Birthdays rule. You get cake, balloons, presents, and….

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free cinnamon sticks– or rather,  emails about birthday freebies or promotions from your favorite companies!

From a brand’s perspective, birthdays are awesome because they’re opportunities to engage with customers on their favorite day of the year. Unfortunately, not enough companies are sending birthday emails. In fact, only 32% of B2C brands collect customer birth dates and only 8% of B2C brands send birthday emails (ExactTarget).

These low stats show an abundance of untapped opportunity, because birthday emails have incredibly high engagement and conversion rates. In fact, total open rates for birthday campaigns are 235% more than mass-promotion emails, and they receive 3x the number of clicks (Experian). This is because birthday emails, by nature, are highly personalized and targeted. Plus, the birthday boy or girl is already primed to treat themselves on that special day, making them more amenable to redeeming promotions.

So how do you go about sending birthday emails, especially if you do not currently collect customers’ birth dates? Here are some helpful tips for creating these fun and effective email campaigns:

How do you collect subscribers’ birthday info?

 1. During registration

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Encourage customers to provide their birth dates in their profile during sign-up by promising a complimentary gift on their special day.

 2. Social Sign-in


If you enable social sign-in (such as through Facebook) on your website, you’ll be able to collect subscribers’ birth dates through the social network.

 3. Progressive Profiling

If you didn’t ask for birthday info at sign-up, you can request it at a later time as part of a special campaign. American Apparel accomplished this through a clever email blast. They sent out a “Happy Birthday!” promo email to subscribers, even if it wasn’t really their birthday, then asked customers to input the correct birthday in their profiles.

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When should you send birthday emails?

 1. 1-2 weeks before

People start planning for their birthdays weeks (or months) in advance. Therefore it’s a great idea to send birthday emails prior to the actual day to drum up extra excitement.

 2. Actual birthday

Of course it also makes sense to send out the “Happy Birthday” email on the actual day. The best practice is to make the promotion valid for a week or more, rather than only usable on that one day. However, keep in mind that you’ll be vying for attention among the other brands that are sending “Happy Birthday” emails as well.”

 3. Reminder email before deal is about to expire

Good deals don’t last forever, but people rarely remember the expiration date. Send subscribers a helpful reminder before their birthday deal is about to end to boost redemption rates.

What to offer in a birthday email?

 1. Free shipping


If your website does not normally offer free shipping, this is a great way to nudge a customer to make a birthday purchase.

 2. Discount coupon

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Encourage your customers to treat themselves on their special day with a special discount coupon.

3. Free gift, such as a complimentary sample, dessert or drink.

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People love free stuff. Make sure the gift is served with a big smile and a “Happy Birthday”!

Once you have collected your customers’ birth dates, decided on the timing of the emails and the gift or promotion, you are ready to launch your birthday email campaign.  The easiest way to do so is to create a triggered email campaign that will send out the email either 1-2 weeks or on the day of the birthday and a followup email prior to the deal’s expiration date.

This article was originally posted on the Iterable blog.