How-to Use Swipe Files for Your Online Business Strategy

Are you using SWIPE FILES in your business?

Swipe files are a very important part of the “Discovery” phase for any business.

What is a swipe file?

Swipe Files are research dumps. You choose a topic, and get to work Googling it! Whatever you find, you copy and paste into a document. How you organize the document is up to you, but there are some guidelines you can follow to keep it seamless.

For example, when I start working with any of my clients, I create a number of Swipe Files. One is on their competitors. I need to understand who offers similar products in the same space, so I set to work finding them!

In the “Competitors” Swipe file, I will organize by: social media profiles, ad copy, sales page copy, and general website copy. This way, I know exactly what language that competitor is using and can make sure that my own client’s copy both stands out where necessary, and is similar where customer avatars are concerned.

Swipe files are also used to better understand your own product, your own branding, your own marketing. It’s important that you don’t plagiarize from it. Plagiarism is obviously unethical. Swipe Files are about inspiration, brainstorming, and market research.

Protip: Copy and paste EXACTLY from the page, so there’s never a question about the original. Then, revise to create your own.

How to create your swipe file

Here’s what you do:

1️. Decide on your topic. (Ex: Marketing Copy)

2. Create a document. I like to use Google Docs!

3️. Start researching! Use Google, Pinterest, Amazon Reviews, Facebook Ads Library, anything.

4. Copy and paste what you find to the doc.

This is like a brain dump… paste everything first and take out what’s not relevant after. That’s it!

Who should create a swipe file?

As the business owner, you should have your own Swipe Files. You don’t have to be the one creating them. You can delegate this task to any VA or intern of yours. Additionally, asking your new team members to create them when they onboard with you is another way to ensure everyone is on the same page about your business.

When should swipe files be created?

Every business should have one when they are first in the Discovery phase. 

After that, you will create Swipe Files with every new product creation, when running any new marketing campaign, and when creating content for your business.

There is no exact rule as to when a swipe file should be created. Use one whenever you need help brainstorming in your business.

What are some examples?

You can make a swipe file on literally anything, but here is a list of the ones I’ve most commonly created myself, or seen in the online business space:

  • Brand Voice
  • Competitor Ad Copy
  • Logo Designs
  • Customer Reviews
  • Testimonials
  • Sales Page Copy

More specifically, creatives might create the following:

  • Brand elements, such as: icons, fonts, styles, colours
  • Copy elements, such as: blog posts, headlines, titles

Marketers might create the following:

  • Competitor Sales Pages
  • Facebook Ad Copy

Swipe Files have been hugely helpful for me in my own business and the clients that I work with. Even taking just 10-20 minutes going down the rabbit hole of the internet, and saving your findings in a document, can really help you understand any topic.

Have any questions about creating swipes files? Leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to make some suggestions or clarifications!

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Hey, I'm Michelle 👋🏼

Your digital trailblazer at Two Paths Co., specializing in SEO and shaping user-centric experiences. Boost your online presence and engagement through SEO strategies, website and blogging tips, technical walkthroughs, and so much more here inside the Digital Strategy Hub!


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