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Seven Swiping Secrets

Meet the guest writer

Today’s post is brought to you by our esteemed friend at the Copywriter’s Rountable. So without further ado, here are the words of Copywriter, John Forde…

I guess first I should define terms…

“A swipe file is a collection of tested and proven advertising and sales letters. Keeping a swipe file (templates) is a common practice used by advertising copywriters and creative directors as a ready reference of ideas for projects.
“Copywriters are not the only ones who can benefit from having a swipe file. As book publishing coach Diane Eble points out, authors and publishers can benefit from creating a swipe file of best-selling titles to give them ideas for their own titles.

“Publicists can create a swipe file of great press release headlines. Swipe files are a great jumping-off point for anybody who needs to come up with lots of ideas. Swipe files are also commonly used by Internet Marketers who need to gather a lot of resources not only about products but also about marketing methods and strategies.”
Well, that clarifies things a little, yes? Try this, too…

“There is nothing better or more productive a copywriter can do – and this applies to experienced copywriters as well as novices – than to read (almost to the point of memorizing) the best work of their fellow writers.” The first is just from Wikipedia, and not so much swiped but copied and pasted. The second from my old friend and mentor, as well as master copywriter, Michael Masterson.

Okay, now it’s my turn to try my hand at an original thought…

A swipe file defined

A swipe file is that place where you store those dazzling promo pieces that not only worked… but that are so good they make you sick with envy. Because you wish you’d written them yourself. In other terms, it’s the stack of stuff you go through, to help jump-start your creative engine… because you know that most everything you’re looking at, in those “swiped” samples, is something that worked.

Back in my earliest days, my swipe file filled a green milk grate. And then another. And then seven or eight more, until somebody made me get a filing cabinet. And then a second filing cabinet.

These days, thank merciful God for the Internet. Because now my swipe file — and yes, I still keep one — is a folder on my desktop labeled “Promos to Study.” In it lands links to VSLs, PDFs of magalogs somebody else has generously scanned, black and white ad clips the ‘70s and ‘60s, even back to the 1920s (thanks to the excellent InfoMarketingBlog.com), covers and screen captures I’ve used in presentations, and more. 
Thanks, merciful Zeus as much or more for the iPad, which I also use every morning to markup whatever promo I’ve set aside to review.

The way it goes, most mornings, is that I load up any oft-seen sales letter that comes with a transcript. Then I “print” it to a PDF that gets stored on my iCloud account. From there, I open an app called “Goodnotes” and import the file, where it gets circled, scribbled upon, and partitioned into what seem the best bits. And yes, I do try to do that daily. More so now than before. And yes, it’s eye-opening. Every time.

But the real reason I’m writing this… or rather, updating this old CR classic… is because I recently got a question from a CR reader about where and how to swipe from other sales letters. So I thought I would go ahead and provide some answers. And away we go, starting with… 

Reach wide. No easy answers

1) Reach wide – Before you can “read” the secrets buried in a swipe file, you need to fill it. And when you do, naturally you’ll want to start with the kinds of ads you expect to write most yourself. But don’t stop there. Reach way back to the classics. You’ll be surprised what Claude Hopkins and John Caples ads, Ogilvy, Schwartz and others still have to teach.

If you’re lucky enough to have the courier typed sales letters of the ‘70s and ‘80s… or magalogs and bookalogs of the ‘90s… read them too. Almost everything we know works now, they knew then times ten. And then, yes, do keep it current with the working VSLs. Just make sure you click and get the “transcript” where it’s offered too. Print it to a PDF. Some of the copywriters today do some of the most enviably good stuff I’ve seen yet, anywhere.

2) Don’t expect easy answers – What’s the right question to ask for any piece of copy you’re about to study? Assuming you’re only studying stuff that worked, the right opener — obviously — is “Why?” Unfortunately, it’s also the most unanswerable question. You won’t know, for sure, why anything worked. Because it will always remain a guess.

3) Look past the copy – That is, remember that it’s not so much that the copywriter sold something well… as that there were lots of readers out there that wanted to receive the message he used to sell it. What’s the distinction?

The twist & style

When you look at swipes, especially the most current ones in your market, what you’re looking for first is every clue you can get about the prospect, not so much the product. If there’s a promise that you see working everywhere, it’s because it promises to fix a problem that’s keeping target readers everywhere up at night. Isolate the single biggest promise the copy makes and flip it — what problem is it solving?

4) Find the twist – More and more, we see copy make a promise or throw out a solution-demanding premise… and then up the ante with an extra “twist” to the message. That is, a kind of early “but it gets [an] even better” or “gets [an] even worse” turn in the message, just at the moment the reader was thinking “I’m kinda hooked already…”

Of course, this is classic storytelling. Our hero struggles. And just at the moment you thought it couldn’t get any worse… or better… the drama dial clicks up another notch. Just about any sales message could benefit from a twist, both in the lead and the close. Look to your swipes to see how it’s done.

5) Soak up the style – All writers in all genres pick up a style. Dense. Lean. Even. Excitable. Some copy drips with adjectives but works in spite of itself. Other copy undersells, yet manages — somehow — to hit hard. This is one of those things you can absorb best by just copying out a good piece of copy a few times until the secrets of style sneak into your subconscious.

Structure & closings

Even now, I keep a piece of the latest, greatest copy open on my screen or a second desktop (on the Mac, at least, you can move between multiple desktops). When I’m stuck, I swipe over to it and read for a little, then come back and try to trot out my message in the same mindset. Be careful here, because you’re not stealing words. At least, not mindlessly so. You’re trying to get a “feel” you can transfer back to your writing.

6) Study the structure – This is something else that writing out a full promo — by hand — can help you do. If not that, at least try to re-outline a finished copy control. You want to see how long they took to get through the lead, where they first started laying out the benefits or naming the offer, how they packaged up the testimonials and how long they spent on proof.

Build your own library of promo outlines and use them as templates, next time you’re getting started. This isn’t stealing. It’s just good sense.
Also, look for the segments that seem to show up across several different samples. Just about every sales piece, for instance, is going to have testimonials and a close and some freebies with the offer.

But do all promotions have “Imagine this outcome” sections, transcendent mission statements, a personal story, show-me-the-money examples, etc.? Probably.

7) Collect closes – Copywriters sure do love to talk about headlines and leads. And with good reason, of course. It’s where we put flame to powder. Still, if the lead is what sparks prospect interest, the close is where we pile up the dynamite. And you’ve got to pile it up just so if you want the right result.

Let the swiping begin!

It’s worth pulling closes from a lot of working promos and studying just those, one next to the other. A little tweak to your guarantee, your price rationalization, your push for urgency, can make a huge difference in your results.

Hope that helps… now get swiping!

Making Your Amazon Affiliate Store Go Viral

From failure to success

If you’ve tried to make money with Amazon (or any affiliate marketing system for that matter) the part where most people fail is getting traffic to their affiliate sites, or the product pages of the merchants with which they are affiliated. However, this failure can easily be converted into success by utilizing the right tools.

With that in mind it is important for affiliates to grasp the concept of viral traffic – the easiest, best and most targeted traffic any marketer can get – when done right. So if you’re an affiliate marketer this is certainly something you should keep in mind and learn how to utilize viral traffic in your marketing efforts.

Viral traffic done right

Let’s start by taking a closer look at viral traffic and how to get it done the right way. First and foremost, in order for something to go viral it needs to be comprised of the following:

  • Value
  • Share-ability
  • Congruency

If you can give people something they’re interested in like a gift, report, video training, or a software tool that fixes their issue… whatever it is – and for them to fix that all they have to do is click a button? Well… that’s gold right there! But you’re problably already aware of this fact.

However, what you may not already know is that ShopABot performs all these functions for you automatically, while building an email subscriber list AND rewards them for buying through your link… and even sharing your store and your affiliate links for you. When ShopABot has found your niche, working out what kind of gift to pair it up with is easy.

Click of a button

For example, if you click the button and it has found that Green Tea is the perfect niche for you, the rest is easy because all you have to do is give away any kind of item like a report or other similar gift that shows how to:

  • How to brew your tea for maximum flavor
  • 20 iced tea recipes
  • The x health benefits from Green Tea
  • Where to find top quality teas at bargain prices
  • Places around the globe for exquisite tea experiences

In that report, you could even get a little more creative and include other related recommended resources. For example… they are buying green tea, maybe they also need a kettle, or some fancy teacups etc. And if you’re doing the traffic manually (instead of using ShopABot), it’s still a good idea to stick with social media; because of all the things you know about social media, and have heard about social media, the most powerful thing about is it’s like word of mouth, but on steroids!

Click here to get a closer look at what many of today’s Web marketers consider to be one of the most powerful, effective and easy-to-use viral traffic software programs available on the Internet today.

Sites of focus

There are really three sites you should focus on in the beginning:

  1. Facebook – This is the goliath of social media. It’s important to get a fan page created for your website ASAP.
  2. Pinterest – There’s not many sites that can bring more traffic than Pinterest, especially if you use it correctly. Post often, post relevant content that is likely to be re-pinned a lot, and follow as many accounts relevant to your niche as you can.
  3. Instagram – You may have been expecting Twitter to be the third site, but I’ve actually found Instagram a lot more effective than Twitter. There are no “secrets” to Instagram, really. Just follow relevant users, like and comment on their content, and post great images on a regular basis with relevant hashtags. It’s easy.

Get the ball rolling!

Twitter is probably the next one you should focus on, followed by YouTube, and then others like Snapchat. But be careful to grow your social media at a natural rate, because if you follow too many people, make too many comments, create too many posts that might be construed as promotions (among other seemingly rapid activities) too quickly, you could get banned. That having been said, however, using the viral traffic system inbuilt in ShopABot, you can avoid any potential backlash because it’s your visitors who are sharing. You just get the ball rolling by giving away free stuff and you’ll see for yourself that the affiliate commissions will snowball from there!

Click the following link to get a more detailed description of ShopABot:
www.shopabot.com

Finding The Best Amazon Products To Promote

Answer to the question

Consider this scenario for a moment: You’ve put all of the work in creating your website and making content, and then you admire your great work for a few minutes; but then the reality sets in… the reality of the reason you created your site in the first place. Making MONEY! So your next step might just be to ask the all too familiar question. Now what?

Well, the answer to that question is simply, now it’s time for the fun part… Making it make YOU money; but you can’t treat this the same way you might have treated those micro niche sites that were so popular a few years ago. It takes finesse! However, you may be looking for a shortcut, and if you are, I have just the one for you. It’s called ShopABot!

Wanna take a look?

Why not visit ShopABot and take a look at how this software helps to create that shortcut for you while putting money in your pockets at the same time. You’re not going to believe this, but ShopABot suggests the products, recommending them for you based on what’s proven to sell, and get shared by most users; but if you haven’t got access to ShopABot, or want to do it manually you need to be a bit more choosey about the ones you pick, so that you’re not wasting all that work on something that won’t make you money, see what I mean?

Clicking this link could well be that second step that answers your “Now what” question, because it will take you directly to ShopABot where you can get a first-hand view of what many site owners have considered the most powerful, cutting edge, money-grabbing piece of software on the Web today.

What others has said

It is important to point out here that many of the site owners who use this software – including the owner – have suggested that the best way to do things on your blog is to demonstrate the use of the product in some way without making your posts seem like nothing but ads for products you’re selling; and that’s the most unique function of this software.

Let’s say for example, that you want to sell some really cool kitchen gadget. You could make a video of yourself preparing some dish that uses the gadget and shows just how cool it really is. (Alternately, you could embed someone else’s video and just talk about how cool it is in your article.) Or, create a giveaway report teaching something valuable and then recommend your affiliate product as the resource they should use.

At the end of your article, or in the report, add your affiliate link. Do not use banners or anything like that, because you don’t want to seem too promotional, but at the same time, don’t hide that you’re using an affiliate link, because that’s against Amazon’s terms, and could also upset your visitors.

Ads-to-posts ratio?

Some marketers promote affiliate products in maybe 1:5 posts while others promote them in 1:10; and while this technique seems like you won’t be making much money, they caution that you should not woory too much, since promoting affiliate links too frequently (over saturating your blog with affiliate product links), people will become blind to them and think you’re all about money rather than user experience. In the long run, you’ll make more money with fewer ads, because more people will visit your site often in anticipation of new content.

Make sure you find the best-of-the-best when it comes to the products you promote, though; and if possible, test each item yourself so you can be sure it really works. An added bonus to testing it yourself is the ability to post your own pictures and/or videos using the product, which will help you seem more authentic and enhance your credibility in its promotion and in your readers’ eyes, thus increasing sales and profits.

Wide-range product prices

Also, be sure to promote products in a wide range of prices. If you’re only promoting products over $100, people will grow tired of it. Not everyone can afford to splurge on expensive items very often. Be sure you throw the occasional $5 item into the mix. In fact, you can even say, “I can’t believe how inexpensive this is!” And don’t worry about the miniscule commission you’ll receive when you promote a $5 item. Many people will end up ordering more than just that $5 commission, and you’ll make money on whatever else they purchase, too!

Here’s that link to ShopABot again. Good luck!