One of the single most important keys to a successful affiliate program is great swipe copy. If you do it right, it’s a powerful tool that will help your affiliates succeed. Yet, I see so many affiliate programs get it wrong. Today, I’ll share exactly how to provide great swipe copy for your affiliates.

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Previous Episodes of The Affiliate Guy

The Dark Side of Entrepreneurship: Overcoming Setbacks, Pain, Fatigue, and Failure

7 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Live Longer

Lessons Learned from a Multi-Million Dollar Affiliate Launch

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The Surprising Thing That Might be Holding Your Business Back

How to Provide Great Swipe Copy for Your Affiliate Program

One of the single most important keys to a successful affiliate program is great swipe copy. If you do it right, it’s a powerful tool that’s going to help your affiliate succeed. I see so many affiliate programs get it wrong.

Today, I’ll show you exactly how to provide great swipe copy for your affiliates. So obviously, one of the things that a lot of your affiliates are going to ask for is a swipe copy. If you’re new to the world and you don’t know what swipe copy is a very simple explanation.

The term comes from copywriters used to keep what they call swipe files. And I still have hundreds of these facts, we sell the Ultimate Affiliate Swipe File, where we actually give you all of our affiliate emails for a given year.

And you can literally go in and open this book and be like, I’m going to promote a webinar, and oh, there’s some copy, I’m going to use that. And you can see examples that we’ve used in our business. But these swipe files were examples of other copies to inspire your own copy.

And then it evolved into affiliate swipe copy. For years it was like, well, here, copy and paste this swipe copy and just send it to your list. There’s a big problem with that, of course, and that’s that a lot of people are on multiple lists now.

And in fact, we wrote an entire article on how to use swipe copies and affiliates, which we’ll put in the show notes. You can go to MattMcWilliams.com/SwipeTips. And it’s like rule number one, don’t copy and paste the swipe copy.

So for us, that’s one of the services that we provide for our clients is that we’ll help them craft this swipe copy. It’s meant as a guide for their affiliates. It’s meant to inspire them to give them ideas about the content that they could use.

So with swipe copy from an affiliate program perspective, there are five mistakes that I see most often. So I want to share those five mistakes and I’m going to show what to do instead, how to actually provide great swipe copy for your affiliates.

Mistake number one is writing it yourself: Now, this is if you’re the product owner or maybe you’re an employee of the company that’s been around for a while. Either way, you are too close to the product to write a great swipe copy.

You have to remember that swipe copy. It’s a guide for your affiliates to use. So these are people who are not that close to the product in the sense that they didn’t create it. They don’t work for you. They’re not super close to the product.

They didn’t pour their blood sweat and tears into the product, right? So swipe copy should be written as though it’s from an outsider because that’s who’s going to use it is the affiliates. So have somebody else write your swipe copy.

It’s one of the reasons why I love that we’re able to do it for our clients so often because I’ll have our copywriter do it and our copywriter doesn’t know the product very well. That’s a great thing.

They’re writing it from the perspective of what would attract me to click on this link and get them to come to your workshop or buy this product. So do not write the swipe copy yourself.

Number two, you don’t include images: Most people don’t use images in their emails, but some people do. And when they do, often they can be very effective. My company, I don’t know, we use an image may be every four months.

When we do our click-through rates skyrocket, which is probably like a lesson to be there. But the point is, I think it’s because we rarely use them. So you need to offer your affiliate some images that they can use in their emails.

Number three, you only write one version: Only one version. So you got this big thing and maybe it’s a workshop, maybe it’s a product and you write one version of the copy. So frustrating because it assumes that every affiliate has the exact same audience.

That doesn’t describe any product. Almost that does not describe nearly any product. Most of the time your product reaches different demographics, and different avatars. Each group is at a different place in life.

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They have different struggles, they have different needs, and different desires. And so writing one version of the swipe copy is not a good idea. Now, that doesn’t necessarily apply if you’re writing the final email, like the 02:00 in the morning when the car closes at 03:00 in the morning Eastern time, midnight Pacific, that email, you may only need one version.

There are only so many ways to say you have 1 hour left to buy. Click here. The gist of the message. So I’m not complaining about that. But most of the time that’s not going to work.

Number four, mistake. Every version of the swipe copy is the same length: You only write long. You only write short-length emails. Again, like the third thing when I talked about that, you only write one version.

It assumes that every affiliate wants the same kind of copy. Some affiliates prefer longer form copies. Some of them prefer shorter form copies. Some of them prefer something in the middle. We’ll talk about that.

Fifth, talked about this earlier. You expect them to copy and paste and actually even encourage them to copy and paste it: You just tell them like, no, just go ahead, just copy and paste it. No, please do not do that. We always tell our affiliates not to copy and paste the swipe copy.

Go read the post that I mentioned, MattMcWilliams.com/SwipeTips. That is, from the affiliate’s perspective. Feel free to share that post with your affiliates and say, “Hey, here’s swipe copy. Go read this post for Matt Williams. He tells you how to use it.”

We tell people don’t copy the swipe copy. It’s unoriginal. It doesn’t work. Sometimes it backfires. Sometimes if you send an email and just assume another affiliate is going to do it, that’s the thing. You have to assume another affiliate is going to do it.

So you sent the same email as another affiliate. The same subject line, same text. How does that come across? How does that make you as the affiliate look? It makes you look like an idiot. Super lame. So what do you do instead?

Five best practices. Believe it or not, these are going to address the five mistakes I just talked about, right? These are the five must for creating killer swipe copy.

Number one, hire somebody to write it unless you are a professional copywriter: Even if you are a professional copywriter, hire an outsider. Hire an outsider, somebody that’s new to your team.

If we were writing swipe copy for our products, our copywriter is new enough that I think he’d do pretty good at writing swipe copy for our affiliates. In fact, I have had him write affiliate swipe copy because he doesn’t know our products super well yet.

Three years from now, I probably wouldn’t have him write it. I’ll probably hire somebody from the outside to write it. You are simply too close to the product to write a great swipe copy.

An outsider is going to be able to relate to your affiliates and write copy for them. An outsider is going to be able to say, If I were writing this for my business, how would I write it? And that’s what you want.

Number two, give your affiliate images: Just give them the option of some good images for their emails. For us, the ones that work best are video screen captures. So we’re talking about if they’re mailing about a video, then we find a screenshot from the video.

And typically we’ll go with like a goofy one. I think I said this in an episode a while back where I was talking about what works for us in email. I don’t know of a less crass way of saying this, but typically it’s a screen grab where it looks like I smell the fart.

So we try to find a goofy one. And then we put a little play button over it. And so give that to them, right? Give them sale graphics. If you’re running a sale, give them some graphics. If you use stats, any statistics whatsoever, give them a screenshot of the stats that increases the validity and the believability of it.

Give them a stat where it shows like, if you tell somebody this helped us make $124,000 or we have this or there’s some sort of a graph that shows something show them graphs, show them numbers actual screenshots of numbers, show them pie charts and bar charts and line graphs the little dot graph thing.

Give them countdown timers: We recommend using we use motionmail personally, literally I don’t have an affiliate link or anything I think it’s just motionmailAPP.com there’s out of time or there’s a bunch but we recommend motion mail they just seem to work best.

Give the affiliates the code to use in their emails these countdown timers increase conversion rates by as much as 14% on cart close day. Don’t assume that they’re going to go create their own. Don’t make them go create their own.

The reality is they’re busy they have a ton of things going on in their business so give them the countdown timer code that they can just copy and paste and put in their emails I know in the last promotion where we did this it actually was the first time ever it flagged our account in motion mail because we had over 10 million impressions on our countdown timer in a week and we actually have to pay more money to motion meal 10 million impressions that means there were more than 10 million opens.

Now an open doesn’t necessarily mean somebody opened it just to be clear but 10 million times that image fired more than 10 million times. Good thing we provided it to our affiliates. How many of those people that open that email would have seen an account downtown or if we had provided it to our affiliates? I don’t know.

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My guess is probably two to 3 million. That means seven to 8 million more people saw this countdown timer and improve their conversions. So make sure you include these images. As I said, the video screen captures sale graphics stat screenshots, countdown timers, images that show the product, and images that show the product in use.

If it’s like a course thing, where you got the spread right, where it shows the course itself, whatever it may be. Third, write Different versions of the Swipe copy for different audiences. When we were working with Jeff Goins, we ran his book launch, The Art of Work.

It was the first book launch I’d ever run. Back in 2013 or 14, I was in the book and he knew that I did affiliate management. He’s like, “Hey, can you help me with this book launch?” Sure. And I remember he said, I got to tell the publisher how many books I’m going to sell.

And I was like, I’m looking at the numbers and looking at what we can do and how we can help you. I was like, Tell them 15,000. I was like, I’m not telling them 15,000. I’m like, yeah, you are. And he’s like, no, my last book sold 3000. Like, Tell them 15,000. I can see the math.

I know what we can do and how we can help you. It’s 15,000. He argued with me. I’m like, Dude, you’re either going to tell him 15,000, or I’m not working with you. We did 22,000 pre-orders. When we were doing that for the Swipe copy, we had four audiences and we wrote copy for each of those audiences.

I remember to this day, I remember it was entrepreneurs, dreamers, faith-based groups, and stay-at-home moms. Stay-at-home parents. So we had the entrepreneurs. They have already established entrepreneurs. We had the dreamers, basically entrepreneurs.

We had the faith-based angle, and then we had the stay-at-home parent’s angle. So we wrote copy for each of those audiences, and affiliates loved it. They knew that we had I think we had seven emails X four audiences. We had 28 emails. They knew they could click on faith-based.

I’m a Christian blogger. Boom. I clicked on that. I got my seven emails. Sometimes we have people who were like, well, my audience is faith-based, and they’re entrepreneurs. So they would take both and they would kind of combine them, like Amalgamize or whatever the word is, they would combine them together.

We had others that said, Well, I’ve got an audience of stay-at-home moms that want to be entrepreneurs, and they would take those and they would combine them. So provide different versions for different audiences.

Come up with those four avatars or three. It might be three, it might be two, whatever it is, probably not five or more. I think four was pushing the limits with what we did.

Number four, write different links of swipe copy: You’ve got to have different links. Got to have a long and a short for each thing. Again, probably not like deadline emails. You need just short for that. There are only so many ways to say the webinar starts in 15 minutes.

You come in or not. But especially if you’ve got to launch your core parts, you need different links and different lengths of the copy. Your affiliates are going to love you for this. So typically what we’ll do is we’ll write the long version, that’s the two to 300-word version, and then we’ll just chop that down to like 100 and we tell them they’re not different in the sense of if you look at both, you’re going to get different things.

Like if you want short, just use the short and then tweak that. But we provide different links just to give them like those who just want kind of the quick hitters, they get the quick hitters, they want the longer version, they can get the longer version.

Fifth, make it clear that swipe copy is a guide only: I said this earlier. Make it clear. Encourage your affiliates to only use the swipe copy as a guide or for inspiration. That’s the only purpose of it, right? Make their emails personal. Make them specific for their audience if you need to.

Like I said, share my post-MattMcWilliams.com/Swipetips how to use Swipe Copy and affiliate. It shows them the best practices for using swipe copy. So make that clear to them. Give them an example or two where somebody took a swipe copy and tweaked it. I always shared the example.

We are promoting a very specific affiliate promotion and they gave us swipe copy. And in that swipe copy, there was a little part it talked about a teacher, and I was like, well, that’s kind of cool, but I have a better example. I have my teacher, and I’m pretty confident her name is Mrs. Terry. And then I had another teacher.

Mrs. Terry was my AP US History teacher, during my junior of high school. That same year, I had a civics teacher that was a complete moron named Mr. Calvert. So I’ve got these two contrasting teachers.

One is an amazing history teacher that taught me so much and gave me a lifelong love of history, and the other would sit at the front of the room putting staples into his forearm and considered teaching to be telling us what chapter to read in class.

I remember one of the subject lines that we use was, don’t be a Calvert. So one of them was like, my best teacher ever. And I used the intro to Mrs. Terry. Here’s the deal. There is nobody else in all likelihood promoting that one product that had a US history teacher named Mrs. Terry.

So I got that going for there’s no way you can have that same email as I did. There’s also probably not one that had a Mr. Calvert who was a complete disgrace to the entire teaching profession. And so what I did was I talked about those two teachers. It totally set me apart.

So that’s the example that I share. By the way, you can see both of those emails in the Ultimate Affiliate Swipe file. If you go to Affiliatesswipefiles.com, we’ll put that link in the show notes. You can grab a copy of that and actually go through those emails.

Because personally, I think they’re great copies. I really do. And I’m not saying that because I wrote them. I actually did not write either one of those emails, but I think they’re a great copy. And then the idea here is just to tell them that it’s a guide and give them some direction.

Like there might be parts in the swipe copy you put in brackets, like talk about such and such here. Talk about your experience with this product, or talk about your favorite teacher here. If you put that in brackets and talk about your favorite teacher, then every affiliate is going to have a different story.

Unless you’ve got like twin brothers or sisters promoting this or two people who just happened to be in the same elementary school at the same time, which is pretty unlikely to happen. Although there is an affiliate.

Ironically, that is actually the very first affiliate that promoted me and made me any money for my business. And Ironically, we were born in the same hospital, grew up in the same small town in North Carolina, never knew each other.

So I guess crazy things like that can’t happen. I also found out one time when I was sending 1099 to our affiliates that I lived next-door neighbors with one of our affiliates. This was back in 2009, and I thought that was weird.

I was like, his address is next to, oh my gosh, it’s that guy who is out on his deck sometimes and nothing but a speedo. And it’s really awkward. So I took his cheque to him. I knocked on his door and took his cheque to him. And anyway, things like that do happen, right?

So that’s how you write great swipe copy. Now, one quick bonus tip. Don’t forget about the social swipe. This is one of the most overlooked pieces and affiliate programs. Don’t forget about the social swipe.

We found that about twelve to 18% of all optins come from social media, so it’s kind of a big deal. So at least include versions for like Twitter and Facebook, whatever, some images that are sized for those platforms.

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So hopefully this helps you to write some great swipe copy for your affiliates. I’m telling you right now, the difference between bad swipe copy and great swipe copy could be a 30, 40, or 50% increase in sales. It’s that important. That’s why I covered it in-depth today.

Make sure if you haven’t yet that you subscribe to the podcast so that you don’t miss the next episode. Guys, it’s going to be a Goo. I’m going to talk about how to use TikTok for affiliate marketing. You don’t want to miss that one.

Make sure you hit that subscribe button if you haven’t yet, make sure you share this episode. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, make sure you just hit the share button and share this with them. So I’ll see you in the next episode. We’re going to talk all about TikTok. I’ll see you then.


Text me anytime at (260) 217-4619.

Or…check out some of my free reports to help you get on the right track:

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