Happy Email to You – a Guide to Birthday Emails

Article first published November 2015, updated February

Break out the cake and confetti; it’s time for a birthday
celebration. From gifts to parties, birthdays are filled with lots
of great things including birthday emails.

Gone are the days of ecards—Birthday emails are the best way
to celebrate. Additionally, birthday emails are one of the most
effective emails you can send.

  • Birthday emails have a 481% higher transaction rate than
    promotional emails.
  • Birthday emails generate 342% higher revenue per email than
    promotional emails.
  • Birthday emails have 179% higher unique click rates than
    promotional emails.

(Source: Experian)

With success rates like that, who wouldn’t want to

To help your business create and send effective birthday emails,
we’ve created this helpful guide. We’ll cover what, when and
how to send the best birthday emails that motivate subscribers to
celebrate by buying your product or service.

What to send

Birthdays are synonymous with gift giving, so give your
subscribers something they can’t pass up. Typically, birthday
emails have a special deal, offer or free gift. Often, these deals
can be used online or in-store, and should be easy to redeem.

Here are a few ideas that you can use:

A can’t-resist coupon

Give subscribers a real birthday treat by offering a
can’t-resist coupon. For example, Campaign Monitor customer,
Birchbox, offers $10 off of a $50 purchase. They sent the email at
the beginning of the month and allow the subscriber the entire
month to redeem the coupon before it expires.

birthday email example from Birchbox

Mystery savings

Send a mystery coupon to your subscribers on or before their
birthday. You can use a tool like
to create an offer that enables subscribers to
“scratch” a digital card to reveal their 10, 20 or 30% off

A free gift

Everyone loves freebies on their birthday. Why not give your
subscriber a free gift?
Have the birthday boy or girl come to your store to claim a free
gift, or provide a coupon code to use online to receive the gift in
the mail. The gift can be something small like a laptop sticker,
an appetizer or service upgrade. You can require a minimum
purchase to claim the free gift if you’d like.

Free shipping or discount

On a subscriber’s birthday, try to clear any obstacle that
keeps him or her from placing an order. For example, as a birthday
treat, offer to provide free shipping and take care of the sales
taxes by discounting the item by 8% (or whatever the sales tax rate
is in your area.) It’s a simple gesture that could entice a
subscriber to buy.

DSW knows the way to their subscribers wallets is through
engaging offers and of course, shoes so this birthday email strikes
a perfect chord:

DSW birthday email

Fun gifs

In this email from Outdoor Voices, their marketing team does a
great job of staying on brand while also acknowledging a special
occasion with this birthday greeting. Here, the gif adds a
lighthearted and celebratory tone to a simple-yet-genuine message.
And a discount code never hurt anyone, either. Outdoor Voices
proves that you don’t have to do anything super fancy or
different from your regular branding—A simple and genuine message
goes a long way.

Birthday email best practices

Is it best to send birthday emails on the exact birth date or
before? Should you send a follow-up email? If so, when? They’re
all great questions, and we’ve got the answers.

Send the offer on the actual birthdate

More than half (55%) of birthday emails are sent on the exact
birthdate. About 38% of birthday emails are sent one to three weeks
prior to the birthday. A growing trend is also sending an offer at
the start of the subscriber’s birthday month to give them plenty
of time to take action and to provide you plenty of time to send a
few reminders. Regardless,
birthday emails are the name of the game.

Send a reminder

To make sure your subscribers remember to take advantage of
their birthday offers, send a reminder email. Reminder emails
generate rate increases of at least 20% in open,
click-to-delivered, average order value and revenue per email,
according to Experian data.

Chandon sent this birthday email out with the subject line,
“Birthday Savings End Soon!” a few weeks after I got the
initial birthday email.

Chandon birthday email reminder

Use automation

Even the most organized business couldn’t possibly keep track
of every subscriber’s birthday and send an email offer on that
day. Fortunately, you don’t have to.

Automation turns what could be a tedious, time-consuming job
into a few clicks.

Campaign Monitor customers can use automated
, which are emails that are automatically sent to a
subscriber when certain conditions are met. In this case, when the
subscriber’s birthday arrives, an email is automatically
delivered to his or her inbox.

Jewelry retailer, Monica Vinader, generates an offer to their
customers with jewelry suggestions based on past purchases, and a
special “treat yourself” message.

See it in action in this video:

Personalize subject lines and messages

When you get a birthday card in the mail, the person sending it

it, right? Of course. That’s what makes the card
special. You should do the same thing with your birthday emails.
Use a subscriber’s first name in the subject line and inside the
email message.

Here’s an example below from Omaha Steaks. The subject line
was, “Happy Birthday Kim!” The personalization is in the
subject line but could have also have been easily used in the

, the body copy, or even the CTA button.

Omaha Birthday Email

Emails with personalized subject lines are
26% more likely to be opened
and marketers have found a 760%
increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns. Campaign
Monitor makes it easy to personalize every email, including
birthday emails. Take a look at these
instructions to personalize
your campaigns.

Create a clear call to action

Every email should have a clear call to action, and birthday
emails are no different. Make sure your call to action stands out.
Consider using a button like the one above in the Benihana email.
Use a color that’s used sparingly for the button color and create
an action-oriented call to action for your button. Something like
“Claim Your $30 Coupon Now” or “Redeem Your Birthday Gift”,
or “Shop Now”.

Keep the message short

The best birthday emails are short and simple. The message
should wish the subscriber a happy birthday and explain the treat.
There’s no need for long copy.

Here’s a great example from Wine.com. In less than 20 words,
the email accomplishes its goal.

birthday email example from wine.com

Make it festive

It’s a celebration. Birthdays are fun, so make sure your
birthday emails have a festive feel to them. In the example above
from Wine.com, there’s an image of people celebrating with a
toast, and the example below from Topshop uses big, bold
letters and a fun design. They also include a promo code (promo
code has been excluded from this post).

Topshop birthday email

Use a combination of colorful text and images to make your
birthday emails stand out. Use confetti, party streamers, balloons,
birthday cake, or pictures of people at a party to liven up your

If you need help finding birthday images, check out our list of
to get amazing images for your emails.

Wrap up

Birthday emails should be part of every brand’s email
marketing strategy. By automating the process, you can create and
send personalized, revenue-generating emails in a snap.

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Happy Email to You – a Guide to Birthday Emails
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Happy Email to You – a Guide to Birthday Emails