Swipe File: When You Need Inspiration From Above

A swipe file can be a lifesaver to copywriters.

Some days we just don’t feel ‘it’. Yes, even copywriters are human.

I don’t want to call it “copywriter’s block”, but sometimes our senses are dull and we can’t come up with that snappy headline phrase, or strong closing ‘call to action’.

As with many other types of writing jobs, copywriters need inspiration to make our words magically dance on the page which is where swipe files can provide us with the inspiration we need.

What is a swipe file?

A swipe file is a collection of appealing copywriting or advertising pieces that you keep ion file for reference at a later time.

Your swipe file can be made up of online ads you see (sales letters/emails) and offline (direct mail pieces like letters/postcards).

starOnline, I have a folder in my bookmarks (favorites) called “Copywriting Swipefile“) where I save each sales letter that catches my attention and one I feel I could use later for inspiration.

I can access my swipe file from the top of my browser so it really is ‘inspiration from above’.

writing-webcopy-that-sells_1235654623573So when I’m having one of those days where my brain activity is as low as the tide at dusk, I take a look at my collection of sample copywriting pieces for some ideas in my own work.

After all, if the copy in your swipe file intrigues you, it will most likely intrigue other readers, so not using it and borrowing some of it’s strength would be foolish.

*NOTE: Copying an ad word-for-word is a copyright offense. You must not use the exact wording for your copywriting but it is perfectly fine to use it for ideas. Mix the words around, copy the layout, capture the tone of wording.

Your swipefile can be a goldmine so start building it and treasure it like it is gold.

Stuart Stirling


What To Test With Sales Letter Split Testing

We know that split testing is the best way to refine our sales copy to find the best converting letter.

But what are the things we need to split test on our sales letters?

If you really wanted to, you could go on split testing every element of a sales letter forever.

It depends on how far you want to take it, but for the sake of time and energy, let’s take a look at some of the most common areas of a sales letter that are split tested:

Headlines – wording, color, font, size/length.

Video/audio – compare results with and without.

Testimonials – with or without, many or few.

Graphics – with header graphic, without header.

Bonuses – with or without, many or few

Price – some people prefer the magic “7” i.e. $17, $47 or the .95c option i.e. $19.95 $49.95

How many different versions of each you want to split test is up to you. Some marketers have experienced drastic results with just testing different headlines.

Most good website/affiliate scripts allow you to split test sales letters. If not, there are some stand alone split testing scripts and software available.

Some split testing software is cheap and some are expensive. But it’s a good idea to use split testing so you can constantly track and improve your sales letters’ conversion rates.

You’ll be leaving a lot of money on the table if you don’t.

Stuart Stirling

How Increase Conversions By Using Scarcity

It’s a well known fact about human nature that we don’t want to be left out or miss out on an opportunity.

That’s where scarcity in your offer can pay off to increase sales conversions and opt-ins rates etc.

In direct marketing and copy writing, there is no more powerful way to get prospects to buy now than to use scarcity.

Of course your offer has to have the right mix of desire, value and other key factors to get sales, but putting a cap on your offer can add that extra motivation to double or even triple sales.

Some examples of ways to use scarcity in your copy to increase conversions:

  • Limited time discount offer
  • Limit on the number of sales
  • Low introductory price
  • Limited time bonuses

Perhaps we could call these scare tactics, because people are afraid to miss out! If they act now they can get a better deal than if they put it off…or miss out completely.

That’s the psychology behind it.

That is why “one time offers” work so well.

You offer a special deal/discount that you normally wouldn’t offer but the catchis that they have to get it now or miss out forever.

This rule of scarcity is very powerful.

But remember that you don’t want to lie about it. If you’re going to raise the price tomorrow, make sure you do it. If the same prospect comes back to your offer tomorrow and sees the same thing, they will know you are a sham!

Scarcity based sales are what keeps many businesses, offline and on, in business. Just look at all the limited sales supermarkets and other stores have in your local shopping center.

Use scarcity wisely in your copy and you will see great sales conversions.

Stuart Stirling

Bling Copywriter

10 Tips For Writing Better Bullet Points

Bullet points. What is a piece of copywriting without them?

Bullet points are the magic little lists of lines that sit to the right of a “bullet point” that sum up the benefits and features of the offer you are presenting.

Bullets work because they….

  • get attention
  • break up the text
  • are easy to read
  • give the reader the “meat”

Bullet points are what people read who want to cut through the crap and know what they will really get when they order your product.

But some people take this liberty too far and write bullet points that are too long and boring which people skip over.

Writing effective bullet points is critical!

I’d almost say they are up there with headlines. They have to be informative yet persuasive.

Here are some tips in bullet point form on “how to write better bullet points” in your sales letters:

  1. Try a graphic image like a tick or colorful dot
  2. Don’t make them too long – maybe 2 or 3 lines at the most
  3. Make sure to list features and benefits
  4. Don’t overdo yellow highlighting
  5. Bold every second bullet point (idea??)
  6. Bold the trigger words only in each line (idea??)
  7. Leave a double space between each bullet – you don’t want a clutter of lines
  8. Don’t have pages and pages of bullets (boring…it will look like text)
  9. Have your bullets block quoted (indented from the rest of the page)
  10. Have several sections listing bullets points on the page

Remember, every piece of sales copy writing will work better with the correct use of bullet points.

Bullet points should be used in mails, blog posts, articles, banner ads, video, power point presentations (der!!), and of course email and direct mail.

Make it easy for your prospects – use bullet points!

Stuart Stirling

🙂 Comments welcome

What is a Johnson Box and how do I make one?

When I first started out creating sales pages for the web, I studied ebooks and listened to MP3 recordings. One of the things I heard copywriters talk about was this “Johnson box”.

Of course I had no idea at first but I got it after a short search….probably the same way you have found this post!

The What…

A Johnson box is a design feature to make your sales page look more interesting. It’s simply a contrasting box made from HTML code on your web page to create a table. Inside the box, you add a description or short message about a point of the product you want to emphasize .

The How…

The reason Johnson boxes are effective is because typically, the Johnson box table is going to be contrasting to the rest of the page.

A Johnson box will differ to the rest of the page in size, color and even font

The border should be a strong color. Dashed borders are common as are solid lines. Dotted borders aren’t so common.

The box’s background color should also be colored. This makes the box stand out from the rest of the page. Usually, the color inside the box will be a lighter shade that the border.

The width of the box will be narrower than the rest of the page. Again this helps to achieve variation in your page so people will stop and read.

Changing font for the text in a Johnson box will also add to the effect of getting people to stop and take notice.

Common uses for Johnson boxes are:

  • bullet points (listing features and benefits)
  • testimonials
  • order buttons
  • guarantees
  • bonus products

I never write a sales letter for the web without using Johnson boxes.

example of a johnson box
Example of Johnson boxes taken from my sales letter at www.SalesPotion.com

I don’t know where the name came from but I know that they do work, so use them!

Stuart Stirling