I love birthdays, even if it means growing older. I recently celebrated my birthday and because I am constantly encouraging segmentation based on subscriber information, I was looking forward to seeing which companies would use my demographic information to target me with a birthday email.

Timing Matters

Two weeks before my birthday, I received my first birthday email from Sephora with the subject line “Happy (early) birthday, Carly!”. I thought this was an excellent way to not only use my birthday information, but to use it early to cut through the clutter of other emails I would receive on my birthday. Their email includes a birthday gift to collect online or in stores.

Birchbox took a similar approach and sent an email at the beginning of April, with a subject line that read “Carly, A Very Happy Birthday Month to You.”

This email is great in many ways. First, because any reason to drag my birthday celebration through the month is a win in my book. But they also offer me value ($10 off)–while still driving me to spend money. And, they give me a deadline, so there is a sense of urgency, yet I have my entire birthday month to redeem.

Missed Opportunities

As I’m sure you can imagine, I subscribe to many emails. Not only because I’m in the email industry, but primarily because I prefer online shopping to going into stores. I was very surprised at the small number of businesses that used a “birthday email” to target me. It is hard to tell how many companies collected my birth date during sign up, but I only received 10 total emails using that information.

Of those 10 that I received, 50% of them used the email to simply wish me a happy birthday. I believe that is a huge missed opportunity. I appreciate the customer appreciation aspect, but sending a birthday email already shows your customer how thankful you are for their business. While doing that, you can also drive them to interact, shop, purchase, etc. on your website.

Gap did an excellent job with this, sending me a generous and substantial discount of 25% off my purchase. This successfully achieves a win/win for both sender and subscriber while helping to increase customer response.

I took advantage of all of the offers and discounts shown in this post, proving that it pays to segment and my business is the result of these companies using the right information to send email marketing to me at the right time – my birthday!

Another year older and I’m still on my soapbox about the importance of segmenting your email. No matter your industry, start maximizing the demographic and/or behavior information you have in order to optimize your email program for maximum response.

For more information on how to great a winning marketing email, check out our Slideshare: Email Marketing: Content 101

With more than 15 years of experience, Carly Brantz is an email deliverability and inbound marketing veteran. As the VP of Revenue Marketing at SendGrid, Carly empowers her team to transform marketing from a cost center to a revenue generator. With a key focus on funnel optimization, Carly leads the team responsible for content creation, lead nurturing, SEO/SEM, and website optimization. An accomplished speaker, Carly shares her email delivery and revenue marketing tactics as a headline speaker on SendGrid’s international roadshow as well as other Marketing conferences.