How to Write Swipe Copy for Your Affiliates

5 Mistakes and Avoid and How to Make the Most of This Critical Tool

This is a guest post from Mark Sieverkropp. Mark is the head of Business Operations and the Senior JV Director for Matt McWilliams Consulting, Inc. Mark, his wife Lacie, and their two children make their home in Ephrata, Washington.

One of the single most important keys to a successful affiliate launch is great swipe copy. Done right, it’s a powerful tool that will help your affiliates succeed. Yet, I see so many launches get it wrong.

best practices for affiliate swipe copy

Here are the five mistakes I most often see with affiliate swipe copy. Later I’ll share what to do instead.

5 Mistakes Not to Make on Affiliate Swipe Copy

1. Writing it Yourself

As the product owner, you are too close to the product to write great swipe copy.

Remember, swipe copy is a guide for your affiliates to use. It should be written from the perspective of an outsider, not someone who put their blood, sweat, and tears into the product.

2. You Don’t Include Images

While rare, some people do use images in their emails, often very effectively.

We, for example, rarely use them, but when we do, our click through rates skyrocket. Hmmmm, perhaps that should be a lesson to us.

3. You Only Write One Version

This mistake is so frustrating because it assumes that every affiliate has the exact same audience.

Often, your product reaches different demographics and avatars. Each group is at a different place in life and has different struggles, needs, and desires.

4. You Only Write Long (or Short) Emails

Like #3, this assumes that every affiliate wants the same kind of copy.

Some affiliates prefer longer form copy, while others prefer short, too-the-point copy.

5. You Expect Them to Copy/Paste (And Even Encourage It)

This is a BIG no-no.

We always tell affiliates not to copy/paste swipe copy. It’s unoriginal, ineffective, and often backfires.

Just imagine a world where everyone is sending the exact same emails…seems kind of lame, doesn’t it?

So, what do you do instead? Here are five best practices to make the most of your swipe copy.

5 MUSTS to Creating Killer Swipe Copy

1. Hire Someone to Write It

Unless you are a professional copywriter, you should hire a professional copywriter. Even if you are a professional copywriter, hire an outsider.

You are simply too close to the product to write great swipe copy for your affiliates. An outsider will be able to easily relate to your affiliates and write copy for them.

2. Include Images

Make sure to at least give your affiliates the option of some good images for their emails.

Here are four that work particularly well:

  • Video screen captures. We personally prefer goofy ones like the one below, but anything with a picture and a play button works great.

Matt Video Still

  • Sale graphics. If you are running a sale, graphics work great.
  • Stat screenshots. If you mention any statistics, a screenshot can increase the validity and believability. Here is an example:

Screenshot of Google Analytics report

  • Countdown timers. If you have a countdown timer (like the one below), give your affiliates the code to use it in their emails. We recommend OuttaTimr and MotionMail.

Outtatimr Email Countdown

3. Write Different Versions for Different Audiences

Let’s look at a real-life example here.

When we were working with Jeff Goins on his book launch for The Art of Work, we identified four core audiences:

  • Entrepreneurs
  • “Dreamers”
  • Faith-based
  • Stay-at-home parents

So we wrote specific swipe copy for each of those core audiences. And affiliates loved it!

Speaking of Jeff Goins – His next launch for Tribe Writers begins this October 10. If you are interested in joining the launch as an affiliate, click here.

4. Write Different Lengths of Swipe Copy

Make sure to include different lengths of copy, especially for the following times:

  • Introduction (Pre-Launch Content #1)
  • Open Cart
  • Day Before Cart Close (I suggest a short “reminder” and a long “FAQ” version)
  • Close Cart Day

You’ll find that your affiliates love you for this.

5. Make it Clear That Swipe Copy is a Guide Only

Make sure you encourage your affiliates to only use the swipe copy as a guide or for inspiration.

Tell them to make their emails personal and specific for their audience.

If you need to, you can refer them to this post which shows them the best practices for using swipe copy.

BONUS TIP: Don’t Forget About Social Swipe

This is an often overlooked piece of content in launches.

We’ve found that 12-18% of all optins come from social media, so it is a big deal.

Make sure to include versions for at least Twitter and Facebook, as well as images sized for those platforms.

Question: What is your best tip for making the most of affiliate swipe copy? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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