Ben Settle

  • Novelist
  • Anti-professional
  • Author
  • Email Specialist

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Your Daily Email Addiction

Filed under: Email Marketing

A few weeks ago I re-watched a movie called:

“Secondhand Lions”

It’s about a shy, young boy sent by his irresponsible mother to spend the summer with his wealthy, eccentric uncles in Texas. And, one of my favorite scenes is when the uncles (who are filthy rich) are sitting on the porch waiting, rifles in hand, for a sales man to show up, who they promptly shoot at for kicks.

It’s something they do a lot.

And, the kid can’t understand why his uncles do it.

In fact, eventually the kid asks:

“Why not see what he has to sell?”

The result?

They start buying stuff!

They simply didn’t realize how fun it was to buy.

And you know what?

Most of us are like that — hostile to anything resembling a sales pitch… yet we still love to BUY if something fulfills a desire or solves a problem we have.

Moral of the story?

People are hostile to salesmen.

But they also like to buy.

And if you are one of the few people selling to your market who knows how to sell in a way where they enjoy buying… where they are not hostile to you… and, yes, where they *welcome* your sales pitches, well, you got it made in the shade, my little droogie.

Enter the January “Email Players” issue.

It’s all about storytelling.

Stories that make it fun to write your emails.

Fun for your list to read your emails.

And, yes, fun for them to buy from your emails.

Subscription info here:

Ben Settle

Filed under: Email Marketing

Finally, someone “gets” it…

Hey Ben!

The name is Trey, and I’ve been receiving your emails for a short amount of time now and just wanted to say, thanks!

Thanks for being one of the “rare” people on my list that I can depend on for realism!

Realism in the way the you write, approach an idea, and the way that you don’t put any fluff on it!

It’s in your face, un-censored writing that a person like me can appreciate.

And I love the end of every email too!

“If you are even thinking about swiping or stealing this email, I suggest…….”

(I have no intentions of coping them either, just saying)


Thanks so much for doing what you do and I look forward to the next email I gat from ya!

Hang loose man!

The Force is strong with this one.

You know, I cannot tell you how much it amuses me when someone takes that signature at the end of each email personally.

“Oooooh I’m so insulted!”

“Why do you keep threatening me?”

Or, my favorite, the blue-light special who recently seethed about what a “douche” I am… how no other marketer does that… and a bunch of other self loathing projection and babble.

My entire mastermind group laughed our asses off at it.

Especially when we saw his “IM scammer” site.

Anyway, I looooove when people whine about that letter.

I can imagine them now:

They land on my site.

They see the “swipe file” tab at the top.

They get a boner at the thought of all the copy they can plagiarize and steal and make money with the so-called “lazy way.”

Then… boom:

There’s no swipe file.

Just a letter about how it’s illegal to plagiarize emails word-for-word. Why they should sac up and write their own copy & content. And, the legal consequences of stealing. (Can’t wait to hear the squawks when I publish a JUDGEMENT letter. Heh.)

Good times.

Good times…

All right.

On to business:

The next “Email Players” issue shows you all kinds of ways to write stories in your emails that’ll make you a helluva lot more sales than swiping ever will.

She goes to print in less than 2 weeks.

Get in while you can, here:

Ben Settle

Filed under: Email Marketing

A Forex marketer laments:

Hey need to ask you about emails.

__ claims to send emails daily non stop. But after 30 days of poaching me to join his course. He doesn’t send me anymore.

Why did you guys keep sending me even though I don’t buy. But wouldn’t you fear that I’ll leave when you keep sending me sales pitch hidden in a story?

Also how the hell you come out with so much context? I’m in the forex niche. I’m having headache coming up with humor on Obama and mitt Romney and the recent printing money by the euro spoken by Mario to fight deflation.

Where do you find the hook? How did you bring it back to the round table of presenting curiosity to your courses?

Soooo many questions.

Soooo eager to learn…

First, I can’t speak for the guy you mentioned who stops emailing you after 30 days.

You gotta ask him.

As for your other questions:

“Why did you guys keep sending me even though I don’t buy. But wouldn’t you fear that I’ll leave when you keep sending me sales pitch hidden in a story?”


I don’t fear you leaving.

If anything, I want you gone if you have already made up your mind you’re never going to buy.

You don’t want to buy?

That’s your loss, Boss, not mine.

Go thou and opt-out.

“Also how the hell you come out with so much context? I’m in the forex niche. I’m having headache coming up with humor on Obama and mitt Romney and the recent printing money by the euro spoken by Mario to fight deflation.”

I study my markets.

I know what they want.

And, I use what I teach in my “Email Players” newsletter to come up with fresh, original, bold, and interesting ways to email my lists.


“Where do you find the hook?”

Again, it’s easy.

The subject line part ALONE of my “Email Players Playbook” (which comes with your monthly “Email Players” newsletter subscription) can help you bat out dozens of ideas without breaking a sweat.


The January issue includes a bonus DVD of a talk I gave at the home business industry’s biggest summit last June in Vegas.

Lots of ideas for hooks.

Lots of ideas for content.

And, lots of ideas for making sales.

Subscription info here:

Ben Settle

A reader asks:

here’s a question from one of the babes in the copywriting forest (stuck to the bottom of your boot):

So I’ve written a few email campaigns. 
A few sales letters. 
Even had a little success…

But I really have no idea how to quote a client who has asked for a VSL that’s the equivalent of 11 pages — 7,500 words.

I suspect I’m cracking the “bigger” leagues here…

But clueless and wondering:

“how would Ben Settle quote this job?”

What the hellz.

I’ll take a whack at it.

Here are my not-so-humble thoughts on it:

You have to take your “copywriter” hat off, and put your “salesman” hat on. It’s ironic how well some copywriters can pitch but suck out loud at selling. They can quote John Caples’ test results chapter by chapter and verse by verse. They can recite Gary Halbert’s newsletters backwards while juggling flaming torches riding a unicycle. They can rattle off dozens of A/B split test results as easily as if they’re ordering a burger at McDonalds.

But when it comes time to SELL?


Humbug, I say.

Anyway, what to quote?

That’s entirely up to you.

What are you worth?

And besides that, if I were you I’d start asking that client some questions. Like, why did they contact you? What happened when they hired other copywriters? What were the results? What’s the big “bottle neck” in their results? What kind of numbers do they need to be profitable, and what happens if they don’t make those numbers?

And so on, and so forth.



Root around.

Give them a vision.

Then, take that info and sell them.

Only then a pricing jedi will you be.

BTW, this is one reason freelancers should be emailing. Email the right way and clients come to you. Price is rarely an issue. And, many times they are 85% pre-sold on you out the gate.

My best clients were on my list.

Saw me demonstrate my stuff each day.

And, I was (by their own admission) their only choice.

See how that works?

Check out the “Email Players” newsletter here:

Ben Settle

I’m a classic rock kinda guy.

And recently I was listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song “Simple Man” — about a mother giving her only son advice about living a life of satisfaction. And believe it or not, much of the advice applies directly to you — as an entrepreneur.

Like, for example:

“Oh, take your time… Don’t live too fast, Troubles will come and they will pass.”


I used to be in constant “fight or flight” mode.

Especially when starting out.

Every problem was life-or-death.

Yet, most “problems” either solved themselves or were nowhere near as dire as I thought. And even though running on all cylinders 25/8 seemed to make sense at the time, it led to an almost 2 year bout of burnout where I could barely function beyond writing a daily email.

Slow down, my son.

Pace yourself.

This ain’t a sprint.

It’s a marathon…

“You’ll find a woman, yea yea, you’ll find love, And don’t forget son, There is someone up above.”

Faith is important.

And wisdom don’t come cheap.

It was tremendously comforting during some of my dark dorky days living in a cramped office (I couldn’t afford a real place) selling MLM door-to-door that there was “Someone” up above.

(So to speak)…

“Forget your lust, for the rich man’s gold All that you need, is in your soul,”

Swipers and copycats don’t last.

They’re too busy lusting after other peoples’ content and work.

Can’t be bothered to learn to do things themselves.

And, never make the $$ they could.

Be your own person.

Use your own wit, style and personality.

And master the fundamentals (I teach email marketing fundamentals in less than 100 pages in the “Email Players Playbook” — — which comes with your “Email Players” subscription).

“Boy, don’t you worry… you’ll find yourself. Follow your heart, Lord, and nothing else.”

It’s counterintuitive.

Especially with everyone telling you what you can and can’t do since your first day in the public school prison system.

But it’s your life.

It’s your business.

And, it’s your future.

You wanna squander it trying to be all things to all people… achieving everyone else’s goals instead of yours… and letting some idiot sabotage you with naysaying?

OK, ’nuff said.


Something different…

Ben Settle

Recently, I’ve been watching Batman: The Dark Knight.


Because it’s such a fascinating psychological movie. And, because I’ve been getting a crap ton of email ideas from watching (over and over — I’m compulsive like that) it for the various markets I sell in. Anyway, I’ve been making a list of email ideas just from the Joker’s dialogue. One of the more valuable ones is how he tells multiple stories about his origin, depending on who he’s talking to.

They all begin the same:

“Want to know how I got these scars?”

And then he goes into some loco story about how he got his “smile” (his cheeks each are sliced down to the sides of his mouth, showing a scarred “smile”).

Each story is extreme.

Brutally detailed.

And, completely fascinating.

Which brings me to my point, Batman:

If you want to write emails that people love to read and buy from, write stories that are crazy and extreme. I’m not saying to lie. I’m just saying, the more “heaven and hell” the story is… the more painful, humiliating, inspirational, triumphant, etc… the more readable your emails will be, the more likely people will click on your links, and, yes, the more they’ll be “prepped” to buy what you’re selling.

To paraphrase the Joker:

Whatever doesn’t kill your emails only makes them… stranger.

A lesson I learned the hard way, in fact.

True story:

Last week I had the privilege of having an ad I’m working on get jabbed, stabbed, shot, and tied inside a room full of oil drums rigged to explode by one of my favorite “A List” copywriters David Deutsch.

Turns out I was playing it WAY too safe in the headline.

I needed to get crazier.

I needed to (as he said):

“Go hardcore Ben Settle” in the headline.

And, you know what?

It’s the same with your emails.

Go crazy in your subject lines.

In your offers.

And, yes, in your stories.

Don’t SPURN me on this.

Do it.

Do. it.

If you want some story-telling guidance, then I got good news: The January “Email Players” issue is all about storytelling.

Specifically, 7 ways to write stories that have impact.

That can’t be forgotten.

And, are compulsively readable.

(And profitable.)

Subscribe here:

Ben Settle

Must be something in the water…

Over the past few months more and more (and more) people have been asking if I do private coaching, one-on-one coaching, or even group coaching.

Really, coaching ain’t my bag.

I’m impatient.


And have a very low tolerance for people who don’t do as I say, when I say, and how I say to do it.

“Yeah Ben, I don’t care!”

Well, I do, my little droogling.

My time is el-limited-o.

I’m involved in 3 overheated niches (writing sales letters and emails and other marketing pieces)… write daily for this list, plus the monthly “Email Players” newsletter… writing and marketing my own novels… traveling all over hell and gone to speak and train (which will probably only increase in 2015)… commit to a weekly podcast… have agreed to start writing somewhat-regular articles to another (non-business) website… am going to start multiple aggressive paid traffic campaigns for my own site… and the list goes on.

What else can I say?

I’m booked.

That said:

I do have a copywriting apprentice.

And, just recently, reluctantly (reluctantly!) let a new coaching student sneak in under the rope. But, the only reason I did that is because I’ve met him in person during an Oceans 4 mastermind (i.e. he paid $5k to attend) and because he’s like the “Rudy” of marketing — low on natural talent (which we will easily fix) but BIG on heart (which is nearly impossible to create — I’ve never seen ANYONE as persistent as him.)

But, even he doesn’t get much for his money.

(Yet, is happy as a clam to get what he’s getting.)

In fact, while my apprentice gets all the wife (figuratively speaking) copywriting coaching privileges and entitlements in my marketing “harem”… my new student is merely at “concubine” status, and gets only a fraction of the copywriting & marketing time, attention, and privileges my apprentice does.

And make no mistake:

They’re both on constant “probation.”

If either steps out of line, makes one false move, or starts getting pissy with me, they’re outta here.

And don’t think they’re the first.

Don’t believe me?

Ask my apprentice, she’s almost been “fired” several times for insubordination and not putting a tomato on my sammich.

(There is ZERO excuse for that.)

Anyway, so there will be no more coaching students.

The rest of my time belongs to me.

But, despair ye not.

This is why I write these emails.

Publish my “Email Players” newsletter.

And, do a weekly podcast.

They’re like “virtual coaching.”

And you know what?

The podcast has been especially valuable.

(I’ve been catching “flack” from Producer Jonathan for giving too much away in it. And, even some listeners are getting concerned about me due to my “no moving the freeline” attitude not lining up with the podcast.)

You can download free (for now) past episodes here:

Ben Settle

P.S. If you have heard the show and want to leave us a review (good, bad, or fugly), it’s mucho appreciated.

Filed under: Email Marketing

Got this ditty from “Email Players” subscriber Michael Cheney.

Michael is a cool cat who just happens to be one of the “founding fathers” of Internet marketing as we know it. (He built his first website back in 1995, and his first product did $250k — which is almost $400k in today’s money, and that was without hardly any of the same advantages, foresight, marketing tools, product launch formula training, etc we have today).


I recently did an affiliate promotion that was like the perfect storm. It converted great, the product was awesome and I was able to use my new-found Settlesque style of emails to push the message home.

Whereas other affiliates maybe sent 7 or 8 emails during the campaign I sent 19 (without a single complaint) – I’ll explain how in a sec. I came #2 on the leaderboard and made nearly $6k in profit.

There are two other affiliates I usually struggle to beat in contests. Using my new email style (and frequency) I was able to not only beat these two guys but actually shifted more sales than both of them combined.

Sure, there were other factors at play here. But make no mistake about it – 90% of the success of this promotion was down to what I learned and applied from you dude.

I was able to send 19 emails because I was offering “edu-taining” emails just like you teach how to do inside the Email Players newsletters.

The feedback I’ve had since starting this has been nothing short of incredible.

I’ve had offers coming out of the wazoo.

I’m on more people’s radars than ever before.

Marlon Sanders even called me up. My peers, my list members and my heroes have come forward in droves saying how they love my emails.

People are opening, reading, clicking and loving my emails. To say sales are up is a freakin understatement.

This has been a transformation of the highest order.

Thank you.

That’s all I’m sayin’.

To use my kinda-sorta mysterious ways, go here:

Ben Settle

“Ben why are you so anti swipe file? All the great copywriters I’ve read use thm you don’t use them??”

First things last:

I’m not “anti swipe file.”

But, the way a lot of people apply “swiping” online is far more akin to plagiarizing than swiping.

That said…

Swipe files have their place.

But, it’s foolish to cling to swipes instead of thinking.

Case in point:

Right now I’m working on a prostate supplement ad. And, I’ve got all kinds of prostate supplement (and other related supplement) ads laid out in front of me I’m reading to see how they approach certain claims, ideas, closes, offers, keep from running afoul of FTC laws, yada yada yada.

And guess what?

These ads are mostly using the exact same claims.

The exact same benefits.

(More or less.)

And, the exact same appeals and offers.

(“It works or your money back” yaaaaaaawn.)

Some of this stuff is mucho helpful.

But, most of it is being ignored.


Because I’m FAR more concerned about what the *market* thinks, rather than what other copywriters who are clearly all swiping each other think. The result I’m seeing are ads that look like carbon copies of each other… with each copy getting weaker and less impactful. It’s like in my “Zombie Cop” novel where when a zombie bites someone, the new zombie is weaker and easier to kill than the one who bit him/her. And, when that second tier zombie bites someone, that one he bites is weaker, and when that one bites someone that one is even weaker than the one who bit it, etc.

My point?

Most of my “swiping” comes from the market.

Not from other copywriters.

Anyway, so that’s that.

Go thou here next:

Ben Settle

Filed under: Email Marketing

Customer Xan Barksdale askeths…

Hey man, read your emails almost everyday and I’ve got 2 questions that I haven’t ever heard you address…

1.  Why don’t you use something more powerful than Aweber? Something like Infusionsoft?

2.  If you’re a die hard Aweber fan, why don’t you promote them with affiliate links?  I have no idea how big your list is, but seems like you could make a killing.  I know you pump Email Players almost every day, but seems like if you pushed hard for your readers to use Aweber you’d be raking in cash from that too.

Hopefully you can answer those questions if you’re looking for content one day because both of those questions have been on my mind for a while, and I’m guessing other readers are thinking the same thing.

Keep doing good work…I’ve bought Copywriting Grab Bag, the Eugene Schwartz package, and the transcripts to all your podcasts…so, I’m actually a pretty good customer of yours ;)

OK, let’s take your second question first:

I’m not necessarily a “die hard” Aweber fan.

I like them at lot.

They’re my service of choice, for now.

I obviously use them.

And, I get a ton of value from them.

That said…

I don’t endorse any one autoresponder company.

They all have their pros and cons.

They all are worth testing out.

(If you don’t know which one to use.)

And, they all have the potential to go “dark side” — either in user-friendliness, or by not adequately getting rid of spammers (which hurts everyone, as they can land on blacklists, etc that can screw with all their customers’ businesses), or by simply selling out some day to a company that ruins everything good about them.

Too much outside of my control to promote.

Now, let’s go back to question #1.

I don’t just use Aweber.

I use other broadcasting/autoresponders, too.

(Depending on the deal I’m in, what you see me doing with my stuff is just one “cog” in my machine, I sell in multiple markets and ventures.)

But for *this* list:

I don’t need anything more powerful than Aweber.

Especially when using Jack Born’s “AW ProTools”.

Jack is one of my “Oceans 4 Mastermind” business partners, a world class programmer, and also Perry Marshall’s affiliate manager. He’s also like the “Walter White” of marketing — always hiding out in the desert, cooking up software for exploding sales in his motor home, with smoke billowing out of vents from his office.

Anyway, Aw Pro Tools gives Aweber “Infusionsoft-like” powers.

It’s like bombarding Aweber with gamma rays so it can hulk-out, and is designed around several buyer psychology principles.

It’s also super cheap, too.

(For all the stuff you get, at least.)


You can try it free for 14-days.

Plus, I made a deal so you can get it at a 20% discount I usually only let “Email Players” subscribers see this offer.

But, I’m making an exception today.

Go here to play with it free for 14-days:

(And get a 20% discount if you buy)

Ben Settle

  • Novelist
  • Anti-professional
  • Author
  • Email Specialist