Ben Settle

  • Novelist
  • Anti-professional
  • Author
  • Email Specialist

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Filed under: Email Marketing

A little while back the Irishman who does all my web design (I trusteth no other person to do it) Keith Commins said…

He’s the Bill Burr of Email

When I first stumbled on to Ben’s list my first reaction was to liken him to the comic Bill Burr.

Like Burr he delivers outrageously irreverent material coupled with scathing social commentary that’s right on the money every time.

Love or hate him, you won’t ignore him.

And ultimately his message is delivered with such a wallop of whoop-ass’ing truth you can’t help but buy what he’s selling.

I might be a “skoshe” biased, but…

I agree.

Actually, I have never heard Bill Burr, but I think I like the bloke already… and, going by the reviews we have on iTunes, I think my Ben Settle Show podcast listeners would say the above testimonial was an even more apt description of the podcast than my emails.

Speaking of the show:

(And of comedians)

Tomorrow’s Ben Settle Show has a little surprise guest:

Stand up comic-turned-copy-chief Kevin Rogers.

It was a blast doing this one.

And, methinks you’ll like it.

I’ll shoot you an email when it’s up.

Tonight your assignment is to listen to past episodes here:

Ben Settle

Filed under: Email Marketing

So next week I’m attending a mastermind in Austin, TX.

It’s going to be with a group of blokes most of who I’ve never met in anyway, shape, or form (I believe out of the 15 of us, I will know 3 people). And, when the guy putting it together sent us all a sheet with everyone’s bios, one of the guys replied saying (I’m paraphrasing) “Ben, I get all your emails, I don’t read them all, but I save them no matter what.”

The point?

Yet another reason to sell *every* day.

You cannot assume everyone is reading every email.

(No matter how “awesome” they think you are.)

In fact, I think (and I’m right) you should be paranoid about this and assume the email you are about to send out *could* be the ONLY opportunity people get to see your link and will never read another email from you, and this is your only shot. (Which, due to spam filters, ISP black lists, the busy-ness of life, low attention spans, etc could very well be the case with a big chunk of people on your list who really want to buy what you have, really NEED what you have, but simply don’t know it exists if you are not plugging a link to your product every day.)

Would you screw around trying to “incubate” people?

Trying to prove what a “nice guy” you are by not pitching?

Or, would you go for the jugular?

Let them know your product at least exists?

(Even if you timidly hide it in the PS)?

I rest my case, Counselor.

So don’t be shy about selling.

Plug your product.

Your bank account and list (the buyers, at least) will thank you.

And the do-nothings?

The ones who won’t buy anyway?

They’ll opt out.



For the “how to’s” of writing emails check out the “Email Players” newsletter. Your subscription comes with a book that shows you the foundation of my wicked ways, and then the newsletter shows you how to build upon the foundation for the rest of your life to blow your timid competition out of the water.

Subscription info here:

Ben Settle

Filed under: Email Marketing

Let’s rap about subject lines.

Since it’s the second most important part of an email, I’ll sally forth with an analogy from one of my all time favorite TV shows — “Burn Notice” — to make it crystal clear. “Burn Notice”, by the way, is about a spy who is “burned” (i.e. blackballed) by the CIA and who goes around helping people in trouble with the mob, or who have been robbed, or need protection, etc, while trying to figure out who burned him and why.

It’s kinda like a cross between McGyver and The A-Team.

Anyway, back to subject lines…

In the pilot episode Michael Westen (the spy who was burned) wants to get the attention of someone he knows at the FBI, to get info about who burned him.

So, what does he do?

Sends the guy a pipe bomb, course.

(Well, a fake pipe bomb…)

Now THAT is getting attention.

But, not just any ol’ attention.

That’s *undivided* attention.

Just like, you know, great email subject lines get.

And if you want to learn a very simple and easy (very little thought has to go into it) way to write a “pipe bomb” subject line… one that is very hard for people to ignore (and resist wanting to open the email — even if competing with 100 other emails in their inbox) check ye out the May “Email Players” issue.

Frankly, this one works so well you gotta be careful with it.

Otherwise, it can work against you.

And, land you in trouble.

(Just like sending a fake pipe bomb to the FBI would.)

Subscribe in time here:

Ben Settle

I recently did some “informal” market research.

By that I mean, I have been asking men and women a question, and noting the reply to further show the differences in the way men and women think, ponder, and, yes decide to buy stuff.

And that question is:

“Would you rather be bored or depressed?”

Every guy I’ve asked this to has said:



Because most dudes (unless they’ve got some kind of chemical imbalance going on, etc) just can’t be bothered with depression.

For one, it accomplishes nothing.

It also holds us back from our objectives.

And, well, why so serious?

(Besides, how are you supposed to conquer the world if you’re too depressed to get out of bed…)

But, what about women?

It’s the opposite.

In fact, yesterday I asked this to my ex-copywriting apprentice, and she (predictably) answered…

“I admit it… depressed.”

Just as every other chick I’ve asked did.

And yes to the naysayers:

I realize if I asked enough other people, I’d have run into a few guys who would prefer wallowing in withering depression and a few chicks who prefer going mad from mind-numbing boredom, let’s keep some context here…

The point?

Don’t let the media lemmings fool ya:

There are stark differences between men and women. Women, as much as some may act like it are not men. And men, as much as many of them act like it, are not women. Two totally different biologies, secreting totally different amounts of different chemicals, with totally different objectives.

(Like wanting more freedom vs more security, for example.)

Argue this all you want, my little Droogie.

Deny it all you want, if you wish.

But, as a marketer, knowing the difference between the way men and women make buying decisions can put a lot of extra rupees in your chubby little piggy bank. On the other hand… not knowing (or foolishly denying) the differences (and how to exploit those differences in your emails and ads) is robbing yourself of sales.

Maybe even LOTS of sales.

Which brings us to….

(drum roll…)

The May “Email Players” issue.

Inside its not-so-hallowed pages contains a valuable lesson on how to sell to women (if you’re a guy and don’t think like a chick) and how to sell to men (if you’re a chick and don’t think like a guy).

Very important information.

Information that can enrich and enlighten you.

But, she goes to the printer soon.

So hop to it if you want in in time here:

Ben Settle

Filed under: Email Marketing

Last week got some cool props on Facebook.

It was from one Caliban Darklock.

And, he posted an image of his inbox, of the emails he sees upon rising each day, with all the other names blurred out except mine, implying that he just looks at the name and knows he wants to read it — regardless of the subject line.

He then elaborated:

“And here’s the fun part: I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a single email from Ben Settle where he ISN’T selling something. He emails every day and sells me something every day and I still open his emails every day. And not ONCE have I ever screwed up my face and said “he just wants to sell me something.”

A very important lesson is contained in this.

Did you catch it?


Then, I will burp it out:

When you do email right (and, let’s face it, hardly anyone does — mostly emails are deleted on sight unless the writer gets lucky with a subject line that touches a nerve), you will find:

1. Your subject line is almost irrelevant for many readers

(As far as them opening it)

2. Few people delete your emails

3. You can pitch, and pitch every. single. time… and nobody weeps and gnashes their teeth over it. In fact, people look forward to it, enjoy reading it, and, if they are ready, will buy from it — cheerfully, and anxiously.

In fact, another comment Lindsay Shearer commented:

(in the same thread)

“I don’t even see the headlines half the time I just see Ben’s name and think to myself what are we getting ourselves into today . Epic”

That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Now, before a marketing fanboy bursts an artery over this:

I’m not saying subject lines aren’t important.

They are.

Not just for newer subscribers who haven’t been sufficiently indoctrinated into your wicked ways… but for people who love your emails but are so busy they are tempted to save them to another folder “for later” (which may or may not happen in the hustle and bustle of the day). And for them, you want the subject line to get them so curious they can’t put it aside, even if they desperately need to.

What can I say?

I take pride in ruining people’s productivity…

So obviously you want to have irresistible subject lines, too.

Aaaaaand that brings us to the pitch:

Enter the May “Email Players” issue.

I included 2 (count ‘em… 2) powerful subject line resources.

One of them is a subject line “template” of sorts that, if you use it (and it admittedly takes balls, if you’re scared of your list, you won’t do it) it is almost guaranteed to get your email opened by anyone on your list who still has a pulse.

And the other?

That’s a tail for a future email.

(But it’s a doozy, based on click bait.)

Anyway, she goes to print in a couple weeks.

Subscription info here:

Ben Settle

Filed under: Email Marketing

In which the question is asked…

“What do you reckon of ‘canned’ email auto-responder series that can be bought and used for follow up?”

I’m indifferent.

If you use them and they work, great!

But at the same time, if other people in your market are using the exact same emails (or variations of them) then I would not expect miracles unless you’ve got an air tight relationship with your list.

That’s the bad news.

The good news?

You don’t need to be a mega jeenius to write your own emails.

Think of it like this:

Imagine you and your friend are in the woods. And out of nowhere Bigfoot comes barreling out of the bushes, frothing at the mouth, blood in his eye.

Ol’ hoss is a hungry mo’ fo’.

And YOU two donkeys are on the menu.

Well, guess what?

You don’t have to outrun bigfoot to survive.

You ONLY need to outrun your friend.

And so it is in emails.

By learning my Email Players system, you may or may not ever have “the best” emails, but you will almost certainly stand out (run faster) from your competition than by using canned emails.

So that’s my take.

Go ahead and use canned emails.

See if they work.

But learn to write your own, too.

At least, if you want to make the big bux.

Go here to learn my system:

Ben Settle

In today’s not-so-creepy “Ben Settle Show” podcast we rap about Dan Kennedy’s “Time Vampires”… and identify several types that are skimming the shadows looking to suck you dry of every drop of time you possess.

We also rap about:

  • The exact best place and time to have a meeting that (1) ends fast (2) hits all the agenda points (3) scares the hell out of Time Vampires.
  • What day (and time) Time Vampires are especially abundant on Facebook.
  • Why anti-freedom to bear arms activists are sick in the head.
  • Why a Time Vampire’s bite is more destructive than a blood-sucking vampire’s bite. (And why they’re even more seductive and persuasive.)
  • Why you could have Time Vampires on your team and not even know it…
  • The anti-time management “Uber syndrome” that plagues online marketers. (My ex-copywriting apprentice recently witnessed a half dozen IMer’s waiting 20+ minutes to save a few bucks on Uber when there was a cab waiting right in front of them. Somewhere a Time Vampire smiled a fanged grin at that one…)
  • 3 ways to slay the Time Vampires.
  • And a ho’ bunch more…

Click that freaky little link below to listen now:

Ben Settle

One of the best durned books I ever done laid my eyes on is Dan Kennedy’s magnificent book:

“NO BS Time Management”

There are many reasons everyone should read that book.

Especially the part about “Time Vampires”.

These are people that suck up your time like a traditional vampire sucks up your blood.

Yes, they feed on your time.

Will tap a vein and take as much of it as they can.

And, can leave you a pale, withered husk of a person — dried up of all energy, patience, and desire to work.

Anyway, Dan identifies 3 by name in the book.

But, you know what?

Over the past 14 or so years in business I’ve identified several more that are particularly gruesome, dangerous, and blood-thirsty for your time.

They are:

  • The Debating Dracula
  • Bride Of Debating Dracula
  • The Phone Calling Count Chokula
  • The “I’ll Be Back” Barnabas Collins
  • The Always-Late Lestat
  • The Nagging Nosferatu
  • The Count Of Chronic Texting

Nasty cast of characters they be, too.

But I have a plan for dealing with them.

And, tomorrow’s “Ben Settle Show” podcast goes into minute details about each of the above time vampires skimming the shadows, how to identify (and elude) them, and, even more importantly, how to stake them so they never drink of your time again.

Watch for my email tomorrow, Van Helsing.

While you’re waiting, check out prior episodes here:

Ben Settle


One of my droogies sent me some screenshots of a chick named Sammie (not her real name) complaining about me in a Facebook group. What’s amusing is, there are plenty of *legitimate* reasons to dislike me, no need to make any up.

But, that’s exactly what she did.

She writes:

“I asked politely to be removed from his list because his Aweber link doesn’t work, and he told me ‘I wasn’t even on the list.’ I am of course because I receive his emails, as unpleasant as they are. Avoid him. His threatening lawyer’s letter too is an absolute turn off.”

My assessment?

This girl is *tremendous*!

I even told my Facebook ad guy Shane Hunter I must get more people like her on my list. Yes, it’s true she asked to be removed. And, it’s true I told her she wasn’t even on the list. I can’t magically remove someone from my list if they already unsubscribed. And, my *guess* is that probably, she clicked the unsubscribe link, it unsubscribed her, and she didn’t realize it, then when she clicked it again, whereby it showed nothing happening. Thus, when I checked, it did not show her email in the system and she still thought she was on there.


But wait, there’s more!

A guy also chimed in about how he’s been following me for years, and seems to think my emails have gotten too political and opinionated (opinionated, yes, duh — but I rarely get political in my emails, she list does he be talkin’ about…)

Plus, he seems to think I’m aiming at:

(And I quote)

“beer-swilling rednecks with dinosaur-like attitudes to life.”

To which my girl above  again replies:

“…it is rare to find such extreme aggression, swearing and rudeness in the field of IM. Our world has grown up and refined mostly. I never accept heavy-duty aggression and my feeling is he is losing the plot and his business is sinking. Successfully people aren’t that angry.”


I have 2 theories about her.

First, as I have lectured my ex-copywriting apprentice about repeatedly, there is a VERY thin line between love and hate. Her hatred of me, for no real reason (the Aweber thing was just silly for her to complain about), *could* be construed as a growing passion and affection for me she’s desperately trying to hide and suppress.

If that is the case, I have just one thing to say to her:

I’m sorry.

No means no, “Sammie.”

It would never work with us, you are way too sensitive for a brash and aggressive Type A bloke like me. There is a mush cookie out there for you somewhere, though. You just gotta look. But the sooner you accept we can never be, the sooner you can move on with your life.


Now, off with you…

[Gives her a metaphorical swat on the rear… and sends her on her merry way.]

So that’s one theory.

My second theory?

(Which is FAR more likely than theory 1, let’s face it…)

She’s projecting.

“Projection” — which is what happens when someone projects their own fears, insecurities, pain, etc onto someone else, to cover up their own. (In her case, she’s worried about her own business drying up, etc, and probably is struggling, frustrated, and angry.)

Projection like this is common online these days.

Especially on facebook.

(Where mush-cookie snowflakes abound.)

On another note:

I would love to see these “extreme” aggressive emails. After all, they must have hit pretty close to the mark to get her all riled up like that, and I’d LOVE to see what I did so I could repeat the process in future emails…

Okay, enough mush-cookie soup for the soul.

Let’s move on to the fun stuff:

Me trying to sell you something.

At the link below, you can join the beer swilling rednecks and me as we take over the Internet using email marketing.

However, I can be a bit obnoxious.

I’m bound to offend someone.

And, well, why so serious?

Details here:

Ben Settle

Here’s a funny story:

Once someone asked me about what specific “real” companies I’ve worked for that I’ve helped in email marketing and how they benefited. He also wanted to see some examples of my work, saying if he wanted to hire me, how would he know I had any successes at all… and so on, and so forth.

My answer?

If I did client work, I’d go through the trouble.

But, I don’t do client work.

So, why would I bother?

Pretty simple, yeah?

Well, not for this dude.

He replies with:

“I think you’re a snake oil salesman. All of your “mysterious” tips and “secret” ways to make money. Did my homework on you. Not impressed at all with your writing skills either. Good day to you. I’m sure I’ll be “blackballed” or parodied in your email newsletter.”

Amusing stuff.

Let’s see…

1. He sounds butt hurt about all this.

2. If he’d really done his “homework” a simple Google search would lead him down a rabbit hole mentioning various clients, testimonials, experiences, etc. (HINT: When someone said they researched you, and gives no examples of what their “research” uncovered — it means they have no real argument or point.)

3. My site says I don’t do client work (he did his homework?)

4. He said my writing didn’t impress him, yet he’s butt hurt over the fact I won’t spend time digging up links, etc to show him. (If my writing sucks, why waste time seeing more of it?)

5. He anticipates being “blackballed” and parodied.

Well, yes, to the parody.

When someone sends you hate mail, butt hurt mail, or is being a troll… you should mock it.

It’s good for the soul.

And, can make you sales.

But, no to the blackball thing.

That’s for opportunity-minded customers — and nothing to do with hate mail, troll mail or just good, old fashioned butt hurt mail like his.


So much for doing his homework.

But, you know what?

I hate to leave the naysayers empty-handed.

So, here’s a little something for their tender eyes:

If you likey what you see, then go here:

Ben Settle

  • Novelist
  • Anti-professional
  • Author
  • Email Specialist