According to E Joseph Cossman, entrepreneur and author of How I Made Millions in Mail Order, “The best way to remember your wife’s birthday is to forget it once.”

Unlike your spouse, your customers probably wouldn’t notice if you forgot their birthdays. On the other hand, they probably would notice if you remembered their birthdays by emailing them a 20 percent off coupon from your company. This is the essence of a “birthday campaign.” If you’ve ever received a birthday postcard from your dentist, you have been the target of a low-key birthday campaign. Here are two examples of email-based birthday campaigns that have more pizazz:

  •  An upscale hotel chain emails a birthday greeting to a previous guest offering 15 percent off room rates if the room is reserved for dates within the guest’s birthday month.
  •  A clothing retail chain sends a birthday email offering 25 percent off during the customer’s birthday month, for use online or in-store.

Do birthday emails work? You bet! Experian Marketing Services conducted an audit of 50 birthday email campaigns with compelling results. The audit discovered birthday emails yielded:

  •  179% higher click rates than promotional emails
  • 342% higher revenue per email

When the subject line was personalized with the recipient’s first name the open rates increased by 17 percent. With findings like these, why not try a birthday email campaign of your own? Here’s how:

HappyBirthda

  1. If you don’t have a record of your customers’ birthdays, start collecting that data for current and future customers. Let them know you want to help them celebrate by sending coupons or special offers. Bear in mind you won’t need the year of your customers’ birthdays, just the day and month.
  2. Devise a “gift” for the birthday campaign such as a discount or 2-for-1 offer. Some companies use a mystery gift, and send an email that says, “We Have a Birthday Surprise for You” with instructions on how to get it. The Experian study revealed mystery gifts drew an even larger response.
  3. Be sure your birthday campaign emails have attention-getting designs that clearly describe the birthday gift and how to obtain it.

Many companies send more than one birthday email to a customer. For example, a haircare products company sends the first email early in the customer’s birthday month and then again, when the offer is close to expiring. The urgency to redeem the offer before it expires brings a second wave of response.

Birthday emails yield higher click rates and revenue

Birthday email campaigns work because of their personalization and relevancy. There are numerous case studies online. Before you jump in, do some homework first. Then get creative and take advantage of these campaigns to increase your sales and develop closer ties with your customers.