Wishing Customers Happy Birthday in the Realm of eCommerce

It’s my birthday this month, so I figured I would take this opportunity to talk a little about Birthday emails, and some things to keep in mind when running them. I did some reading about this topic online, and as you can imagine, everyone has their own opinion. However the key “do’s and don’ts” from credible sources seem to be consistent with each other. So here they are:

Use Information Given to You!

First thing’s first, if you are collecting birthdays from your customers/subscribers, do something with them! When I think of all of the sites that have my birthday, and don’t send me anything, I’m shocked. It should never be a mandatory field (unless you’re displaying content that is age restricted) so if you have the info, it’s because I want you to.

It’s all about Timing!

Let’s talk timing. In most cases, you’ll see email come in on the day of your birthday. However, some sites have the unique approach of sending you an email in advance, prompting you to build a Birthday Wish List*. The benefit of this approach is that you get your customer browsing your site in advance, so when they get an email from you on the actual day with a discount, they’re already an educated shopper. Not to mention, if you’re a restaurant, then send me something in advance so I can spend it on my birthday.

Give a Little, to Get a Little!

Since more and more sites are doing this, you should expect that you are not the only email in my inbox. So, you need to be enticing. Make it an offer that is going to peak my interest. Coupons that can be redeemed online and in-store are the most popular because let’s face it, they work. Give me a reason to browse your catalog. Not to mention, there’s a good chance I’ll spend more than the coupon itself. Make sure it can be redeemed in all of your channels (online, in-store, etc) and allow for enough time to use it. I am a big believer in putting a little urgency behind it, but to an extent.

Attract Attention!

Lastly, make your email fun and exciting. Use videos, social media, or anything you can think of to put a smile on their face. It’s their day so why not. This is where personalization kicks in; use their name, the date, and if you have the ability, their history with you. For example, if you tailor the gift you’re giving me to the products I’ve bought from you in the past, I would be much more inclined to buy from you again!

A Few Quick DON’TS:

  • Don’t mention my age. People can be sensitive, there’s no need.
  • Don’t send birthday emails weeks later. If you aren’t going to send it by my birthday, then where’s the personalization really.
  • Don’t send me a birthday email with no gift. I know it sounds greedy, but if your using my birthday to communicate with me, the least you can do is give me a gift.

Some great examples:

* Found a pretty good post from ReturnPath where I saw this example. Check it out – http://www.returnpath.net/blog/intheknow/2012/05/birthday-email-programs-an-opportunity-to-connect/