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How to Send Automated Birthday Emails With Ease

It’s no secret at this point that email marketing is one of the most effective mediums for customer engagement. The reason for this is simple: everyone has at least one email address. Do you know what everyone also has? A birthday!

Businesses big and small have utilized the birthday email as a promotional tool for years now, and it’s turned up some impressive results year after year. Today, our goal is to get into why these birthday emails work so well, give some examples, and even talk about how to send automated birthday emails with ease.

Why birthday emails are effective in marketing

The big question is: Why do birthday emails work so well? 

To be honest, there’s a lot of psychology behind it. 

Everyone wants to be celebrated. Birthdays are exciting, and they only come around once per year. That’s your day, and it’s nice to be at the center of everyone’s attention. Including businesses. If done correctly, a good birthday email can turn a cold lead into a conversion with a single click.

Okay, maybe that’s a little ambitious, but a birthday email can easily make the receiver happy, improving their relationship with that brand, and increasing the potential to convert. 

How is this possible? Well, let’s look at the birthday email statistics.

  • 481% increase in transaction rates
  • 342% increase in revenue per email
  • 179% increase in unique click-through
  • 53% increase in open rates

Based on these numbers alone, you can see how welcoming are birthday emails to users, even if they are promotional. Here’s why:

  1. Email marketing is all about making a good connection. What better way to make a personal connection with a customer than with a birthday email, showing you know and care about them on a much more personal level?
  2. Birthday emails provide the perfect context to send personalized and highly relevant content to the user. Again, this shows that you care about the customer on a higher level.
  3. Showing that you care for your customers on a personal level like this increases your brand reputation, helping guide those leads to become brand evangelists. 
  4. Birthday emails typically promote some coupon, specially made for the birthday. This boosts engagement, sending the user back to your website where they will increase traffic and, ideally, sales.
  5. Birthdays apply to literally everyone. It’s not a certain demographic that you’re targeting. It’s anyone and everyone that’s interacted with your brand.

With the statistics and facts above, it’s easy to see why you’d want to send birthday emails. However, manually sending an email to every customer on their birthday isn’t exactly practical. Think about big brands that have hundreds of thousands of customers. How do they send so many birthday emails? They automate the process.

How to send automated birthday emails through Gmail

Although there are plenty of tools out there to help you send triggered emails based on birthday events, there’s also a way to do it through the most popular email platform on the planet, Gmail. Here’s how to send automated birthday emails in Gmail, broken down into simplified steps.

Step 1. Set up a spreadsheet

The first step is to compile a list of names, emails, and birthdays into a Google Spreadsheet. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should look something like this:

Step 2. Find an extension, or write your own formula

Now, you have to find a Google extension that automates this process. Something like a mail merger. Alternatively, you can create some formulas inside of the Google Spreadsheet to help determine birthdays.

As you can see in the image just above, each column is named specifically. This is to help the formula differentiate between each value. When the formula runs, it will provide a new value to each user, essentially telling the script that it either is or isn’t the user’s birthday.

Step 3. Create the script to send the email

To create a new script, you have to open the script editor window in the tools menu at the top of Google Sheets. Once that’s opened, create a new name for the new script. This can be anything you want.

Now, copy and paste the script below under the project:

var spreadsheet = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet();
  SpreadsheetApp.setActiveSheet(spreadsheet.getSheets()[0]);
  var sheet = spreadsheet.getActiveSheet();
  var lastRow = sheet.getLastRow();
  var startRow = 6;
  var msg = "";
  for (var i =startRow ; i <= lastRow; i++) {
if(sheet.getRange(i, 4).getValue()==true) {
    MailApp.sendEmail(sheet.getRange(i, 3).getValue(),
     "BirthDay Wishes", "Hi \n" + sheet.getRange(i, 1).getValue() + "\n\n" + sheet.getRange(1, 2).getValue() + "\n\n" + "With Love,\n" + "Sreenath,\n");
}
  } 

Just a little disclaimer, this is not our script. It was created on GitHub. Massive credit to the author for figuring all this out.

Now save the script and give it permission to run. Once it’s saved, permission will be granted to Gmail to send emails to those selected on your list. 

Of course, all of this is overly simplified for the sake of this article. In actuality, there are a lot more steps and organization requirements to make this thing run flawlessly. If you’d like to get the exact steps in detail, then check out this guide on how to send automated birthday emails with Gmail.

Even then, its function is very minimal. I mean, imagine running something like this with hundreds or even thousands of customers. Definitely not ideal for a business looking to get some new conversions. So what’s the easy way?

The easy way to send automated birthday emails

We’ve gone over the hard way, so now let’s talk about the easy way to send automated birthday emails. The short answer is finding a tool that allows you to send auto emails based on an event trigger. In this case, a birthday. Encharge does exactly that. Let’s break it down.

With the Birthday/Annual trigger step, you will start a Flow that can be based on any date field that is recorded for a person (i.e., their date of birth). This will repeat every 12 months on the same date and time.

To set this up, you have 3 options:

  • On – This will send the email on the exact date and time
  • Before – This will send the email a pre-determined amount of time before the birthday actually takes place. This could be days, business days, or hours before.
  • After –  This is the same concept as the “Before” option, it just takes place after the recorded birthday.

Now, you’ll choose a date and time. In this case, Encharge will only display the date and time fields. Here’s what it looks like. 

Note that you first need to create the Birthday field as a date and time custom field in Encharge, and collect that data before you are able to send the birthday email.

Once the Birthday/Annual trigger step is set up, you need to connect it to a Send email action step in the Flow like this:

And that’s it. Once this is set up, your message will be sent out to every user based on their birthday. 

You can see how much more simple this process is than the one above. Although Gmail might be a little more accessible to some, it certainly doesn’t scale as easily. After a while, you will be covered up in spreadsheet info, crossing data, and potentially sending the wrong email to the wrong person.

Encharge and tools like it help avoid that possibility. Instead of having to add names, emails, and birthdays to a spreadsheet and relying on a script to send the emails, Encharge automates the entire process.

But that’s not all! We made it even easier for you. Click here or the image below to copy the whole Automated Birthday Email Flow in your Encharge account. This will copy the flow, the email, and even the Birthday custom field in your account.

What should a promotional birthday email include? 

We’ve gone over the “why” and the “how” of sending automated birthday emails, so now it’s time to talk about the “what” of the situation. 

What should a promotional birthday email include? 

True, the promotional birthday email examples will be different depending on the company. But, there are also a lot of things that must be included. Let’s take it from the top.

A unique birthday message 

A birthday message won’t really mean much if it’s a simple copy and paste. Remember, people want to feel important and at the center of attention. The best way to do that is to wish them a very special birthday, and use as many personal touches as you can, starting with their name. Take a look at the example below.

Wine.com does a great job at personalizing the message as well as getting straight to the point. In this case, Kim gets an additional 10% on her next order, all for simply having a birthday.

A thank you note for being a part of the brand 

A simple thank you can go a long way in any scenario. For a company wanting to sell something, it goes even further. Along with the birthday message, a thank you note is needed, too. 

A special offer 

What is a birthday without a gift? 

No, you don’t need to go crazy here and offer them everything under the sun, but a little incentive is nice. Remember, the idea is to get them to interact with your company more. If that means going to your main website, give them a coupon code. Or, you could drive them to come into the store and redeem something for free in hopes that they buy other things, too. 

Subway has the right idea in the image below.

Free cookie? Yes, please! But what is a cookie without a delicious sandwich to go along with it? Subway knows that as soon as the customer walks in the store to redeem that free cookie for their birthday, they’re going to want something else, too. In most cases, birthday emails encourage additional spending. 

Keep the message short 

As much as it might mean to some customers that you have a long, drawn-out message, it’s a little overkill. Thanking them for the support, wishing them a massive happy birthday, and all kinds of heartfelt wording is not exactly every customer’s cup of tea. The message should be short. Take a look at this example.

Birchbox does a great job at immediately presenting the offer, wishing the customer a happy birthday, outlining the details, and then ending it. Right off the bat, the customer knows what this is all about, what they need to do, and they have the option to be taken right to the main website to redeem the $10 coupon. It’s as easy as that.

Give the offer a time limit 

Although a birthday is a time for celebration, that party only lasts so long. True, some people will be uncertain for a few days, but the offer should have a sense of urgency. Dangling an offer out there indefinitely won’t be enough to get those conversion rates up. At least, not to the standard that they could be. Take a look at this example.

Disney, one of the masters of marketing, offers some customers a coupon for 15% off when they shop online for their birthday. The email is short, to the point, bright, and colorful. But, it also imposes a time limit without being aggressive with it. 

If you notice, it says that during the month of September (in this case), you just have to enter the unique code for the discount. This means that the customer has a whole month to use this code, but after that, it’s gone forever. Or at least until next year. 

Conclusions and takeaway

In conclusion, birthday emails for customers are vital. They are effective at converting, reinforcing brands, and just simply making customers happy. And, just in case you missed it above, let’s revisit those insane statistics:

  • 481% increase in transaction rates
  • 342% increase in revenue per email
  • 179% increase in unique click-through
  • 53% increase in open rates

Now think of these numbers, scaled up to meet every customer’s birthday. For many companies, that means dozens, hundreds, or thousands of emails per day, automated, and converting customers that otherwise wouldn’t. It’s such a simple strategy, but wow, does it make a difference.

If you’re not currently running a promotional birthday email campaign, then now is the time to start. With a tool like Encharge, it takes literally seconds to set up, and you can even start for free

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