Of all the things that we for our clients’ affiliate programs, the most time-consuming task is writing swipe copy. Unfortunately, most affiliates don’t use it properly…usually because no one taught them how to use it. It’s time to fix that.

This post was originally published in June 2016. It’s been completely updated with new and current information as of September 2023.

How to use affiliate marketing swipe copy

I typically see affiliates make five mistakes when using swipe copy. I list them all below along with the best practices to fix those mistakes.

Run an Affiliate Program?

If you run an affiliate program, I highly recommend sharing these tips with your affiliates. I also highly recommend checking out my post, “How to Write Swipe Copy for Your Affiliates” for tips on creating swipe copy for your affiliate program.

5 Mistakes Affiliates Make With Swipe Copy (And How to Fix Them)

1. Copying Swipe Copy…Without Editing It

This is the biggest mistake I see affiliates making.

They copy and paste the swipe copy, they don’t even read it, and they click send to their email list.

No. No. No.

I know it’s easy. I know you’ll probably still see decent results. But, please don’t do it.

Here are three reasons this is a bad idea:

  • Swipe copy is never written specifically for your audience.
  • Swipe copy is never written in your voice.
  • People subscribe to multiple lists and it’s likely that you will end up having the same email as someone else.

BEST PRACTICE: Use swipe copy as a guide. Use it to get your facts straight and for inspiration, but don’t just copy/paste it to your list. You can see how I use it as a guide in this free video.

BONUS CONTENT: In this FREE video training video I show you how exactly how I use swipe copy in my affiliate promotions. Click here to access this training.

2. Not Using Swipe Copy at All

On the flip side, another mistake is not using the swipe copy at all.

We give out swipe copy for a reason: To help you. It can help you to overcome writer’s block, give you inspiration for your own writing, and make sure you get the important information correct in the email.

BEST PRACTICE: Don’t ignore the swipe copy. Read through it and make sure to refer to it if you need help writing.

3. Not Getting Personal

Nothing is worse than boring copy that doesn’t relate to you.

When you write your own copy, you make sure to personalize it. It’s not generic and lame.

Yet, I often see affiliates focus way too much on the product creator or the product itself.

You should really be focusing on the reader and your own personal story.

Make sure you aren’t too focused on the facts that you forget to include a good story.

In one of our affiliate promotions, I shared examples of teachers that I had had in school — good and bad.

Here’s a part of one of those emails:



Do you think anyone else told a story about Mrs. Trippi? I doubt it…(unless that kid Steve who sat behind me in her class was an affiliate — he was always copying off my papers!)

That story guaranteed that even though I started off with the same swipe copy as every other affiliate, my emails would be unique.

BEST PRACTICE: Start with a story. Make your email personal. How does this product or free training tie into your own experiences? How can you personalize it for your readers?

4. Using Your Full Affiliate Link

When we send swipe copy, we include their full affiliate link, such as this:


That is my Quiz Funnel Masterclass referral link.

It is ugly, long, and complicated.

I would never use a link like that in my emails. Instead, I use a Pretty Link like this:


BEST PRACTICE: Whatever you do, don’t use your long, ugly affiliate link in an email or social media. If you don’t already have Pretty Link, get it here.

5. Trying to Write to Everyone

When you try to communicate with everyone, you communicate with no one.

Swipe copy is meant for the masses, but your emails are meant for your avatar. This is why I start off every email I write (including affiliate promotions) with my avatar’s name, Pete.

“Hey Pete”

“Super quick Pete”

“What’s up Pete?”

Pete is my avatar. He is my audience. Not thousands of people. Not “my list” or “my tribe.” Pete is.

BEST PRACTICE: Write to your avatar, not the masses. If it helps, start each email off with their name and imagine you are writing to just him or her.

Bonus Tips for Using Affiliate Swipe Copy

Bonus Tip #1: Subject Lines

Everything I shared with you in this article can be applied to your subject lines.

Swipe copy will typically include several suggested subject lines, just like with the swipe copy itself, these are a guide. Adjust the subject line to fit your audience, your style, and your voice.

Another one of the emails I wrote during Marisa Murgatroyd’s promotion was about a bad teacher I had – Mr. Calvert. The subject line I used was “Don’t be a Calvert…”.

Do you think that was one of the recommended subject lines?


Do you think anyone else used that subject line?


BEST PRACTICE: Use the subject lines as a guide, but be sure to adjust them for your audience and voice. There is nothing worse than having someone get two promotional emails with the same subject line on the same day!

Bonus Tip #2: Social Media Swipe

Most affiliate managers will provide you with social media swipe copy for Twitter, Facebook, etc. in addition to email swipe copy.

Just like with swipe copy and subject lines, do not copy and paste these. Use them as a starting point.

If they do NOT provide you social swipe, the subject lines are often a great starting point for some very good social media post.

You can also read through the swipe copy and look for short sentences that convey the main point of the email and use those as the basis for your social media swipe.

Also, be sure to include graphics with your social media posts. If you don’t, your audience will scroll right past them!

BEST PRACTICE: Social Media posts have to catch your audience’s attention quickly, so make sure your posts are intriguing, bold, and include good graphics.

Swipe copy is a great tool when used properly. I hope these tips help you to do just that.


Get my free video training on how I use swipe copy when I am promoting affiliate offers. Click here to get the video.


How affiliates should use swipe copy


Text me anytime at (260) 217-4619.

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

Find Your First 100 Affiliates

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Affiliate Program Terms & Conditions Template

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Get My #1 Affiliate Recruiting Email

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Avoid The Top 20 Affiliate Program Mistakes

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Turn Inactive Affiliates into Your Best Affiliates

Affiliate email template for affiliate managers

Get My Template for Writing Affiliate Emails

Sales secrets of successful affiliate marketers

Affiliate Marketing Sales Secrets

Ultimate Guide to Affiliate Marketing with a resources page

Learn How to Create a Resources Page

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Learn How to Write a Product Review

2 thoughts on “How to use Swipe Copy as an Affiliate

  1. Thanks Matt. I never understood swipe copy so I ignored it. You’ve opened my eyes to their value.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Awesome Bernard!

      So glad it helped 🙂

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