Copywriting Secrets - 3 Tips For Filling Your Swipe File With Ads That Sell

by Steven Weisenburger

I wanted to answer a question that has come in from one of the members of our elite little band of Internet marketers.

Maggi and Ken from the UK had a good question:

"You mentioned in your CopyLab webinar that one of the best ways to
learn about copy is to collect a swipe file of good copy. But, how do you know what is good copy, and what has been successful?"

Once you graduate from the CopyLab, not only will you be writing advertising copy that sells, but you'll also recognize good copy when you see it. Plus, I am going to give you a couple of hundred ads from my personal swipe file to get you started. And to top that off, you'll also receive some of the pieces I've written that were winners.

3 quick tips for finding great ads to include in your swipe file.

First: Direct mail that you receive via snail mail (US Postal Service here in the USA or the UK Post Office) and see more than once is going to be someone’s control piece. You see in the direct response world, it doesn't get sent out again if it didn't work the first time.

Second: Long copy format ads or ads that require the reader to take action that you find in publications like the Wall Street Journal, USA Today or even The National Enquirer and other publications, that you see over and over again are someone's controls. When I see these repeated ads I snatch them up faster than a paparazzi can snap a shot of Paris Hilton.

Just in case you're new to the Direct Response world, a "control" piece means the ad works for someone. They have measured the response and tested it against other copy and it has won the day and makes money for the company sending it.

Third: However, I have tons of ads in my swipe file that are most definitely NOT controls. The reasons for adding them to my swipe file are many. For example, if its got an attention grabbing headline then I want it in my file -- I keep my eyes peel for interesting and unusual offers -- perhaps a unique way of saying something caught my eye -- or the ad triggered an idea for me.

So the ads that end up in your swipe file will come from many sources for many personal reasons.

Then, when it comes time for you to write a winning promotional advertising piece, you well have at your finger tips a wealth of resources to draw on to make your job a lot easier and to ensure you have advertising that really works.


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