Birthday emails offer the perfect opportunity for brands to connect with subscribers on a personal level. Data from Experian show that birthday emails drive 342% higher revenue compared to traditional promotional emails.

Today we’ll share three birthday email strategies you can use to turn subscribers into brand ambassadors.


Strategy 1: Send Personalized, Discount-Free, Birthday Wishes

When it comes to birthday emails, most brands’ de-facto thinking is to offer a discount. Bonobos uses a short discount-less email that feels personal and gives them a chance to stay top of mind.



Takeaway: Staying clear from discounts gives you the opportunity to send an email that doesn’t feel transactional. Simple copy with relevant imagery is all you need.


Strategy 2: Offer Free Gift for Select Members

Sephora makes it’s subscribers feel special  by offering them a free 15-minute makeover plus a free gift at checkout.


Notice how this email also includes the member’s current rewards points at the bottom.

Despite Sephora’s end goal to drive a sale, their birthday email strategy is friendly and very much in-line with the brand’s personality.

Takeaway: What incentives can you offer that’s not a discount? Also, notice how Sephora allows subscribers to redeem their gift at any point during the month—consider using a similar approach.


Strategy 3: Promote a Birthday-Only Coupon

This is your typical birthday email, which includes a coupon. Foot Locker’s “Happy Birthday” email offers either $10 off a $50 purchase or $25 off a $100 purchase.


This is the most common birthday email approach, and there’s nothing wrong with it. That being said, nobody will remember you for a $10 off coupon. A free makeover (as we saw with Sephora)? That’s more likely.

When thinking about birthday emails, keep these tips in mind:

  • If you don’t know when someone’s birthday is, send them a survey. (You can also collect this information during the signup process.)
  • Depending on your birthday email strategy, consider sending a reminder. Rent the Runway, for example, sends an offer one month before the birthday. They also follow up 5 days before with a “last call” email:


  • Personalize the email with the data you have available: first name, favorite products, nearby location, and so on.
  • Keep the email copy short and punchy with a clear call-to-action.

You can find more birthday email examples here. If you’re interested in seeing the birthday email strategy for your competitors (and companies you admire) join MailCharts to get started.