Business Growth with Ben Settle
(Persuasion Play Podcast 007)

I’m not entirely sure when I first heard about copywriter Ben Settle from I signed up for his daily email list in July of 2018, some 10 months ago. I’ve since received over 600 emails from him.

And I open every one.

Ben’s emails discuss email marketing and adjusting your mindset towards success.

Ben Settle is known for hi daily email methods and business advice
Ben Settle is known for hi daily email methods and business advice

Continue reading “Business Growth with Ben Settle
(Persuasion Play Podcast 007)”

Picking between two great options…


Saint Paul


Good day, how’s it bangin?

My coffee’s cooling —just the way I like it— and I’ve spent too much time this morning on “news” instead of working on my Change State book. Ah well, time to connect with you.

Exciting news IMHO:

Recently my wife and I booked a vacation to Puerto Rico at the end of March! We’re pumped for some time in the sun… and a short break from our lovely kids ; )

What to do during those few days? Continue reading “Picking between two great options…”

This German restaurant advert could be so much… besser


Saint Paul, MN


Yesterday I mentioned that burger joint’s weaksauce newspaper ad. It could be so much better.

Well it’s pretty early, but I had it on the brain all last night. I thought I’d write some more about the advert.

Continue reading “This German restaurant advert could be so much… besser

The Failure of Science

Saint Paul, MN

Reader, this weekend I met with a PRL subscriber to discuss marketing emails that I am writing for his business.

Yep, my first paid copywriting gig!

We bounced around with other conversation topics as well, including my wife’s newfound interest in Reiki energy healing.

<cue eye-roll>

My friends asked what I thought of Energy Healing, a topic that’s looked down upon by science and society as being unconfirmed.

My answer? Continue reading “The Failure of Science”

How your beautiful (type) face is hurting your message


Saint Paul


Good day dear reader!

Are you snowed in yet?

It’s snowing again here in the midwest. We have the snowiest February on record, and there’s another week ahead of us.

I almost had a day at home with the kids —not really a break at all— and I was hoping to edit the podcast.

Alas, it didn’t pan out that way today. I’ll be in the office today, all good.

While in the office yesterday I got an email:


I have some thoughts on that.

My grandfather was in the printing business. He taught me a few things about fonts typefaces that echo true today.

One thing I’ll always remember is that using all-capital blackletter typefaces (also known as Old English) is a cardinal sin in the printing world:


I most often see this all-caps choice as a sticker on the back window of pickup trucks. It’ll read GONZALEZ or MARTINEZ or something.

The illegible message always makes me think of Grandpa.

Anyway, I’d like to share a few additional thoughts about typefaces that might improve your written persuasion and marketing.

If you’re interested, read on.

The first thing I noticed in yesterday’s email is the difficulty of reading the text, especially at the small font size:


The email uses a serif typeface, which is almost certainly a choice of the author.

Serif typefaces have those little swirls (or hooks, or serifs) at the ends of letters.

The serifs exist to lead your eyes across the letters. They’re meant to improve legibility… on the printed page.

Yes, serif typefaces are designed for printed text, or for larger sized headlines where clarity isn’t as much an issue.

Sans-Serif fonts, however, are designed for computer screens. Like emails and blogs.

Sans-serif means the font has no serifs. In smaller sizes, those lovely serifs muddy the screen. Sans-serifs remove those hooks to improve readability.

Here’s the same message in a sans-serif font:


And here it is again, in a larger size to further improve readability:


Daniel Kahneman wrote in Thinking, Fast and Slow about the brain’s ability to understand a written message.

Kahneman created experiments that had fuzzy letters or low-contrast type, and would measure people’s pupils while they read these texts.

As participants’ mental loads increased, their pupils measurably expand.

(You can test this by looking at your eyes in a mirror and count downward from 200 by sevens, for example. Pretty cool, isn’t it?)

When the brain has to work harder to understand a message, two things happen:

  1. The reader gives up sooner because it’s mentally taxing to continue, and
  2. The message is more memorable, because the brain needed to use more logical reasoning to understand what it’s reading.

In persuasion and marketing, you often don’t want the message to be seen. Being memorable isn’t necessarily the goal.

(By the way, my current website header intentionally uses difficult-to-read text against that bookcase, to be more memorable. Scroll up and check it out. I’ll still be down here.)

Anyway, you want the message’s intent to have an impact. You want a clear pane of glass to see the possibilities beyond.

In other words, your fuzzy, fancy font…

might be a distraction!

Eugene Schwartz said you want to speak to the gut, to the monkey brain.

You want your message to bypass logic and skepticism, to help the reader feel what’s possible.

Now, if someone reads your message and they’re looking at the design, and not the product on the other side of that message, you’re doing yourself and your market a disservice.


Famed designer Massimo Vignelli suggested that designers limit their typeface choices to some very basic, readable options.

Garamond, Bodini, Century, Futura, Times Roman, and Helvetica were his suggestions.

Many designers might disagree, saying that a typeface helps to brand your company.

If you’re more worried about your brand than about helping your clients, well, I don’t know what to tell you.

Ok back to it.


Your Guarantee… to Fail?

Give them some rope!

Saint Paul, MN

I’ve been hearing a lot about ecom drop-shipping stores trying to pivot to full, reputable brands.

Part of this is because Fbuck’s advertising algorithm is, apparently, punishing the all-hype ads that drop-shippers are known for.

I came across two ideas recently that play directly into this.

Would you like me to share them with you?

Because even if you’re not a dropshipper, these might apply to you or your business.

(And I’ll wrap with a story of my own dissatisfaction. But first…)

You would? Ok here goes…

One idea comes from Gary Halbert, a well known direct-mail king.

(Oh, by the way, read a review of Halbert’s book The Boron Letters here— )

Anyway, Halbert suggests (but not in the book) offering a money-back guarantee on your products.

Not for 30 days.

Not for 60 days.

Nope. Halbert suggests a full year, or even many years.

How is this good for your business, you might ask?

Customers want to feel safe in their purchase. The longer your money-back guarantee, the more time they think they have to feel safe…

…and the more time they have to forget to take advantage of your offer!

Give them enough rope to hang themselves, as the saying goes.

The other idea comes from Drayton Bird, an old-school advertising pro from the UK.

Drayton suggests that people want to be a bit sneaky.

They want to get everything for free… to pull the wool over your eyes… think they’re getting away with things.

But they won’t necessarily act on that.

If you let customers think they might have the opportunity to take advantage of you, they’re more likely to buy your product.

And with a good product, and good service, and happy customers… in  the long run, they won’t take advantage.

In fact, they might become repeat customers. And you have a reputable brand.

And repeat customers are where the real money lies. It’s harder to make a new customer than it is to sell again to a satisfied customer, after all.

Now, here’s my experience with feeling ripped off with a guarantee.

A few years ago I took an online course to help start my own online business.

The class offered methods to research your market, find a problem, create your own online class to solve that problem, ways to advertise, options for outreach…

I was sold. Who doesn’t want their own business that could grow as fast as I could push it?

I dropped $2,000 dollars from my grandpa’s inheritance to take this 6 week course.

And once I was in, I had access to all of the material for life. Because of course, most new businesses aren’t going to be stackin’ cash after just 6 weeks.

There was, after all, a 30 day money back guarantee — if I could show that I did all the work involved.

To be honest it was comprehensive and quite a good class. I learned a lot, and PRL came out of it — though this isn’t exactly stackin’ cash either.

The problem with the course was— there was no way for me to wrap up this course in the 10 weeks that included that guarantee, much less the 6 weeks the course was “expected” to take.

There were hundreds of hours of video to watch. Work to do. Things to read. Planning and straight up thinking. Plus my day job and family time had demands as well.

The course even says as much, that it might take some time to find a profitable business idea.

In short, the guarantee felt designed to ensure there was no way to get my money back.

I’m not making excuses. It was my choice to purchase the course.

And honestly, I didn’t want my money back. Like I said, I learned a lot and I continue to apply what I had learned.

What irked me — still irks me — and has prevented my from ever buying another course from this person — was the impossibility of that guarantee.

If you want happy customers, repeat buyers:

make your offer as favorable to your customer as you can.

Peace out!


19 things you’ll learn from copywriter Matt Rizvi
(Persuasion Play Podcast 004)

Matt Rizvi is a multi-million dollar copywriter. After honing his skills at Stansberry Research for three years, Matt started freelance copywriting in 2016.

Listen to Episode 004 of the Persuasion Play Podcast with Matt Rizvi.

In this episode, Matt shares some incredible knowledge, including:

Continue reading “19 things you’ll learn from copywriter Matt Rizvi
(Persuasion Play Podcast 004)”