How to Build a Great Birthday Email

by Tim D'Avis Second Street

What to Include in Birthday Emails

When it comes to choosing what to put in your Birthday Email, start with the valuable assets you have at your media company. If you’re a radio or television station, include a video of your personalities wishing the user a happy birthday. While keeping the content short and to the point, this is a great way to show your brand’s personality.

KAMX-FM in Austin, TX is getting high open rates using their radio show hosts within their Birthday Emails. But they haven’t stopped there – when a popular music artist stopped by the studio, they were able to get him to record a Half Birthday Email video as well, and their listeners loved it.

For newspapers, you have an incredibly rich resource – your archives. People love hearing about the news that was popular when they were born. Consider including the top stories of the year or month your reader was born.

The Southeast Missourian has leveraged this very tactic to create their Birthday Emails. Digging through their archive, the team at the paper cultivates top news stories that happened during a reader’s birthday month throughout history. While this is already successful, the paper’s goal is to eventually have a unique campaign for every day of the year, not just monthly.

How to Grow Your Birthday Email List

People love getting Birthday Emails, but this isn’t an open opportunity to start sending to every person in your database. For those subscribed to strictly news-based lists, a birthday offer can seem in poor taste. However, if an email subscriber has opted-in to a membership like a VIP Clubs or is a paying subscriber of a publication, you can start sending to those who’ve provided their birthday.

Birthday Emails drive nearly 3x higher open rates than other emails. This means the more people you can send them to, the higher overall engagement of your email database. To start growing your birthday list, send out an invite email to your database asking them to join your Birthday Club while making sure to include the perks of being a member.

But don’t stop there. You get a lot of visitors to your website who aren’t in your database. Make sure to clearly promote your Birthday Club on your website as well. The Northwest Florida Daily News is growing their birthday database with a prominent ad on their homepage.

If you really want to ramp up your birthday database, don’t forget to leverage the power of promotions. Run a couple designated sweepstakes each quarter with the main goal of growing your Birthday Club, and add in a Birthday Club opt-in to other key contests. And, if you’re not already, make sure birthdate is a required field on all your registration forms.

How to Find a Sponsor for Your Birthday Emails

A Birthday Email is a great sponsorship option for an advertiser. You can deliver high open rates and, likely, a large (and ever growing!) list. But don’t let the opportunity of sponsorship revenue make you forget about why you started your Birthday Email in the first place – to deliver value to your subscribers and help you grow your engaged database.

One of the main reasons Birthday Emails get such high open rates is because of the expectation that there could be a special offer inside. And the better the offer, the better your open rates and signups will increase month-after-month. When it comes to finding a sponsor, seek out original offers. KKMJ-FM offered a free birthday treat box from their sponsor, Edible Arrangements.

Don’t feel like you’re limited to just one sponsor. By offering sponsorship opportunities for multiple advertiser categories (restaurant, family entertainment, attractions, or personal services), you can turn your Birthday Email into a huge revenue generator. The Northwest Florida Daily News has secured $80,000 in revenue from their Birthday Email – and it’s still growing!

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The best birthday emails are true to your brand, authentic to your consumer, and provide value to your advertiser. This requires an engaged list of a decent size and a strong content strategy. Whether you’ve got a large, robust email program or are just getting started, Birthday Emails are a can’t-miss opportunity.

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Tim D'Avis Second Street

Tim is the Director of Email Success at Second Street and has extensive background in media. Tim is dedicated to helping local media companies find success through their email programs while leveraging promotions to grow their database and achieve their company's goals.