Ben Settle

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

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Filed under: Copywriting & Sales Letters

One of the greatest master of persuasion who ever lived — the great Jim Camp — once said something completely lost on practically every new copywriter in the game.

And, also, quite a few industry veterans too, yessir I do reckon.

Anyway, here’s what this great man said:


“Tactics might work one time, but they don’t get you invited back”

i.e. all these idiotic little tricks to get people to buy may work one time.

But, they don’t work twice.

And, in fact, are likely to create contempt for you, much less make it more likely someone will buy from your future offers.

In copywriting, I am referring to tactics like:

  • Trying to trick people into continuing reading via using “open loops” instead of writing copy that is inherently interesting
  • Running constant NLP on them over and over and over trying to be sneaky
  • Whole cloth swiping & stealing – headlines, sales copy, calls to action, product titles, etc
  • Using verbiage like “sent from my iPhone” in an email broadcast

These are just a few things that might “work”, but rarely work again.

At least, not on the hyper skeptics, who make up 2-5 times more people in any given market than the drooling hyper buyers who buy anything, but who often show the least amount of loyalty and long term customer potential.

Burping on:

The January “Email Players” issue shows you a technique for selling to those coveted skeptics in a way no other copywriting method I’ve ever seen, used, or tested can.

The deadline to get this issue is New Years eve.

Here’s the link:

Ben Settle

Filed under: Copywriting & Sales Letters

Your humble host & long-suffering storyteller has said it many times:

We are living smack dab in The Age of the Skeptic.

Even if you’re honest as the day is long… I guarantee you 99.999% of people who see even a perfect offer with proof & credibility-laden sales copy are like the guy in the old adage who smells flowers and immediately starts looking around for the coffin!

And who can blame them?

In the past decade especially, your customer has been conned, lied to, or in some way hurt by everyone he’s trusted — bankers, mortgage brokers, investment advisors, teachers, politicians and, yes, goo-roos selling them via so-called “bad ass!” advertising only to be let down, disappointed, or even downright scammed.

That’s the bad news.

The good news?

There is an enormous opportunity afoot if you do any kind of direct response marketing and copywriting whatsoever. An opportunity Yours Snooty has secretly been using for a long time to profit from, and that can work for you if you are brand spanking new to your market, lack credibility, have no track record or testimonials, nobody knows who you are, or even if you simply screwed up so badly you and your brand have about as much appeal as a leper in your market.

Come closer and lemme ‘splain, Lucy.

Many years ago, I heard the founding father of internet marketing as we know it (even Time Magazine basically admits as such…) and “Email Players” subscriber Ken McCarthy say:


  • The vast majority of people will never buy from direct response, no matter what you say, how great at selling you are, or if you are literally giving away gold bricks that smell like hope
  • About 5% of people will buy everything — i.e. the hyper buyers
  • Another 10% to 25% will want to buy what you offer, but need to be sold

(i.e. the skeptics)

Now, I’m no math jeenius.

But, it seems to me there are at least 2-5 times more skeptical buyers than hyper buyers. Which means, if you can sell to these skeptics, you will have not only 2-5 times more customers to sell to, but a much higher quality of customer to sell to than the contemptible new product junkies many hyper buyers tend to be made up of, as well.

And it gets even better, Chuckles.

Here’s more good news:

These skeptics are also the single most gloriously under-served, and under-marketed to group in probably every single market, niche, and industry, on the face of God’s blue earth.

Even better news:

There is a very simple copywriting technique I am teaching in great depth and detail in next month’s January “Email Players” issue anyone can potentially learn in about 15 minutes, and start using immediately after — yes, even if you just learned what copywriting is yesterday — to not only get the attention of this giant pool of skeptics, but potentially have them only wanting to buy from you, only trust you, and only want anything to do with you, over and above even much better marketers & copywriters you might compete against.

Take for example, “Email Players” subscriber Naomi Kuttner.

She sells in an extremely skeptical market full of people who have been plagued with very real physical pain, desperate for a solution, falling for lots of bad advice from trusted medical authorities, only to be let down, with layer upon layer upon layer of skepticism piled on top each other understandably now working against her. And, after hearing about this secret copywriting technique from me, she asked about how to apply it to her unique market, specifically.

Now, bear in mind, I really know nothing about her market.

Other than, what you know by what I described above.

But, I didn’t need to know all that much, I simply needed to know this technique.

Thus, when I gave her an example of how to apply it to her market, she not only got excited by the possibilities, but she asked if she could use my “ignorant” (my description- as far as me knowing the specifics of what she does for her clients) copy.

But, there is a caveat to this.

There are some markets this technique will NOT work on.

Here’s a real-life example of what I mean:

I once wrote a sales letter for a (at the time) well-known affiliate marketing guru many years ago. His product was so much like one of his other products he was very adamant about making sure it didn’t “cannibalize” (his words) his other product’s sales. So I gave it a shot, and did not use any of the hype and bull shyt affiliate marketers want to hear, including using the technique I have been talking about in this email that works on sane people.

The result?

Way lower-than-expected conversions.

True, that could have been the offer, and that very likely had something to do with it. Many affiliate marketers tend to be naive and have a drooling biz-opp seeking mentality. But even they, I suspect, knew something in the milk wasn’t clean about the offer being too much “like” one of his other offers they had already bought. But, when he told me about the low conversions, his exact words were:

“It needs more hype, hype sells.”

So I sally forthed and removed all proof, all credibility, and all traces of the secret copywriting technique I have been teasing you about here from the sales letter as the client requested. And, I stuffed it with as much hype as I could think of without lying or exaggerating and bending the truth like the rest of the advertising in that market does… and he was much happier with it.

Now, I have no clue how well it did after that, nor do I care.

I needed to take a shower after writing that revised version.

I only bring this up because, as I recently explained to “Email Players” subscriber and freelance copywriter Nick Fornoff, there are some hyper buyers who want to be lied to.

Who want to hear bull shyt.

And, yes, who will only buy from nonsensical copy full of copywriting “hacks” and nonsense that lie, mislead, and trick.

Thus, if you sell to these types of idiots, the copywriting technique — I have never seen taught in another copywriting book or course, because it’s not really a “copywriting” technique, I simply adapted it as such from another aggressive sales-related industry — in the January issue will not only NOT work, but actively work hard against you.

But, if you sell to intelligent people?

People with a very real problem with a very real desire to solve it?

And if you have a very real offer with very real value?

I predict it will change the entire game for you, for the rest of your marketing career. It is not something that will go out of style, and is completely ever-green, that worked thousands of years ago for the ancient Greeks and Roman merchants, and still works today just as well, if not better in this Age of the Skeptic, especially.

All right.

Enough of this.

Here’s the link to subscribe in time to get this issue while you still can:

Ben Settle

P.S. Last Summer, another “Email Players” subscriber told me:

“The most common objection I seem to face is (since I’ve entered a new market with no prior visible presence)… ‘If you’re so great, how come when I’ve never heard of you’ or ‘why is there nothing when I google you’, ‘why should I trust you’, etc. The market seems to have been completely sucked of trust by ever evolving claims etc. I have some good proof, but since everyone else is using similar proof, it doesn’t have much of an impact as far as trust goes.”

And, this secret copywriting technique, taught the way I show it specifically in the January issue, can overcome all of this rather easily.

Thus, perfect for people new to their markets or copywriting.

If you are a freelancer, you may have to sell clients on using it, though.

That’s how counterintuitive it is.

In fact, I can almost guarantee you will.

But, ironically, that will be a problem you can solve by running this technique on them…

Here’s the link:

Recently I re-watched the movie “Second Hand Lions” — about a neglected boy with a flakey mother sent to live with his eccentric great-uncles on a Texas farm.

One of the great uncles was an adventurer & soldier.

And the other uncle tells the boy about those adventures.

Anyway, his uncles are bored, with more money than they can ever spend, and one of the things they do to pass the time is sit around and wait for traveling salesmen to show up and then use them as target practice.

Such is their contempt for sales people.

Until, one day, the boy says:

“Why not see what he’s selling? Maybe it’s something you want to buy.”

And so, they do.

And, they end up not only buying all kinds of things they love to buy, but start liking the salesmen too.

There’s a lot of sales lessons packed in that scene.

Most of it “between the lines.”

Like, for example, the power of selling what people want to buy. Or the impact having someone “vouch” for you before selling someone can have. Or why it’s much wiser to sell yourself before selling your products/service to someone. And the list goes on and on and on, longer than a second hand copywriting goo-roo’s 50+ word mega-headline selling yet another eBook about how to make muney online.

But the most important lesson?

Is the raw contempt people have for strangers who try to sell them something.

It’s pure law of the jungle:

We run from those who pursue us, and pursue those who run from us.

99.99999% of anyone selling online is always pursuing.

Yes, even your favorite goo-roos with their mega funnels or whatever.

That’s why so many people have so much contempt for them.

But guess what?

The upcoming January “Email Players” issue will be showing you how to use this phenomenon with all your sales copy where people pursue you, instead of you pursuing them — including with your emails, sales letters, videos, social media, webinars, one-on-one sales, or any other kind of selling and/or persuasion you do — and this includes customer service if you apply this technique during such times.

The deadline to subscribe in time to get this issue is coming up fast.

Here’s the link:

Ben Settle

Filed under: Business Building, Email Marketing

Behold a quote from director Martin Scorsese, about acting legend Kirk Douglas:

“Some actually believe that these qualities [commitment and dedication to the art form] that I’m talking about can be replaced by algorithms and formulas and business calculations, but please remember it’s all an illusion…”

Maybe this isn’t directly related to marketing & business.

But, it is related enough to serve as a reminder of the dangers of being enslaved to, dependent upon, and making all your decisions based on “metrics” — and how doing so may make you a million, but can also prevent you from making hundreds of millions.


The late, great Stan Lee and Marvel Comics.

The publisher Martin Goodman in the early 60’s was a slave to metrics and sales stats and trends. His whole business model was “see what kind of comicbooks are selling, flood the market with similar titles until it no longer works, rinse and repeat.”

And he became a very “rich” man doing that.

But, it wasn’t until Stan Lee went completely against all that when Martin Goodman became a truly *wealthy* man when, in one last act of defiance in working for a soul-less company dependent on metrics, stats, and trends (and in complete defiance to his boss)… Stan Lee wrote the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, X-Men, etc — none of which were created out of anything even remotely related to metrics or trends or “testing” whatsoever. Today — although Disney is working overtime to destroy them — those brands are collectively worth multiple billions of dollars.

George Lucas did the same with Star Wars.

Sci-fi was not “in” when he made the first movie. And almost none of the Hollywood testing, tracking, metrics, and audience analytics of the time thought it would be all that fruitful.

A more down-to-earth example:

I’ve never had my biggest breakthroughs due to metrics or testing.

Not one single blessed time.

It’s always been by having a dialogue with my list via daily emails, and interpreting what they want to buy — without them ever having to tell me, or ever looking at a spreadsheet — by being in consistent & persistent contact with them, observing what they say & do, and combining that with my own interests, brand, positioning, and personal intellectual & creative pursuits.

Here are offers I’d never have created if I relied on “metrics”:

  • The Email Players newsletter
  • Copy Troll
  • Copy Slacker
  • Brand Barbarian
  • Infotainment Jackpot
  • All 3 of my “Villains” Books
  • Email Client Horde
  • Breakneck Content
  • Email Players List Swell
  • Affiliate Launch Copynomicon

In other words:

Every single book & newsletter issue I’ve published!

Not to mention 10-Minute Workday, or the online Checkout platform I own and am gearing up to sell with my pals Jack Born & “Email Players” subscriber Troy Broussard. In fact, about the only offer that is based on metrics I have anything to do with is the other two tech companies I recently bought into with Troy, which I’ll be telling “Email Players” subscribers about soon, as they deal with what I believe the new “email” is going to be 10 years from now. And don’t even get me started on the book I got frying up teaching my publishing model next year. No “metric” has told me to write it. Nor has anyone outright asked for it. Nor is there anything like it being sold anywhere, because there is no other “me” anywhere. But, I suspect it will be the biggest selling and most profitable offer I ever sell to my list regardless.

We shall see…

Anyway, am I saying metrics aren’t important?

Or to ignore them?

Or that you shouldn’t bother with life time value, sales, stick rates (if you sell continuity), and other important metrics?


You do need to know this stuff ultimately.

Especially if you are using paid advertising, where you must.

Plus, there is truth to “what isn’t tracked can’t be measured.” And, incidentally, the online checkout platform we are building will do just that for people, including eventually (down the line) having some extremely deep metrics I won’t go into here — none of our competition understands, or are even capable of thinking of, going by how they set their platforms up — behind the scenes, that will work even for caveman-like luddites such as myself.

But, there are forces at work far more important than metrics.

Forces you can’t control or direct via tech alone.

I am referring to a “sensitivity” to your list, combined with your unique brand, marketplace positioning, attributes, appeal, strengths, and other peculiarities you can only effectively use by having constant — and I would argue daily — contact with your market and list.

Something email lets you play like a fiddle.

And, also something my “Email Players” methodology can especially do you for you.

That is, assuming you are subscribed.

And, that you implement what it teaches you.

To do that, hit that NON-tracking link below:

Ben Settle

Filed under: Business Building, Email Marketing

I once read about how the original purpose of the board game Monopoly was supposed to show the evils of capitalists.

Which, of course, completely backfired.

And it got me to thinking:

I want to play the communist version of Monopoly.

Let’s call it Commopoly.

Not to be confused with the sanitized commie version of Monopoly from 2004 “Commonopoly”…

My version includes everyone redistributing their properties and money to the less fortunate players, with the goal to be for everyone having the exact same number of properties and amount of money at the end of the game. But, to keep it authentic, there’d also have to be a sort of Head Bolshevik policing everyone (oftentimes in secret), seizing the best properties for himself and periodically taking 90%+ or more of everyone’s money, food, and assets, while also punishing anyone who complains or doesn’t comply with hard jail time, gulag work, or death by gun barrel or starvation, while smothering their dead bodies in lime. It could then be designed and marketed (using capitalism, of course) specifically to bored middle & upper class millennials who either still live off their parents’ teets or have just taken out fat student loans.

Why sell it to millennials?

Because according to the Washington Times poll, the majority of millennials would prefer to live in a socialist or communist society rather than a capitalistic one.

Not that you need a poll to know that.

Just observe what they buy.

(i.e. who they vote for).

All of which works out perfectly for me.


Because like my communist leader predecessors, I’ll need some Useful Idiots to help sell it. And, since people tend to prefer to buy from their own, it could be sold like a communist MLM — where buyers go forth to their friends still living in their moms’ basements watching pourno on their iPhones and eating Cheetos in front of their Che Guevara posters, preaching about burning down the system. If we make it a multi-player online game, as my pal Shane Hunter pointed out, we wouldn’t need to produce any boards or pieces — just cover the costs of servers, tech, etc.

A silly idea, you say?

We’ll see…

Until we get the kinks worked out, I’ll stick with my usual business plan:

  • Sending traffic to a capture page
  • Sending those leads relentless daily emails (using my “Email Players” methodology) directing them to a sales page until they buy or opt out
  • Then selling the buyers other products or services

Not as secksy as Commopoly.

But it’s simple.

It works.

And, you can learn the email part of the equation here:

Ben Settle

Filed under: Email Marketing, inner game

One of the online shticks I completely defile on a daily basis is:

“Sell the click!”

Now, to be fair, that is what spammers do.

Especially the malicious ones wanting to scam and sextort people.

And, if you sell to naive people or those who don’t know better… you can get lots of clicks. And, if you really have your marketing game tight and generate lots of new leads each day as you burn & churn through your old leads by focusing on the click instead of the relationship with your list… you can potentially make a lot of sales doing just that.

In my case though, I sell the “me”, not the click, or the open, or even the offer.


Because the open & click & offer purchase are both far more dependent on you, your name, your brand, your track record of sending emails people want to open and click and buy from, the quality of offers you’ve already sold someone, etc… than any tricks, tips, or other assorted goo-roo tactics.


When I sit down to write an email, the last thing I care about is:

“What subject line trick can I use to get this opened?”

Instead, I think of something worth talking about, that will hopefully not waste the time of those who read it. And I’m far more interested in the message to market match, than I am anything else. Because if I get the message to market match down, the opens, clicks, and sales take care of themselves. If I get those wrong, no magical subject line or other email wizardry is going to do all that much good anyway.

Thus, I don’t care about the open or the click or the “copy.”

Those things all take care of themselves if I focus on the sale of “me.”

And, specifically, the relationship my list has with me.

Because ultimately — to paraphrase something the great A-list copywriting Doug D’Anna told me many years ago on the phone — we aren’t first looking to buy the product or service, we are looking for a salesman. A salesman who cares about your well being, who isn’t pushy, and who can solve whatever problem you are seeking a solution for in a way where you enjoy the experience, so they come back again and refer others to you abundantly.

In other words:

Making the sale in a way that enhances the relationship with the prospect.

Yes, even if they don’t buy now.

Enter my “Email Players Skh?ma Book” you can only get via subscribing to the “Email Players” newsletter.

It’s basically a blueprint for doing this, day in and day out.

Yes, it teaches you subject lines.

And body copy.

And all the other essentials of writing emails people want to read and buy from.

But, it does so in the context of creating a customer and not just a buyer, who wants to hear from you, buy from you, and ideally tell others about you. This book is also something I give free to new “Email Players” subscribers, to get them up to speed on the evergreen methodology, with each issue then building upon that methodology — and often via mixing & matching with concepts and ideas that are not strictly “email”, but that email enhances and creates more sales by virtue of doing.

But, a word of caution:

I don’t tolerate people who can’t think critically or who can’t read.


A blue light special recently got the the book, then complained it was “the same information!” as what is in my “Big Book of Business” on Amazon. Anyone with the ability to read and think critically knows how asinine that is.

I say this to turn away:

1. Others who don’t know the fundamentals of direct response marketing

2. People who think because they read something in something else I wrote, that they somehow got the whole picture of what I have inside the “Email Players Skh?ma Book” — which is a long-tested and thought-out methodology, not a bunch of random tips strung together or whatever

3. If you’ve only gotten your marketing education on social media, like practically every single one of the people who fit in the above camp have


Because if the above applies to you, not only have you done your research in the wrong library (i.e. social media), but I am not the one to take the time and energy to dispel all the horse shyt you’ve no doubt learned, all out of context, and without the guidance of having the fundamentals drilled into your mind — without which “Email Players” will do you little or no good outside of maybe amping up your opens and engagement in the short term.

You must have a list and an offer to use “Email Players.”

I don’t know how to be more clear about this.

But, even when I say this outright, a bunch of social media dorks who hang out on Facebook or Twitter all day like flies on the same turd still think they somehow are going to get value out of it, and then proceed to waste their money and my time.

So if the above applies to you:

Don’t subscribe until you’ve learned the fundamentals.

Then, build some kind of list, even if it’s small, and have something to sell it.

Then, and only then, can I be of help to you.

Help me, help you, help ourselves by following the above instructions…

After that — and only after that — check out the newsletter here:

Ben Settle

Filed under: Business Building, List Building

One of the more underrated — or overrated, depending on who you ask — Disney movies is from back in the late 1950’s called:

“A Light In The Forest”

It’s a Fess Parker movie, and so I like it for that reason alone.

But, another thing I like about the movie is a quote that perfectly encapsulates my way of curating customers — and people in general in my life — all summed up in my own shamelessly culturally appropriating way.

Before I show you the quote, some context:

The movie is set about 10 years before the Revolutionary War.

And, it is about a treaty with an Indian tribe in Pennsylvania — where all the white kids the tribe kidnapped had to be returned in exchange for the army giving that tribe all their lands back and leaving them alone.

Anyway, the main character, Johnny Butler, a teenager, didn’t want to go back.

He was initiated into the tribe & adopted by the Chief as a young child.

Thus, he’d rather die than return to his white parents.

And while he is being transported back after an unsuccessful suicide attempt, Johnny’s best friend Half Arrow follows them, gets caught, and is allowed to travel with the rest of the crowd for a bit to keep Johnny company and out of trouble.

And during that time, Half Arrow tells Johnny:

“Your father sends you a message. These are his words: ‘Remember what happens to the white prisoner the Indian takes. If he bears his hardship with patience then his Indian master likes him. But if he fights back and complains, there’s nothing else to do but to scalp him.”

And if that ain’t the best example of customer curation I don’t know what is.

Take my “Email Players” newsletter, for example.

When people subscribe, I expect them to take the time to read the newsletter and book that comes with the subscription. I also expect them to implement the info. And, I further expect them to sack up & fight through the learning curve of writing emails, not needing “feedback” (I don’t do critiques – nor are they necessary if you know your market and have even a smidgen of a personality), and having enough character to not only be willing to make mistakes, but embrace the fallout from those mistakes to get smarter, better, stronger at writing emails, and more experienced as a result.

If they bear their hardship with patience, their Master elBenbo likes them.

If they complain, there’s nothing else to do but to scalp their subscription.

GadZOOKS this email is probably going to offend some mush cookie.

But that’s okay.

I’ve been low on hate mail as of late.

Whatever the case, if you want to learn at my table, go here:

Ben Settle

Filed under: Business Building, Email Marketing, inner game

One of the tipping points for realizing it was time to finally high-tail it off social media last year — and Facebook in particular — was not long after one of my cousins posted some inane meme of Kermit the frog drinking tea, talking about ebola and the flu.

I already was 3/4 out the door due to Facebook whoring out private info.

And, also, because of its hivemind, “borg-like” nature infecting even otherwise intelligent people.

Not to mention it being a time-suck, even for those like me not on there very often.

But when I saw the Facebook hive mind in all its glorious action to such a silly degree with the Kermit meme, I figured it was high time to move on, lest I become like one of them.

In this case?

Merely questioning that sacred Kermit the frog meme — and mostly in jest at that… set a bunch of people off, including a couple of my other cousins, one of who was particularly worked up over it, with some kind of bizarre hangup on the subject to the point I expect to see him in a hazmat suit at the next family reunion.

Getting some of these blokes worked up was mildly amusing and fun.

Especially since I was sitting in an airport bored on a long layover, anyway.

But, what was not amusing was seeing otherwise intelligent people — my own kin! — not being able to communicate without parroting the hive mind so precisely. It was like they were all reading from the same script word-for-word. Complete with the usual social media intellectually dishonest butchering of logic, showing an embarrassing inability to follow a subject and an object, and constantly moving the goals posts & getting off point to try to make another point to cover up the fact they really had no point in the first place. Not to mention resorting to having to make arguments with irrelevant hive mind generated memes, all topped off with a chest-pounding magnificent lecture about how “correlation doesn’t equal causation!” while linking to a newspaper article that didn’t even have a single source cited, and that was pure, not-even-trying-to-hide-the-fact, propaganda.

And those were just the more amusing highlights I remember.

Frankly, I didn’t even care enough about the subject to have an opinion. I simply asked a question about a Kermit meme.

The result:

You’d think I burned an effigy to their deity.

Actually, in some ways, I think I did…

Anyway, that’s when I had a Cartman (from South Park) moment when he saw the absurdity of the existence of Mr. Hanky the talking turd, and threw in the towel:

“Alright that does it.
Screw you guys, I’m going home.
Talking poo is where I draw the line.”

And so it is with social media.

Because at the end of the day, with all the virtue signaling, hive mind parroting, speech & thought policing, incessant de-platforming, privacy plundering, and news manipulating… not to mention the way it is designed (which it’s co-creator fully admitted) to have all kinds of negative affects on peoples’ brains & hormones… Facebook is nothing if not the digital equivalent of talking poop…

“But Ben! I only use it for business! This doesn’t apply to me!”

Doesn’t it, Pookie?

Maybe it doesn’t for you.

At least, not yet.

But, here’s a real life example from “Email Players” subscriber Jonathan Twombly of why relying on Facebook — or any social media platform — is a recipe for frustration at best, and outright going out of business at worst:

Your emails have been a great encouragement. I am very dependent on FB for leads and warming up people who won’t join my email list. But you’ve planted the seed in my mind.

And it’s not just about de-platforming. FB is so effed up for normal business people like us.

They recently shut down a ton of ads manager accounts, to “review” them, including that of the guy who runs my ads. That means that all his clients are shut down.

They worked around it by opening a new account. But they had to recreate everyone’s ads. That means started all the tweaking from zero. And all the hundreds of positive social proof comments accumulated on my ads – all gone.

It really sucks. I hate FB and am looking for ways to get off it. I’m working on some options…Working on getting the ads and the groups off FB as well. But that will take more time.

I daresay it will be time well spent, too.

Especially since there are far more reliable ways to build lists than with social media.

All of which were used by people way before social media.

Whatever the case, whether you stubbornly defy your King & Taskmaster elBenbo on this or not, if you want to sell with email and not rely on social media, check out my “Email Players” newsletter here:

Ben Settle

P.S. I don’t let Twitter off the hook on this either.

To show you just how dumbed-down that platform can make someone:

A couple weeks ago, my woman sent me a screenshot from some people implying I used someone else’s content in one of my emails.

The “stolen” content?

Someone posted something about me sharing a cold email template. After which some social media warrior hopped in the fray saying “those look like Jon Buchan’s!” To which yet another social media warrior replied with “my thoughts exactly!”

Oh noes!

Except, had they used what was left of their social media-addled brains, they would have seen the email was an interview with Jon Buchan, with him sharing the template, not Yours Crotchety.

This is not an isolated incident, either.

When I was on Twitter, I got credit & blame for all kinds of things I never taught or said — good or bad.

And clearly it still goes on whether I am there or not.


Because Twitter & Facebook aren’t designed to make you think.

They are designed to create reaction & addiction.

I know, I know, not you.

That only happens to everyone else on there…

Not long ago, I got a question from an “Email Players” subscriber about how to begin your emails, that illustrates something I’ve long observed up in this business.

The question?

It was about some email copywriting advice an 8-figure course creator – who is not an “email” copywriter, and I know this because I gave the guy a consult once and know what he is particularly strong at, but it ain’t email copywriting – is giving about how to begin an email.

The advice was completely wrong in almost all cases.

And, this is especially true for anyone using anything I teach.

What was the question?

Actually, it’s not all that important.

As it’s not something any of my boys & ghouls is likely to do anyway.

What is important though is, it reminded me of something I’ve long advocated.

And that is, beware ye taking copywriting advice from a business owner/marketer, or taking business owner/marketing advice from a copywriter. Especially since they often can come from completely different points of view in many cases.

For example:

A copywriter is likely not as concerned about the potential longterm problems and fallout aggressively only going for the transaction (what they are paid to create, and may even get royalties from) is versus putting the relationship first – even at the risk of losing short term transactions – by keeping legally compliant, maintaining a consistent brand, bringing customers in with the right expectations, not wanting to be overrun by refunds, giving a buying experience that ups the likelihood of more backend sales, etc.

At the same time:

I’ve lost count of the inane copywriting advice I’ve seen 7 and even 8 figure marketers who have never written a word of copy in their lives give about writing ads & sales letters. There is a reason so many 7 and 8 figure marketers invest in hiring the best copywriters, after all, even if those copywriters only make a fraction of the income those 7 or 8 figure marketers do.

Another example:

I can count on the fingers & toes attached to multiple pairs of hands & feet how many freelance copywriters — who do not sell their own offers, do not do any customer service, do not have to pacify any merchant account’ fears, and do not deal with website maintenance, printers, corrupt & incompetent postal systems, digital product delivery/bandwidth glitches or limitations, etc — have given your humble storyteller awful unsolicited advice based entirely on their silly theories or their clients’ test results in completely different niches with completely different agendas than Yours Crotchety.

Like, for instance:

Not selling “Email Players” back issues.

“Ben, something you might want to consider…”

I have not only “considered” doing it, but actually did it during most of the nearly 9 years of selling the rag. In fact, for the first 7 years of its run I tested a back issue catalog and tested inserts selling specific higher-selling back issues.

Then, I wised up and stopped selling back issues & tested doing something else.

Something far more in line with the laws of direct response marketing.

The result?

From 5x more revenue (on the low end) to as much as 15x more revenue (on the high end).

Every month since.

And, by doing less “work” than selling back issues.

There are many other benefits to doing this, too, as well as ways to still offer back issues, which I will talk more about in my next book about my publishing model.

And this back issue shtick is just one example of the phenomenon.

Not a month goes by when some over-achieving dispenser of unsolicited advice I don’t know or ever heard of tries to get me to change one of my long-proven profitable policies – from my not allowing people who quit “Email Players” to return… to my not giving a flying fart about open rates… to not filling my emails with “value!” or “benefits!”… to my contempt for and aggressively turning away new product junkies… to selling regular ol’ print & ink books vs digital & multi-media products… to using plain text emails with zero tracking or html embedded… and the goo-roo band marches on and on and on and on…

Copywriters who have never run an actual business outside of billing clients love giving advice on the business side.

Marketers who have never written a word of copy love giving advice on the copywriting side.

And your friend and long-suffering storyteller elBenbo loves to mock, ignore, or use their comments as figurative orc heads on a spike to warn away other orcs like them from wasting either of our time.

Which circles us around to the point:

Be very wary about taking marketing/business advice from freelance copywriters who are not marketers/business owners, and copywriting advice from marketers/business owners who are not copywriters. Do your own tests, your own experiments, and listen to your own instincts based on your own experiences with selling to and communicating with your own list/audience.

I am not saying never to listen to these other blokes.

But, if they veer off into some kind of theoretical nonsense and especially if they start name-dropping to prove their case, take it all with big, fat shake of chili pepper.

Or, even, better, do the exact opposite of whatever unsolicited advice they give.

I’ve had some of my biggest sales paydays doing just that…

All right enough of this clacking.

For more insider discussions, subscribe to “Email Players” here:

Ben Settle

Filed under: Business Building, inner game

My pal Garrett Daun recently highlighted a very important point, after reading one of the gazillion of emails I sent to launch my Breakneck Content book this past weekend.

The email was about something James Altucher wrote a few years ago re: 30-day challenges.

Specifically, this:

“Write down 10 ideas a day for 30 days.”

Followed by how doing something similar has effected my own business.

Anyway, Garrett replied to all that with:

Hey Ben-

You totally gave away like 90% of the “secrets” for literally anyone to:

-resurrect their dead creativity

-improve their brain functions

-improve all their relationships

-quit their stupid jobs

-feel a sense of celebration about every single moment

-find their natural, empowered voice

-live an amazing life, designed the way they’ve always wanted…

In the email you wrote below.

The funniest thing about it all is that the “missing” 10% is that people have to get a notebook and pen and actually do what you revealed for them to do.

And my guess is that maybe 1% of your readers will do it.

Which is amazing, that they’ll all go spend countless thousands of dollars to try to find some secret business tactics that will never work for them…

It is difficult for me to argue with his 1% number.

Frankly, from what I can tell, the vast majority of people up in this business are far too busy trying to chase, find, and collect a bunch of “hacks” or whatever, instead of developing the patience and work ethic to do the boring grunt work to blow right past the bleating herd. This is especially true of my recent “Breakneck Content” book I just launched, which is almost all quick-reading (some chapters are a single paragraph!) meat & potato solutions that sometimes take lots of effort (with a few taking almost no effort at all), and are not at-all exciting… but that I’ve used to in some cases bang out more content in any given month, than a lot of people I know do in a year.

Which brings me to the punchline:

Success is sekzy.

Making lots of sales is sekzy.

But the hard, often boring, and almost always not-very-fun work it takes to get that success and make them sales?

Not so sekzy…

In fact, not only is it not sekzy, but people will often have contempt for it.

And, in some instances, have contempt for the messenger, too.

I suspect this has always been the case since the beginning of time…

Whatever the case, a bit of housekeeping for those who bought Breakneck Content last night or weren’t able to:

  • I turned it off in the shopping cart after the deadline.
  • Thus, if you had trouble ordering last night after the deadline, that’s why.
  • I only printed 150 copies for the launch, since the 800 or so people who were subscribed to “Email Players” (i.e. my best buyers) this past July had already gotten the info inside the book, and so I simply did not expect all that many sales beyond what was printed.
  • But, we ended up doing almost 100 more sales than what was printed
  • Which means if you bought on the last day (right around yesterday afternoon PST) it is going to take longer to get your book to you than if you’d not procrastinated and waited, since we have to print a bunch of fresh copies up.
  • Probably a good week longer, maybe two weeks, if it takes longer than that let me know immediately
  • There’s a lesson about procrastination in there somewhere.
  • One person complained about getting 5 emails in a day yesterday, which was amusing considering I sent 7 emails…
  • More emails = more sales when you do email right, in my experience
  • To learn how to write emails people enjoy reading & buying from go here:

Ben Settle

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