February 27, 2022
What people do (use swipe files) and what are swipe files
Swipe files are like template copy (written content) that writers and marketers keep on hand. They may use it as a reference when writing content or literally copying and pasting the message to send as needed. In the internet age of digital marketing, you may see swipe files also covering graphic templates, funnel page copy, and email marketing.
For our purposes, I’ll be talking about swipe files as messages Etsy sellers can keep for customers to use over and over again. And yes, Etsy sellers do, in fact, do this often. So often that I’ve had the same swipe file messages sent to me by different sellers!
Why should you have your own swipe files?
There are two significant reasons to have your own set of swipe files saved away, and one is to save time. It takes time to type out messages to people, and it quickly gets annoying when you’re essentially communicating the same message over and over again.
Etsy is limited in what and how you can communicate with customers, so having swipe files handy is a way to conveniently systematize your shop’s communications.
Reason #2: brand security. Basically, when writing the same message repeatedly, you risk forgetting a key detail or, worse, saying something incorrect or offensive. Having one message with all the essential information there eliminates that worry.
To expand on brand security, I say that term because every message you communicate (overtly in copy, the products you sell itself, or in visual communication) is your brand speaking. There are books on brand tones, and I want to write more about this soon. But think, for now, that even when selling the same products, brands use tone to help differentiate themselves, and tone influences the customer experience.
Two other great things about swipe files? They can help with CYA (covering your ass) and provide another opportunity for you to promote a campaign.
Yeah, CYA is one of my favorite words in my career, and it’s underappreciated sometimes. To me, CYA in these swipe files do the following:
- Set reasonable expectations (reminding customers of potential shipping delays during the pandemic, for example)
- Establish boundaries (custom order process, for example),
- Come in handy to fall back on should a conflict arises later (hey customer and Etsy, I stated clearly that Christmas orders needed to be in by this date).
I will have an entire post about promoting campaigns in these message flows in an Etsy-compliant way here. But to sum up, cold messaging is against Etsy’s rules. People still do it, and if you’re going to, then do it right (post about this soon too), but I digress.
But intertwining a campaign into your shop’s purchasing process can be a great way to get more email list subscribers, generate more reviews, get user-generated content, and repeat purchases.
So swipe files are a way to craft your brand’s tone, communicate any key messages promotional opportunities, and are a way to help CYA.
Get these as Swipe Files
Get these in downloadable swipe files by signing up for my email list
So let’s get on with this, right!
Etsy Messages to Buyers Example
Feel free to use my examples as your own straight copy and paste swipe files, as a template to start creating yours, or as an exercise to refine your brand tone. These are free examples to use however you want. I literally don’t care 🙂
For future reference, I’ll be calling these sequences “flows.” They are connected messages to establish critical points of the current customer’s journey (purchase, post-purchase).
Starting your swipe files
Exercise: Create a simple bullet point list of what you want customers to know during each point of the customer journey you want to touch on. You may just like to send one message to keep it short and sweet. You may want to hold your customer’s hands at the risk of being annoying.
Here are 3 touchpoints for a purchase
You may have more or fewer touchpoints here, depending on your product. You might also have different swipe files for new buyers, repeat buyers, an existing email list subscriber, etc.
- New purchase
- Order is shipped
- Order is delivered
So in your bullet point list, write down the things you want to communicate at each of your touchpoints.
Is there a specific processing time some of your products typically have? What about shipping notes or reminders to customers? Custom orders often have their own process that needs to be very clear and straightforward to customers.
And that’s the keyword for these messages: straightforward. Make it as EASY as possible for customers, and make it low-stress for them. Stress and confusion are the ENEMIES of sales.
Eliminate even the inkling of doubt or fears a customer may have.
Customers care about the bottom line: when will I get the product, what do I need to expect with it, and what do I do if I need help?
Set expectations early, be proactive about potential problems and show you’re available.
Being proactive from the start by being available and showing you’re more than enthusiastic about fixing any problems quickly can cut down on cases made against your shop or poor reviews.
Typically, you’re looking at communicating:
- What to expect
- When to expect it
- You’re available to help
- You’re excited that they shopped with you
- Any additional pitches you may have
We’re not done, be sure to have your brand’s tone with your bullet point lists. If you need help with this, download my branding in one day guide that talks about this. So you may have three words to guide your brand tone like:
Or maybe your shop’s tone is more like this. Here I’m adding “NOT __” to help guide the tone further and clarify what I mean for each word.
- Considerate (NOT pushy or demanding of their time)
- Calm (NOT hyper or peppy)
- Family-oriented (NOT irresponsible or egotistical)
- Natural (NOT forced or overtly “salesy”)
Keep these things in mind as you read on and work from all these Etsy message to buyers examples.
New purchase message example
So in these new purchases in Etsy messages to buyers example, I have two separate versions for custom orders and ready-made products. These often have different purposes, so they require a different approach.
With ready-made product purchases, you want to let the buyer know you’re on the job of getting their order to them.
Custom orders have a bigger task for laying out a straightforward process that streamlines the shop’s order flow and eases customers’ concerns.
Let’s say that our example custom orders need a customer’s information and a logo file. I would probably write this as our list.
- Thank you!
- Customer needs to give us their date of birth
- Customer needs to provide us their full name EXACTLY how they want it to appear on the product
- The customer needs to send us a logo file
- Processing time is usually 3 days
- Shipping times are typically 3-5 days through FedEx
- A draft file must be reviewed in 3 days once sent
- The draft file will be revised within 24 hours and resent for review
- Once approved or by day 4 unreviewed, the order will be shipped
- The customer will receive a tracking number: it will be sent through a message and placed on the order page
This is a lot, so here is how I’d start writing a message for this list. This can be a good jumping-off point for further editing. Notice how I try to simplify and minimize the customer’s work (ex: breaking it down into steps: “these 3 things I need from you”).
Hey __, thank you for your purchase. I’m excited to get started!
To get started on your order, I will need these 3 things from you.
- I need the birth date (year, date, and month) that you want on the figurine.
- I need the name you want on the figurine. Please spell and stylize it EXACTLY how you would like it on the figurine.
- I’ll need your logo file. Please send it in a .png or .svg file. The higher resolution, the better!
- I recommend 300 dpi and at least 1000 pixels width/height.
I’ll work with whatever you send me but sticking to these recommendations helps make the figurine the quality I aim to provide!
You can send your file on Etsy messages or upload it right at the link here- whichever is easiest for you! LINK TO GOOGLE DRIVE FOLDER
Here’s what to expect next:
1- As soon as I get these 3 things I need, I’ll get started! Please give me about 1-2 days to work on this.
2- I’ll send you the draft version to approve or request a revision, and you have up to 3 rounds of revisions for us to get it just right.
** This is very important: **
- You have up to 7 days to approve the file or request a revision.
- If you do not approve or request a revision (you do not respond) within 7 days, I will mark your order as approved and ship it.
Here’s some shipping information:
- I ship with FedEx and will give you a tracking number. You will also be able to find the tracking number in your orders here: www.etsy.com/your/purchases
- Usually, FedEx delivers my packages within 5 days.
If you have ANY questions or FedEx seems to be taking too long, let me know to help! I’ll check in once your package is delivered to make sure you love it.
Ready-made products usually have a shorter list that looks more like this.
- Thank you!
- Processing time is usually 24-48 hours (setting expectations, CYA)
- Shipping times are typically 4-7 days (setting expectations, CYA)
- CYA any packaging issues/note I’ll check in once delivered (setting expectations, CYA)
- We use USPS (fyi)
- A tracking number will be on the order page (helpful info)
Thank you so much for your order. I will have it shipped to you tomorrow!
It is shipped First Class, so please allow about 4-7 days (maybe more due to the Pandemic and USPS issues) to reach you. I’ll check in to make sure it reached you in good shape!
You’ll be able to see your package’s tracking status on the “Purchases and Reviews” page. Here’s a shortcut to it: www.etsy.com/your/purchases
If you have any questions at all or if it’s running unusually late, let me know so I can help you ASAP.
Order is Shipped Message Example
Some shops may want to take photos or even videos of their packages before shipment to cover their ass in case of any disputes later, lost packages (sometimes helps in recovering packages), and further proving you indeed mailed the order.
They may or may not actually send these to customers but keep them just if these situations arise. I recommend doing this if you are selling high-value, expensive, or fragile products, but it’s unnecessary, and it’s up to you as a seller.
Hey again! Just wanted to let you know that I mailed your package today!
The tracking number is ___. You’ll also be able to look at it here usps.com/trackingnumberpage or on Etsy here: www.etsy.com/your/purchases
Order is Delivered Message Example
What is the last impression you want to leave when the buyer gets their product?
Even better question, how can your final message lead to more value to your business and, ultimately, more purchases? A buyer can give you one of the most valuable things you can get as a shop: a positive review. So I’ll focus on that here, but I think I’ll write more about this soon, though.
So here are three goals for our last email:
1. Check to make sure buyer is happy
2. Get in front of any problems the buyer has
3. Invite the buyer to leave you a good review
To touch on the last point, it’s okay, to be honest with people about why you want that review. Most people do not realize just how helpful those reviews are and are happier to help once they know.
Again, short and sweet. Here’s a template:
Hi again __!
I saw your package was delivered today, so I wanted to check in to make sure it arrived in good condition and that you love it 🙂
If you love it and have a moment, would you please leave my shop a review? Reviews help my shop immensely with the Etsy algorithm. It also lets other shoppers know I have a reputable shop too.
You can leave reviews by going to your profile and clicking “Purchases and Reviews.” Here’s a shortcut: https://www.etsy.com/your/purchases
PS- If you’re on Instagram, you can follow me there @___
I like sticking a “PS” because they are likely to be noticed in messages. So if there’s another ask but lower priority, this may be a good place. Or place the purchases shortcut there instead.
You may have noticed I like pasting the URL tracking number & reviews section to help buyers who may be less familiar with Etsy. We’re trying to cut down on any potential confusion or stress by making it as easy as possible!
I wrote my messages to Etsy buyers. I’m done, right?
Now, I will always recommend and personally strive to cut down copy like this. Buyers want to know what they need to learn quickly. They do not care about the details here. So after you write your messages, go back and cut down anything you can. Any unnecessary detail or adjective can be cut. Rewrite any sentences that could be clearer and shorter.
For example, here’s a before and after editing one of these messages. Note that I still try to keep the brand tone intact.
Hey FIRST NAME LAST NAME!
Thank you so much for your order. I will have it shipped to you first thing tomorrow morning!
It is shipped First Class, so please allow about 4-7 days (maybe more due to the Pandemic and USPS issues) to reach you. I’ll check in to make sure it reached you in good shape. I know travel can be a bit rough on packages sometimes.
If you have any questions or concerns, let me know so I can help you as soon as possible. I’m here for you!
Thanks a bunch for your order! I’ll be shipping it tomorrow. It will be shipped with USPS First Class, so please allow 4-7 days to reach you.
I’m here if you have any questions! I’ll check in once delivered to make sure everything is in good shape.
Why I like my revision:
It’s not perfect, but I like my revision because it cuts down any redundant information: “I’m here for you,” “as soon as possible,” and “questions or concerns,” for example. It also has shorter paragraphs and sentences so the buyer can more quickly read it.
I like “thanks a bunch” too since it has a little more personality. Maybe you’re going for a different tone, and the phrase “Many thanks” works better. I also think the pandemic note is a bit unnecessary at this point, so I’m removing it. People know.
“I’m here if you have any questions!” and “I’ll check in once delivered” SHOWS that I’m available better than simply saying it like in the first message.
It also sets an expectation. Maybe if I’m lucky and if something does come up, the buyer may be cool enough to wait for that message to bring it up to me. I could imagine myself as a buyer feeling that way. So it’s a sentiment to test out and see if that does happen.
My Etsy Messages to Buyers Example is A Starting Point
And that’s another point to make. These are not set in stone, and consider these tests just as much as branded “FYI” messages. Tweak, revise, add as you need to. What works for my shop and target market may not work for you: aka, busy moms may appreciate more (or less) hand-holding than gen-z college students.
It depends, it depends, it depends. (As I like to quote an animal behaviorist I am fond of.)