How to Send Birthday Emails That Connect? – A Detailed Guide

Written by: Chris Donald

Published on: 01-16-2020

Chris is Managing Partner at InboxArmy and has more than 25 years of experience in email marketing

There’s no marketing channel better than email marketing. We’ve heard it a hundred times and accepted it once and for all. With several technological advancements we’re sending all sorts of emails – action triggered, automated, order related etc. to connect with our subscribers. They love it too. But you know what still entices us the most? Good wishes that come our way on our special days! Birthday emails are thus important and will always be.

Birthday Emails, but WHY?

Let’s leave the emotional angle behind. Let’s look at what statistics say. According to Experian as compared to promotional emails, birthday emails have:

  • A 481% higher transaction rate
  • 342% higher revenue per email
  • 179% higher unique click rates

Undoubtedly, birthday emails stand out as the most effective emails a marketer can send.

Every business MUST send Birthday emails because:

  • They are a delight for the customers. Anyone would feel special on receiving a personalized wish and offer, isn’t it?
  • They accelerate conversion rates as the exclusive offer/ discount are tempting for the subscribers who are quite likely to shop around their birthdays.
  • They are likely to activate the inactive customers. The personalization and discount coupon combo might just click with some subscribers.

Well, now that you know how important it is to send birthday emails to your subscribers, let’s dive into what are the basic requirements for these emails.

You need data. You need to know when your subscriber’s birthday is.

Three ways to collect subscribers’ birth date

  1. Ask for their birthday when they are subscribing to your newsletter/ emails. Simply add a birthday field to your sign-up form.
  2. Ask on your double opt-in screen
  3. If you have missed out on both these occasion, you can always encourage them to update their profile which includes their birthday, like this email from Steakhouse.

Sophies steakhouse info gathering

Suggestion: Keep your form as short and simple as possible so people actually complete the information.

Great! Now you have their birthday. What next? It’s important to understand that there’s much more to a birthday email than just a wish and businesses are leaving no stone unturned in order to please their potential subscribers.

Types of welcome emails with examples:

  1. A warm birthday wish

Basic as it may seem, a warm wish can bring a smile on the recipient’s face and this builds your brand’s recall value. Take a look at this email from Facebook. It’s simple yet eye-catching and it’s personalized!

Happy Birthday From Facebook

Source: Really Good Emails

  1. Irresistible Discount Coupon/ Free Gift/ Free shipping on the occasion

Birthdays are about gifts and surprises, aren’t they? Most businesses use the tactic of sending special discounts for the subscriber or offering gifts or free shipping on the special occasion. This email from Pizza Express is all about inviting the subscriber to celebrate their birthday at Pizza Express but they do it subtly by offering a free drink because it’s the subscriber’s birthday. Great one!

Pizzaexpress free drink

Some go the extra mile, offering a discount or coupon code that can be redeemed anytime during the entire birthday month. Check out these emails from National Geographic and Nike:

Nat geo birthday month

Nike Birthday month

                                                                                                                                           Source: Really Good Emails

Sending a birthday email series

Just like it works for welcome emails, it works for birthday emails too. It’s always better to send a series of birthday emails or a drip campaign rather than sending just one email and hoping for the best to happen. Here’s how you can do it:


When to send

What to send

Email 1 7 days before subscriber’s birthday Present the offer well before the birthday, so they can get their order delivered before their birthday
Email 2

On subscriber’s birthday Warm birthday wish + Offer
Email 3 7 days after subscriber’s birthday Reminding them about the exclusive offer

Take a look at this email from Figleaves, which they sent before the subscriber’s actual birthday.

Figleaves before birthday email

The second email, the one from Subway, is sent after the subscriber’s birthday. It has been sent to remind them about the offer they are missing out on.

SUBWAY Birthday email sample

                                                                                                                                              Source: Really Good Emails

Birthday Email Best Practices

Automate for convenience

It is not possible for any business to manually send a birthday email to all their subscribers. Automation turns this tedious and time-consuming task into an easy one. You set up automation, and an email is automatically delivered to the subscriber’s inbox on their birthday. Well, around 51% of companies are currently using marketing automation.

Personalize for better engagement

Nearly 90% of retail marketers are using personalization and they are doing so because it works. First name personalization, while it may seem like an old tactic, works well in birthday emails.

Runtastic, in this birthday email start off on the right note by personalizing the subject line. The subject line says, ‘A Gift For You: Happy Birthday, Smiles Davis’

Runtastic gift personalised sub line

Source: Really Good Emails

Write a clear & creative CTA

You have taken all the efforts to create this birthday email campaign because you want your subscriber to shop and your revenue to increase. So, a CTA plays a big role here. You want the subscriber to take action, click on the CTA and visit your website; the CTA must be bright, bold, to the point and creative.

Draft a crisp copy

While words can convey a thousand emotions, in today’s busy life, pictures work better. So, keep your copy crisp. At the same time, make sure you have put up everything you want to convey.

Create graphics that delight

Like stated earlier, you need to be really good with the graphics. Use colors, fonts, and design styles that are striking. Make the email look like a celebration of sorts. Wish to create a GIF? Go ahead. Make the email ‘fun’.

Develop a responsive email

How many of you open your emails on a desktop and how many on your mobile devices? The latter number is definitely growing. According to Litmus, 42% of email is now opened on a mobile device. To make sure that your efforts don’t go down the drain, develop a responsive email that looks perfectly fine no matter what device your subscriber uses – desktop or mobile.

Wrapping Up

Birthday email is a form of personalized email and there’s no second thought about the fact that personalized emails perform better that blast emails. While it is essential that you send a birthday email to your subscribers to build brand reputation and a personal connect, it is also important to do it the right way and follow the best practices to ensure a better ROI.

About Author

Chris sent his first email campaign in 1995. He’s worked directly with Fortune 500 companies, retail giants, nonprofits, SMBs and government agencies in all facets of their email marketing and marketing automation programs. He’s also a BIG baseball fan, loves a good steak, and is mildly obsessed with zombie movies. For more information follow him on linkedin

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