Emails We Love: The birthday edition

The best place to hang out on your birthday? Your inbox.

There are always those few special things that truly signal another year of being alive—a birthday cake in the office, cards from your parents, posts on your Facebook wall, and last but not even close to least: emails!

Birthday emails are a win-win for both marketers and subscribers. It gives them a reason to pause the constant cycle of promotion and celebrate together. In fact, birthday emails generate 342% higher revenue per email than promotional emails (Experian). 

And to prove this point, I decided to dedicate my birthday this year to the worthy cause of seeing who’s sending the best messages. (Okay, okay, I got some pretty great stuff in return, too! Just wait until you see these offers!) Allow me you to introduce you to the contenders:

1.  Madewell

Subject line: HBD, Kaitlin. 

I have to admit that this is the one birthday email I look forward to every year. I’m a huge fan of Madewell’s branding and clothes, and this $25 off coupon is just the added encouragement I needed to treat myself on my big day. Notice how they didn’t have to completely reinvent the wheel on this birthday email, using lifestyle product photography from what’s probably a recent collection of clothing. It shows that if your branding is strong and unique enough, you can easily recycle or reinvent content and images in creative ways that continue to surprise and delight your customers. 


2. Outdoor Voices

Subject line: A gift for you.

Outdoor Voice’s creative team does a great job of staying on brand while also spicing things up a little bit for this birthday greeting. This is an alternative way to add a birthday message into your email cycle without having to come up with something entirely new. Here, the gifa add a fun and celebratory tone to a simple-yet-genuine message. And a discount code never hurt anyone, either. 

3. TopShop

Subject line: Happy Birthday to you! Here's 20% off

This one is interesting because I’ve definitely purchased things from Madewell and Outdoor Voices, but TopShop is a store where I usually just browse online. Yet, they still sent me a birthday email, and that very well could lead to my very first purchase. Birthday messages are a great way to turn leads into conversions, and show your subscribers a side of your company that’s warm, personal, and not too busy to remember your special day. 

4. True Food Kitchen

Subject line: Enjoy a Birthday Dessert from True in Celebration of YOU

Birthday emails are a huge win, especially for restaurants. Because eating together is a natural way to celebrate, it’s more-than-appropriate to send a birthday greeting and a coupon for a free dessert off the menu. If your subscriber doesn’t have plans, now they know where to spend the rest of their birthday, and it’s with you! 


5. J. Crew Factory

Subject line: Happy Birthday, Kaitlin! Here’s a gift. 

Confetti and text—That’s all it takes to make your customer’s day! In this email below, J. Crew Factory made the choice to not showcase their product and instead make the message all about the reader (including the personalization in the subject line!). This is a scenario that it will pay off for them, and suddenly their subscribers begin to think about similar retailers and who did or didn’t wish them well on their special day. It’s important to show you care! 

6. Christie Cookie Co.

Subject line: Your birthday gift from Christie Cookie Co.!

Christie Cookie shows the most important thing first—a picture of a cookie, of course. The header image is a great reminder of their product, and paired with a simple birthday greeting, it’s another example of how your brand probably already has everything it needs to start sending great birthday emails. The only thing that’s missing is the planning, and setting up a triggered email in a new automation cycle even takes out the guesswork of that. 

Wrap up

Your birthday is probably one of your favorite days of the year, and when a brand remembers, it sets them apart as going above and beyond and caring about you as a person, rather than just a customer. Taking the time to set up birthday emails for your customers isn’t as difficult as it seems, and the payoff will exceed this effort every time. Happy celebrating!

About the Author

Kaitlin Wernet

Kaitlin Wernet is a content specialist on Emma's marketing team. When she's not restraining herself from using too many exclamation points or grabbing one more La Croix from the office kitchen, she can be found working on her first book or planning her next big travel adventure.

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