Email Marketing That Doesn't Suck

At Hive, our clients send out a lot of emails. Some emails are good, some are OK, and some really suck.

We’ve analyzed the millions of music related emails sent through Hive, and distilled some actionable insights for you in this post.


According to one study, the average American reads at a 7th grade level. While this might be an overstatement, your copy should be simple, easy to read, and to the point. A good rule of thumb is to assume that English is your audience's second language.

Use the Hemingway App if you want to make sure your copy is sufficiently easy to read.

A Good Subject Line
  • Doesn’t sell what’s inside, it tells what’s inside
  • Should be localized whenever possible (“Tupac in Paris This Weekend”)
  • Should not be repetitive (“Tupac June Newsletter”, “Tupac July Newsletter”)
  • NO freaking caps lock. Just don’t.
Body Copy:

Readers scan, rather than read things. Hardly anyone reads emails carefully, and it’s important to remember this when writing them.

When scanning, readers look for specific facts or pieces of information without reading everything. Such as shorter paragraphs and words in bold.

Your body copy should be short. Write it, cut the word count — and cut it again. Brevity is king when it comes to emails (aim for the length of a postcard to your grandma!).

Personalize whenever possible: instead of blasting all your fans with one email containing all your tour dates, use Hive’s fan-filtering to target your readers based on location (or gender, or number of Instagram followers, or Spotify follows, etc, etc.)

Ending up in Spam…

… will kill your campaigns. Here’s how to stay safe:

  • Avoid phrases like: “Click here!” or “Claim your limited offer!”. Also, free = spam.
  • Don’t over use exclamation points!!!!!
  • Don’t use caps lock (can’t be repeated enough)
  • Don’t overuse photos. Limit yourself to one or two per email.
  • Avoid brightly colored text.
  • Don’t use too many links. One link per 10 words, max.

What Else Should I Know?

  • Average peak open rate hours are between 9:00am and 1:00pm. Test what works best for you!
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays have the highest average open rate.
  • Don’t send emails on the weekend unless absolutely necessary (low open rates)
  • Using a button as your call to action? Place it where the reader will see it, even without scrolling

We'd love to hear your feedback on this post!