Ben Settle

  • Novelist
  • Anti-professional
  • Author
  • Email Specialist

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Filed under: Email Marketing

Your similitudes are a trifle earthy, but your meaning is clear

- Mr. Brink
On Borrowed Time

One of my favorite “Sunday night insomnia” movies is:

“On Borrowed Time”

It’s kinda like a “Twighlight Zone” tale.

Basically, it’s about this old man who tricks the grim reaper up into his apple tree on his property, and traps him there (with all the repercussions of such a thing having to be dealt with – nothing and nobody dying, etc).

End spoiler.

Here’s why I bring it up:

Mr. Brink (the grim reaper) is talking to the old man’s grandson who likes to make up words on the spot. But, even though the the boy makes up his own words, the meaning of those words are clearly understood — which the grim reaper tells him.

The point?

This is how the human brain works.

It fills in the gaps when you’re communicating.

There have even been readership studies done showing entire paragraphs of words could be read, even if they were spelled wrong as long as the beginning and ending letters were consistent with words people already know.

Well, something like that.

What’s important is realizing this:

You can (and should) create your own words.

Or, if you don’t have the time, inclination, creativity or desire to create your own… then simply borrow slang from other cultures, countries and languages.

I do this all the time.

And, you should, too.

I’ll even make it easy on you.

The August “Email Players” issue has a swipe file of such words.

Use it.

Abuse it.

And, yes, profit from it.

Subscribe before it mails here:

Ben Settle

Filed under: Email Marketing

A little while back my pal Doberman Dan found out why some of his emails weren’t getting delivered to big parts of his list:


We’re not talking f-bombs here, though.

We’re talking about relatively mild words.

In fact, here is what he was told:

Cablevision, a corporation operating a few different ISPs most notable being Optonline, began blocking a few choice words from arriving in their customer’s inboxes. Those words include “Shit” and “Pissed”.

How about that?

Didn’t see that one coming, didya?

Anyway, this is why I often find it amusing when online marketers try to sound “tough” and “cool” by swearing like drunken sailors.

When really, most of them sound like idiots at best.

And, fake at worst.

(Yes, I occasionally use a bit of profanity at times — but there’s always a point to it, to bring attention to something or for entertainment value, not to do it just for the sake of it)

The solution?

It’s like I told Dan:

If you must swear, create your own swear words.

Or, better, use foreign slang swear words.

They make emails more fun to read.

And, if done right, more profitable, too.


You don’t know any?

Worry ye not, babycakes.

Because the August “Email Players” issue contains a slang swipe file specifically designed for making your emails more fun, more entertaining and more profitable.

And before you even ask:

Yes, this stuff gets by the ISP nazis.

Anyway, I use this stuff in various markets.

And now you can, too.

That is, if you subscribe in time.

She goes to the printer next week.

Here’s where to subscribe:

Ben Settle


I recently was informed by someone who claims to be an “expert” at conversions and sales funnels that I should turn all my sales letters into VSL’s (video sales letters) because, and I quote:

video sales letters always out convert text sales letters.


Is that right, Chachi?

I think not.

Yes, VSL’s can kill it in sales.

And, many do.

But, anyone saying they are “always” better is either lying to you (and has some kind of agenda) or is simply ignorant.


Alright, how about these mangoes:

Waaaaaay back in 2007 I wrote a sales letter for a manual called “Magnetic Sponsoring”. When hanging at the “No Excuses Summit” in Vegas last month to speak/train the nubile marketing minds attending about email marketing, I got to talking to the guys who run the business that sells that book. And they told me that sales letter, some 7 years later, is still chugging along, kicking butt, nearly unchanged — and has racked up a multi-million dollar sale count over the years.

Naturally, their team is always trying to make it convert better.

And, one of the things they’ve done is test a VSL against it.

The result?

My “plain Jane” text sales letter crushed the VSL.

And that’s just one (of many) examples.

So to all the VSL nazis out there:

Quit being dorks.

There is no one size fits all anything.

And, yes, that’s free advice.


This is the beauty of email.

I have found in many cases if you do email the way I command you to do it, it almost doesn’t matter what sales letter format you use. In fact, my droogie Jim Yaghi has told me repeatedly he will often use my email methodology to send people to a plain order form and still make lots of sales. (And when we partnered in the weight loss niche, we could never get one format to pull better than the other – presumably because the emails were doing the bulk of the selling to our warm list.)

No, I’m not saying forget sales letters.

I’m saying email can do a lot of the heavy lifting.

And, is perfect for people who hate writing long offers.

(Or who simply suck at it.)

To learn my email system, read the *text* letter here:

Ben Settle

Filed under: Email Marketing

Contrary to what the mush cookie marketers think:

Email opt outs are not bad.

They’re good.

Sometimes very good.

And there are practical, financial and profitable reasons for this I’ve covered (just go to my blog and type in “unsubscribes” in the search box) — making each unsubscribe you get an event to be celebrated, not weeped over.

There’s also a mental side to this.

For example:

Are you worried you lost a subscriber?

Then you need to adjust that sad sack attitude of yours and start realizing the value you bring to your market.

Here’s my attitude:

When someone opts out, I didn’t lose a subscriber.

A subscriber lost me.

I’ve lost nothing.

They, on the other hand, have lost an ongoing free education on email marketing, copywriting, sales, persuasion, etc.

What have I lost if someone leaves?


Frankly I often remove people without them knowing.

My list is constantly on “probation.

You step out of line, you make one false move, or start getting pissy with me, you’re outta here.

And don’t think you’re the first.

Ever see “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”?

It describes “the attitude”:

The attitude dictates that you don’t care whether she comes, stays, lays, or prays. I mean whatever happens, your toes are still tappin’. Now when you got that, then you have the attitude.

That’s the way to look at your list.

Yes, you really want to help the people on it.

Yes, you want to grow it.

And, yes, you want to sell to it.

But whether it grows, stays, lays or pays your feet are tappin’.

That’s the attitude to have.

And you know what?

It comes naturally from using my system.

When you email daily.

And, when you see the results.

More info here:

Ben Settle


This is for ye olde “Zombie Cop” fans:

As of a few hours ago I’m officially 50% done with the sequel first draft which I call, “Vampire Apocalypse”. If all goes well, it’ll be done by next Sunday and then I’ll let it sit until after Labor Day. The original plan was to write it in 7 days (2 chapters per day), but the writing quality suffered and my attention span sucks out loud.

So, I dialed it back to 1 chapter per day.


I think (and I’m right) anyone who does copywriting – whether you write copy for clients or yourself — should write a novel.

Doesn’t have to be deranged like mine.

But for one, it’s tremendous fun.

And secondly, it’ll help your sales copy in all kinds of ways. (Creating better storytelling, pace, intrigue, etc…)

It ain’t nearly as hard as you might think, either.

Simply write one chapter per day.

Takes maybe an hour and a half (give or take).

Before you know it, it’s done.

I have no idea how other people do it, but for me the key is to treat the first draft like a rough sketch a comic book artist does when drawing a character.

They literally start with a stick figure.

No bells or whistles.

No detail or shading or anything.

Just scribbles and lines and stick figures.

Then, they go back and tighten up lines, erase stuff, add stuff, maybe put some shading in, vary the line width, add color, yada yada yada… it may end up not looking like what you originally planned to draw, or it could be exactly it.

But that first sketch?

Just lines and gestures and scribbles.

And that’s exactly how to write fiction quickly.

Just brain fart whatever comes out on the page.

Most of it will make no sense to anyone but you.

(As I keep telling people who want to proof read it as I write it – it ain’t ready yet, not by a long shot.)

And that’s fine.

That’s what the second draft is for.

Then the third draft.

And the fourth…

Each draft you fill stuff in, take stuff out, “zoom in” on other parts, get whole new ideas to add, and so on. What I’m gonna do is 10 drafts. The first 5 I’ll read through silently. And the next 5 I’ll read out loud — just like I do with sales letters.

Then it’s off to the editor and cover artist.

Anyway, Vampire Apocalypse should be ready before Christmas.

In the meantime:

If you want to read “Zombie Cop” before then, it’s on Amazon. It’s gotten great reviews from a lot of people I respect who actually read it and didn’t just give me a “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” review. A lot of reviews talk about how they don’t usually read these kinds of books but really enjoyed it and read it in a couple days.

It’s just $2.99 on Kindle.

We also have an audio and print book version.

You can also read the 1st chapter free.

Here’s the link:

Ben Settle

P.S. If you already read “Zombie Cop” and haven’t yet left a review, I’d be eternally grateful if you did.

Doesn’t have to be a long one, either.

Can be just a quick “here’s what I thought” of it.

Every review helps.

And, helps others decide if they should read it or not.

This time on “The Ben Settle Show” we reveal:

  • How to “ethically trick” clients into writing most of your sales letters for you.
  • What exact kind of movies the most successful copywriters see at the theater, and how to use this unusual secret to make your ads more persuasive.
  • How to write ads that nab a ton of sales even if you don’t know jack about “copywriting.”
  • A little-known place (used by all the big TV companies) where you can get an in-depth analysis of your market. (Everything you would ever want to know to sell them… if they so much as take a dump at 4:00 each day, you’ll know about it…)
  • How even a raw newbie copywriter can write ads that beat the pants off copy written by better and more experienced copywriters.
  • Dan Kennedy’s market analysis “cheat sheet.”
  • A sneaky little way to use insomnia to give your sales letters more persuasive “pop.”
  • Why so many Americans are frustrated and angry.
  • The only question you should ever ask in a marketing survey if you want intel you can use to actually sell with.
  • And lots, lots more…

Download your Ben Settle Show goodies here:

Ben Settle

Once upon a time I created a product called:

“The Copywriting Grab Bag”

(Don’t worry tiger, I’m not gonna pitch it in this email.)

And a big part of the product is transcribed interviews with some of the best copywriters on the planet — including a couple true “A-list” copywriters David Deutsch and Doug D’anna.

But, here’s what interesting about those two:

They didn’t really talk about ninja tricks.

Or NLP techniques.

Or so-called “forbidden” techniques, etc.

Or, really, anything a lot of copywriting fanboys get excited about when they talk about copywriting.

What did they talk a lot about then?

Survey says:

The market.

Yes, the market.

That was probably 90% of what they both talked about.

In fact, here’s what David Deutsch admits in his interview:

Some of the best writers I know don’t really think about the craft of writing so much. A lot of the good writers when you try to talk to them about the techniques, and what techniques they use, I find they talk about the market they’re writing to. You’ll say, ‘Well you what did you do in this package, how did you do this?’ And you want them to tell you how they used words that only end in the letter ‘b’ or something. Some very technical little trick or they used a lot of verbs or something. But they say, ‘Well, I really looked at the market and I saw that what they’re thinking is they’re really frustrated with this…’ and they just talk about the market and the market and the market. It’s like when are you going to talk about writing? And they are talking about writing. That’s where the writing comes from and springs from.

Just something to chew on, copywriter.

And guess what?

Tomorrow’s “Ben Settle Show” is all about how to get inside your markets’ head, find out what makes them tick, and know *exactly* what they want you to sell them (and exactly *how* they want you to sell them).

Very powerful stuff.

And, it’s free, too.

So don’t touch that dial.

I’ll let you know when it’s up tomorrow.

To kill some time before then, check out past shows here:

Ben Settle

So next week I’m doing my bit to spread the word about the Titans Of Direct Response shin-dig happening in September.

All the “whose-who” of old school masters will be there.

It’s like assembling the friggin Avengers of marketing.

And Brian Kurtz (Executive VP of Boardroom, one of the biggest direct mail companies on the planet) is the Nick Fury doing the assembling of guys like:

  • Gary Bencivenga
  • Ken McCarthy
  • Jay Abraham
  • Dan Kennedy
  • David Deutsch
  • Parris Lampropoulos

And the list goes on…

Anyway, here’s the point:

I won’t be making it.

But, I still wanna spread the word about it.

And so, I’m gonna interview Brian Kurtz about some things I’ve always wanted to ask him and share it with my list. The way I see it, this dude has probably forgotten more about direct response than any of us whipper-snappers will ever begin to know.

The test results ALONE he’s seen are worth gold.

After all, Boardroom hires nothing but the best copywriters.

Tests everything up the whazzoo.

And, there’s a reason all the top marketers on the planet hop on Boardroom’s list just to study their ads, their funnels, their customer service, their offers, their USP’s, and everything in between.

But what about you?

Any questions you want me to ask Brian on your behalf?

All questions are game.

Nothing is “taboo.”

And, I’ll squeeze as many in as I can.

In fact, I’ll also do this:

If you ask a question I end up using during the call, I’ll cite your full name and URL along with your question.

Who knows?

Could get ya some trafficage.

Submit your question(s) at:


Ben Settle

P.S. It won’t be a live call, so there’s no registration required to hear it. We are going to talk next week, record it and transcribe it. Then, I’ll post it online free, yours for the taking.

And before you even ask…

This ain’t an affiliate thing.

They offered to give me an affiliate link.

But, I declined.

I just really want to “meet” Brian Kurtz (even if by phone) and geek out with him about marketing, and share it with my list.

If you wanna geek out with us, send me your questions here:

This email is for players in business.

It won’t do newbies or spectators any good whatsoever — so if you feel left out, well, don’t be so selfish.

Successful people need lovin’ too…

Anyway, there’s a song I really dig called “The Boss”.

It’s by James Brown.

And, it’s peppered with arrogant and cocky language (how can you NOT like James Brown?) about how he “paid the cost to be the boss.” The context (from what I understand) is him telling his ungrateful band, “You ain’t shit without me and you know it — I’m the one who did the work to get us here, and that’s why I’m the boss.”

To entrepreneurs it can have another meaning:

A reminder to enjoy being the BOSS.

You earned it, daddy-0.

Now go enjoy it.

Take trips on a dime whenever you feel like it.

Drink imported beer and fine wines.

Learn a new skill.

Go on crazy adventures in Vegas or some foreign land.


If you don’t enjoy the fruits of your labor you will never live up to your full potential, because you won’t be forcing yourself to expand your desires and, thus, make new goals to satisfy them.

Anyway, if this is you, here’s my advice:

You paid the cost to be the boss.

Now, take some time off.

Spend some friggin’ money.

Live it up.

Your business will still be there when you get back.

And, you’ll attack work with renewed intensity and ferocity.

Plus, there’s a practical reason for this:

You never know when it’ll all be taken from you (it pays to be paranoid…) by your government, or when your freedoms will be further impaired in the name of “security” or “equality” or “the children”.

So do this, my little droogie:

Look in the mirror.

Quote this part of James Brown’s “The Boss” song:

“I’m a bad mutha”

Then, go spend some of your well-earned smackola.

Take off somewhere.

Have fun.

Maybe I’ll even see you in Vegas.

“Email Players” subscription info here:

Ben Settle

Everyone gets got

- Dante Nero
Comedian & Radio Talk Show Host

The above quote is 100% truth.

The context is about people who get hurt, screwed over, dumped, heart broken, etc in relationships.

(i.e. everyone gets “played”)

But, it applies to business, too.

Every single successful entrepreneur I know gets got.

It could be from being swindled in an investment.

Or buying an inferior product from a fly-by-night business, leaving you no way to get your coinage back.

Or being screwed over by a client.

Or being taken by a service provider.

It could be… anything.

But, one thing is fo’ sho’:

We ALL get got.

All of us.

Question is, what do you do about it?

Well, you can cry about it.

A waste of time in my humble (but accurate) opinion.

Or, you can learn from the experience and either profit from the knowledge or at least use it to protect your gluteus assimus in the future.

I tell people who get got (including to myself when it happens):

“wisdom doesn’t come cheap”

In fact, it always comes with a price.

Often a very expensive price.

(In terms of money, pain, anxiety, failure, etc).

And that’s why when you “get got” (whether it’s in business, as a consumer, in interpersonal or romantic relationships, whatever it is) the FIRST thing you should do is be grateful for it.

After all, you just learned a valuable lesson, babycakes.

And you can now apply it to your life.

(And use it to help others, too.)


Do with this info what ye will.

I’ve made lots of mistakes.

Too many to count.

And, I’ve learned from them all.

A lot of that knowledge I pour into “Email Players”.

Subscription info at:

Ben Settle

  • Novelist
  • Anti-professional
  • Author
  • Email Specialist