Birthday Email Examples and Strategies

Sending a birthday email is a fun way to engage with your customers on a more personal level. Follow these tips for creating great birthday emails.

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Here at MailCharts, we love celebrating birthdays (who doesn’t love a good slice of cake, right?)! Not only are birthdays a blast to celebrate with friends and family but they also give brands a unique opportunity to engage with their customers on a more personal level by sending a birthday email.

According to Experian, birthday emails get 179% higher unique click rates than other types of promotional emails, and generate 342% more revenue per email. You’d be crazy not to send birthday emails and get your piece of that birthday pie.

Birthday emails often include a discount code or free gift but they don’t need to. Instead of a discount, a personal message wishing customers a happy birthday can go a long way.

Have a look at the birthday email examples below to see how other ecommerce brands are celebrating their subscribers.

Birthday Email Examples and Strategies

What does it take to send great birthday emails? We used MailCharts data to dive into the birthday email campaigns of ecommerce brands to see which subject lines they’re using, which birthday gifts their offering, and more.

The result is this list of birthday email examples you can use as inspiration for your own campaign.

Celebrate subscribers with a gift or coupon

Outdoor clothing retailer, Columbia, provides a generous 20% discount on Greater Rewards members’ next purchase as a birthday treat. The only catch? Customers have to use it by a certain date. To make sure they don’t forget – and to increase the sense of urgency – Columbia sends this follow-up email as a reminder.

This birthday email template actually follows the same design as Columbia’s other promotional emails, making it super recognizable for the recipient.

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Keep it simple

This birthday email from Saba is a great example of how you can create excitement with your birthday email subject lines. It speaks directly to the recipient, reminding her that it’s almost her birthday.

It also has a simple email design that focuses entirely on the recipient’s birthday gift: a $25 discount. The bottom banner contains all the practical details needed to use the discount, including when the offer expires.

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Stay on brand

Fitbit does a great job at staying on-brand with their happy birthday email by suggesting the recipient has their cake “and move it, too”. It includes a few tips for how to get active on their special day and links to a blog post for more.

The body copy tells the subscriber how other Fitbit users their age are doing when it comes to exercising and getting enough rest and concludes with a call-to-action for the birthday person to check out their own stats on the Fitbit website.

All of this is introduced by a “singing” subject line and a sparkling birthday cake, making this a fun birthday email that doesn’t need a discount to lead the subscriber back to the Fitbit site.

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Send more than one birthday email

If gifts or birthday discounts are part of your birthday email strategy consider sending more than one email. Birchbox has a birthday campaign that consists of three emails. Each of them contains a coupon code with an expiry date. The email shown here is the last of the three, sent three days after the subscriber’s birthday. It reminds them to use the code before it inspires and emphasizes that they should treat themselves both with the call-to-action and with the “To: me, from: me” birthday card displayed in the email image.

We also love how this whole email follows the birthday celebration theme, from the mention of a party in the headline to the cake in the GIF and the “Treat Myself” call to action.

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Surprise customers with a mystery birthday gift

Grove Collaborative surprises its customers with a mystery birthday gift that’s waiting in the cart, ready to ship for free together with their next order. The combination of free shipping with a gift is already a strong incentive for the subscriber to buy something, and Grove Collaboration takes it even further. The brand offers a free candle on top if the birthday person makes a minimum purchase of just over $79, aiming for a higher transaction value per subscriber.

Grove also follows an important email marketing best practice by personalizing its “Happy Birthday” subject line and including the subscriber’s first name.

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Use their birthday as an incentive to join your reward program

Not sure when your subscribers have their birthday? Simply ask your email list. You can even take it a step further and collect their birth date as part of your reward program signup process. That’s what Nike does here.

The email subject line explains why subscribers should share their birthday but if you read on, you notice that they actually need to do a little more than just share their birth date: they need to become a Nike member to get their birthday reward.

The large text on top of the GIF shares the CTA in a simple yet clear way while the GIF itself grabs the reader’s attention.

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Send a non-birthday birthday offer

Outdoor Voices has an unusual birthday email marketing campaign: it surprises its subscribers by sending them an email on their half-birthday. This short and fun email is sent 6 months before the subscriber’s actual birthday and contains a $20 off coupon code for their next purchase. You can bet this birthday email marketing stands out against those of brands who email on subscribers’ actual birthdays.

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Use fun images and animated GIFs

You can make an email campaign more birthday party-like by adding fun images or animated GIFs. The Art of Shaving sends this themed email with a 10% off coupon code. We love the animated GIF that has a gift box opening up to show an Art of Shaving product inside.

The gift is illustrative because the subscriber can use their birthday promo code on anything in The Art of Shaving’s stores.

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Include product recommendations

Help your subscribers use their discount by including best-selling products and personalized recommendations to your happy birthday email. In this example, Timex uses an animated GIF to show different best-selling watches, and at the bottom, it provides personalized product recommendations based on the customer’s browsing history.

The subject line is simple, wishing the recipient a happy birthday and inviting them to make a wish and celebrate.

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Help subscribers send their birthday cards

Everyone loves receiving an actual paper happy birthday card but it’s so easy to forget to send your cards on time. Postable knows this, and so it offers a service that lets you schedule all your birthday cards for an entire year. The animated GIF of a robot distributing happy birthday cards adds a fun touch to the email, which further down lists all the benefits of using the Postable service.

This email shows you don’t even need to focus on your subscriber’s birthday but can also tap into their desire to wish their loved ones a happy birthday.

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Offer free shipping for sending birthday treats

Wolferman’s Bakery offers subscribers free shipping if they decide to send someone a birthday treat in the month of March. The offer is put front and center at the top of the email, followed by deliciously looking purchase suggestions.

Note how this email isn’t even very personal: the subject line mentions it’s time to celebrate March birthdays (and not just the recipient’s special day) and if the recipient doesn’t know anyone who has a birthday that month, they can click the link to see Wolfman’s Bakery suggestions for all-occasion gifts.

It’s a great way to make birthday present suggestions and remind subscribers not to forget to get a birthday gift.

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Turn their day into a birthday month

Hollister lets its subscribers celebrate for the entirety of their birthday month. Its subject line wishes them a happy birthday and invites the recipient to “party all month long”. The email body repeats the happy birthday wish and contains a 25% off birthday discount to use in its webshop and stores. The discount is valid for the entirety of their birthday month.

It’s a simple email that places the birthday discount central and adds just a tiny bit of extra with a photo of a happy lady playing with fireworks sticks.

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Happy Birthday Email Best Practices

To get your new birthday email marketing campaigns up and running, you must have all the necessary data to trigger the campaigns at the appropriate time. Send on the wrong date, and the customer may be confused, or worse, annoyed.

Here are some more actionable insights for implementing your birthday campaigns:

Trigger the email campaign based on a customer’s birthday

This may seem obvious, but it isn’t! To be able to send birthday emails, you’ll need to capture your subscriber’s birthday at some point so you can set up a triggered campaign. If you have a rewards program, the sign-up process is a great place to ask for this information.

If the data isn’t available, you can use a triggered email for recent subscribers or customers to ask them to provide more information for a special gift on their birthday. This type of email is perfect to add to your purchase journey or new sign-up flow.

Personalize with tokens or merge tags

Most ESPs (email service providers) use tokens such as the customer’s name and other customer data points. Consider using these within birthday email subject lines as well as within the body to create personalized emails. For example, you could use the subject line: “Happy birthday, Jennifer!” versus a more generic message: “Happy Birthday”.

Ensure unique discount codes

If you go the discount route, ensure the discount code or coupon is unique and randomly generated so the code isn’t shared elsewhere. What’s more, you can keep tabs on who’s taking you up on your offer with 1:1 tracking!

In addition to Birthday email examples, MailCharts tracks and compiles entire email journeys, so that you can view the email marketing flows of top brands and competitors.

Sign up for the MailCharts for more email marketing inspiration.

Create a birthday email template

Use the examples and tips above to create one or more templates for your birthday emails. Having different happy birthday email templates makes it easy to send more targeted campaigns to different segments of your audience. You can also use one birthday email template as your default to run A/B tests and further improve your campaigns.