Critique My "Stop Smoking Sales Letter"

12 replies
Hey guys 'n' girls,

I've been hanging around the copywriting threads a LOT recently, and I've really learnt a load of great stuff.

I've noticed that a bunch of people have been asking for critiques of their sales letters.

So... I thought I'd throw one of my own open for you to tear apart, or raise to the heavens in prayer. Whatever, really?!

I wrote this about 2 years ago, and it was the first sales letter that I've ever written. I'd love your professional feedback. It sells my quit smoking system, under one of my alternative names.

Robert Temple's Simple Quitting System

Don't be polite either.. just be honest. Rip it to pieces if necessary!

Look forward to your feedback,
#critique #stop smoking sales letter
  • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
    Marc you lost me about 20-25% down into this sales letter and I'm your exact target audience having stopped smoking less than 36 hours ago, after a 16 year habit.

    In fact I just posted yesterday about giving up in the Off Topic section of the WF.

    My mind is like, get to the bloody point man, you're boring me to tears. Tell me something I don't know. Don't just lay it on - the old guilt trip. To be honest with you... I didn't read this for once through the very critical eye of a very good copywriter but simply through the eye's of somebody who might benefit from this offer right now.

    But truth be told - you just bored me to tears. Rather than being turned on by your sales copy or switched on to it, I just found myself yawning and wanting to click out really quickly. Pushed myself to continue. Managed a couple more paragraphs, got exactly the same feeling and subsequently clicked out.

    That's as far as I've got.

    Truth be told I'm finding it easier to go cold turkey giving up smoking than the pain experienced to read your sales copy. And that's saying something. Well, you did ask.


    Pete Walker
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    ** Deleted **
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    • Profile picture of the author vbcannon
      Hey man,

      First off, I like your creativity in how you describe cigarettes, BUT I don't think that's what the smoker wanting to quit wants to hear.

      1.) I quite reading after about the third bullet point. I did this because you just kept emphasizing if you read this letter you will quit the death sticks, also if you read the letter you will quit leaning on the 4 inch crutch. So I'm thinking, OK...where's the letter?

      2.) Your headline is too long and looks too Jumbled. Try something like: "How a 23 year Old Helped his 60 year old grandfather stop smoking in 38 Minutes and no he didn't have short term amnesia" (If it's true ). Or... Think of how you learned the "Secret" example: "How I flew into Vegas a smoker, and left forgetting I ever smoked." again, If it's true. Obviously these are off the cuff but they need to catch the readers attention.

      3.) You could have summed this up pretty quickly and said, I'm a hynotist, if you've tried all the patches and gums and they haven't worked it's because I am the patch, I am the gum and my secrets (until now), will make your future brighter, your lungs lighter and your life happier. blah blah blah.

      4.) A lot of the copy I don't believe. It's a little too far fetched. I don't believe it when someone says they've read EVERY big and taken every course on quitting smoking or whatever that may be. Or when you say the course is mega successful but I see no testimonials etc.

      I would start with these things. These to me are your foundational fixes that need to be corrected, then you can get into the tiny details. It just seems like you made the copy long, just to make it long.

      Good luck man. You can do it!

      Happy to Learn. Happier to Help!

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      • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
        Hi Marc,

        Two biggest flaws you have is...

        #1 You are wasting time in convincing smokers to stop.
        Focus on those that have decided to quit

        which leads into...

        #2 Why should a person who is going to quit,
        choose your method over all other options?

        Tell us here to see if it's strong enough.

        We may be able to help in making it stronger for you.

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    • Profile picture of the author MarcMilburn
      Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

      ** Deleted **
      How bad was this review that he felt the need to delete it afterwards? :-o :-s lol


      "Discover The Simple Niche Marketing System That Banked As Much As $4,928.34 In Just 24 Days... From Scratch!"

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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Murdaugh
    The biggest flaw to me is the complete lack of credibility/believability.

    You've helped 100's quit?

    And not a single case study or testimonial?

    Sounds legit, where do I sign up?


    Over $30 Million In Marketing Data And A Decade Of Consistently Generating Breakthrough Results - Ask How My Unique Approach To Copy Typically Outsells Traditional Ads By Up To 29x Or More...

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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Meaney
    I was actually pretty tempted to buy this...

    Tried to quit smoking in the past, never made it more than a few days.

    What prevented me from buying it was the lack of social proof, exactly as Scott mentioned.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Maschke
    I'm a smoker, and would like to quit...

    Here are some of my thoughts...

    1. 23 year old does not need to be in headline. Don't care if you're 16 or 56 yrs old.

    2. Hypnotist and addiction expert. cool. but at 23 years old? might give the impression you don't have a lot of experience. drop your age in headline.

    3. Add that people who smoke stink, I don't like knowing I smell like smoke and offending people.

    4. You gave good reasons for me to quit, but the reasons are not good enough to make someone to want to quit NOW. I'm thinking, "well, maybe someday..."

    5. Drop the "you won't pay $997" bit. the comparison to the price to your regular hypnosis fee is what you want to expand on

    6. Tell the reader what they can expect to feel in the future when they encounter a stressful situation, when they would want a cigarette, or what they will feel after they are done eating. what will I be thinking when I am bored?

    7. You need to be more empathetic, tell me what I'm thinking and feeling and I'll have a more of a connection with you.

    8. Expand more on your expert status, and remember, in print it will sound small. So you have to say it BIG.

    9. Let me know that even if I'm a 17 pack a day smoker that there is still hope for me too.

    10. What's it like to be a non-smoker? Tell me what it's like to take a deep, fresh breath. How crisp flavors are. how good the freshly cut grass and flowers smell. How bright everything looks, and how happy I will be.

    All in all, I think you have a great offer. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd put your letter at a 5 or 6.



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  • Profile picture of the author MarcMilburn
    Hey folks,

    Thanks for all the feedback so far!

    Just to add, I actually took this product off the Market 6-months ago. If you click the Add to Cart button it doesn't work.

    Obviously, as a hypnotist with 10 years in the trade (I'm 24 now and began performing aged 14) I was merely curious to see how my 'influence' would work 'in print'.

    Evidently not very well! I'm thinking about re-releasing the product at some point. It used to sell pretty well, but maybe I'll find a pro copywriter next time!

    I tried, and failed. I was actually only 22 when I wrote the letter, I just used 23 to future-proof the letter by a year... LOL!


    "Discover The Simple Niche Marketing System That Banked As Much As $4,928.34 In Just 24 Days... From Scratch!"

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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Sanchez
    Critique #1: It was alright right up until the "Why should you quit" part.

    I'm not even a smoker and I know just as well as any one "Smoking sucks bigtime for your health"

    This is a hurting market. They want a solution FAST! Don't need you to drudge up more pain....they've had enough - which is why they're on you're site.

    If you do you reasons, they need to be things the average person isn't aware of (

    Now all you have to do is convince them you can help them (credibility) and your solution will work for them (proof). Value is easy to build into that point...cost of cigarettes over the your

    Critique #2: The "You're Wrong" is not a good approach. Don't insult your audience.
    There's a differnece between "You're wrong" and That's Dead Wrong"

    Attack the idea, not your market. People have sensitive egos and the last thing you need to do is blast someone who already feels vulnerable and suffering with a "by the way - YOU'RE WRONG!"

    Instead, go into...'Here's why"

    You also have a unique opportunity at this point of your letter to point a finger at a common enemy: big bad government

    ...making loads of cash from the taxes of your care...the whole nine yards. It's why you have been misled! This could even be your major hook.

    Critique #3: Your bullets suck big time. Can't see them and those I do aren't benefits let alone desire building.

    Critique#4: You need proof mate...testimonials, pictures, case studies (you claim to have done 3 years of case study research),

    You're also missing proof for your claims
    - major flaws in other solutions...what flaws?
    - reason for your discount (didn't see it)

    Tiny edit: maybe move the "mega flaws" section closer to the begin...make it part of your you discovered what does/doesn't work and why.

    Tine Edit #2 - Certificate for your Guarantee...might help conversions

    Extra bonus critique: Your intro isn't bad...but it loses momentum.

    The answer to the first question is a definite yes (very good)

    But instead or building deeper emotional hot button seem to be making the questions more convoluted

    Ex. "4 inch crutch"? - does anyone really see themselves like that? How about the day to day guilt you feel deep inside when you pick up another cigarette...or knowing how powerless you feel to this seemingly unstoppable addiction? It's not just's pure unadulterated HELL! (great subheadline by the way)

    You know what? Talk to Pete. If you actually have a solution., he might be the first to write you a raving testimonial...and even help you with your copy.

    Hope my suggestions helped.

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  • Profile picture of the author Ansar Pasha
    Like everyone said, get to the point and PROVE your claims.

    Maybe diagrams, specificity, how the program actually works, etc.

    I only scanned it but I think the copy is too messy. The red background turned me off from reading into it too much, so you might want to test it against plain white, black, or dark blue.

    You should also paint a picture of how amazing life will be after quitting - more money, healthier lungs, more energy, and so on.

    If you've already included some of these things, my apologies, like I said I only scanned it

    Good luck,
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  • Profile picture of the author MissLizzie
    Hey Marc - I've had a quick look through what everyone else has said, but they've missed a few points that I would raise.

    Firstly, you really need to sort out the structure of your letter. It reads like a stream of consciousness and that detracts from your sales pitch. There have been a few posts about sales letter structure recently, so I'd look through the forum to see what information you can find.

    Secondly, tell me your story. I am absolutely intrigued that you learnt hynopsis at 14. That's really young and really unusual. Tell us about why you decided to do that, how your career's developed and so on. Not only is it an easy way to get people interested in you and your product, it will also help get rid of some of the credibility issues regarding your lack of testimonials and lack of believability.

    Finally, you have one or two really nice turns of phrase in the sales letter. Keep on developing this, as like everyone else, you will get better with practice and hard work.


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