Birthday emails: How to boost subscriber loyalty and make more sales

Not sending birthday emails to your subscribers? You could be missing out on an opportunity for better subscriber loyalty, more engagement, and more sales.

Imagine it’s your birthday…

You roll over in bed and grab your phone, sifting through texts and emails wishing you well on your special day. In your inbox, there’s a message waiting for you with a free offer, just for you, to help you celebrate.


Now, how do you feel? Appreciated? Special? Well, that’s the point of a birthday email: to make your subscribers feel special.

Birthday emails are a great experience for your subscribers, but as a marketer, you’ll get plenty of benefits from them as well. According to Experian, birthday email campaigns have a:

  • 342% higher revenue per message
  • 481% higher conversion rates
  • 179% unique click rates

So if you’re wondering if you should be sending a birthday email, our recommendation is yes.

But before you start sending these special emails… you’re going to need to know your subscribers’ birthdays.

How to get your subscribers’ birthdays

On your sign-up form

Surprisingly, many businesses do not send out birthday emails simply because they don’t take the time to collect that information. 

So when setting up your sign-up form, add a custom field to collect your subscribers’ birthdays. Just don’t make this a required field, as your subscribers’ email addresses are the most important element. If you can get only one piece of information, get that. Asking for too much information can make people not want to sign up.

But if asking for people’s birthdays doesn’t suppress your opt-in rates too much, add an optional custom field for birthdays. And when you ask for someone’s birthday information, just ask for the day and month of their birthday. People are usually willing to share the month and day they were born, but may be hesitant to tell you which year.

Pro tip: Consider adding text below the birthday field that tells the customer why you’re asking for their birthday. For example, “Enter your birthday so we can send you a gift.” People are more willing to give information if they know why you need it and how you will use it. 

Here’s how retailer DSW has set up their sign-up form. This is a bit more information than most sign-up forms ask for, but you get the idea. Also note how they’ve made the birthday information optional. That’s smart. 

Sign up form example from DSW which asks for subscriber's birthday information

In an email campaign

It’s not too late to collect birthday information if you didn’t get it through a sign-up form. Simply set up an email campaign to collect your subscribers’ birthday information. 

Use a subject line like:

“We want to send you a birthday gift!” 

or 

“We have a birthday gift for you, but we don’t have your birthday.” 

Let them know why you want to know their birthday, so they’re more likely to respond. 

Also keep this email simple. Don’t combine requests for their birthday with a different email request, like asking for their zip code at the same time.

This email from Ann Taylor is an excellent example of how to collect subscribers’ birthday information.

Birthday email example from Ann Taylor

Set up tags

When setting up the custom fields, also apply a birthday tag for each month so you can easily create a birthday segment that triggers an automated birthday email campaign (more on that in a moment).

Make your gift something they cannot ignore

Give your subscriber something they’ll be excited about and something you don’t usually offer. Typically, birthday emails have a coupon code that is a special deal, or a free offer redeemable online or in-store. 

Everyone loves a birthday email with an irresistible coupon. Here are a few of our favorite birthday email examples.

Hulu sends their audience a free month.

Birthday email from Hulu with a free month

Red Robin celebrates a birthday with a free burger, no conditions attached.

Happy birthday email example from Red Robin with a free birthday burger

And for dessert, Nothing Bundt Cakes give subscribers an actual mini birthday cake.

Nothing Bundt Cakes birthday email with offer for a free bundt cake

Stand out from other birthday emails

You’re probably not the only one wishing your subscribers a happy birthday. So follow these best practices to make sure your birthday emails stand out from the crowd.

Birthday emails subject lines should be simple and direct

A simple approach is usually best when it comes to the subject line. Follow the subject line structure below.

Happy birthday subject line structure

Keep the email message short and eye-catching

Don’t make your subscribers read a lot of text. All they want is to get their gift.

1. Keep it short, sweet, and about your subscriber

This email is not about you, it’s about celebrating this special day for your subscribers. Now is not the time to tell your company story. 

The message should wish your subscriber a happy birthday, explain the gift, and tell them how to redeem it. The best birthday emails are short and straightforward.

Consider using a colored button with clear directions. For example, “Redeem your birthday gift” or “Claim your $10 coupon now”.

2. Don’t send generic emails

Birthday emails only work if they make your customer feel special. Generic, one-size-fits-all emails don’t typically cut it. 

3. Use eye-catching images or GIFs

Common GIFs found in birthday emails include balloons, confetti, and cakes. 

Forever21 uses a fun cake gift to make their birthday email unforgettable.

Forever21 birthday email GIF showing a cake being cut

Start with a birthday email template

You don’t need to be a professional designer to send amazing-looking birthday emails. Start with a pre-designed email template and then use a drag-and-drop builder to customize it.

Here are a few birthday templates available to all AWeber customers. Just select one of the mobile-ready birthday email templates and customize it to fit your brand.

Birthday email template from AWeber
Birthday email template from AWeber
Birthday email template from AWeber
Birthday email template from AWeber

Give subscribers a gift that’s easy to redeem

People don’t want to jump through hoops to redeem a gift, especially on their birthday. So make sure your gift is easy to redeem.

Here’s an example of a birthday email that gets this right:

An example of a birthday email from Ben & Jerry's that shows how easy it it to redeem the gift

Automate your birthday email campaigns

Sending an email to celebrate each of your subscriber’s birthdays every year sounds like a lot of work. Not if you set up a birthday email automation series.

With an automated campaign, you set up the email and timing once. Then on their birthday (or the birthday month), the email is automatically sent.

Check out this video for a step-by-step guide to setting up your birthday email automation, from setting up the form to triggering the email:

It’s easy to send beautiful birthday emails 

It is always great to send an email to your subscribers on their birthday, but there are no hard-set rules. More than half of birthday emails are sent on a specific birthday. But a new trend is to send an email at the beginning of the birthday month to allow them plenty of time to redeem their gift. 

For those that don’t redeem their gift, you can always send them a reminder email at the end of the month. Start sending your birthday email campaigns today with AWeber Free.