How to use automated birthday emails to increase customer retention
Updated: Feb 10, 2019
Holiday time promotions are very popular among merchants and customers alike- in fact, during the holiday season of 2017, digital sales in the US grew by 36%! The holidays make people want to buy more- whatever it's a present for a loved one, for themselves or the holiday dinner hosts.
So major holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate with your customers and offer special deals, discounts and holiday inspired collections. But not everyone celebrates the same holidays, and we couldn't possibly mark each holiday that ever existed, just to make sure we don't miss anyone.
How can we celebrate with each of our customers and use the festive vibes as a way to increase sales and engagement? There's one day everyone wants to feel special at- their birthday!
We talk about loyalty and retention a lot on this blog, but one very important principle of loyalty, is that it's double sided. You cannot expect your customers to be loyal to you, and value your brand, without showing loyalty in return and valuing them.
But how do you show your customers loyalty? By continuously investing in them, and reminding them that they matter to you. How do birthdays come into play in customers' loyalty?
According to Alliance Data's birthday benefits survey, 40% of customers are more likely to shop at brands that acknowledge their birthday. As much as they appreciate you noting the holidays with them, birthdays are so much more personal, and make your customers appreciate the extra effort that much more.
How can you celebrate birthdays with your customers?
First- collect their birthdays
Obviously, not everyone was born at the same day. So in order to personally celebrate with your customers on their birthdays, you'll have to have each customer's birth date.
You could collect birthdays in many different ways: ask for them in the sign-up form to your distribution list, ask for birthdays from existing customers via email, ask for their birthdays post-purchase with a promise of future birthday benefits, etc...
Whichever way you choose, it is important that the birthday data is later synced to your distribution list. With this data you can create a new birthday segmentation to your list, to be used when creating personalized birthday messages.
Most autoresponders give you the option to create a birthday segment, and you just have to take care of the data collection and sync. With ReConvert, you get birthday synchronization with MailChimp and Klaviyo out of the box.
Second- start sending birthday messages
Once you are collecting your customers' birthdays, all that's left is to start using them. The best thing to do is to activate an automation, sending your customers wishes leading up to and on their birthdays.
Again, most autoresponders will give you a basic birthdays sequence template that you can later edit, change and personalize.
A study from 2014 shows that birthday emails have 481% higher transaction rate and 342% higher revenue per email than promotional emails. Wondering what exactly to include in these birthday emails? Continue reading for our 6 top tips.
6 tips for amazing birthday wishes emails
1. Personalize your message
When you send your customers birthday emails, the ultimate goal is to make them feel special and celebrated. So you can see why a generalized message just won't do.
Make sure to Personalize the message with your customer's name, age and a birthday gift that fits his preferences from past actions on your store.
2. Have character
Personalizing the message for the customer is great but not enough- what makes your message different from all the other brands sending him birthday wishes? What makes your message something that he will actually want to read?
Make sure to keep your brand's character when sending birthday wishes- make them fun, celebratory and unique. Aim to not only make your customers feel special, but also smile and laugh on their birthday.
Make your message more engaging with a colorful graphic, or preferably animate it with a GIF or video.
3. Make sure the gift you are giving is ACTUALLY special
if you are offering 10%-20% discounts left and right, offering the same discount as a birthday present would probably just make your customers roll their eyes.
When you give your customers a birthday gift- whatever it is a coupon, a freebie or anything else- make sure that it's not something they can get by just signing up to your mailing list or making a purchase.
Claiming you are giving a gift that is unique for your customers' birthday while offering them something they have seen offered easily before will not make them feel special, it would make them feel deceived.
4. Add a clear call to action
Don't let your birthday emails become just another pretty message in your customers' inbox. Make sure your customers know exactly what birthday benefit you are offering, and what they need to do to get it.
Just like any call to action on your site or emails, make sure this one stands out enough that it is easy to find, and that the benefits are detailed in a direct and to the point manner.
5. Give the customer extra time to redeem the offer
We can't assume our customers will have the time or desire to return to our store and redeem their birthday benefit on the day of their birthday.
We would suggest giving at least a month in which the customer can redeem the offer- it gives him the flexibility to do it on his own terms, and makes you seem more generous and genuine.
You can make the birthday offer relevant for the entire birthday month, which will also give you the opportunity to turn one birthday email into a sequence.
6. Send more than one email
Sending an email sequence is a rule of thumb in email marketing- one is never enough. And that applies to birthday emails as well.
Sending one email to congratulate your customers on their birthday is a nice first step, but if you really want to make your birthday emails count, there should be a sequence of them.
Sending more than one email gives your customers a second and third chance to see the email and take action on it.
Birthday emails can help you generate more sales, but more importantly- strengthen your relationship with your customers and encourage brand loyalty and enthusiasm on their side.
Use the six principals we've detailed in this article to create engaging, beautiful birthday wishes sequences for your customers, and see the results for your business.
If you're already sending birthday emails- check yourself, where can you do better? Are you sending a sequence? Are you offering a truly exciting offer?