Do I need to fire this copywriter?

40 replies
Hi, guys,

This is a brand new site, so no testimonials yet (working on that at the moment), but apart from this, what would you improve? And how?

mentalweightloss.org

Thanks for your critique.
#copywriter
  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    Originally Posted by Val Kilner View Post

    Hi, guys,

    This is a brand new site, so no testimonials yet (working on that at the moment), but apart from this, what would you improve? And how?
    The headline is a bloody mess!

    The first sentence is embarrassing.

    If the method is about the mental body or "mindset," give the reader something tangible to instill within them how a simple shift of their thoughts can create an immediate reprieve.

    You can even say that "your thoughts quite literally weigh you down and distort how you perceive your own body...

    ...What would it feel like if you accepted yourself, as you are, right now... without trying to change anything about the way you look?

    Can you feel how you feel lighter already?"


    I don't know... something to communicate how powerful the mind is in creating the experience we have with our bodies.

    Of course, I only read the first sentence, so I might be way off.

    The bottom line is...

    ...Whatever you're paying your copywriter is too much.

    I assume you thought you could create a high-conversions letter for $300?

    By the way, you need to fix your header and graphics.
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  • Profile picture of the author Arock
    Yes. Yes you do.

    This is not so good. Personally, I don't like the overly long sales letters. I know that it might be effective in some cases, but not here.

    The sentences are run-ons. One after another. Or at least the sentences are too long without proper punctuation.

    Many of the sentences are salvageable through a complete rewrite process.

    Also, add some pictures. The site is just one big text block. Maybe add a few videos as well.

    I agree with Killer Sales Writer on the opening quote. You have: "The Real Reason Why Diets Don’t Work and How an Easy Healthy Alternative Will Help You Eat Less, Enjoy Food More and Lose Weight Starting From This Lunch..."

    I would write something such as: "Learn the #1 Secret How an Easy, Healthy Alternative Will Allow You to Lose Weight NOW." OK, that is probably too long too. Still, something readable.

    More or less, the Sales letter sounds like it was written by a non-native English speaker.

    Good luck! Lutzi
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  • Profile picture of the author Arock
    One other thing. Mental Weight Loss sounds more like a meditation program.
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  • i'd fire your design while your at it...
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  • Profile picture of the author Elle Davies
    I got confused by the headline and decided to just skim the rest...I imagine that a potential customer wouldn't stick around to decipher it!

    Either get rid of your copywriter or maybe even get them to fix it for free??

    The headline is extremely clumsy and even though the 'urgency' factor is there, it is hard to follow.

    Good use of a personalised story...perhaps get a Before and After photo for the page to add a bit of credibility on a more personal level.

    Also, the massive chunky green column down the right hand side needs to go. Replace it with a more subtle colour and centralise the text!
    Hope this helps,
    Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author TracyNeedham
    Your question is very interesting. You didn't ask us to critique the letter, you asked whether the copywriter should be fired...

    That says to me that you are already so unhappy with the copy, you're thinking it may be beyond hope to work with this person. Maybe you're second guessing yourself because you're not a copywriter? I can get that, especially if you're new to IM. But I can tell you this...from my experience, when clients get good copy back, they're excited.

    Oh, sometimes they may have little dithers with this or that (especially if they're new to direct response copy), but overall, they get excited about their product or service all over again while reading through the copy.

    If that's not happening here, you've pretty much answered your own question.

    And yes, someone will probably post a story about a client who was totally wrong but the copywriter convinced them to run something they hated and it worked like gangbusters. Carlton has a story like that with a sex ad for I believe for Rodale. But in general, I bet you have a better chance of getting a social security check in 20 years than having that happen to you. LOL

    And if you're close to your own target market (you never ARE your target market IMO, but that's another post altogether LOL) and you're not feeling it at all from your copy... trust your instincts, you need a new copywriter.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
    Originally Posted by Val Kilner View Post

    Hi, guys,

    This is a brand new site, so no testimonials yet (working on that at the moment), but apart from this, what would you improve? And how?

    mentalweightloss.org

    Thanks for your critique.
    If you paid him more than $50, then yea, you didn't get your monies worth.
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    • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
      1. Clearly, the copywriter put in their best efforts. I see it.

      2. I do not believe English is their first language. Too many discrepanies there.

      3. Everything else people spoke of in terms of improving the copy makes sense to me. Reflection Marketing's, Tracy Needham's, Lutzi's and Elle Davies' comments are on point.

      4. While I don't know who the copywriter is, if I were you, I would give the benefit of the doubt to the copywriter. Request they take another crack at it, focusing on the points others have raised.

      If the copywriter pushes back in the slightest, you have your answer and you should move on.

      Personally, my opinion is it just isn't all that compelling. There's nothing that gets you to keeps you reading.

      Good luck with your endeavor,

      - Rick Duris
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      • Profile picture of the author ThomasOMalley
        I reviewed your sales page.

        Your copywriter did a decent to good job.

        I have a feeling you want a Clayton-Makepeace quality piece of copywriting for $300. It doesn't work that way.

        If you want top notch results, pony up the cash for an excellent copywriter.

        You don't need to fire the copywriter. You need to clean out the cobwebs in your wallet.
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      • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
        Originally Posted by RickDuris

        1. Clearly, the copywriter put in their best efforts. I see it.
        Whether he did or didn't is irrelevant...

        Originally Posted by RickDuris

        2. I do not believe English is their first language. Too many discrepanies there.
        Agree 100%...

        Originally Posted by RickDuris

        3. Everything else people spoke of in terms of improving the copy makes sense to me. Reflection Marketing's, Tracy Needham's, Lutzi's and Elle Davies' comments are on point.
        Also Agree 100%.

        Originally Posted by RickDuris

        4. While I don't know who the copywriter is, if I were you, I would give the benefit of the doubt to the copywriter. Request they take another crack at it, focusing on the points others have raised.
        Looks like you dropped the ball here... Request they take another "crack at it"... WHY? The very fact that English is clearly not their first language should be more than enough reason to ask for your money back. Did you talk to this person on the phone? They obviously don't know a thing about writing copy, so I would ask the OP this question... Are you running a charity operation that's meant to help struggling (yet terrible) new copywriters get their foot in the door? Or are you running a business?


        If you answered "business"... then this is what you should do:
        1) Ask for your money back. All of it, and mercilessly... even if you only paid $100 for this copy, get it back, because it's $100 that would be better spent elsewhere.
        2) Hire another copywriter, and make damn sure they speak perfect English before you send them any money... and go from there.

        If the copywriter doesn't give you your money back, cut your losses, and move on, knowing that they won't survive long in this business anyways.

        Just my two cents.
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  • Profile picture of the author RefundHost
    It's a dog with fleas, starting with the headline.

    People don't want to pay to LEARN HOW to be skinny
    People don't want to pay to LEARN WHY they are fat.

    People want to be instantly perfect.

    So .... in keeping with the above ....

    Find a local gym in your area.
    Host a CONTEST for finding "The Biggest Looser"type transformation
    - someone with PHOTOS of what they looked like before and who
    looks AMAZING now. Pay them a PERCENTAGE of your sales for use
    of their photos - and - maybe a video from them introducing the NEW offer ...

    ==================

    Before Photo | After Photo

    TIRED OF BEING FAT LIKE I WAS?

    IN JUST 5 DAYS
    YOU CAN BE ON YOUR WAY TO
    AN AMAZING WEIGHT LOSS
    THE HEALTHY WAY!

    GO TO THE NEXT PAGE FOR THE FIRST STEP!



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  • Profile picture of the author Mitt Ray
    Maybe you should.


    The problems:–


    1. The headline’s too long and it doesn’t speak to me.


    2. There’s no second headline.


    3. There’s not a single “you” used in the first two paragraphs.


    In the first few paragraphs the writer needs to make it all about the reader (create a rapport) and that hasn’t been done. After that the writer can talk about himself and...


    I didn’t want to read it after that.


    The White Paper Blog


    mitt@imittcopy.com
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  • Profile picture of the author MontelloMarketing
    Wow! Absolute worst I've ever seen. So many things wrong just between the top of the letter and "Dear friends"

    Wow...

    A firing is certainly warranted. Hell... a shooting might even be acceptable in this case.

    Originally Posted by Val Kilner View Post

    Hi, guys,

    This is a brand new site, so no testimonials yet (working on that at the moment), but apart from this, what would you improve? And how?

    mentalweightloss.org

    Thanks for your critique.
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
      Originally Posted by MontelloMarketing View Post

      Wow! Absolute worst I've ever seen. So many things wrong just between the top of the letter and "Dear friends"

      Wow...

      A firing is certainly warranted. Hell... a shooting might even be acceptable in this case.
      Corporal punishment is probably outlawed in most states...

      But you could certainly make a case that reading this could be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

      If you'll excuse me... I have to go wash my eyes out. With bleach.

      -Daniel
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    Val,

    I actually was drawn in by the story of the Asian gentleman who became the "mentor." However, this theme got lost later and I did not see any attempt to establish credibility by capitalizing on the story.

    I would like to hear that Das's wisdom is part of a thousand-year tradition that has kept ordinary people - not just yogis - in shape in his home country.

    I would also like to see reference to the ancient origin of your method in the headline.

    Dan Kennedy often talks about one of his clients who had huge success in the cosmetic field applying so-called secret ancient Chinese formulas for youthful skin. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of that product or company.

    Are you British or Canadian? If not, make sure you hire someone who uses American English next time.

    Marcia Yudkin
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    • Profile picture of the author JDArchitecture
      "...an elderly Oriental gentleman..."

      Really?

      It was already pretty awful but when I read that I definitely knew it was a lost cause.

      Right after you fire the copywriter, fire the fool who actually took that copy and put it on a live site!
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  • Profile picture of the author Enis
    I wouldn't want to read that, because no offense but the overall design looks horrible. Go get some professional templates and start working from then on. That is, if you want for people to start taking you seriously.
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  • Profile picture of the author CopywritingTony
    Nothing in my opinion is speaking to the potential customer.
    There's no social proof. No connection to the reader what so
    ever. I couldn't read past the first three paragraphs.

    I would also go with redesigning that website as well. If you'd like,
    I can message you the website.

    The weight loss industry is a 800 pound silver-back guerrilla... You need to
    treat your sales message that way if you'd like a piece of that $586BILLION dollar
    cake.


    Best Regards,
    Tony
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  • Profile picture of the author sdbagley
    I didn't think it was bad for a very rough first draft, but it was full of grammatical errors, and was a bit too lengthy.
    If it was me and I had already paid for the work, I would let this writer go and hire someone with a tad more experience to hammer this one into something less lengthy and rephrase most of it.
    I would redesign the site as well, it seems very "cold" and just screams "I don't care if your struggling with your weight, just buy my product."
    But I tend to look at things in a very personal way.
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    • Profile picture of the author om4457
      Ok other guys gave opinions on sales copy, I want to also say that website design itself isn't too appealing to me. Color scheme, boxes, small boxes... That green piece on border on right hand side... Text color combinations: red here, green there, blue over there, red again...

      Everything is just messy.

      And like Reflection Marketing said - "The first sentence is embarrassing."

      That's where I would stop reading completely and leave...
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    • Profile picture of the author Val Kilner
      Originally Posted by sdbagley View Post

      I didn't think it was bad for a very rough first draft, but it was full of grammatical errors, and was a bit too lengthy.
      If it was me and I had already paid for the work, I would let this writer go and hire someone with a tad more experience to hammer this one into something less lengthy and rephrase most of it.
      I would redesign the site as well, it seems very "cold" and just screams "I don't care if your struggling with your weight, just buy my product."
      But I tend to look at things in a very personal way.
      Thank you. A welcome reprieve from all the corporal punishment suggestions.
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      • Profile picture of the author Hans Klein
        Originally Posted by Val Kilner View Post

        Thank you. A welcome reprieve from corporal punishment suggestions.
        I hate to say it. I would love to be supportive of whoever wrote this.

        But I don't think this piece isn't salvageable without a complete rewrite.

        The entire premise of "Mental weight loss" is a hard sale.

        People don't really want to look inward. They tend to seek out an outside solution to do it for them (examples: Pills, potions, box food... or diet plans).

        They want to lose the weight without changing their lifestyles.

        For instance, the copy says,

        "Programs in our mind control our eating behavior, like in the case of survival program sabotaging our dieting efforts. Some programs have always been there, deep in the subconscious part of the mind, while others have been created by ourselves in the form of habits, eating habits when it comes to weight loss."

        This is way too complicated of an argument. It may be true... but it's hard for the target audience to swallow.

        That said...

        There may be something in the idea that there is eastern wisdom we have no knowledge of in the west that stops hunger. You stop the hunger... you lose the weight.

        Something you might do is... if you don't have the budget for an experienced copywriter is:

        A. Find someone willing to work hard for you (and with a willingness to accept critiques)
        B. Pay someone with experience in this market to give your guy on-going consulting, until it's right.
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        • Profile picture of the author arfasaira
          ok, here's the thing.

          My brother is getting married in 7 weeks, and in 7 weeks, I've got quite a bit of weight to shift.

          So I'm thinking like your target prospect here. Nothing stood out to me at all - nothing resonated with me or made me want to do anything except hit the back button.

          I thought the story at the beginning was weak and didn't draw me in - instead it would have been better to use some personal struggle and talk about the real fears and frustration you face as someone desperate to lose weight.

          Focus more on the emotional side of things - weight loss is a serious issue for some people and in the copy, you don't get that sense of desperation, urgency or total 'I'm at a loss and need help' coming out in the letter.

          And your bullet points are very weak. I know by your title what your USP is, BUT this isn't conveyed in your copy very well at all. Why will your product work where others have failed? Give me a REAL problem/solution to sink my teeth into.

          Should you fire your copywriter?

          YES
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  • Profile picture of the author CopywritingTony
    As regards to the 'website' I mentioned earlier in the post. I was
    referring to plusminisites.com Their the best in my opinion when
    it comes to minisite designs.

    Best Regards,
    Copywriting Tony
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  • Profile picture of the author Harlan
    Originally Posted by Val Kilner View Post

    Hi, guys,

    This is a brand new site, so no testimonials yet (working on that at the moment), but apart from this, what would you improve? And how?

    mentalweightloss.org

    Thanks for your critique.
    Let me point out that your site is ILLEGAL.

    Please check the FTC regulations on Weight Loss Advertising.
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    • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
      Originally Posted by Harlan View Post

      Let me point out that your site is ILLEGAL.

      Please check the FTC regulations on Weight Loss Advertising.

      That ASSUMES he's in the USA, and anyways, who cares what the FTC thinks?
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      • Profile picture of the author Harlan
        Originally Posted by Cam Connor View Post

        That ASSUMES he's in the USA, and anyways, who cares what the FTC thinks?
        Stupid is as stupid does...

        If there is one government agency you don't want to start up with, it's the FTC.

        But hey, ignorance is bliss.
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        • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
          Originally Posted by Harlan View Post

          Stupid is as stupid does...

          If there is one government agency you don't want to start up with, it's the FTC.

          But hey, ignorance is bliss.

          The reason they're able to grow as they do, is because of the people who bend over for them like you.
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          • Profile picture of the author Harlan
            Originally Posted by Cam Connor View Post

            The reason they're able to grow as they do, is because of the people who bend over for them like you.
            Any potential client watching this exchange would be a fool to hire you.

            You don't care if your clients get fined or go to jail.

            Keep going Cam.
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            • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
              Originally Posted by Harlan View Post

              Any potential client watching this exchange would be a fool to hire you.

              You don't care if your clients get fined or go to jail.

              Keep going Cam.
              It's on now.

              It doesn't matter because Copywriting is dead. Part 2
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              • Profile picture of the author Hugh Thyer
                Credit where credit is due Cam. Regardless of what you think of Harlan's post on the future of copywriting he has been doing weight loss for a LONG time.

                I studied some of his stuff for my first weight loss campaign.

                But hey, up to you whether you want to listen to experienced advice or not. Just be careful about advising other people in this area. You don't want to send someone down the wrong path.
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                • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
                  Originally Posted by Hugh Thyer View Post

                  Credit where credit is due Cam. Regardless of what you think of Harlan's post on the future of copywriting he has been doing weight loss for a LONG time.

                  I studied some of his stuff for my first weight loss campaign.

                  But hey, up to you whether you want to listen to experienced advice or not. Just be careful about advising other people in this area. You don't want to send someone down the wrong path.
                  Thanks, I'll let him know if I need weight loss advice.
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      • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
        Originally Posted by Cam Connor View Post

        That ASSUMES he's in the USA, and anyways, who cares what the FTC thinks?
        You're kidding, right?

        I'm not a lawyer... but I believe if your client gets sued and can prove the copywriter (ie. you) was happy to break the regulations with abandon... I'm pretty sure you can get into big trouble.

        And I'm not just talking about a fine or community service...

        I mean prison.

        If there's one thing you don't want to do, it's give agencies like the FTC a reason to come after you.

        -Daniel
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        • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
          Banned
          Originally Posted by Daniel Scott View Post

          You're kidding, right?

          I'm not a lawyer... but I believe if your client gets sued and can prove the copywriter (ie. you) was happy to break the regulations with abandon... I'm pretty sure you can get into big trouble.

          And I'm not just talking about a fine or community service...

          I mean prison.

          If there's one thing you don't want to do, it's give agencies like the FTC a reason to come after you.

          -Daniel
          You're right. It also doesn't matter if you're physically in The U.S. or not. If you're targeting the American market you're liable and can be pursued by the FTC - especially if your country has extradition agreements with The United States. I checked with Bob Silber on this (the eminent I.M. lawyer).

          So for Cam to say "Who cares what the FTC thinks"...
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  • Profile picture of the author Mel White
    I think you're going to run into some trouble with this section of the copy:
    When I first heard of these simple methods, I must admit, they sounded a bit esoteric to me. I thought they were like a part of Eastern wisdom, some hidden knowledge that we are only now rediscovering.
    I decided to dig deeper and found that I was partially right.
    PARTIALLY because they are not just Eastern concepts, but have been known in the West.
    And RIGHT because they are being rediscovered now and taken seriously by science.
    I was pleasantly surprised when I found that all these mental weight loss methods have been recently studied by scientific researchers in the West and proven to be effective.
    Modern science confirmed old knowledge from its position of scientific analysis and you will find references to these studies in the guide.



    Unless you have some papers on PubMed that back this up (links to them) and you're sure that your method is THEIR method (selecting patients, the script, etc) this is not a good claim to make. On the other hand, if you have the titles of supporting PubMed and journal articles (and make sure you're not misinterpreting the results) then do link them.
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  • Profile picture of the author The Magician
    It looks like your copywriter has the basic rhythm of the sales letter down. However, the headline is a mess. Also, he shouldn't use blue as the color to emphasize words. 14 or 16 pt Georgia, bold and red, would stand out more. Finally, there doesn't seem to be a sense of urgency in the calls to action. Hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author TracyNeedham
    Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

    It's better to ask forgiveness than permission.
    Last time I checked, "forgiveness" wasn't on the menu at the FTC.
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