Swipe files. They’ve been around for awhile, but I’m starting to see them more and more across various websites because they’re perfect for use as lead magnets in exchange for an email addresses which will help build your email list.
They’re enticing because they offer a behind-the-scenes glance at another company’s ‘aresenal’. The larger the company the more enticing their swipe file will become in the eyes of the general consumer.
Here are some examples of swap files: Swipe Files for the Lazy Copywriter, Million-Dollar Copywriting Cheat-Sheet, How to Create a Buying Frenzy, Twitter Lead Gen Cards Swipe File and Ultimate Social Media Swipe File.
What is a swipe file and how do I make them?
A swipe file is simply a set of examples/screenshots/templates that you compile for future reference. You can refer back to this collection when you’re starting a new project or looking to boost your creative juices.
If you’re a designer, your swipe file may be comprised of innovative logo designs, unique business card layouts, resume ingenuity and typography rich examples amongst countless others.
A swipe file for a programmer or developer could include code snippets and scripts, while a writer might collect catchy headlines and successful calls-to-actions that convert.
Skitch is the perfect application to take screen captures (‘snaps’) and compile the images to collect for a swipe file compilation. Created by Evernote, Skitch offers deep integration with all sorts of file types as well as Evernote itself.
It offers additional functionality as well by allowing users to mark annotations and add callouts and highlighted areas to a screenshot. As should be expected, Skitch is also cross-platform and cross-device compatible.
My personal swipe file contains Facebook ad images that have appeared in my newsfeed. I prefer to select ads that feature catchy headlines, creative imagery or are impressive in overall design and execution.
You could also create a swipe file for a client that matches industry specific examples to give direction or tailor a marketing strategy.
When you’re running Facebook ads it’s important to split test and keep current with what’s going on with competitors and those in your same field. What works and doesn’t work could simply come down to choosing different color choices or implementing a few copywriting tweaks.
Why are swap files useful?
Swipe files are as unique as the person compiling it. Pinterest boards and pins are pretty much the same idea in practice. Projects you may find inspiring may not be inspiring to others, so once you create yours, it will be invaluable to you. Build your swipe file to support your work process and let it be your go to source for inspiration.
A swipe file can also be a great way to keep track of your own creative ideas – wireframes, potential blog topics, presentation material, Facebook posts, infographic possibilities and other fragments or ideas you plan to develop at a later time.
Do you have a swipe file? What materials do you collect? Have you had any experience with Skitch and if not are you more likely to try it out now?