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A complete guide to successful automated birthday emails

By Stacy Kimbell

October 27, 2023

Birthday greeting emails consistently stand out in our crowded inboxes. Personal, timely, and evocative, they hold a special place amidst the daily inbox clutter.

More than just conveying wishes, automated birthday emails blend timeliness with personalization. This allows recipients the opportunity to tap into unique offers. Offers they may only access once in the entire year. 

Automated birthday emails are a strategic engagement technique for savvy marketers. And you might be leaving money on the table if you are yet to harness them.

This guide will explore the ins and outs of crafting and automating birthday emails. We’ll also explore some automated birthday examples you can leverage to create yours.

Let’s get started.

Why are automated birthday emails effective?

Automated birthday emails are more than just a celebratory gesture. They are powerful tools to incorporate into your email marketing strategy.

Here are some reasons automated birthday emails are effective:

1. Offer a personal touch

When a company sends a birthday email, this is what it means:

It conveys the message that they view customers as individuals, not just sales numbers. 

Such a personal touch goes beyond the generic marketing communications most people receive daily.

Addressing customers by their name gives a personal touch to automated birthday emails. Incorporating birthday elements into the design further makes the message stand out.

2. Build an emotional connection

Birthdays are milestones filled with reflection and celebration. By reaching out during these moments, brands can create a deep emotional connection with customers. 

It’s not just about selling a product. It’s about being a part of someone’s celebration and life journey. This emotional bond can be instrumental in influencing purchasing decisions.

3. Present limited-time offers

When a brand offers customers a time-sensitive discount or special gift on their birthdays, it taps into the customer’s natural inclination to avoid missing out. 

Limited-time offers trigger a fear of missing out (FOMO). This can push birthday celebrants to act faster than they might have otherwise. In many cases, this impulsive response leads to sales.

4. Boost engagement

While many promotional emails compete for attention, birthday emails hold a unique appeal. They consistently resonate with recipients due to their personalized nature.

This tailored approach not only captures the recipient’s interest. It also boosts the chances of them engaging with a company’s promotions.

5. Foster re-engagement

Some customers drift away or become less active over time. A birthday email can serve as a gentle reminder of the brand’s existence. This reignites interest and could lead to renewed engagement with the brand’s products or services.

6. Drive upsells

Birthday emails are a prime opportunity to upsell. Brands can highlight complementary products or premium versions. This entices customers to enhance their purchases. 

Personalized offers on their special day make many customers inclined to indulge. They might opt for higher-tier products or add-ons. This boosts the average transaction amount. It also introduces customers to a broader range of offerings.

7. Cultivate loyalty

Acknowledging a customer’s special day fosters a sense of mutual respect and appreciation. Over time, these positive interactions can accumulate. This can eventually create a deep sense of brand loyalty, beyond just transactional interactions.

What should automated birthday email templates look like?

Beyond the celebratory sentiment, a birthday email should weave in standout design elements. It must also deliver tailored messaging while echoing your brand’s unique voice. 

Let’s go over a few key details that make up an ideal automated birthday email template:

1. Fit the brand style

Every piece of communication, including emails, should be a clear reflection of your brand. 

Details in your birthday email ought to unmistakably represent your brand’s essence, including:

  • Design
  • Color schemes
  • Typography
  • Tone of voice 

For instance, a brand with a solid eco-friendly identity might use green hues in its email. Earthy designs can further emphasize its commitment to sustainability. 

On the other hand, a tech-focused brand could showcase sleek digital graphics. It might also add interactive elements to highlight its innovation-centric ethos.

2. Contain a limited-time offer

A sense of urgency often drives action. Your automated birthday email can present an exclusive, limited-time deal. 

This approach can create a sense of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). It encourages recipients to take advantage of the offer while it’s available. 

For example, consider an email with this message:

“Happy Birthday! Enjoy 20% off any purchase today as our gift to you.”

Such automated birthday emails can motivate subscribers to act swiftly.

3. Compelling visuals

Visual elements can evoke emotions, often more powerfully than words. 

Incorporating high-quality images or graphics that resonate with a birthday theme can make your email stand out. 

Imagine opening an email and being greeted by a dynamic, animated burst of confetti. Balloons float up the screen. Your name appears elegantly scripted amidst the celebration. Such visuals create a captivating moment.

4. Clear CTA (Call-to-Action)

While birthday greetings warm the heart, they have another purpose, too. The strategic intent of your email is to steer subscribers towards a particular action. 

Use clear and compelling CTAs that nudge the recipient towards the desired action to shop now.

For instance, a prominently placed button with the text “Claim Your Birthday Treat!” stands out. It prompts recipients to click and explore.

Five automated birthday email examples

Crafting the perfect birthday email can be challenging for marketers. To simplify the process, we’ve curated some top-performing examples. These examples can serve as inspiration and provide direction for your campaigns.  

Here’s a list of five notable automated birthday email examples and their standout features:

1. The Cheesecake Factory

The Cheesecake Factory’s automated birthday email immediately captivates with its vibrant cake slice image. This sets a celebratory ambiance. 

The headline, “Your Birthday Slice,” is direct, making the value proposition evident. 

Notably, the email provides clear CTAs, offering both “ORDER NOW” and “RESERVE A TABLE” options. This caters to varied subscriber preferences, be it home delivery or a dine-in experience. 

Furthermore, the brand subtly reminds subscribers that their special day has been remembered. This warm, personalized touch truly makes the email stand out.

Source: MailCharts

2. JD Williams

JD Williams’ email creates a sense of anticipation with the email subject line:

“It’s almost your birthday.” 

A generous 15% off with the code “PARTY” sets the stage for celebration. 

JD Williams also clearly segments its offerings into:

  • Fashion
  • Footwear
  • Home
  • Beauty

Listing categories ensures subscribers can directly access what interests them the most.

Source: MailCharts

3. Burger King

With a regal touch, Burger King’s “Royal Perks” email exudes exclusivity. 

The fiery red background showcases the company’s branding. Additionally, the playful decree “By royal decree, we declare [date] the day of [name]!” adds a personalized touch. 

Furthermore, the mouth-watering burger image serves as a visual invitation to indulge. 

Finally, the apparent “Treat Yourself” CTA makes it irresistibly tempting to dive into the festive offer.

Source: MailCharts

4. FitFlop

FitFlop uses vibrant visuals to hint at a special treat. The image of neatly stacked shoe boxes with a pair laid out in front showcases the brand’s variety.

The message is straightforward and tempting: 

“A treat for you.” 

Coupled with a 20% discount code, this email effortlessly nudges subscribers to start their birthday celebrations a bit earlier. 

The additional product recommendations at the bottom further entice subscribers to explore more. This further increases the chances of conversions.

Source: MailCharts

5. Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger’s automated birthday emails exude sophistication. It presents its deep blue palette crisscrossed with the brand’s iconic red and white. 

Centered around a minimalistic gift design, the message is crystal clear: 

“It’s Your Birthday.” 

The generous offer of 20% off the entire purchase acts as a compelling incentive. 

Split CTAs provide flexibility for subscribers. It allows them to either shop online with a clear checkout code or visit their nearest store. 

Source: MailCharts

Automated birthday SMS

Imagine giving your brand a competitive edge with a two-pronged approach: 

Automated birthday emails and the immediacy of SMS. 

Emails provide a visually rich experience. On the other hand, SMS makes sure your birthday greetings and offers reach customers instantly. SMS also boasts impressive open rates. Now, think of its potential when paired with a compelling email offer. 

Some recipients might lean towards the detailed content of emails. Others might prefer the brevity of an SMS. Therefore, integrating SMS with your email strategy is pivotal. It helps you truly harness the power of automated birthday communications.

For instance, a birthday SMS might read: 

“🎂 Happy Birthday, [Name]! 🎉 As we celebrate you, enjoy a 20% discount exclusively for you. Click the link for more details!”

This combined SMS + email approach provides multiple touchpoints. It ensures that your brand’s celebratory messages are both resonant and far-reaching.

Wrap up

Utilizing automated birthday emails, complemented by SMS, is a rewarding path brands should take. These tailored communications, be they emails or texts, transcend mere marketing tactics. They’re a testament to a brand’s genuine appreciation of its subscribers.

Establishing a heartfelt connection can be challenging for ecommerce brands. So, personalized gestures like automated birthday emails stand out. It helps to fortify brand loyalty and build engagement. 

By adopting a dual-channel approach, you convey a clear message: 

Every customer’s special day is a celebration for your brand, too. 

Utilize the combination of email + SMS today. It is a rewarding way to make your customers’ birthdays memorable.

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