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Ramona Sukhraj

By Ramona Sukhraj

Apr 30, 2016


Marketing Strategy
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Marketing Strategy

Why Birthday Emails Are Worth Celebrating (& 4 Tips to Get Them Right)

Ramona Sukhraj

By Ramona Sukhraj

Apr 30, 2016

Why Birthday Emails Are Worth Celebrating (& 4 Tips to Get Them Right)

I can’t lie. I love my birthday.

It’s the one day a year I absolutely demand attention and special treatment, and much like a small child, I most definitely expect cake.

That being said, today is my birthday, friends, but thanks to marketers like yourself, If feel like I’ve been celebrating all month long.

As my inbox is flooded with wishes from brands, here’s why yours should be sending birthday emails too and four tips to help you do it right.

Why Send Birthday Emails?

As a brand, birthday emails and campaigns are one of the simplest ways to delight your customers and build a loyal relationship.

A well-executed birthday email can create a sense of exclusivity among your customers or subscribers and humanize your brand. Plus, from a business perspective, Experian found that, when compared to general emails, birthday emails:

  • Have a 481% higher transaction rate
  • Generate 342% higher revenue per email
  • Have 179% higher unique click rates

So, how can your brand capitalize on the power of birthday emails? Follow these four tips.

4 Tips for Birthday Emails Worth Celebrating

1. Wish them by name

This seems like a no-brainer, but I was shocked by the number of impersonal birthday emails I got from brands this year. Using someone’s name, like my friend’s at Sephora did below, is the easiest way to command their attention and let them know that this message is specifically for them.


Even though, I’m very familiar with this tactic, I enjoyed the personalization and appreciated the effort on Sephora’s part.

Without a name, your birthday email will feel like just another email blast. Who knows how many others were BCC’ed on that wish!

2. Offer a Freebie

A wish is good, but what’s a birthday without a gift?

In your birthday email, offer your lead, subscriber, or customer a freebie or discount. This will not only delight and endear them to your brand, but depending on the gift, it can also prompt action (and generate revenue).


If you’re a restaurant like Brio, for example, offering $10 off a dish will require the birthday boy or girl to come in and make a purchase.

Even if you offer a free gift without a purchase, like Sephora, the recipient will have to visit to redeem, making it that much more likely they’ll window shop while they’re there.

From a B2B or tech perspective, this may seem like an irrelevant tactic, but it doesn’t have to be. As a B2B company, you can offer someone a discount, free upgrade, or add-on to your product or service in your birthday email.

You can also consider sending them free swag (i.e. a t-shirt or mug) in exchange for filling out a form with their mailing address. Doing this helps you complete your contact profile while your contact scores a free gift. Everybody wins!

3. Find a Way to Nurture Them Subtly

While your birthday email is one place you want to avoid being salesy, there are ways to nurture leads tastefully and without being aggressive.

Using Sephora as an example again (theirs was definitely the best birthday email I received this year), find a way to subtly align the occasion with one of your products or services, like they did with their Beauty Studio appointments.


The retailer regularly promotes its Beauty Studio in its emails, but by aligning the appointment with an impending birthday, the offer resonates that much stronger with their audience.

Every twenty-something girl wants to look like a million bucks and have a special celebration on her birthday. When presented with an opportunity to do that in just 15-minutes and for free, there’s very little stopping her from clicking through.

4. Don’t Make it All About You

It’s their birthday, not yours, so keep the focus on their celebration.

While a local restaurant group did well offering a freebie in the birthday email below, my first impression of this message was self-promotion.


Between the color choices, large images of their loyalty cards and cold, directional text, it’s easy to miss that this is intended to be a birthday wish. Rather, at first glance, this email looks like a sales pitch for their rewards program or even gift cards.

Like with your calls-to-action, headlines, and copy in general, your birthday emails need to reflect the value you are delivering to your reader both visually and verbally in order to grab and keep their interest. Show them right-off-the-bat why need to be pay attention to what you’re saying.

This email would have been more successful in doing this if it incorporated some relevant imagery such as a birthday gift, cake, or even one of the group’s appetizers. Ruby Tuesday did a great job of this with some enticing imagery and some clever copy.


Key Takeaways

Birthdays are worth celebrating -- even in business. If you aren’t collecting your contacts’ dates of birth, consider adding it to some of your forms right away or use one of these tactics to get existing contacts to share it with you.

This one email, though simple, can not only delight your audience with a more personalized experience, but also humanize your brand and help you create a stronger, more friendly relationship long after the last party guest has left.

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