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Swipe Your Way To Success (Legally!)

By Paula Morrow
Posted Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Every successful direct mail expert has one. Same with the online experts who continually pull in the big numbers.

What is it? The infamous 'swipe file.' Have you started yours?

Every so often, you're faced with a blank computer screen and a deadline - your ezine is due, your sales letter needs to be posted, your ad needs to be submitted.

And your mental batteries are completely dead. You're suffering from total and complete writers block. But the clock keeps ticking.

This is when you turn to your trusty 'swipe' file for inspiration. For a killer headline idea or theme. For a power word or two.

Now, I'm not saying steal someone else's work, word for word. That's plagiarism, and can get you in a lot of hot water. What you use a swipe file for is inspiration - the catalyst to help jump start your brain.

In the offline world, for those in the know, 'junk' mail is really treasure in disguise. You receive free, every day, new ideas for future pitches. Look through and pull out the offers, the headlines, the pieces that really catch your eye, engage your emotions and make you want to buy.

Then file them away for that mental rainy day.

Dan Kennedy, I understand, has rows of file cabinets full of these treasures, just waiting to be used.

The online world has the equivalent in spam. Yes, a silver lining for spam! As with junk mail, look at the headlines, look at the offers. Save the ones you feel most powerful.

I have files called 'solo ads,' 'great headlines,' 'new product pitches,' 'pitches for affiliate programs' ... you get the idea.

A Word About Headline Inspiration...

Your headline swipe file is worth its weight in gold. Start building this resource immediately if you've not already done so. The headline is the key to unlocking an email, and some could argue it is the most important part of your offer.

The key is to take a headline from your file and adapt it to your product. When you're drawing a blank, how easy would it be to adapt the following?

38 Fun And Easy Ways to Earn $500 Next Weekend

7 Steps To Freedom

26 Days That Have Changed Thousands Of Lives

An Amazing Business You Can Carry In Your Pocket

Are You An Educated Failure?

Banking Secrets That Banks Don't Want Published

California Lawyer Discovers How To Make Money At Home With The Help Of The U.S. Government

Do you think you could take these, and plug your product or service in, and get a huge head start?

For example, if you were selling vitamins you could adapt the second sample from the bottom:

Health Secrets That Drug Companies Don't Want Published

Do you have a weight loss product or exercise tape series? Use the first one:

38 Fun and Easy Ways To Lose 2-4 Pounds By Next Weekend

See the process?

Aside from your swipe file, you should also build a list of power words. Words like: free, sell, instant, successful, little known, system, select, explode, unlimited.

Use these words to create a sense of urgency and curiosity.

I've an expanded list posted on the Ideal Marketing Corporation web site, if you want more ideas. Click here to view:


Creating a killer headline, copy and power word swipe file should be an ongoing process. Keep building yours, as you never know when you'll need that next bit of inspiration.

About the Author
Paula Morrow heads Ideal Marketing Corporation, specializing in information products and training for newbie netpreneurs. Subscribe to IDEALProfits, now read in 12 countries, and receive 5 bonus ebooks!


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