Ben Settle

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

Double Your Sales With Email

World Leader In Email Copywriting Education is Giving AwayTips For Doubling Sales With Email Right Now

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Your Daily Email Addiction

A question about Facebook appears:

Just subscribed, thanks to Russel B’s Dot Com Secrets book. I love email, it’s our main marketing and sales channel, and I’m looking to up the frequency and regular sales, hence joining your newsletter.

Quick question: I just saw in one of your blog posts “Been almost 4 years since using any of the big free social media sites.” – We’re on them, barely ever used them properly, make crappy or zero sales from them and don’t love them, but keep getting drawn back to FB as a place ‘my people hang out so I should be there’ doing things.

We get 99% of our leads and buyers (Spanish courses) from word of mouth, our podcasts and a bit of YT, but how do I finally get the confidence/give myself permission to ditch FB? How did you give them up four years ago?

I ditched it mostly after realizing just how dumb it makes a lot of people.

In my opinion it’s the digital equivalent of the old west opium dens.

And a quick Google search will show you it was designed that way.

I’m not just talking about otherwise intelligent people who get caught up in the platform’s time suck trap. But it somehow manages to even dumb down trolls – which is quite the accomplishment considering they are already an emotionally damaged & dim-witted lot.

I doubt heavy Facebook users can really see what it’s doing to their brains, IQs, emotions, hormones, attention spans, or productivity.

In fact, they will no doubt insist they are different.

And that they can “handle” it.

After all, isn’t that what all addicts say?

But people who’ve deleted their Facebook know exactly what I speak of.

So here’s my advice:

If you really believe having a lower IQ, butchering your attention span, and catering to the dopamine addicts in your market is worth whatever benefits you are getting on Facebook then maybe you should stay there.

If not, get off there and spend that time more productively.

Like, for example:

Invest that time you currently spend reading and posting content on Facebook on writing and sending more emails, creating more offers, and doing high payout activity instead.

I have a sneaking suspicion you’ll make more sales…

To learn how to write emails that sell go here:

Ben Settle

A couple weeks ago I finished writing the first draft of my 9th novel.

Following are some insights that occurred to me during and after writing it. You may find some of them useful. Others might sound completely confusing. And a few will likely make no sense at all – with the last one not even making sense to me.

All right here goes:

  • Days off from writing weaken momentum like women weaken legs
  • Ideas are given life when writing, stories are given life when editing
  • Social media has destroyed more books than all of history’s book burning tyrants combined
  • The first draft is just a gesture sketch
  • Think chapters not words or pages
  • Hurry up
  • Write one chapter per day no matter what
  • Rocky Balboa’s “One step, one punch, one round at at time” line is perhaps the single greatest piece of writing advice never told
  • Start with a faun carrying packages in the forest and build from there
  • Whatever you write today will likely be completely different if you wrote the same story/content/themes/ideas tomorrow (i.e., if I wrote THIS email tomorrow instead of today, it would very likely be radically different, and maybe even something else altogether)
  • But don’t get hung up on that fact…
  • …Otherwise it could make you procrastinate or drive you insane with what could have been if you wrote it yesterday, could happen if you wait until tomorrow, or could transpire if you don’t write it at all and decide to write something totally different
  • Stephen King was onto something about writing with the door closed
  • Speaking of Stephen King… don’t wipe your ass with poison ivy
  • If it ain’t fun, you’re not doing it write
  • Some of the most famous lines ever penned were written in the passive voice
  • You don’t write novels, you right them

Okay, I probably just rote more than I no.

More about the Email Players Newsletter here:

Ben Settle

A question about print newsletters pops in:

Hi Ben,

Referring to a few comments you’ve made about how your current business has in some ways moved beyond email marketing and copywriting, (unless I’ve misread or am not recalling correctly) my question is this:

If you were to start a print newsletter today, would it be Email Players? Would it be something more in line with the 6th Gen marketing you’ve mentioned so often in the last year, ie world-building, building a personality-based brand?

I know that Email Players has become what it is very organically, and is very much “you” in every way. I’m just curious what if anything would be different in a Ben Settle print newsletter that began today vs. 10 years ago?

Thank you for your time, and of course feel free to use this however you see fit.

Some thoughts:

1. I published my first print newsletter (The Crypto Marketing Newsletter) in 2010.

It ran for 30 issues and became obsolete shortly after I launched my second print newsletter (Email Players) in 2011 — which, incidentally, just celebrated it’s 11th year of publication this month, and is about to celebrate its 134th issue next month.

2. I imagine it’s a lot harder to get traction with a print newsletter for most today.

Certainly harder than it was ten years ago simply because everyone and their mother now has a subscription offer, and especially because now everyone thinks they want to sell a print newsletter specifically – whether they have the discipline, body of knowledge & experience, willingness to mail aggressively, or proper infrastructure in place or not.

3. It’s my own fault.

If feedback I’ve gotten over the past few years is any indication, I am at least partially responsible for the explosion of interest in print newsletters in my corner of the internet. I have been told by quite a few people how they have been inspired by me doing it so consistently for so long. Plus, there are elBenbo Press book buyers like Russell Brunson who said that book helped with his revival of Dan Kennedy’s content and newsletter he bought the rights to and now publishes.

Specifically he said:

“I was about to make SO many mistakes!! You saved me! (And honestly Dan’s legacy as well)”

4. Withering inflation & other economic uncertainties are changing the game

And not just in the obvious ways.

Like, for example:

Ever-rising supply chain problems & a worldwide paper shortage (it can now take 5 MONTHS to get some of my hard cover books like my upcoming book about the visual & design-side of marketing printed, if that tells you something)… flaky shipping services… rising international customs fees & regulations… not to mention getting far more churn than a wide-eyed new publisher fresh off the turnip truck will expect due to dollar devaluation and disappearing access to easy credit for customers, more competition from all them others thinking they want to be newsletter publishers, etc… is all going to kill off a lot of the average newbie print newsletter publisher’s profitability.

For most it will be either unsustainable or not worth the time.

And this is especially the case if they grow it to any significant size.

I enjoy rock solid marketplace positioning and know a lot of ways to stay ahead in the game and make any competition irrelevant to the kind of buyers I want after all these years, so am relatively unaffected by the above problems.

But a brand spanking new newsletter publisher?

Not so much…

5. So if starting over today I probably would not even do a print newsletter.

That’d be playing the game on hard mode.

Instead I’d go pure digital delivery via cheap & reliable mobile app tech combined with audio/video livestreaming, to deliver subscription-style content using Learnistic. It’s the main reason I wanted to be an investor in Learnistic in the first place. I saw some of the inevitable writing on the wall even back in 2019.

Covid, inflation, etc only accelerated it all.

6. Not sure what my main focus would be.

Probably I would seek a small consumer niche or something non-business-related.

All I’ve been doing is creating potential “rival gunslingers” all these years selling Email Players and my other how-to books. And it’d be interesting to see how things would pan out if I went totally anonymous, in a niche that isn’t sophisticated about marketing, and where other marketers couldn’t find me, copy me, try to “reverse engineer” me, and all that jazz. Older I get, the more I appreciate something I heard Email Players subscriber Ryan Healy say many years ago when we used to be in a small mastermind together:

“There’s more money in keeping secrets than sharing them.”

So should my niche be outlawed or something, who knows what the future holds?

This has all been a good thought exercise either way.

If you want to learn more about Email Players go here:

Ben Settle

Spoiler alert:

The answer to the question below is “No”…

Hey Ben,

I’ve stubbornly decided to elbow my way to copywriting Olympus… And become a top 1% copywriter as soon as possible.

And a huge chunk of that is studying le masters and analyzing their work.

Look, I’ll just cut to the chase –

Would you send me an archive of emails you sent in the past, or at least their subject lines?

Your subject lines are spectacular, nothing short of groundbreaking.

I wanna learn how to write like that.

Yeah, I’ve seen the Email Players issue where you talk about it, as well as The Sun inspiration post.


I’d love to go through the whole collection of the gems, as many as possible.

It feels like I’ve missed so many, only subscribing to the newsletter recently.

I promise not to share them with anyone…

And not to swipe them, obviously.

(If anything, there’s a bigger chance of it accidentally happening now, since I don’t know what they are.)

And yes, I know it’s totally selfish to focus only on MY needs, sending out an email like this.

But I feel like I have nothing to offer you… Yet.

I might in the future though..!

Anyway, thanks for reading this.

Keep up the killer work.

Email writers should stop with this subject line swipe file madness.

It’s unbecoming of a professional.

It’s also completely amateur and even dorky.

What’s better?

Learning to write using your own ideas, personality, market research, and thoughts. My #1 rule of thumb with subject lines is to NOT make them look, feel, smell, sound, or taste like anyone else’s in the inbox. So one should be very careful even studying mine other than in the context of what I teach in the book I send to new Email Players subscribers and a low cost 1-click upsell offer I only offer to new Email Players subscribers, and some of my other products that teach the principles behind subject lines. None of which you will get by trying to deconstruct what you see in some swipe file or whatever.

All right enough.

Anyone who doesn’t get what I’m saying about this should go elsewhere.

They are simply too short for the ride.

For those few left over?

See the Email Players newsletter.

The September issue continues the lessons I taught in the August issue about how to sell in a way that can potentially give qualified prospects almost no choice but to do as you say or buy what you are selling.

Extremely powerful info.

And extremely profitable too.

Deadline is in less than 48 hours.

Here’s the link: 

Ben Settle

If I had to sum up the “secret” to writing world-class emails that make sales, create lifelong customers, and build unusually strong “mutant-like” relationships between email writer and reader, it would be this ditty from Aristotle:

“To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man.”

Very simple.

Definitely not “easy” for most.

But when you understand it, and truly get it, you’ll see it everywhere almost like Neo seeing the Matrix in code. Not just in business & marketing. But also in every day life, and especially in certain movies, where examples abound.

Take the movie Titanic for example.

Stefania and I recently gave it a watch.

And there was one scene that had me perked up, pointing at the screen from my recliner, and pausing the movie for some discussion about how it relates to sales, marketing, and any other kind of influence.


The character Rose is contemplating killing herself by jumping off the ship. And the character Jack Dawson decides to intervene. But, he does not do it with the typical reasoning and pleading. He instead tells her he will have to jump in after her. When she says no, he won’t, the fall would kill him too, yada yada yada… he says:

JACK: It would hurt. I’m not saying it wouldn’t. To be honest I’m a lot more concerned about the water being so cold.

ROSE: How cold?

JACK: Freezing. Maybe a couple degrees over. Ever been to Wisconsin?


JACK: Well they have some of the coldest winters around, and I grew up there, near Chippewa Falls. Once when I was a kid me and my father were ice-fishing out on Lake Wissota… ice-fishing’s where you chop a hole in the—

ROSE: I know what ice fishing is!

JACK: Sorry. Just… you look like kind of an indoor girl. Anyway, I went through some thin ice and I’m tellin’ ya, water that cold… like that right down there… it hits you like a thousand knives all over your body. You can’t breath, you can’t think… least not about anything but the pain. Which is why I’m not looking forward to jumping in after you. But like I said, I don’t see a choice. I guess I’m kinda hoping you’ll come back over the rail and get me off the hook here.

Mansplaining saves the day.

All right that’s enough internet for me today.

To learn more about the Email Players Newsletter go here:

Ben Settle

Word around the campfire is some folks were none too happy with stuff I wrote in the August Email Players issue about abortion.

Although, technically, I did not “write” it.

It was merely a transcript of a former Planned Parenthood doctor’s testimony to The House Judiciary Committee that was televised, who has performed over 1200 procedures. And it simply described in “plain English” what it looks, feels, and sounds like to pull out baby parts limb-by-limb during a second trimester procedure (which was the time Willis not only had a heartbeat, but I remember him keeping Stefania up moving & kicking in the middle of the night, hiccuping a lot, etc), from the clamp-like instrument with teeth used all the way to the the white liquid (the brain) draining out on the table. And, if it was a particularly good day with Margaret Sanger smiling down upon the doctor and blessing his work… there would be a little face staring back at him on the table while he did the deed.

Anyway, none of it was my opinion.

And in fact, nothing I wrote argued anything.

It simply “was.”

But I’ve been told that wasn’t a “child” the doctor was describing.

Just a fetus or potential human or something.

Admittedly, I’m no more a biologist than Supreme Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is — although I am pretty sure I know what a woman is — but I think that’s bull shyt, and that it is a child.

And you know who agrees with me?

The President of the United States himself.

Yes, a few months ago my President said during a Q&A on live TV:

“I mean, so the idea that we’re going to make a judgment that is going to say that no one can make the judgment to choose to abort a child based on a decision by the Supreme Court, I think, goes way overboard.”

Joe knows…

All right enough embryonic fluid for the soul.

On to the business…

To check out the Email Players newsletter go here:

Ben Settle

I recently saw an especially amusing meme that went like this:

1. A smiling boomer is posing next to his brand new lamborghini

2. The meme says:

My boss arrived at work in a brand-new lamborghini. I said, “Wow, that’s an amazing car! He replied, “If you work hard, put all your hours in, and strive for excellence, I’ll get another one next year.”

That meme is as funny as it is useful for a lot of reasons. Especially if you are in the business of influence & persuasion using email marketing.

The main reason?

It’s rooted in truth.

Everyone with a boss knows — on some level — they are working to give that boss a lifestyle.

All good jokes, just like all good marketing, is based in truth.

The best comedians have long known this.

Jokes based in nonsense or lies fall flat.

In fact, if I was trying to sell MLM, biz opp, investment info, or any kind of offer directed at blue collar workers who want to quit their jobs I’d be writing emails, ads, and other marketing using that meme all day long.

All right that’s that.

To subscribe to Email Players go here:

Ben Settle

Over the last 30 days I’ve gotten two extremely good questions from two different Email Players subscribers regarding Agora Financial.

If you don’t know who Agora is, you truly live in a cave.

And that’s okay, I certainly live in one too.

But, even I come out for some air.

Either way, the following will probably be relevant to you.

But before we dig into their questions, a caveat:

I know and respect several copywriters who work at Agora (one of them partly credited me with helping him rake in $900k per year in commissions), and even more who have worked there but then moved onto their own things. Agora also once flew me in to their Baltimore office to teach about infotainment to their writers and editors. Plus, I have been told by more than a few of them that some of their offices have been known to have Email Players issues laying around to read.

So nothing I say here is meant to be “anti” Agora.

If anything, they have opened doors for me.

And, I am grateful.

So keep that context in mind.

Here goes question #:

(Not sure he wants me naming him so name withheld)

I recently heard some ex-Agora copywriters say that John Carlton and Gary Halbert-style copy doesn’t work anymore. And that to get great at copywriting today you should learn from Agora and only be breaking down their promos etc.  (I think their methodology is really focussed on The Big Idea.)

I also heard them say that bullets aren’t at all that important.

You and many other high-level copywriters teach bullets in great detail and you have your own methodology for writing copy that is different to theirs.

So my question is:

Is there such a thing as a superior copywriting methodology in your opinion? Or is purely based on how well you’ve mastered YOUR OWN game – so it doesn’t matter if you’ve adopted Halbert-style, Bencivenga-style, Agora-style or whatever. So it’s basically down to a person’s level of mastery in that copywriting lineage/school of thought.

I have no experience writing sales letters at all (just email copy) so this is something that I’ll be looking to study in-depth in the future, hopefully.

Thanks Ben 

My response to him:

1. Don’t take anything any copywriter says as gospel for your own business, especially just because they work at Agora — more on this below when I answer the second question

2. These particular ones he’s talking about probably never read Halbert or Carlton all that carefully — Halbert was talking about coming up with the “central selling idea” (i.e., the big idea) decades before these guys were probably even born. Same with Carlton. With but a cursory read of his Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets course you can’t not walk away with being indoctrinated with his teachings on coming up with a “hook” which basically sounds like the same thing (i.e., “One-Legged Golfer”)

3. I tend to side-eye anyone saying “___ doesn’t work” — According to a lot of ex-spurts half the stuff I do doesn’t “work.” There are people who even blanket say “SEO doesn’t work!!!” or that “article marketing doesn’t work!” yet there are people still using SEO and articles extremely successfully.

4. Bullets still work, never stopped working, and will always work — When written correct everything “comes” from the bullets, including non-bullet copy or ads where there are no bullets.

All right so that was Q&A number one.

Now for the second question about Agora followed by my answer.

Another Email Players subscriber (name withheld by request) asks:

On Friday, I got hired by Agora out of apparently 100s that apply for the bootcamp I got flown out for & just attended. Me & only 2 other people. Moving to London now to learn from the best and achieve my goal. It hasn’t even been a year since I got started. Thanks for the personal advice and inspiration you’ve given me when I really needed it (like when you told me about when you were just starting out). How do I improve now? If you were training me, what would you have me do? No matter how much work it is

Couple things that spring to mind:

1. “The answer is always found in the market” — whenever you get stuck or stressed for an idea, etc, including when they tell you to whip up a “big idea” that advice can save your hocks.

2. Realize you are going to become part of a very big machine — that does things a very specific way, possibly even some things that contradict the very things and skills you’ve learned that got you there in the first place. An example of this was a much publicized (by the man himself) Gary Halbert sales letter written for Agora many years ago. He very carefully wrote a sales letter selling a financial offer, using a grabber, and the ad is a fascinating read.

But I was told by a copywriter there the ad totally bombed.


Probably because Agora has a specific kind of list, that responds to a specific kind of formula.

And it’s not that Gary’s ad sucked.

It was great.

And I have personally learned much from studying it. In fact, I even quote a paragraph from it inside the upcoming July Email Players issue as an example, to illustrate one of the ways you can sell that is more valuable than “giving value.”

But bombed the letter did according to the copywriter I talked to.

And it’s like a great movie director being hired to direct a Marvel movie.

Marvel is very formulaic with a methodology that works to a specific market.

But if that director strays from the formula and does their own thing, it would be much different, and probably wouldn’t work all that great to those expecting a “Marvel” movie. Imagine if Christopher Nolan directed a Marvel movie. It’d probably completely bomb due to it not being the same tone, style, and formula Marvel movie fans have come to respond to. Or he’d be fired before it got out of development as soon as Marvel realized he wasn’t going to go along with their formula. Thus, he’d have to go along with the machine or depart from the project.

You may or may not be faced with a similar decision some day.

That’ll do it for today.

More info on the Email Players Newsletter here:

Ben Settle

Few years back I had a conversation with someone at a seminar and the guy was telling me about how they don’t have a free opt-in list, and the only thing you can do is buy their offer (not a cheap $7 “tripwire” offer, in their case it was a $50 or $60 self liquidating offer) then be put on a list… and asked, “Ben why haven’t you tried the same?”

My answer was long but distinguished…

And basically I broke it down like this:

1. I am a big fan of doing what they are doing and it’s probably the ideal way

2. But I don’t personally do it myself

3. I can flip a lot more free opt-ins into sales than the average bar, and the way I curate my list from the outset eliminates a bunch of the problems having a free opt-in list creates for most marketers

4. I routinely profit from the trolls, idiots, and freebie seeking bums who try to start shyt with me, and don’t necessarily want to entirely sift them out, which making them pony up their cheetos and porno money would likely do

5. The free opt-in-then-sell-a-subscription offer (not easy for the vast majority to pull off) is my game, something I play as well as if not better than anyone else I am aware of, and there is no real reason to change what’s been working for over 10 years and only keeps working better for my business over time

It always comes down to playing your game and not someone else’s.

Does that mean you should do it the way I do it?

Almost certainly not.

You gotta find your way, Chuckles.

And so it goes…

To subscribe to the Email Players newsletter go here:

Ben Settle


Why elBenbo must die

Came a question:

Hi Ben

Really enjoy reading your stuff…

Just have a stupid question. What’s elbenbo?

Okay, after searching on Google and then reading this email it’s obvious that you’re elbenbo.

But still. What does it mean? Where did it come from?

Have a nice day,

I talk at length about this in my Brand Barbarian book.

But here’s the tl;dr version:

1. Waaaay back in 1999 I was playing chess with my pal Larry.

2. We were listening to Rush Limbaugh.

3. A commercial came on where Rush called himself “elRushbo.”

4. I said something like, “your move elLarbo,” and he made his move, then countered with “your move elBenbo.”

5. A few years later (2003 or 2004) when creating a new personal email address, I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to use, remembered that day, and used “elBenbo” in the address.

6. Fast forward another several years (early 2013) and I got into an argument with my girlfriend at that time. And she said something about me having two personalities — Ben and elBenbo. Ben being the fun, kind, all around humble (…) and lovable guy. elBenbo being the prick who’d snap if she even so much as forgot to put a ripe, plump tomato on his sammich.

7. Later that same year when it came time to promote the first Ocean’s 4 Mastermind (that I co-hosted with Ryan Levesque, Andre Chaperon, and Jack Born), I wrote a tongue-in-cheek email telling the above story about that argument, and about how at the mastermind elBenbo would be more likely to come out and play instead of Ben.

8. Suddenly after that people starting replying, asking questions, etc referring to me by that name, including when I spoke at seminars or was referred to by someone somewhere else on the internet

9. And even though it was never intended as anything but a throwaway gag for an email to sell some mastermind tickets… and even though I think it’s a bit dorky, way-too-derivative of Rush Limbaugh, and not something I would have otherwise thought to do intentionally… I just went with it.

10. One day I will kill off — yes, execution style — the elBenbo persona.

11. But that is a story for another day…

More on the Email Players newsletter here:

Ben Settle

Double Your Sales With Email

World Leader In Email Copywriting Education is Giving AwayTips For Doubling Sales With Email Right Now

Use the button below to open his daily email tips & a free digital copy of the prestigious Email Players newsletter

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

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