342% More Revenue Per Email With Birthday Email Campaigns

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Why should you start including birthday emails in your email marketing strategy? They work, and they work very well. I’m not exaggerating for dramatic effect. A birthday email promotion has the highest returns of any email marketing campaigns

We’re talking 481% higher transaction rates and 342% more revenue per email than any other promotional email, including Black Friday. Not to mention a considerably higher click to open rates.

Predictable profit for your business while making a valued customer feel special on his or her special day. It’s win-win! 

Birthday email marketing campaign statistics
Birthday email marketing performance

Birthday emails work, but should you do it? Every business owner should do it – make more money, make someone feel a little more special on their special day, but there are drawbacks. 

A strong birthday email campaign can’t be slapped together in 15 minutes. It must be thought out, beautifully designed, personalized, and it needs to send a clear message with an easy-to-redeem exclusive offer that is both unique and special. Take some time to brainstorm ideas, jot down some notes, look at birthday offers you may have received in the past. You want your celebrating customer to read your special offer and smile, get excited, click and brag to their friends.

When to send birthday emails to optimize conversions

When To Send Birthday Emails?

Businesses that use a reminder email typically send the birthday reminder three weeks prior to the day itself. Reminders always deliver higher open and click-through rates because you’re building anticipation.

A reminder similar to this:

Your birthday is only three weeks away! We won’t take up your time, but wanted to let you know we are hard at work on a sensational and very exclusive surprise birthday gift for you. We can’t wait for your special day!

Due to the “set it and forget it” nature of email campaign automation, most businesses tend to send out reminders on the first of the month. This works, but it’s far from preferred. Oftentimes that means a customer whose birthday is the 1st or 2nd of the month has very little to get excited. You want to build anticipation, after all. Set your birthday campaigns to send the reminder no more than three weeks before the individual’s birthday to maximize results.

Factual Considerations

    • 55% of all birthday emails (not reminders) are received on the customer’s actual birthdate. The recipient sees the email in a good mood on their special day and as it is his or her birthday find it easier to justify treating themselves to a new product or two.
    • 7% of emails are sent after the customer’s birthday. This is the gift card tactic to convince the customer to splurge using any birthday gift cards. It does not work as well in most sectors these days.
    • Birthday emails are received between 4AM and 11PM, with the majority received between 6AM and noon. You want your customer to receive your birthday email before noon to lower the risk of it getting buried in their inbox.

What To Offer For Their Birthday?

Surprise or mystery birthday offers consistently provide over a 500% return (revenue per email sent).
Surprise or mystery birthday offers consistently provide over a 500% return (revenue per email sent).

Birthday offers are redeemable either online, or online and in store (dual). Of course, dual channel offers assumes a physical location and is most likely to be targeted to the customer type and demo.

Simply put if you’re looking to maximize your revenue per email, a Surprise or Mystery offer  works better compared to all other offers and discounts. Get creative and offer up a birthday surprise!

A birthday surprise offer may be a BOGO of your top-selling item or access to an exclusive private sales page with astonishing discounts and value. Make it special, make it surprising, and you can’t lose.

The Power of the Reminder

A reminder email has high engagement rates for those messages when compared to the first email sent. Over 15% of  brands send reminder emails for birthday offers and those reminder emails generate increases of 20% in open, average order value, click-to-delivered, and revenue per email.

As previously mentioned, reminder emails should be sent two to (preferably) three weeks before the person’s birthday. You need time to build anticipation, but not too much time that your gift will be forgotten.

Key Features of Birthday Emails That Convert

Put effort into these birthday emails. Make your customer feel special – after all, it is his or her birthday. Focus on their special day and not your business or promotion. If you collected birth years, you may consider automating a Birth Year Fact box on each email, complete with funny or unusual things that occurred during that year. Sounds complicated, but many email services can do exactly this, although it will take some effort and time on your part (or hire it out). Keep the email short and genuine – it’s a kindhearted wish for happiness on their birthday and not an advertisement.

What you give them matters, and how you give it matters almost as much. It can’t be difficult or confusing to redeem the gift, and it certainly must not be an item you regularly discount. Make sure it’s special – after all, it is a birthday celebration for a customer. Try and go for surprising or unique or unexpected – give them something to tell their friends about at their birthday dinner.

The 3 Keys To Running A Successful Birthday Email Campaign

Collect birthday information. Yes, very basic, but surprisingly many retailers don’t bother. Depending on your email service or software (where you create your opt-in forms) this is often as easy as adding a custom field. 

I recommend telling the customer why you’re collecting his or her birthday. “Let us know your birthday, so we can celebrate too!” or perhaps, “Tell us your birthday, and we’ll send you a gift.” People like to know why you’re asking for their information and how you plan to use it.

Step 1: Collect Customer's Birthday

You can’t run a birthday email marketing campaign without birthdays, so the first step is to add a custom field for date of birth to your subscription forms, along with a quick note letting your subscriber know why you’re asking. Keep it simple. Here a few quick lines that have the highest engagement rate:

    • We’re asking, so we can celebrate your birthday, too.
    • We want to send you a gift for your special day.
    • Sign up for a special surprise treat for your birthday.

For new subscribers, this is as easy as adding the birthdate field to your online form with the little explanation discussed above. But it’s never too late to start collecting birthdays from your subscribers.

Running A Promotional Campaign To Collect Birthdays

A short and direct email asking your subscribers to update their contact information with their birthday for a free surprise is all it takes. The following headlines work the best:

    • We have a birthday gift for you, but we don’t have your birthday
    • Can you help us send you a gift for your birthday?
    • We would love to send you a birthday gift

The promotional campaign to add a customer’s birthday shouldn’t be combined with any other campaign. Don’t try and use this email to slip in a discount code or a list of new products. Keep it specific and direct, so your customers know you care and are focused on their special day.

Kenneth Cole HTML Birthday Email Promo
West Elm Birthday Email Promo Example
Ann Taylor HTML Email Birthday Campaign Signup

Step 2: Personalize & Keep It Short

Six years ago, only 11% of retailers and digital marketers were using personalization (first name or first and last name) in email subject lines. Jump to 2021 and over 50% are using this valuable automatic tactic. Include your customer’s first name in the subject line, along with birthday and whether you have a gift for them. Something like this:

    • Happy Birthday, Erica. Enjoy our gift.
    • Erica, we hope you enjoy your birthday gift.

Keep it short and focused. This email is about one thing – your customer’s birthday and the special offer you’re giving him or her. Keep the attention on that and nothing else.

The message (body of the email) should do only three quick things; say happy birthday, explain the gift, and state how to redeem it. The best birthday emails are short and direct.

Include an easy button or link. For example, “Claim your $20 birthday code now” or “Redeem your birthday gift here”.


Happy Birthday celebration promo

If a ServerWise client we would suggest changes for higher engagement including reducing the words and eliminating the SHOP NOW at the bottom. Adding instead an image of a festive button with the words "ENTER MYDAY AT CHECKOUT". Too much small print screams disclaimer text and customer's feel less special.

Animated GIFs have a higher than average click rate.

Step 3: Use Reminders Before & After

Reminder emails build anticipation before the event and serve as a friendly nudge afterward. You’ll want to send a reminder email two to three weeks before the customer’s birthday, and a follow-up reminder two to three weeks after the big day if he or she has not redeemed the offer. 

Subject: Erica, your $20 birthday gift awaits


To review…a birthday email campaign will, on average, gift you with five times the return compared to any other promotion. 

A short and personalized subject gets more interaction, and reminder emails sent before and after the customer’s birthday makes this automated marketing strategy the top ROI performer. Get started today!

Need to convince your team, employer or business partner about the value of running a birthday email marketing campaign? We got your back! Download our eye-catching Why You Should Be Running A Birthday Email Campaign infographic. No opt-in required!

If you’re a ServerWise client, and you’re not currently running a Birthday Email Campaign, contact us, and we’ll help get you started.

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Charles Wilson
Charlie is a classic coder from the Northwest who loves all things retro, vintage and vinyl and has spent the last 15 years at a data security firm. After retiring, Charles fell into a second career helping his wife start her niche membership site that now boasts over 12,000 monthly members.