Ben Settle

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

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File under: Business Building, inner game

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

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

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