How to Use Birthday Emails to Surprise and Delight Your Customers (With 5 Examples)

birthday emails

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If you’re not sending birthday emails as part of your broader lifecycle marketing strategy, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to increase sales and develop stronger relationships with your customers.

Birthday emails are one of the easiest and most effective email automations for online stores.

Not only are automated birthday emails easy to set up (all you need to know is their birth date), but they also have an extremely high ROI because people love shopping on their birthdays.

It makes sense.

Who doesn’t like to buy themselves the perfect gift on their special day?

Strangely enough, many organizations don’t celebrate customer’s birthdays, which is a huge missed opportunity. Not only can you increase your revenue, birthday emails also go a long way to building stronger connections with your customers. It tells them that you care about them and that they are worth celebrating.

In this post, we’ll discuss what birthday emails are and best practices for creating email messages that excite your customers. We’ll also show you a birthday email example or two to help get the creative juices flowing so you can add a birthday workflow to your email marketing campaigns.

birthday emails best practices

What, Exactly, Is a Birthday Email?

It should come as no surprise to anyone that a birthday email is an automated email that goes out around someone’s birthday and contains birthday wishes and, usually, a pleasant discount to incentivize shopping.

If you’ve been zealous about capturing information about your customers (you should be), you probably have their birth date stored somewhere in your database. Why not use this information to show your customers a little appreciation with discounts, birthday greetings and premium offers that help them save money?

According to Salesforce research, 75% of companies found promotional emails effective in generating goodwill and boosting sales, as well as customer loyalty. Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to craft the perfect birthday email campaign.

Time it Perfectly

Don’t wait until your customer’s actual birthday to send the email. They might be throwing a birthday celebration and are too busy to check their messages.

Instead, send the email a few days before the big day. This gives them enough time to place their order and potentially receive their products on their birthday!

Some companies make it even simpler and just send their birthday emails on the first of the month to all subscriber’s with a birthday in that month. This isn’t quite as personal, but it still works.

You can also create a sense of urgency by letting them know that any discounts expire a few days (or weeks) after their birthday.

Craft the Perfect Subject Line

​Don’t bury your offer at the bottom of the email, let people know right away what you’re offering. Here’s a super basic template that works great:

Happy birthday 🎉! Here’s 20% off to celebrate!

It’s really that simple.

This subject line is great because it 1) tells the subscriber why you’re sending them an email and 2) tells the subscriber what they get if they open the email.

Email subject lines are the biggest factor when it comes to open rates, so do some experimentation to make sure to get yours right.

Give Them a Present Worth Opening

Your email should have a birthday offer that’s actually exciting. If you sell physical products free shipping probably isn’t enough. However, if you combine free shipping with 20% off, you’re more likely to get their attention.

Don’t go cheap on your discounts, either. Giving a cheap discount to someone on their birthday is nearly as bad as buying a cheap gift for a loved one or family member. Aim to impress and go with a big discount.

As with any promotion, it’s important to put a time limit on any offers you include in the birthday email. However, give the recipient enough time to use the codes. As we mentioned earlier, you can make the expiration date a week or more after their birthday.

Besides discounts and free shipping, you can also send them an actual free gift or gift card(with a purchase). After all, it is their birthday.

And remember, when you create a generous offer and make it easy to use, it’s much more likely to improve your conversion rate.

Include a Call to Action

Every email should provide instructions on what the recipient should do next. A clear CTA should stand out and motivate the reader to click through to your site.

For example, many promotional emails include a button with simple instructions such as “Click Here to Save.” Other messages may include bold or oversized text with a link to your website, where the reader can use the coupon codes to buy products.

You can also try to use a standout color for the button such as red, yellow or black with white print. Example labels include “Claim Your $20 Coupon Here” or “Get Your Free Birthday Gift.”

If .your click-through rates aren’t what you’re expecting, play around with different CTAs

Try Gamification in Birthday Emails

Who doesn’t like games on their birthday? Giving customers an opportunity to when prizes or higher discounts adds value and can improve your conversion rate.

For example, you can include a button that generates random discounts or links to a page that displays a virtual wheel to spin

Keep It Short

There’s no need to create a long message and give the recipient time to abandon the email. Wish them a happy birthday, tell them about the discount or gift you’re offering and sign off.

Can’t Use Videos? Try GIFs

It would be great if you could embed videos in emails, but the technology is just not there yet. Instead, include animated GIFs to entertain the recipient and wish them a happy birthday.

This addition makes the email more festive and can inspire the celebrator to take advantage of your discounts.

Make it Personalized

If you know a subscriber’s birthday, it’s probably safe to say you at least know their name. Use it!

Also, if you know that a customer is already interested in a specific product or category, Personalize your email and offer a discount that you know they’ll enjoy.


If you’re looking to generate higher revenue from your email lists, start with this simple marketing automation. Birthday emails are easy to set up, have a higher transaction rate than batch and blast emails, and help turn regular subscribers into loyal buyers.