Someone in a copywriting group I’m in got this question from a potential client:

“If you were a soup, what soup would you be?”

They thought it was a pretty strange question from a potential client, but it’s actually not.

You see, back in the 12th-17th centuries, alchemists had to hide their esoteric knowledge in secret code.

At first, it was because the knowledge was so powerful that they didn’t want too many people to use it.

Imagine if any old bloke could turn lead into gold. It would completely destabilize the economy.

That’s not good business for the alchemists, so they kept their secrets behind symbols and metaphors.

Copywriting is the same.

It’s powerful, and we can’t just let anyone learn it.

Just like the alchemists, most copywriters are charlatans.

They’re not turning lead into gold.

They arrive with lead and hidden gold, and use slight of hand to switch them out so you think they’ve transmuted.

The true copywriters know about soup.

The question “If you were a soup, what soup would you be” was divised by an elite and clandesting guild of copywriters known as the Ink Illuminati to do two things:

  1. Figure out who the real copywriters are (for they will have an answer)
  2. Figure out what type of copywriter they are (as the answer will reveal)

Different soups have different meanings, so your answer is important but it must be knowledgable of the secret code.

Tomato soup means something different than chicken noodle soup means something different than italian wedding soup.

Only the initiated know what the correct answer for them is.

And if you try to pick one, they’ll know just by your writing if you know what you’re talking about or not.

If you know the secret code or not.

If you can turn lead into gold or you’re just attempting slight of hand.

For your information, I’m a beer cheese soup (made with PBR) and if you’re interested in learning more about copywriting (for your music, or software, or whatever it is you’re working on), hit me up.

Ben Settle is a smart dude when it comes to both copywriting and business.

I absolutely trust his knowledge on both of those things (as opposed to his thoughts on health issues or public policy, neither of which I would recommend).

My notes are not going to do his knowledge justice so I highly recommend you sign up for his monthly Email Players Newsletter.

I do not recommend his “Biz Haunts” social lair that is very little biz and very much haunts. It’s basically just a bunch of people complaining about “wokeness” (whatever that is). If you’re into that sort of thing, it’s definitely the place for you and you should check it out. But I’ve got enough negativity in my life and more than 9/10 posts are Ben et al. complaining about something.

This page contains all of my notes of everything I’ve learned from Ben Settle.

Ben Settle Book Notes

  • The Email Players Skhēma Summary, Review, and Notes (Coming Soon)

Email Players Newsletter Notes

How to Create Your Own Marketing Universe (Issue #111 – October 20200

This issue is about world building, which is something I have been working on for a long time.

Ben Settle’s thoughts on how marketing is world building helped my perspective and gave me a lot of great ideas.

To Read: Rise of the Dungeon Master: Gary Gygax and the Creation of D&D (aff).

Marketing Universe Secret #1 – No More “Marketing” Campaigns

Stop thinking of everything as “marketing” and start thinking of it as “world building.”

Every project needs to be a part of building the/your world. If it isn’t, get rid of it.

You are not the marketer; you are the dungeon master.

Ben Settle Email Notes

Unorthodox email strategies that’ll put some hair on your chest (2022-01-26)

“All you need to make a bundle in business is an email and an offer.”

Orange gradient background with white text that says "30 Day Landing Page Challenge. You're In! Here's what's next."
Orange gradient background with white text that says "30 Day Landing Page Challenge. You're In! Here's what's next."

I don’t believe in competition, even in a literal competition like the ConvertKit Landing Page Challenge.

There’s $5000 at stake, and I could really use it right now to pay off some medical bills.

But it’s just not in my modus operandi. My MO is to serve people.

This challenge, for me, is a challenge against myself. I just want to see if I can do it.

That’s why I’m sharing my plan with you.

We all need 100 new subscribers.

Plus, I want to see more people up in that top 100 subscriber bracket.

If we can all get 100+ subscribers this month, we all win.

100 new subscribers has got to be at least two new sales on whatever it is we sell, right? I think if our email list conversion rate is under 2% we’re probably doing something wrong. That’s a topic for another post.

Side note: the only affiliate link in this post is to ConvertKit, for people who aren’t already members. I’m not trying to sell you on anything in this post. Just sharing my knowledge.

This is the plan I’ve put together based on everything I’ve learned over the past decade working in digital marketing.

While it is based on everything I’ve learned, it doesn’t contain everything I know.

My specialty has always been Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but I haven’t put it as a part of this plan.

Why no SEO as part of the plan? Because this is short term competition.

That said, in the grand scheme of things this landing page will exist outside of this competition. I don’t plan on closing it at the conclusion of the competition.

My long term goals for this landing page will include quite a bit of SEO. I plan on this being an evergreen landing page.

But, this post and the included plan are specifically for the ConvertKit Landing Page Challenge.

Without further ado…

ConvertKit Landing Page Challenge Plan:

Step 1: The Product

The Product is what the landing page is for. For some people, the landing page may just be for the mailing list. That is your product. For me, it’s going to be a video course.

My video course will be “Everything I Know About Digital Marketing”. It will be an on-going video course that I add to regularly. 

Every time I add substantial content, the price for new members goes up. Anyone who was already signed up gets updates for life. 

This sense of urgency will convince people to sign up as early as possible to get the best price.

The other incentive to sign up early will be that their questions will shape the future of the course.

Step 2: The Landing Page.

I will be using everything I’ve learned in Supercharge Your Writing to craft out a quality landing page.

It will be focused on The Product (see Step 1).

At the end, above the sign up form, it will say that the course is coming soon and that there will be a special preorder price, as well as a short pitch for The Lead Magnet.

Step 3: The Lead Magnet

The Lead Magnet will be a short, 5-10 day email course with daily actionable lessons on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which is my specialty.

Side note: I’m considering dripping them out every couple of days rather than every day. This is so that the readers have time to take action before each next lesson. It will also give me a little more time to tie up any loose ends with Steps 4 and 5.

For those who are too impatient to take the full email course, I will offer a PDF version, created in, at the cost of one share via their preferred social media (Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn), which I will use GoViral to facilitate. Both of these tools are by Brian Harris of Videofruit. These tools, in conjunction with ConvertKit, are most crucial to my marketing automation.

The social share they will be required to send out will be something along the lines of…

“Join me in this free email course to increase organic traffic to our sites!”

…with a link to the signup page.

Step 4: The Other Lead Magnets, or, The Secret Sauce

There are more lead magnets, and so I call them the The Secret Sauce

Technically I should probably call them “share magnets”. But, lead magnet is already a standard industry term so I’ll stick with that.

Each lesson will also have a video and checklists, which the subscriber will need to provide a share to get. I will again use to create the checklists and GoViral to facilitate an exchange of goods for the share.

The social share they will be required to send out will have a quick tip from that day’s lesson. It will also include a link to join the email course for the rest of the lessons. Example:

“I just learned that metadescriptions don’t matter in SEO but do matter for CRO. Learn with me in this free SEO email course: (link)”

Step 5: The Sale

The end of the free email course will have a sales email about the full video course. Here’s the kicker: those videos they watched, if they chose to, are a sneak peek of the course. 

They’ll be informed that preorders are open. If they preorder now, they’ll also get a 20% discount off the launch price. I will reiterate that they get free updates for life PLUS their questions will shape the rest of the course.

Now that they’ve gone through a free email course and seen the quality of content that I will be producing, they know that the price is going to go up multiple times, and they know that their questions will be answered in the course because I’m building it along side them, I have a strong feeling this will lead to a fantastic conversion rate.

Photograph of a fern.

Without consistency, people are going to forget about you. They’re going to forget about your writing and you.

Pretty terrifying, right? No one wants to hear that. Sorry for being so harsh, but you’re not doing anything to remind them who you are.

That’s why you need to be consistent. Consistency is the key to being successful in anything.

Let’s start at the top.

Note: there are a couple of affiliate links in this post. Check out the Resources page for more about that and how they work.

You need to be consistently writing.

My friend Sean McCabe says “show up every day.” You should do at least one thing that works toward your writing career daily.

That doesn’t mean you have to post something every day.

Just one thing is all it takes. So show up every day and do at least one thing that will get you closer to completion.

  • Use “stream of consciousness” to write ideas for new stories.
  • Come up with a character name, birthplace, and favorite thing to do.
  • Write one sentence.

Just one thing.

One thing every day will get you closer to your goals.

Sean says that doing this for two years will get you where you want to be. That’s such a short period if you think about it.

Plus, you’ll improve your writing each day as you work on it.

While you’re getting closer to completion, you’ll need to be working on marketing. Building your audience is what you should do, which is why the next three parts need to be consistent.

You need to be consistently sharing your writing.

Show people what you’re working on. Show your works in progress.

It doesn’t have to be anything crazy or intense. Maybe it’s a short piece on Mastodon of a WIP you made this week.

Heck, even share a teaser of a character concept.

There’s so much in creating a piece of writing that can be shared, and it drums up interest in your release.

Of course, you can and should be sharing this stuff on your social media, the Fediverse, but you should also be sharing it on your blog.

You need to be consistently posting on your blog.

If you don’t have a blog, ensure you’re signed up for the newsletter. I’ll post a comprehensive guide that will teach you step-by-step how to set up a blog for your writing.

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You need to be posting to your blog because it’s the one platform you control.

Remember MySpace? Who uses that anymore?

I don’t think it’s impossible that Twitter or Facebook could be next. I don’t even know anyone who uses Tumblr anymore.

But your blog, your website, that is something you can control. It will exist as long as you want it to. I use A2 hosting and their quick and easy one-click WordPress installer for this site and almost all of my sites.

You can also do a simple little thing to keep people returning to your blog for more. Aside from posting consistently, you need to collect emails from your visitors and send them a newsletter.

Of course, if your audience is a bit tech-savvy, you can point them to your RSS feed. That way, you don’t have to collect any personal data!

You need to be consistently sending out email newsletters.

My biggest regret is not having started collecting emails sooner.

I would have made way more sales on my previous releases by now had I started collecting emails from the very beginning.

It’s the best marketing you can do for any release. Tell people about it.

As I mentioned above, controlling your platform is essential. If TikTok or whatever disappears or loses popularity, it won’t be easy to retain that audience and move them to whatever new platform you’re on.

I use ConvertKit because it’s easy, and they have great functions for automation.

If you have a reader’s email, you’ll be able to take them wherever you go.

Plus, people will see you all the time. You’ll be in their thoughts because you regularly send them valuable and engaging emails.

That way, they won’t see it as spam when you release something new.

You ever sign up for an email list and forget about it? Then weeks or months later, you get an email like, “Hey, I just released my new short story!”

Of course, I usually check it out, but it’s like, “ugh, who is this person, and why are they trying to get money from me?”

You need to share at least once a week.

They won’t forget about you this way. We think in weekly cycles. That’s why most TV shows release new episodes at least weekly (during their season).

Of course, if you want, you can share more than once a week, but don’t overwhelm yourself.

Trust me; people will start to notice.

I’ve been inconsistent, and people have commented on it. I was embarrassed.

Consistency is hard, but there are many ways you can prepare, like setting up an editorial calendar or automating your social media posting with a tool like CoSchedule.

Make sure you’re signed up for my email list so that you can continue to learn more about growing your fanbase.