Happy Birthday (Email) to me!

With February being my birthday month, I’ve received a ton of notes to wish me well on my special day. This seemed like a good opportunity to talk about these feel-good emails that any business can send.

Step 1 to sending these is collecting the necessary information. Adding the birthday field to your sign-up form will solve that problem.

The next is to decide the objective for your birthday email program. Do you want the messages to be a branding initiative or are they to be a means for adding incremental sales? There’s no reason you can make both of these a goal for your happy birthday emails. Keep this in mind as you design the email’s template.

If you’re using these as an opportunity to merely have a favorable brand impression, your message doesn’t need to have a sales incentive, but the content should be strong enough to have a positive impact. If you also want to increase offline or online sales from the message, include an incentive, such as a special birthday discount, to drive purchases.

Here are some birthday message tips:

  • Make the email pretty – keep your brand colors and look intact, but this is an opportunity to do something playful as well.
  • Give people time to redeem the offer – Your contacts receive lots of birthday emails. Give them a chance to make use of your promotion.
  • Test your campaign – this message can be used all year long. Keep an eye on what offers are performing best and which subject lines have the highest open rates. Adjust as needed.
  • Send a targeted offer – use past purchase behavior or other information collected at sign-up to send a relevant offer.

As was expected, I received numerous emails to wish me well on my birthday. Here are some notes about a couple that stood out:

Atlanta Magazine:
What I liked: I’ve been a regular reader of the print version for several years, but their message included a discount to subscribe to the digital version of the magazine. In all, the message was short and sweet.
The offer: In addition to giving a discount on the digital version, a local museum also offered a discount on tickets to visit. This is one that I’ll definitely be using, especially since the offer is valid for four months – plenty of time to visit.

The Counter
This burger restaurant is a favorite of my family’s, but I’ve never ordered a shake after a meal there. The email itself looked pretty, but left me with more questions than answers. The message didn’t include any details about the offer (What size shake? When does the offer expire?) or even what types of shakes do they offer. When I clicked to learn more, I was taken to a web page with offer details written in tiny print. It’s nice that they wanted to wish me well, but I’d have had a much more enjoyable experience if I could’ve just printed the email (or shown it on my smartphone) to get my free shake. Is abuse of the offer really that rampant?!

Here are some other links that discuss birthday emails:
Silverpop: Your Blueprint for Building a Birthday Email Program

Marketing Profs: Birthday, Anniversary Emails Generate More Revenue

If a birthday wish is buzzworthy, your customers can become brand ambassadors. Be sure to include a sharing mechanism if you want to extend the “birthday party.”

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