How to set up Happy Birthday automation emails that get results

Hey, it’s your birthday! Or, your customer’s birthday. Either way—it’s a time to celebrate and individually engage with your subscriber. While birthdays are typically filled with cake and presents, email marketers can also capitalize on this happy occasion by sending happy birthday automation emails.

As an email marketer, you know that mass and unsegmented emails are no longer effective. Subscribers want to feel special—not like they’re being funneled in a large net—so your messaging needs to interact with them 1x1. If they continue to receive irrelevant information that doesn’t suit their needs, they may unsubscribe—or worse—send your email to the dreaded spam folder.

If you’re looking to add more personalization and engagement into your email strategy, happy birthday emails are the perfect place to start! These emails are triggered on (or around) your subscriber’s birthday and often result in higher conversion rates. 

Let’s take a look at how you can start sending happy birthday automation emails to drive conversions and boost your brand awareness. 

Why should you send birthday emails?

The truth is, happy birthday emails are one of the most effective types of email you can send. According to Experian data, happy birthday emails drive consistent ROI:

  • 342% higher revenue per message

  • 481% higher conversion rates

  • 179% unique click rates

Talk about a celebration! Those are numbers you simply can’t ignore. Even better, once you establish happy birthday email automation and parameters, your messages will send without you needing to do any manual leg work.

If you’re not sending birthday emails out yet—don’t worry—we’re here to help explain how to create them and what a successful email include. 

How happy birthday automation emails benefit your company

Besides statistics, happy birthday emails also provide numerous business objectives:

  • Provide an excellent customer experience by sending your subscribers personalized messages.

  • Generate conversions by providing a special discount code.

  • Reengage inactive subscribers who will feel special that you remembered them.

Happy birthday emails offer you the chance to connect with your subscribers and build your brand’s reputation. While a simple happy birthday email is enough to delight your subscriber—accompanying it with a call-to-action can drive serious click-through rates and conversions.

How to set up a happy birthday automation series

Automation turns the time-consuming process of sending emails manually into something automatic that you don’t have to touch once set-up. While birthday emails can be sent utilizing various degrees of automation, Emma can help you set up data triggers that automate the flow—which is the recipient’s day of birth. To know your subscribers birthday, you will need to obtain this legally and with consent. In Emma, you will:

  • Set up triggers based on life events or link clicks in the email itself.

  • Develop workflows for the customer journey like sending standard emails, waiting a specific amount of time before the next, or branching the emails into multiple automation segments depending on the subscriber’s action.

However, in terms of complexity, you have a few happy birthday automation options:

1. One email on the day of birth

As the simplest strategy, you can automate your happy birthday email to be sent on your subscriber’s actual day of birth. You can include a message, discount code, complimentary gift, or even a call-to-action depending on how you want to engage with your subscriber. However, it’s important to note that sending one email is risky because you only have one chance to connect. If your subscriber deletes or scans over your email, the communication channel is closed.

it’s important to note that sending one email is risky because you only have one chance to connect. If your subscriber deletes or scans over your email, the communication channel is closed.

Source: Really Good Emails

Facebook utilizes one-send emails on their users’ birthdays. While there isn’t any sort of incentive included, it still feels nice to know that a platform—with billions of users—still takes the time to remember your birthday.

2. Run-up automated workflows

Most people enjoy building up their birthdays—so it makes sense that your emails should do the same. Consider creating a drip campaign 30 days before your subscriber’s birthday that continues to send messages leading up to the grand finale. The final email can contain some sort of discount code that encourages your subscriber to act fast and take action.

The final email can contain some sort of discount code that encourages your subscriber to act fast and take action

Source: Really Good Emails

Nike doesn’t just celebrate your birthday—they celebrate the whole month! The brand continuously sends birthday messages and coupons leading up to your big day, hoping that you’ll use that birthday money for a new pair of sneakers.

3. Recall automated workflows

Why stop with your subscriber’s birthday? What if they don’t take advantage of your offer? You can also send a recall workflow that sends automated emails after the birth date. 

For example, if your subscriber didn’t open the birthday email—you can trigger an additional message for a second chance at a click. Likewise, if they clicked your email but didn’t convert—send a reminder email about the discount code. You can even use recall automation to upsell subscribers who used the coupon. This process will hopefully build a loyalty loop and develop a long-lasting relationship with your customer.

This process will hopefully build a loyalty loop and develop a long-lasting relationship with your customer.

Source: Need Supply Co.

Need Supply Co. plays it cool by sending an ‘apology’ email for forgetting their subscriber’s birthday. As a savvy email marketer—we know they didn’t forget, but they are trying to capitalize on their subscriber’s event. To make up for it, they offer 20% off.

4. Cross-channel automated workflows

With inboxes filling up with hundreds of emails a day—121 to be exact—your birthday email might get lost in the shuffle for a number of reasons. However, it’s important to recognize that you can expand your email marketing strategy to a multi-channel approach. This means not only utilizing email to celebrate birthdays, but also SMS, social media, or even direct mail. For example, if your email is not opened, you can send a text within 48 hours as a reminder.

What to include in your happy birthday emails

Once you have determined the type of automation workflow you want to send—it’s time for the fun part! What will you send your subscribers that’s enticing enough for them to engage with you? Here are a few ideas to get started.

A simple "Happy birthday" message

While it seems simple, sending your subscribers your warm wishes is a gesture that shows you care and will elicit an emotional response. Associated with one-send workflows, these emails let your subscribers know you’re thinking about them and offer a personalized touch from your brand.

Choose a different color scheme! ZocDoc breaks away from its usual template, going with bolder colors.

Source: Zocdoc

Zocdoc pairs minimalist design with bold colors to send their customer a happy birthday message. While this email doesn’t include any sort of offers, it does provide a ‘treat yourself’ message with a call-to-action. 

A hard-to-resist coupon

Chances are if you give your subscriber a birthday treat—like $10 off a $50 purchase—they will pounce on it. Discount coupons and limited-time offers are a great way to engage with your subscriber to entice a conversion where you otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity. If you didn’t want to provide a percentage off, you can offer free shipping or even a gift with purchase. Birchbox utilizes a coupon that lasts for the entire month so the recipient has time to pick out the perfect gift for themselves. 

birthday email example from Birchbox

Source: Birchbox

An interactive message

If you’re looking for a fun way to catch your subscriber’s attention, consider utilizing some sort of interactive content. Interactive content allows you to create personalized messages for your subscriber without expecting anything in return. It stands out in the inbox and surprises people as it’s something they don’t typically receive from brands. You can send a gift guide, personalized video, GIF, or an e-book to help ring in the special day.

You can send a gift guide, personalized video, GIF, or an e-book to help ring in the special day.

Source: Outdoor Voices

The activewear company, Outdoor Voices, provides a fun happy birthday GIF with a 20% coupon.

Birthday email best practices

By now, you understand why utilizing automation for your birthday messages not only streamlines the process but also ensures your subscriber receives their message timely. However, what are some other best practices to ensure engagement?

  • Personalize the message and subject line: The whole strategy behind birthday emails is that they’re personalized to the individual. Don’t forget to include your subscriber’s first name in the subject line and message to harness a click.

  • Develop a call to action: Although you’re celebrating your customer, the email needs to include a stand-out call-to-action. Utilize a bright color and text that reads “Use Your 20% Off Coupon Now”, “Redeem Your Birthday Gift”, etc. 

  • Keep the content short and sweet: These emails should be quick—wish your subscriber a happy birthday and briefly explain the incentive (if provided).

  • Be fun: It’s a birthday! Incorporate fun images and typography to create a design that’s visually appealing to bring about a sense of celebration.

Wrap up

Birthday emails should be an integral part of every brand’s marketing strategy when you consider their high conversion and engagement rates. By utilizing happy birthday automation emails, you have the ability to celebrate your subscriber’s special day with personalized content without having to manually send out the email yourself. When developing your emails, remember to:

  • Select how you want to engage subscribers with an automation workflow.

  • Decide what kind of messaging and incentive you want to provide.

  • Design an email that’s engaging, but to-the-point.

Are you ready to start sending timely, personalized happy birthday emails to your customers? Give Emma a try! We provide dynamic content and customized workflows for every subscriber. Try a live demo out today!

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Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. With our

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