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swipe file

The subject line you use in your email is the second-most important factor in getting your email opened, read, and acted upon.

The most important factor in getting your email opened is what you put in the “From” line. Obviously, you can’t change that every time you send an email, but you can experiment with subject lines.

But what makes for a good subject line? And how do you write them?

To help you answer those questions, I’ve collected 45 of the best subject lines that have shown up in my inbox over the last six months and compiled them here. I’ve not only included the subject line and the date I received it, I’ve also added my comments as to why it works.

Even better, I’ve organized the subject lines into categories so it’s easier to compare subject lines that do the same thing — in different markets and to different lists.

By studying these subject lines and modeling them, you’ll be able to write more powerful subject lines that get your emails opened and read.

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Ever wondered exactly how to swipe a sales letter? If so, you’ll want to pay close attention. Because in just a moment I’m going to demonstrate HOW to swipe a sales letter.

But first, you should know: While I don’t generally swipe whole ads, you can actually write fairly strong copy by swiping.

When I say swiping, I don’t mean plagiarizing. Plagiarizing is stealing copy word-for-word; swiping is taking similar ideas, concepts, or copy structure from one ad and using them in another.

Some people take the idea of swiping too far. For instance, you would never want to take somebody’s copy and then just replace a few words here and there. This is basically plagiarizing.

Of course, it’s easy to create a list of “dos” and “don’ts” without ever fully communicating the right way to swipe a sales letter. With that in mind, I figured I’d actually show you three sales letters for three different products.

  • The first one is the famous Wall Street Journal letter.
  • The second one is a swipe of the Wall Street Journal letter.
  • And the third one is my swipe of the Wall Street Journal letter.

Each of these letters uses the same structure and some of the same selling arguments to make their case. Take a look…

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Swipe files are all the rage among copywriters and direct response marketers. The question is, how do you go about building one?

I mean, not every letter is a winner. So how do you separate the winners from the losers… and put together an enviable collection of tried, true, and proven direct mail letters?

That is the question, and I’m going to answer it here.

But first, I’m going to tell you right off the bat, never swipe a letter that’s been used in a product launch. My good friend Ben Settle first put this into words, and I’m in total agreement.

The reason you don’t want to do this is because the success of a launch depends on much more than the sales letter. For instance, many people are already sold on the product long before they ever get to the sales letter.

Perhaps they were sold by the free premiums they received during the pre-launch. Perhaps they were sold by the emails they got prior to launch day. Or perhaps they were sold by an affiliate’s endorsement.

Whatever the reason, you don’t know for sure if the sales letter was really doing the selling — or something else in the launch process.

And if this is not enough to persuade you, consider the words of Jeff Walker, the man who invented Product Launch Formula in the first place.

He says the goal of every launch is to make the sales letter irrelevant. He wants people mentally committed to buying long before they reach the sales letter.

The bottom line is this: Sales letters that are used during a launch are not necessarily good sales letters to study. And you should probably avoid swiping them altogether.

Which brings me to the main point of this post: how to build a swipe file of profitable direct mail letters…

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