses you when you read it.

Again, this could be advertizing copy you see on a shop window as you walk around the shopping mall or even an advert on the television. So that is another reason to keep a little notepad handy at times.

With this said, it makes more sense to note things that you see on the internet as you are working. Typically, you want to note things like :

  • Sales page headlines that grab your attention and make you read the rest of the page,
  • Great article headlines that make you read the article,
  • Enticing calls to actions that make you click through to the link,
  • Email titles that make you open the email,

You could even think about things like :

  • Great Postscript or PS lines at the end of an email that make you change your mind about clicking a link,
  • Great Guarantees on a sales page that look different from all the others you’ve seen before – this could even have a graphical element to it,
  • Brilliant benefits that convince you to keep on reading or skimming down a sales page.

In fact, any element of copy can be swiped and should be if you are serious about communicating effectively on the internet.

And should you just use the swiped item verbatim ? I’ve seen many classic headlines used over and over again but ideally you want to understand how each phrase or words work and then try to apply it creatively.

On many an occasion, you don’t have the time or  the inspiration to come up with something totally original so using them verbatim is fine. There’s no copyright on a headline or a PS sign off that’s for sure. But ultimately you don’t want to be seen as a pale imitation of someone else.

The main problem with keeping a swipe file is that it’s a habit that you have to get into. You have to think about it until it just becomes a thing you do without much thought that can distract you from your principal focus.

It can be frustrating if you are working up a head of steam on a project and have to stop to put a phrase that may or may not be helpful in the future into a swipe file. You don’t need that kind of distraction unless you make it so habitual that it isn’t a distraction.

Another problem is that you always have to be “on” so to speak. When you are going to a movie with the family or eating out at a restaurant with friends, you don’t want to be thinking about marketing. At least, not on a conscious level.

You certainly don’t want to whip out a notepad and scribble a stupid phrase down. You’ll be getting  comments like “who brought Poindexter to the restaurant” or “where’s your pocket protector, nerd ?”. And that’s just from your daughter !

So sure, have some down time but think about the phrases that can really help your business and write them down when you can. Get into the habit so that it is not such a disruption to your routine. You never know, one choice phrase may help you make a sale here, get an email opened there and generally improve what you do online. In the end, this game is all about steady and constant improvement.

Do you keep a swipe file ? If so, do you have the same problems described above or maybe you have a better way to store interesting copy…

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