Ben Settle

  • Novelist
  • Anti-professional
  • Author
  • Email Specialist

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File under: Email Marketing

One of the most Valuable business lessons I ever heard was from the great Ken McCarthy (founding father of Internet marketing as we know it — to give you an idea of how far back he goes, Time magazine credited him with originating the idea of using click-through rates as the key metric of website performance).

What was the lesson?


These are people who are simply not “wired” to care about anyone (whether by birth defect, accident, emotional damage, etc) and, thus, have no moral problem hurting, conning, or financially ruining others. In fact, to these people, doing bad things is as ordinary and “routine” as ordering a hamburger at McDonalds.

Don’t bother trying to rationalize it, either.

You can’t.

These particular people are 4% of the population (1 in 23 people you know, let that settle in your mind for a moment…) according to Martha Stout (the Harvard psychologist who wrote the book “The Sociopath Next Door”) and don’t have any feelings of regret, love, or compassion. In fact, the idea of caring about someone else is as foreign to them as the color “red” is to someone born blind. And because of this, they have no problem lying through their teeth, stealing your money, or doing whatever it takes to get what they want from you.

Even if it means ruining your life as you know it.

But here’s the chilling thing about this:

Since these people don’t have any natural reactions and moral guidance, they watch the rest of us very carefully. They are especially observant about how we respond and react to other peoples’ words and actions. As a result, they become masters of persuasion and manipulation; as well as at faking empathy, compassion, and concern for others.

They do it so well, they come off as more “human” than normal people.

Some of them are almost supernaturally good at it.

Even to the point where they will have you believing they’re your best friend within five minutes of meeting them.

Now, to be fair, not everyone with this condition does bad things.

And, they don’t live very pleasant lives.

(Always on the run, etc.)

But quite a few of them do.

Anyway, how does this affect you?

Maybe it doesn’t.

But, probably it does — or at least will, some day.


Because the bad ones are many times drawn to positions of power and influence and where they are treated like rockstars for their persuasive abilities, like law, politics, religion, and, yes, direct marketing — where their every word is quoted like “gospel”, and where they are admired, encouraged, and practically worshipped for their “extraordinary” persuasion abilities.

That’s the bad news.

Even worse than that though, is this:

When you have something worth stealing — like your time, money, talent, list, or some other asset — the bad ones will target you. It’s as reliable as lies coming from a politician’s mouth. And if you have something especially valuable, they will pick you out and “work” you for months if they have to, just to get your trust and become your good buddy. And while they’re acting like your new best friend they’re actually stalking you (like a predator), waiting for the right time to strike and run away with “the loot.”

And when they go in for the “kill”?

(Figuratively … or possibly literally, I suppose…)

You’ll never see it coming.

One day they’re your best pal… the next they ripped off your customer list and sold it to your competitor. Or got you to spend months of your time to ignore your other clients with the promises of writing an ad “on speck” they make a bundle from but never pay you a dime of, and then copyright that ad and claim it for themselves. Or got you to pay them a fat fee for some service up front (high ticket copywriting, consulting, coaching, etc) only to skip town.

Scoff all you want at this.

But I can assure you this happens all the time in big or small ways.

And if you have something Valuable to steal, you will be a target.

Maybe not today.

Maybe not tomorrow.

Maybe not even next year. But it will happen, and is just a matter of time.

That’s the bad news when it comes to these yahoos.

The good news?

(There’s an adamantium lining in every cloud if you know where to look…)

In a lot of cases, the exact same persuasion principles and tactics these people use to do great evil, can also be used to do great good. Like a baseball bat (for example) can be used by a professional athlete to hit a game saving home run or by a union thug to bash a car windshield in, these principles can be used to fleece people of their life savings or make you flush for the rest of your life writing emails and ads that sell legitimate products to receptive leads and improve their lives and solve their problems.

Enter the June “Email Players” issue.

I spend almost half the issue talking about one of these people in particular.

Specifically, 6 principles (all extremely simple, and not sexy, which is probably why so few email marketers and copywriters do all of them) he used to do truly vile and evil deeds (unspeakable in an email like this), that have also been used by some of the most respected copywriters, marketers, and consultants to ethically build big businesses, create wealth and profitable joint ventures, negotiate multi-million dollar deals, and, believe it or not, even catch other sociopathic serial killers.

So that’s the June issue.

I’m sending it to the printer tomorrow.

After the deadline, it’ll be too late to get your mitts on it.

Here’s the link:

Ben Settle

  • Novelist
  • Anti-professional
  • Author
  • Email Specialist

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