The Pros and Cons of Birthday Emails

Are birthday emails a good idea?

There are a lot of good things about them: subscribers expect them, email marketers recommend sending them, and they’re pretty easy to set up. These things don’t mean they’re always a good idea though.

Like most things in life, birthday emails can fall in a gray area. There are pros and cons to sending them, and it’s up to you to decide if they’re something that can work for your email marketing campaign.

But before you do that, you need to know what the pros and cons are.

What’s Good About Birthday Emails

  • Pro: They’re personal

    Birthday emails are great at grabbing your subscribers’ attention. Who doesn’t like getting stuff for their birthday? By acknowledging your subscribers’ birthdays, you’re showing them you are using their information to provide personalized messages.

  • Pro: They’re easy to set up

    It’s easy to send birthday emails with AWeber. We’ve talked before about how segmenting your list can help your campaign, so here’s the perfect opportunity to try it out.

  • Pro: They bring good results

    Evidence shows that birthday emails do get a lot of action. One study found that birthday emails brought a 60% lift in conversions compared to the normal version of the email.

    Another study with Epson showed their “Happy Birthday” email generates revenue per email that’s 840% greater than the overall email program.

Convincing, right? But not if you don’t set it up right.

What’s Bad About Birthday Emails

  • Con: They can be too generic

    I just celebrated a birthday. One of the birthday emails I received was from my gym:

    Sounds good, right? Except that they are always trying to give out free sessions.

    Don’t tell me my birthday present is the same thing you tried to give me for Memorial Day, the start of spring, and the last full moon (may be exaggerating here, but you get the point).

    This is the problem with a lot of birthday emails: giving out the usual deals under a different label. Besides being generic, it also….

  • Con: Can make you look selfish

    So continuing with the gym example, I know the reason they keep wanting me to try a free session is because they’re hoping I’ll buy a training package.
    Is that really how you celebrate someone’s birthday? By going for the same sale you’re always trying for?
    You think because you put that pretty birthday banner at the top your job is done, but actually…

  • Con: They’re not that impressive anymore

    Lots of companies send birthday emails. Some are better than others, but birthdays are a pretty easy segment to target.
    Which means that generic, self-serving emails just won’t cut it anymore. So don’t think slapping some balloons at the top of your regular promotional email will impress anyone.

This leaves us with one question…

What Should You Do With Birthday

You know birthday emails can be good, so now you need to know how to make them good:

  • Make them valuable

    The birthday email should be beneficial to the subscriber as well as you. Give the subscriber something they’ll be excited about, and something you don’t normally offer.

  • Make them relevant

    Use information on subscriber behavior, such as what they’ve clicked on, to send them something they’d be interested in. Don’t take the easy way out and send to everyone who’s birthday is coming up, break it up further so the messages are more targeted.

  • Make them about the subscriber

    This is their day, not yours. Send your birthday wishes, include your gift, and that’s all you need. You want your birthday emails to come across as a nice gesture, not an obvious attempt for another sale.

Here’s an example of a well done birthday email:

How Do You Feel About Birthday

What’s the best birthday email you’ve seen? The worst?

Do you send birthday emails to your subscribers? How do you make them something the subscriber will enjoy?