John Carlton’s Simple Writing System 2.0 Review

by | Aug 21, 2019

What Is The Simple Writing System 2.0?

The Simple Writing System 2.0 focuses on just one thing: writing. The course is Carlton’s step by step process that teaches you how to write perfectly. Carlton breaks down his writing into a 17 step course that anyone can follow. Whether it’s blogging, email marketing, or direct advertising, you can apply the principles that John Carlton teaches you in order to convert people into buyers.

 Who Is John Carlton?

John Carlton is deemed “the most ripped off man aliveâ€. Thousands of marketers have copied his writing system in their websites, sales pitches, or direct mail. Carlton has a gift for being able to concisely write any copy with heavy persuasion, a gift that made him millions of dollars. John started out as a hot-shot freelance writer in Los Angeles, and soon companies began booking him years in advance. Carlton’s gift came at a time when blogging, SEO, and email marketing was still in it’s beginning phases. As such, Carlton combined his writing mastery with an emerging market to be the top copywriter.

John Carlton Simple Writing System 2.0 - John Carlton
John Carlton, a copywriting master and creator of the Simple Writing System 2.0

How Much Does Carlton Charge For The Simple Writing System?

The course costs $477. It comes with a payment plan option that only requires $99 down in order to get the course. Additionally, it offers a 100% money back guarantee if you try two lessons within 30 days of your purchase. “Try†in this case means filling out two pages of your physical workbook and mailing it back to them. There’s no mention of a specific refund policy within the terms and conditions found on the website, so be warned: this may not be backed by any legal obligation from JCSD Publishing LLC.

John Carlton Simple Writing System 2.0 Plans
John Carlton offers two different plans for the Simple Writing System 2.0.

Carlton also offers a coaching program, priced at $1,997. It offers everything that the $497 edition costs, but it includes 8 weeks of personal coaching in a “small, private on-line classroomâ€. The teachers are “hand-picked, highly-successful pros with years of marketing and teaching experienceâ€. Essentially, you’ll take this course side-by-side with your teacher and get feedback and advice as you go through the course together.

Both editions come with the following benefits: 

  • Simple Writing System Workbook- The course’s notes comprised into a 300 page guide.
  • Special Report- A small book on Carlton’s favorite “power wordsâ€, hooks, and phrases he uses himself.
  • The Marketing Rebel’s Insider Club 3 Month Membership- 3 months of access to Carlton’s exclusive group of copywriting support.
John Carlton Simple Writing System 2.0 Interactive Workbook
John Carlton includes an interactive workbook with the course.
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What Does The Simple Writing System Cover?

“If I had more time, I’d write less†-Ernest Hemingway

Simplicity is the key to writing. It’s much easier to write four pages of nonsense than it is to write a paragraph of gold. The main challenge marketers face with writing is deciding what to fill those 80 character limits with. It’s here that Carlton teaches you the best way to write: minimally.

During a Q&A session, Lorrie, one of Carlton’s trusted experts says,

“You don’t need to tell more for the sake of telling more. You simply want to be sure you’re overcoming their objections so you don’t want to leave important info out. I don’t think you should leave it up to them to fill in the blanks of the benefits they get. As a copywriter, you want to connect the dots for themâ€

In order to maximize a writing’s effectiveness within a limited space, Carlton follows a 17 step checklist. The course is the entire checklist broken down and explained so that anyone could implement these steps.

John Carlton Simple Writing System 2.0 Steps
The 17 steps listed inside The Simple Writing System 2.0’s membership area.

Before you begin to learn this list, Carlton gives you some advice:

  • Handwrite
    • Always write by hand first, as it allows for retention and editing history.
  • Meditate
    • Observe your five senses one by one to write with a clear head.
  • Observe
    • Be in a constant state of awareness, as if your life is a movie.

Once you’re ready to write, Carlton goes over his 17 steps:

  • Market Research
    1. Analyze the competition & size of the market
    2. “Hot seat grinder†exercise
    3. Ability to explain exactly who you are, what you sell, and how it’s beneficial.
    4. Don’t be cute, just sell
    5. Actually say something
      1. “I’m a parent†to “I’m a parent with three children. One in jail, two in kindergarten”.
John Carlton Simple Writing System 2.0 Market Research
Market Research is the first step inside of the Simple Writing System.
  • Your Avatar
    1. Break down your buyer
      1. Who are they? What do they enjoy doing? Etc.
  • Unique Selling Proposition
    1. What makes your product unique?
    2. Why do people buy it?
    3. Aim for the appeals
      1. Time-saving, easier, cheaper, better, etc
    4. Write for your average customer, not your elite one
  • Master List of Features & Benefits
    1. Differentiate between a feature and a benefit
    2. Write a huge list of all of them
    3. Utilize and experiment with your buyer’s avatar
      1. Ex: People who gamble are never addicted to money, but to winning. The phrase “score big wins†will have more of an effect than “win thousandsâ€.
John Carlton Simple Writing System 2.0 Features vs Benefits
John Carlton going over the difference between features and benefits.
  • Bullets
    1. The one-two system of marketing
    2. Commonly be seen in any click-bait article
      1. Ex: Double your profits overnight! (A surprisingly easy system that 99% ignore.)
    3. Every few “bulletsâ€, give legitimate information back to customer
  • Testimonials
    1. Get 2-3 testimonials to back your product
    2. Focus on the company/person, NOT on the benefits of the product
    3. Aim for those who are famous, credible, or have a good story
John Carlton Simple Writing System 2.0 Testimonial
One of the testimonial examples used by John Carlton.
  • Hooks
    1. Most important part of any copy
    2. Aim for any juxtaposition
      1. Skinny guy picks up this stupidly hot girl
    3. Create appeal and interest
    4. Look at any Buzzfeed article for more help
  • Salesmanship Mentality
    1. Sell with confidence, even if you don’t have any
    2. A great product needs great marketing
    3. Be the go-to guy
    4. Develop Your Voice & Story
    5. Make buying an experience
    6. Add iconic elements, something they’ll latch onto
John Carlton Simple Writing System 2.0 Secrets
John Carlton teaching the classic salesmanship secrets.
  • Develop Your Voice & Story
    1. Build Credibility
    2. Write in your own voice
    3. Use your own handwriting
  • Headlines
    1. Can be long or short.
      1. Ex: “I Quitâ€, by Halbert.
    2. You could easily rip any headline off
  • Sales Funnel
    1. Dependson your campaign (lead generation, affiliate, etc.) and delivery system
    2. Consider your shortcomings
    3. Push your offer
  • Huge Promise
    1. Magic vs. reality
    2. Appeal-O-Meter
John Carlton Simple Writing System 2.0 Appeal O Meter
The Marketing Rebel Appeal-O-Meter, a simple guide on how to value the appeal of and advertisement.
  1. Reverse All Risk
    1. Adding guarantees
    2. How to balance the risk
  • Turbulence
    1. Tools of action
      1. Urgency, limitations, time-sensitivity
    2. Add pressure
    3. Play the takeaway
  • Knock Them Off The Fence
    1. Use free bonuses to convince people on the edge
    2. The more, the merrier
John Carlton Simple Writing System 2.0 Bonuses
An example of Carlton’s own use of “knocking them off the fence†by including free bonuses on top of the product.
  • Your Close
    1. Appeal to the emotional side of people
    2. Be straightforward
    3. Write in first person

How Is The Simple Writing System 2.0’s Quality?

Simple Writing System 2.0 is very high quality. The worksheets provided are very thorough, and provide an abundant amount of examples and takeaways. Additionally, the course itself is very well filmed, with John Carlton teaching you himself and adding in extra pieces of content like history or advice. Most of it will be a high quality video of John teaching, along with screenshots of the infographics and examples he uses.

John Carlton Simple Writing System 2.0 Video
The course is recorded in HD, and features Carlton’s long time friend and partner Stan Dahl (right).

Does John Carlton Deliver?

Absolutely. The course is very thorough, and although rather short, it covers every aspect of copywriting that you need to know to be successful. It’s straight to the point, and the times that Carlton does choose to expand, it’s an expansion of insight and information. Carlton doesn’t include useless freebies like a paragraph of nonsense passed as a “Worksheetâ€. The course teaches you everything to make your copy the best it can be.

Will it make you double your income? No, not likely. But will you gain useful insights? Yes, you most definitely will. By using just a few of Carlton’s strategies, you can position your product in an appealing way to buyers. However, be warned, that using too much of Carlton’s advice can make your product seem too fake. Carlton shows you the exact same structure of advertising that any “As Seen On TV†ad will follow:

  • Have you ever had this problem?
  • Introducing…
  • The benefits include…
  • “Since I started using…†(testimonial)
  • Get our product for just…
  • Buy within the next 10 minutes and get…
  • But wait! We’ll include…
  • And, for a limited time, we’ll throw in…
  • Order fast, quantities are limited!
John Carlton Simple Writing System 2.0 Headline
One of the headline examples inside Carlton’s course. Although effective, it looks very similar to the headlines of clickbait articles.

TIP: Using the Simple Writing System’s exact structure can give off a cheap vibe. However, utilizing just a few of the strategies he teaches can work much better. Find out which steps work best for your product, and try to ignore the rest. Combining all of the steps can actually push away buyers.

Who Is The Simple Writing System 2.0 Best For?

The great thing about The Simple Writing System 2.0 is that it’s applicable to almost every type of commercial business. Carlton teaches you the underlying principles of marketing so that you can use it on any product or service you need. The course is really for anyone who is tasked with advertising a product or service. The system can be used in direct mail, email marketing, landing pages, click funnels, videos, or social media posts. It’s universally applicable, and can be beneficial to anyone trying to touch up their advertising.

Even those who are already veteran marketers can find useful pointers and tips from Carlton. Going through the course, you can pick up some pretty useful advice you may have not considered before.

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Is Carlton’s Course Worth The Money?

If you buy the $477 course, it is worth the money. The amount of value you get as a beginner is amazing. Carlton explains advanced copywriting with simplicity and ease – understandable for even the most unskilled of copywriters. At $477, Carlton gives you an immense amount of value for your money. It’s one of the few writing courses to do so.

However, we can’t say the same for the coaching upgrade. At 3x the price of the normal course, the $1,997 option provides very little value for the extended cost. The “coaching†is more of a distracted consulting session. Some of the teachers are good, and some are bad. 

Reddit user u/ZenNate, a student of Carlton himself, recalls,

“On one lesson, I made a certain copy point and was praised big time by him for it. And then a couple exercises later, I used the same point and he was like “WTF is this?” I was confused at first, but then I realized what had happened. He had forgotten a lot about my product and my avatar, and so had forgotten the subtle point copy point I was making. And there were several instances of this kind of thing where I just got the sense that John was not giving his students his full attention. We weren’t really getting coached by John Carlton. He was doing just enough to trick us into thinking he was coaching us.â€

For the extra $1,500 you’re paying, you’re better off just using a consulting agency to get more value and attention to your marketing needs. Even better, for $1,500, you could just get a professional advertising agency to do it for you. Use your money wisely and don’t get the coaching session.

John Carlton Simple Writing System 2.0 Coach
John Carlton no longer teaches the coaching side of the course anymore.


John Carlton isn’t the only copywriter on the internet. Despite his branded “mastery†of copywriting there are many viable alternatives to learn copywriting.

  • American Writers & Artists Inc, Six Figure Copywriting Program– AWAI produces a great copywriting course for the same price that Carlton charges. The course covers everything that Carlton covers, and even more. It’s widely regarded as the best beginner copywriting course. They frequently run sales, so if you sign up for their email list, you may be able to snag the course at half off!
John Carlton Simple Writing System 2.0 Alternatives
American Writers & Artists Inc also provides a good amount of free resources.
  • The Halbert Copywriting Method- Do you remember when we showed you a prime example of a minimal headline was “I Quitâ€? That was Bond Halpart, author of The Halbert Copywriting Method. If you’re looking for a cheap alternative, this is it. It covers most of what all of the other courses cover at $9.99 (for the online version). Save yourself some money and check this book out.
  • Tested Advertising Methods- Written by Caples and Hahn, Tested Advertising Methods provides a straightforward guide to copywriting. The book is even referenced by Carlton inside of his course. The book provides a solid foundation of copywriting while leaving out all of the flashy appeal.

Our Final Verdict

The Simple Writing System 2.0 by John Carlton is a thorough course. While it is a little pricey, it does serve as a very good foundation for any beginner looking to learn copywriting. It provides the necessary tools and strategies for you to evolve and experiment with your advertising. By focusing on the principles behind copywriting, Carlton creates a universally applicable course that any marketer can find value in.

Andrew Green

Andrew is a successful entrepreneur and lifelong learner. Throughout his career, he has watched hundreds of online courses that have allowed him to achieve success in highly competitive fields such as online marketing, investing, and sales. Andrew is committed to expanding his knowledge and expertise and he reviews the premium courses he watches on his online blog.
Overall Rating: 4.05 out of 5

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