If you’ve got an email list, push your headphones in and listen to this one:
Back when I used to produce music, there was this huge controversy called the “Loudness Wars”.
The story goes like this:
Way back in the day, jukeboxes used to be set at a fixed volume that couldn’t be adjusted between songs.
And what happened was, if any song in a playlist was louder than the ones before it, it would sound better (because who likes to dance to quiet music?).
So over time, all the artists started trying to produce their newest song to “one-up” the latest radio hits, by being even louder.
This went on for decades.
Problem is, scientifically, there’s only so loud you can go before the sound levels are squashed like a pancake.
So ironically, everyone ends up at the same loudness again — but they all sound terrible.
There was this one guy who flat-out refused to play the Loudness Wars.
He decided not to squash his songs flat in the name of loudness — and instead just engineered them to sound good. Loudness be darned.
His take was simple:
“If I just make the record as good as it can be, the listener’s wrist will turn it up +20dB for me”
And there’s plenty of wisdom in those words for you.
Because in many ways, there are Loudness Wars when it comes to email, too.
For example, when people realised they could sell through email, they started being more aggressive about it.
But everyone started choking everyone else out.
So Google and the mail clients started coming up with things like the Promotions tab, spam filters, etc. to flatten the noise.
Realising they were all squashed to the limit, many people started to (and still do) just flat-out beg the reader to help.
They will say in their first email, “oh, and whitelist all emails from firstname.lastname@example.org, so you never miss an email!”
(Firstly, Bob, that is a TERRIBLE value prop. “So I never miss an email?” What’s in that for ME?)
But even more than that, let’s be real:
WHO ACTUALLY DOES THIS WHEN YOU ASK?
I have literally NEVER whitelisted a sender. I don’t even know how I would. And I am a freaking millennial.
And asking stuff that people will never do is a great way to bloat your copy.
So what is the solution?
Stop shouting louder.
Instead, focus on making your emails GOOD, and fun to read.
You have a very small window to impress someone when they’ve just signed up.
Get it right, and the reader’s wrist will drag your email into the Primary tab for you.
And you will enjoy the pride of place in the inbox that all those other noisy marketers can only beg for in their welcome emails.
At least, that’s my (quiet) view.
So if you want to hire a guy who refuses to go with the tide, and can help you win the Email Loudness Wars by writing emails that your readers will drag into their Primary tabs …