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Want to surprise and delight your customers? Try a half-birthday email

The inbox is a crowded place with about 82% of emails coming from brands. But it’s also a very effective way of reaching your customers, as they’ve chosen it as a preferred channel for brand communications, with some brands getting as much as 2337% ROI from one email. So how can you stand out in the inbox? Let me share a story with you.

ask-birthday-email-fullIt was a very special day this week…my half birthday! I didn’t receive any gifts or card from my family or friends, and if I’m honest I didn’t even realise that it was my half birthday myself. But one of my favourite restaurants – Ask Italian – did, and it made me feel pretty special. So special in fact, that I decided to celebrate my half birthday this year and yes, you guessed it, I went to Ask Italian and used the £20 voucher they offered me.

Why would a half-birthday email bring you benefits?

Email is very successful at building relationships with customers when used strategically. In this instance, none of the other restaurants that I signed up to wished me a happy half-birthday, so it had a novelty factor. Ask Italian not only made me feel special, but also encouraged me to spend my half-birthday at the restaurant with my family in town.

Unlike all the other offers your subscribers might receive, a half-birthday special offer gives them a sense of occasion, and an excuse to treat themselves by purchasing something from your company.

My recommendations for effective half-birthday emails

Tip 1: Get your subscribers’ birthday at the beginning

You might want to ask your subscribers to share their birth date at the signup stage. Test and see if this affects your conversion rates.

Alternatively, use progressive profiling to gather more data as part of a welcome email series. Or use a preference centre in your emails, and ask contacts to share it at any time, along with any other relevant information you want to gather.

Tips 2: Use an offer or reward

It is the subscriber’s half-birthday after all, so send them a gift in the form of an exclusive item when they make a purchase, a discount, or even access to an exclusive video. In this example from Space NK, they rewarded their contacts with a candle as a birthday treat.

Space NK birthday email

Tip 3: Think about timing

Some birthdays are bound to fall on week days, and most people will make plans to celebrate at the weekend. So don’t make your treat available only on the day. A week should give them more time to plan.

Alternatively, if your business has a longer decision-making process, like a hotel chain, travel agent or cruise operator, consider sending an email a few months before their birthday. Offer them a discount if they stay during their birthday month, and send them a series of reminder emails.

Tip 4: Automate the email to ensure you don’t miss a birthday

Using email automation, you can setup a recurring campaign to launch daily to the right customers. And because it runs in the background, it doesn’t cause any strain on your resources. Here’s what a birthday email series could look like:

  • Email one: sent on the contact’s birthday – Happy birthday! Here’s a treat on us
  • Email two: reminder two days later if they haven’t converted – Don’t forget to use your special treat from us
  • Email three: final reminder / expiry date of offer if they haven’t converted by then – Don’t lose your treat! Order in the next 24 hours

By making your contacts feel special on their half-birthday, you can build long lasting relationships and enhance brand engagement. But feel free to use these tips for birthday emails too.

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