June 19, 2020

How to Send The Perfect Birthday Email

Reading time about 10 min

Birthdays are always special…even if it means we’re getting older? Okay, debatable. But it sure is special when someone takes the time to wish us a happy one!

As a business, sending a birthday email to your customers is a fantastic way to increase loyalty and rake in some serious sales

Because here’s the thing: we’re much more likely to splash and treat ourselves when it’s our birthday. 

You can capitalize on this heightened desire to purchase by offering a birthday discount, free delivery, or another incentive.

This article will walk you through:

How birthday emails work

Birthday emails need to be friendly, delightful, and warm. Some of the best techniques to make your email stand out include:

  • Offering a personalized gift coupon based on your customers’ interests
  • Including a mystery offer to generate intrigue and increase click-through rates
  • Having an email design that POPS! Your customer is likely receiving lots of messages on their special day, so you want your email to stand out.

Puma hits the nail on the head with an eye-catching design in this birthday email example:


Puma didn’t forget that birthday coupon either! Including that discount creates a strong incentive for the customer to visit the store and make a purchase.

You can even take this one step further by showing an expiration date on the birthday coupon code. This creates urgency, increasing the likelihood that the birthday email recipient will use their coupon code.

Why are birthday emails so important?

Now that you know what a birthday email is, you might still be wondering what all the hype surrounding birthday emails is about.

Sent with the help of a marketing automation tool like Sendinblue, birthday emails are one of the simplest automation workflows that you can set up.

Because of their timing and the nature of the content, these automated emails generate a TON of engagement. Back in 2014, Experian carried out a study that showed birthday emails produce:

  • A 481% higher transaction rate than promotional emails.
  • A 342% higher revenue per email than promotional emails.
  • A 179% higher unique click rates than promotional emails.

Amazing numbers, right?

Let’s take a look at how you can achieve the same success – starting with your birthday email template design.

How to design an awesome birthday email template

You want an email design that jumps out and grabs the reader’s attention. Here are your options when it comes to designing email templates:

  1. If your email provider has a template gallery, find one that you like and customize it to match your brand.
  2. Not impressed by your provider’s template gallery? Swipe another template from one of the many free email template sources.
  3. Want to go all out? Hire an email designer to code you an awesome professional template that’s unique to your brand.

Here are some ideas for customizing your template.

Highlight the CTA with bold color combinations

The CTA (call-to-action) is super important in a birthday email. If you’re looking to include that ‘10% discount’ or ‘$50 off your next purchase’, make it as prominent and attractive as possible.

Your CTA needs to be visually appealing. Use bold color combinations that are hard to miss. Take a look at this example from Subway, see how the ‘Get Reward’ is highlighted in yellow?


Embrace the birthday celebration theme

For some it might mean straying away from the brand guidelines, but birthday emails should be fun and light. See it as an opportunity to showcase the more playful side of your brand.

Think of the colors and objects that represent the theme of birthday celebration – cake, candles, colorful balloons. How can you integrate these and add your own original stamp? Chipotle does exactly that in this example:


Boost engagement with animated GIFs

If you’ve read our guide to animated GIFs in email, you’ll know that GIFs are a powerful tool for personalizing an email, telling a visual story, and catching a reader’s attention.

Why not add a GIF to your birthday email template? After all, they’re fun and light-hearted which sits well with the birthday celebration theme.

For some inspiration, look at how Hulu did it:


Tips for writing birthday email copy that converts

Reel them in with an intriguing email subject line

When writing a captivating birthday email subject lines, you’ll want to include this important information:

  • The main point of your email
  • Details of a promotional discount
  • A date or time limit expressing urgency
  • An intriguing phrase that piques the reader’s curiosity

Here are some example of birthday email subject lines that work well:

  • An important birthday is coming up!
  • A special gift for your birthday
  • We want to celebrate your birthday too!
  • Make a wish!
  • A special gift of 20% off for your birthday

By appealing to your customer’s curiosity in the subject line using examples like those above, you can increase engagement rates and sales.

Struggling to come up with something catchy? Check out our easy 7-step process for writing email subject lines.

Make it personal

Seeing our name or something relevant to our interests in an email subject line can make the content feel more relevant. This will often catch our eye more effectively and increase the desire to click.

With Sendinblue and most other email marketing software providers, it’s easy to dynamically inject data attributes that you have stored in your contact database (e.g. first name, topic of interest, city of residence, etc.) for each individual contact.

This means you can type something like {{contact.FIRST_NAME}} in your subject line and email body, and your email tool will automatically add the name of each recipient based on their contact details.

Your email provider doesn’t offer this kind of dynamic personalization? Sign up to Sendinblue and see what you’ve been missing (bonus: send 300 emails/day on our free plan!).

How to set up automated birthday emails with Sendinblue

As mentioned, birthday emails are one of the easiest automation workflows to put in place. Almost every email marketing service comes with some kind of automation feature.

Gather the date of birth information

As a Sendinblue customer, you need to add ‘Date of birth’ as an additional field to your initial email signup form so that you can gather the data. 

If you think customers might be uncomfortable with sharing this information up front, you can make this field optional and or ask for it later by sending an Update Profile form. The main goal at this point is to get folks onto your email list!

Once you have the necessary data, it’s time to create your automated birthday email workflow.

Step 1: Select the Anniversary Date automation scenario

Click the ‘Automation’ option at the top of your Sendinblue dashboard and then select ‘Create a workflow’. You’ll be greeted by this screen from which you’ll select ‘Anniversary Date’:

automation workflows

Once that’s done, you’ll land here where you’ll hit ‘Next’:

Step 2: Select the workflow entry point

Here’s where you define the workflow’s starting point. You’ll be prompted to select one of the contact attributes, i.e. the variable that will trigger the workflow every year.

By selecting the attribute “Date of birth”, the workflow will be triggered on that date every year. You can also specify how often you want Sendinblue to check if a contact is having an anniversary.

Step 3. Select your birthday email template

Once you hit ‘Ok’ you’ll be brought to a new screen. Now it’s time to select the birthday email template that you’ve already prepared and saved prior to this. It’ll be available in the drop-down menu.

If you didn’t get around to designing an original template, you can use one of the default templates provided by Sendinblue and customize it with your details.

Hit ‘Finish’, double check all the details (test the workflow to be sure) and then click ‘Activate the workflow’.

Woohoo! You’re all set to send automated birthday emails to your customers. Easy as pie. 🙂

Over to you

Remember, you’re not the only business who’ll be wishing a happy birthday to your customer on that day. Think about how you can stand out in a crowded inbox.

A successful birthday email is one that looks beautiful, speaks to interests, and seduces the customer into making a purchase.

Yet, above everything else, a birthday email must be caring and sentimental. It should make the recipient feel special. It is their birthday, after all, right? 🙂 

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