Contractor Marketing Tip: The Swipe File

Yesterday I went on a bit of a rant about the direct-mail company Money Mailer. And if you paid attention and read between the lines of that post there was a valuable marketing nugget that you could put to good use right away to promote your contracting company. If you didn’t read it yet, you can find the post here.

In my opening paragraph I said “As any good marketer will tell you, I will steal an idea from anywhere. You see, many people say that there are no new ideas, just new twists on the same old ones.

This leads me to the marketer’s secret weapon… the swipe file

I collect direct-mail pieces, newspaper clippings, online ads and just about anything that has to do with advertising that I think is a fresh approach to the same old message and store them in a swipe file. Sure it helps to know the basics of advertising and marketing, but if you can say yes to the following question — would the ad make you buy the product or service – then you know you have a decent foundation to start with when writing your own ad copy.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with using other advertising to help get your creative juices flowing. Sitting down to write out ad copy is a pain in the ass, that’s why most of you are smart enough to hire knuckleheads like me to do it for you. What’s not okay is just lifting someone else’s copy verbatim or stealing the concept entirely. If you look around you will see it happening everywhere, you just have to know the difference between plagiarizing and imitating your competition. So start your own swipe file and put it to good use the next time you have to come up with an ad.