Ever hear of a swipe file?
In the advertising world, it's a collection of successful ads that a copywriter or creative director will keep on hand for reference. These files can be worth their weight in gold. Why reinvent the wheel on a creative project when excellent and successful ideas are already out there?
But don't worry--we're not talking about plagiarism. Advertising pros only use swipe files as a source of inspiration. When taken and applied to a new project, they don't have to struggle from scratch--they already have the foundation for a successful campaign.
And you can use a similar approach when it comes to enhancing your company's digital presence.
Looking for (digital) ideas in all the wrong places
In our digital business era, it's not enough to just barely beat our competitors--we need to knock it out of the park. We need to make sure we're digitally transforming to one day beat the likes of Amazon or Google.
For smaller companies or those who are very traditional, setting the bar this high might feel impossible.
But it really starts with just one small step--thinking outside of your industry. What are other companies, startups, and apps doing really well? How can you leverage what they're doing and apply it to your own business?
Based on what you see in the market, you can create a swipe file of popular digital capabilities that are already out there. But to do so you need to consistently monitor what other companies are doing--outside of your industry--to see if it would make sense to use in the context of your business.
So, if you're ready to start building your own digital swipe file, here are ideas to start with:
This digital capability is almost at buzz-worthy levels these days, but many companies woefully miss the mark when it comes to gamification.
When done well, gamification techniques can be used to improve your company's digital experience. But the key is to avoid getting too gimmicky with it. Going too big and trying to create an entirely separate gaming platform for users is a mistake. My advice: start at a very basic level. If the user has to work too hard to play the game, then you're going to lose them.
And keep in mind that Facebook, Reddit, and LinkedIn all use a form of gamification. They reward users who post content with attention from fellow users via upvotes, likes, and shares. It's that simple. This basic premise is what makes social media platforms so addicting--the more you use them, the more you can "win" the admiration of your peers.
2. Swipe right
A certain dating app turned swiping right into a good thing and swiping left into a, well, not so good thing. The simple motion of swiping right these days is synonymous with "yes," and there are millions of consumers out there who have already been trained on this capability.
Imagine how you might apply the swiping right concept to your own app. You could potentially match consumers with products they might like or build powerful surveys that don't require the user to do anything more than a simple swipe.
3. Disappearing messages
One of the reasons Snapchat initially became so popular was because of its disappearing images. It gave an ephemeral quality to how users share moments in their lives and allowed others to take a quick peek.
You could apply this digital capability to your own app in a way that serves your customer. Disappearing coupons? Flash sale announcements? There is no right or wrong answer--only possibilities to explore.
4. You might also like...
Amazon, Netflix, and Pandora may have the art of recommendation down to a science, but that doesn't mean you can't use it in your business, too.
Applying an algorithm that makes a recommendation based on a user's past behavior could help your customers find articles they might like or self-help information they may need. You can even use the "You might also like..." premise to improve the user experience across all channels. Imagine if a customer walks into the physical store and a push notification tells them where to find a product they might like and gives them a discount code? It could be a powerful way to capture attention in the moment.
There's no need to reinvent the wheel or come up with a completely original digital premise. Take a page out of the advertising world and build a swipe file of digital capabilities you might be able to leverage for your business. And keep in mind that it's important to look beyond your direct competitor--you never know where the next big idea will come from.