Ben Settle

  • Book & Tabloid Newsletter Publisher
  • Email Supremacist
  • Alt-Copywriter
  • Software Investor
  • Pulp Novelist

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Your Daily Email Addiction

Filed under: Business Building

Once upon a time, an “Email Players” subscriber replied to one of my shopping cart auto-generated emails saying he needed to update his credit card and be quick about it or would miss out on the next issue..

“This doesn’t make you look good,” he said.

His reasoning?

He subscribed on December 31, 2017 the prior year. And here he was, being billed on December 26th the next year, and assumed I was billing him 5 days earlier than when it was supposed to.

What’s going on here?

It’s like I told him:

When you subscribe to “Email Players” it bills you every 30 days, not the exact same day each month. That means just as it says: it does not bill you on the exact same day each month. If every month was a 30-day month, maybe that’d be different. But, some months are 31 days, some are 30 days, once per year there are two 31 day months in a row, and we even have a 28 day month. That naturally shifts billing dates around so things won’t fall on the exact same date a year later.

I always assumed this was common sense.

But it is also true common sense ain’t common.

Here’s something else I should add while I am at it:

Every single month, I manually cancel subscriptions with credit cards that have not been updated. Yes, I could chase these people down and tell them to update them. But I don’t have time for so-called “business” people who have the decision-making ability of small children where they can’t even figure their credit cards out, or keep me in the loop ahead of time if something gets hacked, and just switch it out with a card that does work (like they no doubt do with their cell phone bill, cable bill, internet bill, and all their entertainment-related bills), and then switch it to the new card when it arrives later, etc.

We’re not talking rocket science here.

But to these boys & ghouls, I might as well be.

And, because I don’t chase people down with this, and because it is a huge pain in the gluteus assimus to keep track of who is up to date and who isn’t after I send the list to the printer, I cancel those who haven’t heeded the shopping cart-generated reminder emails by the first of the month, and don’t allow them back.

This probably doesn’t apply to but a scant few people reading this.

But, since I was on the subject, I figured what the hay.

All right, on to business:

If you are a responsible grownup who takes business more seriously than an 8-year old child running a lemonade stand, and are interested in learning more about the Email Players newsletter, go here:

www.EmailPlayers.com

Ben Settle

Filed under: Copywriting & Sales Letters, Email Marketing

“She’s no longer a 10.”

So said your favorite President Trump while running for office back in 2015.

He was talking about former Supermodel Heidi Klum. And at the time he said it, Heidi was out of the Supermodel business, and was a mother of 4, and simply not a Supermodel anymore.

Her response?

She had quite a bit to say, it turned out.

Including:

“…[women] do so many things, so in my book, every woman is a 10.”

Clearly she has never read the description of the character Granny in my Enoch Wars books.

Whatever the case, here’s why I bring it up:

Heidi kept bringing it back up afterwards to the media.

Each time, she was visibly more angry, and more rattled than the time before.

All because he simply said she was “no longer a 10.”

The result was a lot of free press for Trump at the time, and his polling numbers shot up even while the mush cookies, white knights, and sob sisters declared his candidacy was dead now, there’s no way he would be elected saying things like that, blah blah blah.

Point of this is not to glorify Trump’s comment.

It’s to highlight the fact how, with 5 words he was able to generate massive amounts of press, attention, and, yes, engagement. And he did it in a very sneaky way he’s used probably hundreds of times — whether when haunting Rosie O’Donnell, fighting with the media, or mocking his enemies.

I call it “sneaky” because nobody in marketing ever does it.

And the reason they never do it is probably because they don’t understand it.

In fact, I would guess probably less than 1 in 1,000 marketers (not including many “Email Players” subscribers, as I have talked about it before in the newsletter), with all their super persuasion books and social media chest pounding about how great they are, even know what he’s doing. And lest you think this is some kind of inherently evil tactic because “TRUMP!” think again. This tactic he uses and has mastered to the point he probably doesn’t even think about it anymore, it’s just something he does… is also something the late, great Gene Schwartz talked about in his magnificent “Breakthrough Advertising” book.

I used it quite a bit in the weight loss niche especially.

And, when I had the opportunity to be a guest on a podcast with the late, great master of negotiation Jim Camp that David Garfinkel & Brian McLeod invited me on shortly before Mr. Camp’s death, I asked him about it.

After I described it, I asked Jim Camp what he thought of it.

His answer:

“You’re solving a real problem and you’re creating vision for that person of a solution to a problem they see clearly coming because you’ve helped them discover it. So all you’ve done is provide a solution to a real problem for her.”

There you have it.

Trump uses it.

Schwartz used it.

And Jim Camp used it.

I also use it, a lot, in my emails & sales copy, and explain it in detail on pages 17 & 18 in the July “Email Players” issue, along with an example of it from an email I used in the prostate niche.

And now you can start using it too, to potentially get people obsessively reading and buying from your emails

To subscribe in time to get this special issue, go here before tomorrow’s deadline:

www.EmailPlayers.com

Ben Settle

Filed under: Copywriting & Sales Letters, Email Marketing

A reader is troubled about my “Why elBenbo is slowly turning the planet into Mordor” email last month.

Let’s see if we can’t help this fellow out:

I subscribed after seeing your list touted as brilliant copywriting, only to find that you actually write unpleasant snark. Snark I kept reading, admittedly. I guess I was trying to figure out your talent for making me want to open your emails, even though they’re horrid. Then I realised there was no magic and no secret skill. I was just bored, and garbage is just garbage. All told, the experience of trying to learn from your emails is like eating rotten steak to figure out how it makes you shit yourself. So long, and thanks for all the ruined carpet.

I must be better than I thought at this email & engagement thing.

Apparently, I have the power to bore people into engaging with me!

Besides that, he’s confused about something else.

Following may not be “dictionary accurate.”

But, there was no “snark” in my email that so clearly rattled him. Snark is something trolls, haters, and cancel culture weaklings who cannot handle differing opinions do — and is neither entertaining or persuasive. It is pointless drive-by insults, abusive ad hominem attacks, and desperate shyt talking that pretends to be clever to disguise how whatever makes the snarker feel insulted, angry, shamed, or butt-hurt really affects them – often peppered with “LOL!” for further fake defensive posturing.

It’s all based on feels, bitterness, and dishonesty.

Thus, a lengthy bitter reply to my email dedicated to hamster-spinning about how bored he was, etc.

Which was, ironically, snarky in and of itself.

My Mordor email that gave him acid reflux, on the other hand?

It was simply lighthearted mockery about some blatant hypocritical virtue signaling embedded in a yahoo article about the environment.

It was funny to anyone not drinking the “green” kool-aid, and is the exact opposite of snark.

That’s why it made a lot of sales, why it got lots of engagement, and why it bothered him.

More:

Mockery is inherently funny & persuasive to everyone – except to those being mocked, of course. While snark is inherently nasty and not-at-all persuasive, not even very often to the people who do agree with it, I have noticed. That’s why nobody except maybe other bitter & snarky people likes or buys from snark, while mockery has been used for centuries by all the most influential & talented orators, prophets, politicians, evangelists, and gifted teachers to persuade and influence. Whether it’s the prophet Elijah mocking the 450 priests of Baal by asking if Baal is pinching a loaf somewhere when he doesn’t show up to light a fire… or Earl Nightingale mocking the proles watching TV all day by saying, “This is not an indictment of television. I have a couple television sets at home myself. I have a couple cars, too, but I don’t drive them around the block for 8 hours each night.”

Which brings me to the punchline:

Mockery is extremely powerful in marketing.

It’s also something I teach on page 19 in the July “Email Players” issue.

In one short paragraph I show you 5 tried-and-true ways to use mockery — not snark — to get all kinds of engagement and sales, should you choose to use this device to sell with.

The deadline to get this issue is tomorrow (6/30/20).

To subscribe in time to get it, hurry over to:

www.EmailPlayers.com

Ben Settle

Filed under: inner game

One of the single most engaging websites that has ever existed — until WordPress de-platformed it — was the infamous Chateau Heartiste.

A mirror copy still exists.

However, it does not seem to be active at all, with no comments, etc.

But the original site was like a giant, mutated tractor beam created in a secret government lab for capturing, keeping, and perpetuating massive amounts of engagement from friends and foes alike. When it was just about dating and didn’t really go too much into politics it was especially popular, from what I remember.

Especially his “16 Commandments of Poon” article.

One of said commandments being:

“Never apologize.”

The reason?

“…Apologizing increases the demand for more apologies. She will come to expect your contrition, like a cat expects its meal at a set time each day. And then your value will lower in her eyes. Instead, if you have done something wrong, you should acknowledge your guilt in a glancing way without resorting to the actual words ‘I’m sorry.’ Pull the Bill Clinton maneuver and say ‘Mistakes were made’ or tell her you ‘feel bad’ about what you did. You are granted two freebie ‘I’m sorry’s’ for the life of your relationship; use them wisely.”

And so it is.

It is also true in business, too.

One of the reasons the sudden incessant virtue signaling from internet marketers, life coaches, and other brands during the recent protests was so cringeworthy to watch was all the bizarre grandstanding & apologizing.

My woman Stefania has seen this apologize culture up close.

And it’s quite fascinating to behold.

In fact, a couple years ago, I sent her as my spy (no men allowed) at a workshop designed to teach women how to not be racists. And she said a woman she’d never met before apologized to her, and sent her $50 via PayPal.

As she put it:

“She came up to me, FAR too close to my face, looked at me dead set, unblinkingly in the eyes, and said ‘I appreciate you. Thank you. I’m sorry.’ and then like 10 minutes later I got a PP notification. It was very weird and off-putting to say the least.”

Truly astonishing.

And it was by far some of the best marketing research I ever paid for.

Not only did the whacky antics she witnessed inspire chapter 6 of the bonus novel in my “Enoch Wars: Omega Edition” book… but the reason I sent her was I simply HAD to know precisely how the chick running it created such a berserker-like following of obedient customers that eagerly come when called, submit to her every whim, crave her approval, and send her money on command — including, most recently, buying her a house, free and clear.

But back to all the apologizing internet marketers:

Apologizing is the worst thing you can do in today’s cancel culture.

It won’t prevent you getting cancelled, it’ll simply accelerate it.

And it will never help you, even if you happen to be guilty of that which you are being accused. All it does is encourage more attacks, more trolling, and more demands for more apologies. And it’s also something I suspect some of these internet marketers going for the Gold Medal in the Virtue Signaling Olympics will be finding out the hard way.

Anyway, point of all this?

There are many.

Extract them at will.

On another note:

I talk a lot more about the recent internet marketer Virtue Signaling Olympics in the elBenbo’s Lair insert inside the July “Email Players” issue — including a missed opportunity some of these marketers could have taken advantage of to make lots of sales.

To subscribe in time to get this beauty, go here right away:

www.EmailPlayers.com

Ben Settle

Filed under: Business Building

A little over a year ago, I moved from a small seaside town in the boonies, to an even smaller seaside town in the boonies I had wanted to move back to ever since leaving it back in 2013.

When I say boonies, I ain’t just whistlin’ dixie.

In fact, my new place (elBenbo’s Bluff) wasn’t even wired for high speed internet.

The people who used to live here apparently were content with the frustrations and vagaries of satellite internet and never bothered to set the place up for cable internet. And, it turned out Spectrum had to do a lot of construction — including running 150 feet of cable underground — to get my place hooked up.

The entire process took almost 3 months.

And, thus, I had to run my business almost completely via my phone’s wifi hotspot.

It was a merry ol’ time, too – mostly because of the dial-up like speed it ran at after I burned through my monthly hotspot allocated data, which made it so I couldn’t load most web pages. And it often took (no exaggeration) longer to load emails into my broadcast program and also put them on my blog than it took to actually write the dang things.

Of course, there were a couple places I could go for high speed internet.

One of which was a local bookstore coffee shop.

But it was a cramped and loud place (impossible to concentrate) with small tables and big voices, with spotty satellite internet just as frustrating.

There was also the library, too.

And, while it has great functioning internet, they don’t open until 10 am weekdays and noon on weekends.

But by that time, I’m spent working.

Daddy is an early riser type who likes to get crackin’ before the crack of dawn.

Anyway, why should you care about any of this?

No particular reason.

That is, unless you want the hope and assurance that even under near internet-less conditions you can still run a fairly big and successful internet-based business. As during that time, I not only had record sales in new business, but ran several product re-launches, affiliate campaigns, and other assorted projects – all from my phone’s wifi hotspot.

Maybe that doesn’t impress you, or maybe it does.

But, either way, there’s a lot of power in your phone.

If you believe the moon landing was real and not a hoax, then realize there is more computing power in your phone than it took to send people to the moon. And you can put a lot more power in that gadget you carry everywhere you go – to the tune of running nearly your entire marketing operation from it – with our Learnistic service, that lets practically any business afford to have a prestigious, $100k quality mobile app, connected to your backend and other marketing.

If your phone can put a man on the moon, it can put money in your pocket.

Whatever the case:

It’s been radically changing businesses since we launched it last month.

To get a link to the site, you’ll have to be opted in to this site’s mailing list.

I plug it a few times per month to the email list only.

Or, you can use Google to track Learnistic down.

Ben Settle

Filed under: Email Marketing

A Long time reader once wrote in:

I do email marketing for a financial company. Can I just say that split testing is mostly BS? I looked back at 50+ split tests of email subject lines, images, link types, etc. And in only 3 of them was there a meaningful difference in open and click rates. It makes me think that people who go crazy testing “sign up” vs “register” are wasting their time.

And when I look at revenues, you know which emails worked? The ones that offer good products from a trusted source at a reasonable price.

Everything else is nonsense.

When you split test dog shit, you just get 2 piles of dog shit.

Agreed.

I learned a long time ago the futility of screwing around with testing HTML vs plain text, or creating tables for the boomers with giant monitors whining to me about how “the sentences are too long to read on my big screen!” when all they have to do is shrink their email reader window… or using fancy templates, or inserting images/pictures, or embedding hyper links into words, or split testing subject lines against each other, or any of that.

I simply write, and send, and sales show up.

Takes maybe 10-15 minutes on average.

Would I make more sales doing the above things?

In my experience it’s never been worth justifying the extra time investment.

Even back in my client work days, writing fast and making my emails look plain text — like they are coming from a friend at a glance — worked far better than caring about all the new technological bells and whistles.

More:

Every computer scientist and engineer I’ve asked about this (who know how much discipline and patience it takes to do a for real scientific test) has told me the pointlessness of testing open rates as any kind of indication of sales, and how unreliable it is.

That’s not to say you should or shouldn’t.

But in my experience, whatever your preferences are… it’s far more important to be grounded in the principles of direct response marketing first, and in all the high tech wizardry second.

For example:

I remember when the Obama team revealed their campaign (2008) email tests.

And while they brought in something like $600 million in donations using email (far more than they did with social media, contrary to public social media goo-roo opinion), they could have saved a lot of time and money and energy by simply bringing people who already knew the basics of direct response marketing to do the emails, instead of bringing in people who had to “test” their way into learning even the most basic ideas I teach in my “Email Skh?ma Book” and the “Email Players” newsletter.

I reckon they’d have brought in a helluva lot more, too.

Ah well.

This testing indifference is one reason I’m the skid-mark on the underwear of email marketing.

If you want to join me in the hamper, go here:

www.EmailPlayers.com

Ben Settle

Filed under: Business Building, inner game

So read the great Ken McCarthy’s email this morning:

WHO bombshell:

Asymptomatic “super spreaders” is a myth.

The masks, the 6 foot spacing, the shutdown of the world economy for three months…

All based on unscientific nonsense.

Ken’s been saying this since day one.

And the insanity of shutting down the small business man’s operations especially never made any sense to me, yet was not much of a surprise, either. After all, even though everyone pays lip service to him, the world at large hates the business man. The business man is vilified. Lied about. Envied. And, worst of all, attacked for no reason whatsoever.

Attacked by who, you ask?

Your politicians.

Your attorney generals.

Your favorite big box business store or big tech company who sees the small business man as a threat.

Your lawyers.

Your judges.

Your gazillion paper-pushing bureaucrats.

And, even your own friends and family who continue to vote against the small business man’s best interests. i.e., voting for higher taxes, strangling regulations, more stoopid forms to fill out, impossible-to-follow rules set up to crush the small business man like GDPR, and other time & money wasting nonsense. Yes, even though without the business man they’d have no tax money to fund their silly little utopian dreams.

Not to mention looters destroying the small business man’s livelihood.

The point?

Everyone’s hand is against the small business man.

Yet the small business man is who provides their jobs.

The small business man is who pays the bulk of the taxes.

And, the small business man is the one making things go forward economically in spite of the government always trying to tear him down, place obstacles in his path, and tax him into oblivion.

Reminds me of Dan Kennedy’s “No BS Business” book.

There was a small business man overrun by taxes and mind-numbing forms.

Every day was another tax bill to be paid.

Another regulation to be followed.

Another idiotic “rule” to be obeyed.

Another loser wanting to sue him for any reason or no reason at all.

Until one day…

They find his corpse at the foot of his mailbox dead of a heart attack — tax forms clutched in hand!

The point of all this?

I am not sure there is one.

It’s something I was reminded of recently when, after some small businesses got looted, set on fire, and destroyed, never to be re-opened, the response from the peanut gallery was:

“Who cares? They are insured!”

All right, that’s that.

On to the business:

My “Email Players” newsletter probably won’t do much to lower the knife always against the small business man’s throat, but it can help the cash flow part. There are few tools out there that can bring in cash flow as quickly & efficiently as well-crafted emails sent to qualified lists selling attractive offers.

If you want to see the methodology I use, go here:

www.EmailPlayers.com

Ben Settle

Filed under: Copywriting & Sales Letters

True story:

One of the reasons I despised doing freelance client work, is because there were a few too many times where my copy was changed, “recut”, and put back together with some inane nonsense added — completely without my knowledge — in ways that entirely screwed up the entire sales argument, narrative flow, and consistent tone & voice.

Then, the sales were predictably abysmal.

Then, yes, Yours Unruly was blamed — even though it was in no real way “my” ad. It in some ways reminds me of what I’ve heard about the Justice League movie Snack Synder originally shot, that Joss Whedon was brought into finish, and that Joss Frankensteined and CGI-moustached it up (if you saw that movie, that Superman upper lip… ha). A cut & reedit job so bad, tens of thousands of fans just successfully used a #releasethesyndercut campaign to convince Warner Bros to give Synder over $30 million to make the movie as he intended.

Anyway, the point of all this?

I am not sure there is one.

Except, this whole #releasethesyndercut is almost making me want to go back to certain clients and tell them to #releasetheslackercut version of the ads I wrote, and test them against the ones they mangled by committee, opinion, or whatever.

“Slacker” referencing my Copy Slacker method.

That book is extremely expensive though.

And, while it will be on sale next month, the “prequel” to the book is what the June “Email Players” issue basically is:

It’s purely about the mechanical writing side of copy.

That can be applied to your sales copy, emails, content, scripts, customer service replies, and any other kind of persuasive writing you ever need to do.

The deadline to get the June issue is coming up in a couple days.

Here’s the link:

www.EmailPlayers.com

Ben Settle

Something to think about:

Back in January, a headline on Drudge caught my eye about the so-called “enemies of writing.” It was a piece written by a guy named George Packer from the Atlantic. And it was about how writers are more and more writing to appease the crowd vs telling the truth or saying anything that goes against the beliefs of the group(s) they belong to or want to associate with.

Considering the market that site panders to, it was one of those “the irony writes itself” pieces.

But, it was also useful, in a way.

Here are some notable quotes from the article to illustrate:

“Writers learn to avoid expressing thoughts or associating with undesirables that might be controversial with the group and hurt their numbers.”

“[The enemy of writing is] the fear of moral judgment, public shaming, social ridicule, and ostracism. It’s the fear of landing on the wrong side of whatever group matters to you. . .because popular outrage has more weight than the party line.”

“If an editorial assistant points out that a line in a draft article will probably detonate an explosion on social media, what is her supervisor going to do—risk the blowup, or kill the sentence? Probably the latter. . .So the mob has the final edit.”

And finally, my favorite quote from the article:

“…a writer who carries the thought police around in his head, who always feels compelled to ask: Can I say this? Do I have a right? Is my terminology correct? Will my allies get angry? Will it help my enemies? Could it get me ratioed on Twitter?— that writer’s words will soon become lifeless.”

This is one of the many reasons I left social media.

The dumbed-down nature of the like-and-retweet brigade was getting cringeworthy.

It was all about signaling and being liked, and nothing else.

I suspect this is why my old elBenbo’s Lair Facebook group was so addictive to people. It was the only place people could not only say whatever they wanted (within the confines of the clearly-established rules I instituted — like no giving value, no virtue signaling, etc), but I’d jettison anyone who tried to shut people down if they said something unpopular or offensive to someone’s delicate psyches or unpopular — including (especially) people I disagreed with.

The whole point was to foster debate, not silence people.

I seriously doubt there are many such places like that left.

It’s also why there are so few legitimately interesting email lists to be on either.

More:

If all you want do is write stuff that appeases the mob of psychopaths wanting to cancel everyone they disagree with, or if you fear being ostracized by your favorite social media sewing circle, or if being (oh noes!) called names because of something you write keeps you up at night, you aren’t going to be writing anything worth reading.

I daresay this goes for writing emails and sales copy, too.

All right enough of this rabble.

The June 2020 “Email Players” issue is all about the mechanical writing side of copywriting for sales letters, emails, sales scripts for webinars or videos, and so on. But if you aren’t willing to tell the truth in your writing and not only not appease but even horrify clients (especially if they want you to write “by committee”) & customers with the truth… you best pass on this one, Maynard.

And, for that matter, pass on being a marketer or writer of any kind at all.

My opinion.

Here’s where to subscribe:

www.EmailPlayers.com

Ben Settle

Filed under: Copywriting & Sales Letters, Email Marketing

Recently, I’ve been going through one of Frank Sinatra’s biographies (called “Frank: The Voice”) and it’s a fascinating book and very useful for marketers in my opinion.

And in some ways, it’s even more useful for copywriters.

For example:

When Frank was making his way up the food chain singing for free and taking any gigs he could to keep honing & excelling at singing, it did not take all that long for him to start making a name and distinct brand for himself.

As the book says:

“Sinatra was different and he knew it.”

Despite his Hoboken accent — that people didn’t really life apparently — and the fact he was the complete opposite of the singer who was “in” Bing Crosby, he started gaining a passionate following of fans, club owners, and, of course, chicks who couldn’t get enough of him.

All those copycats aping Crosby were helping Frank out without realizing it.

And they were doing it by making it abundantly obvious Frank was truly unique in a sea of sameness.

So it is in copywriting.

I remember the first time I read the late, great Gary Halbert’s book “The Boron Letters” being fascinating by what he wrote about copying world class ads out in your own hand to get a neurological feel for what it’s like to write world class copy.

And he specifically said, yes, you will start to sound like whoever you are copying.

But, he also said your own peculiarities will eventually emerge.

Unfortunately, a lot of copywriters clearly didn’t read that second part.

Over the years, I’ve seen all kinds of sales letters & ads — and this goes triple for emails, where it’s incessant — blatantly copying not just my style, but my obnoxious Midwest ways of phrasing certain things, and even whole paragraphs of copy, all out of context, and in a way that is truly cringeworthy.

These clearly low IQ idiots probably think they are “getting away” with something.

But they ain’t.

All they are doing is making it easier for copywriters who aren’t lazy bums like they are to stand out, make more sales, and build brands that stick out like an honest man in Washington D.C.

Which brings me to the punchline:

The June 2020 “Email Players” issue.

It’s all about the purely writing side of copywriting.

It can be applied to emails, sales letters, scrips, even content writing.

I’ve never taught this info before, yet have been using it for the past 18 years to bang out all kind of ad copy that has made a whole lot of clients (and myself, of course) a whole lot of rupees.

To get this issue before the deadline, go here immediately:

www.EmailPlayers.com

Ben Settle

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