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BroadVision Marketing Blog

What's In Your Headline Swipe File?

Posted by Jaco Grobbelaar on Tue, Aug 16, 2011 @ 09:44 PM

Clark Stanley's Snake Oil Liniment. Before 1920.By Guest Blogger Ann Mullen  I still remember the first time I came upon the term swipe file. It seems like it was just yesterday. Wait, it was just yesterday.
For the sake of those of us who weren’t around the last time the term was used, which was in 2009, Wikipedia defines a swipe files as “a collection of tested and proven advertising and sales letters. Keeping a swipe file (templates) is a common practice used by advertising copywriters and creative directors as a ready reference of ideas for projects….Swipe files are a great jumping-off point for anybody who needs to come up with lots of ideas.

Swipe files are also commonly used by Internet Marketers who need to gather a lot of resources not only about products but also about marketing methods and strategies.”

A lot of times the swipe file is for various headlines.

Still confused? Here is an example of a swipe file headline: 10 Exercise Tips to Use Without Moving a Muscle. The main swipe part is the idea: (Some Number) of Tips to Do (Something). In other words it’s the old Snake Oil Routine.

So what in the heck is the old Snake Oil Routine?

Let’s turn to Wikipedia once again. “The snake oil peddler became a stock character in Western movies: a travelling "doctor" with dubious credentials, selling some medicine (such as snake oil) with boisterous marketing hype, often supported by pseudo-scientific evidence, typically bogus. To increase sales, an accomplice in the crowd (a shill) would often "attest" the value of the product in an effort to provoke buying enthusiasm. The "doctor" would prudently leave town before his customers realized that they had been cheated. This practice is also called "grifting" and its practitioners are called "grifters".

The practice of selling dubious remedies for real (or imagined) ailments still occurs today, albeit with some updated marketing techniques. Claims of cures for chronic diseases (for example, diabetes mellitus) for which there are reputedly only symptomatic treatments available from evidence-based medicine are especially common.[citation needed] The term snake oil peddling is used as a derogatory term to describe such practices.”

Ah yes, you have all seen it and probably been conned by it within the past few years. It starts with an innocent white paper, let’s say on headline swipe files, that ends with a website to get more information on how to use the headlines where you are introduced to a multi-colored long, long sales pitch for an ebook which can help you earn large amounts of money.

This pitch gives some of the same information from the white paper, but offers a few explanations of how to use the headlines with more promised in the ebook. After reams of pitch come the testimonials, and then the announcement that the book ordinarily sells for $139. For a short time the remaining limited amount of ebooks will be on sale for $49.95. (How can an ebook have a limited run?)

Then the bonus section starts with bonuses that may have nothing to do with swipe files on headlines. There may be 7 bonuses in all, selling retail for $999.95, but for a short time you can get them free with purchase of the ebook for only $49.95.

I can’t tell you how many times I have bought things this way that for the most part turned out to be snake oil. Swipe files on headlines can definitely fall into this category.

More on headline swipe files another time.
Ann Mullen has been writing for more than half her life, much of that time actually being paid. You can read some of her musings at Media-Ann-Such.com.

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Topics: marketing, Marketing and Advertising, Wikipedia, Headlines, Headline, Swipe file, Snake oil, Social Media, Business, Blogging

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