EMAIL AUTOPSY: Axeslasher, Joyous Wolf, and Carnifex

An examination of recent emails from the HEAVY METAL EMAIL inbox.

Hello, friends, and welcome to this week’s EMAIL AUTOPSY. Yeah, I’m really laying on the metal themes here, right? But whatever, I think it rules.

Each week I’m going to highlight some actual emails I get from the music community, and make fun of them like ‘Beavis and Butthead.’

Just kidding.

I’ll chime in with some ideas, but also link out to some resources that I think might be helpful, or offer insight into why I suggested something.

There are lots of resources out there for starting and growing email lists, but I’ll link to the best stuff, from reputable names and brands, saving you the time and trouble of wading through a ton of bullshit (there’s so much bullshit). If you got questions, leave a comment, or reply to this email


SUBJECT LINE: Let's party 🔪🍕📼🎃

CLINICAL SUMMARY: This is from the band Axeslasher. I love unique, personal intro text. As a band or artist, you probably shares LOTS of your personality in Tweets and IG stories - jam that into your email newsletters!

HEAVY METAL EMAIL RECOMMENDS: Send me a follow-up email loaded with photos, reactions, and stories from the performance!


  • “To earn your subscribers’ trust, consider showing personality by sharing behind-the-scenes (BTS) pictures. These show your business’s human side so it’s a quick way to gain your audience’s trust,” says Send In Blue.

  • “Sharing yourself and all that you’ve experienced is one of the greatest gifts that you can give to the world and to your readers. They’ll think you’re far more interesting if you talk about what’s really going on with you than if you solely send out promotional emails and lists of upcoming events,” from ‘50 engaging email newsletter ideas’ over at GoDaddy.

  • “Send a follow-up message to them after the gig to get their feedback… this user-generated content is great for promoting future tours. And you could even ask them to share their pictures and videos across social media using a hashtag, then use those photos and videos to continue promoting the rest of your tour,” from Emma.

SUBJECT LINE: Thanks For Signing Up!

CLINICAL SUMMARY: A very standard confirmation email from Joyous Wolf; links to social media, boilerplate “thanks for signing up” language.

HEAVY METAL EMAIL RECOMMENDS: Someone just gave you their email address - that’s a commitment in 2021! Offer a discount to your store, or a link to an unlisted video on YouTube thanking them for signing up. That’s a “call to action” (or CTA for the email marketing nerds). It’s the thing you want people to click or do when they open an email, and since most people are going to open that confirmation email, make it count.


  • “By welcoming your new subscriber, showing them some love, and adding value while leveraging store data to recommend amazing products they might like based on past buyer behaviors, chances are good they’ll make a second buy,” from Boost Your Ecommerce Sales With These Welcome Email Examples

  • ‘5 subscription confirmation email examples’ from Stripo

SUBJECT LINE: Make Your Own Sad Skeleton Memes, Pre-Save to Win an Ibanez Guitar, Pre-Sales are SELLING FAST, so HURRY!

CLINICAL SUMMARY: Sign up for the Carnifex email newsletter, and this is the first thing you see when you open the email. That skeleton is from the cover of their latest release, and they’ve been getting their fans to download the cut-out and make their own memes, which get shared by the band.

HEAVY METAL EMAIL RECOMMENDS: I love this. It’s not trying to make a sale right away, but instead shows off a casual, fun side of a band that writes songs with titles like ‘Dead Bodies Everywhere.’


  • “Examine the priorities, engagement habits, buying behaviors, favored pricing, social media activity, and other details of your current audience for commonalities. Then, use this data to inform or refresh your outreach,” from ‘7 Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Audience’ by MailChimp. A band like Carnifex saw that their audience was into this, and they leaned into it.

  • “Use (a) live event as a piece of gated content. Promote it on social media in the days or weeks prior. Let fans know that they need to be signed up for your email list to join. You can host private streams on YouTube quite easily. Just set the stream’s privacy to ‘unlisted’ and share the direct link with your email list,” from New Artist Model.

Leave a comment

There’s lots standard ways to write your newsletter, but I always say that what resonates with your audience is what counts most of all.

When I ran my metal trivia Twitter years ago, I offered a nightly email newsletter with the answer to the question I posted that day. Yes, a NIGHTLY email. But my audience knew that when they signed up, and it had like a 40% open rate.

Don’t be afraid to send an email once a week. No one ever wrote “I promise I won’t post often, I don’t wanna be spammy!!” as their first or second post on social media.

People signed up - give ‘em something!

As you’re not always pitching to make a sale at the top of each email, you can totally send more often.

And remember these two very important points:

  1. Not everyone is on social media.

  2. Not everyone who follows you on social media will see your post.

An email newsletter is a great place to curate your finest work from socials, expand on those ideas, and reach your fans directly.

If you got questions, just reply to this email. Thanks for reading.