Most common mistakes in Birthday emails (and how to prevent them)

Who doesn’t like presents, right? Having a birthday campaign with a discount code that works can increase your revenue, so you want to do it right. These are a few of the mistakes I’ve seen the past year:

  1. Showing up empty-handed
  2. Not knowing your subscribers’ birthdays
  3. Landing pages that don’t work
  4. A generic discount code
  5. Timing flaws

Showing up empty handed

A birthday email without a discount or at least a gesture in your name? I wouldn’t dare to bother my subscribers with this, so please find a way to bring a gift to the table. A discount, a small present included in your next order (or in-store purchase), a percentage of your next order donated to a non-profit, a planted tree in your subscribers name. There are ways to thank them for their commitment to your brand.

Not knowing your subscriber’s birthdays

Not knowing your subscriber’s birthdays might seem an easy-to-solve issue, but asking for someone’s date of birth is a big deal. You don’t want to come off rude, or just blatantly ask during your subscription process. At this point, getting them to fill in their (correct) email address and confirming the double opt-in is more important. (I’ll talk about this in another blog post. Writing this article already gives me great topic ideas!)

So, how do you ask their DOB then? Including it in your onboarding/welcome process is a good start. After you’ve introduced yourself/your company in one or two emails, they get a chance to introduce themselves. For example, sending an email where you ask for more personal details (and give a reason why you’re asking), or sending a fake birthday email where you ask them to correct your mistake.

Landing pages that don’t work

I see a lot of landing pages that don’t work. Issues in forms, like no auto-fill, date discrepancies or validation problems. Implement a test and trouble shooting process (on several browsers) to eliminate typos and errors in the forms. On the backend, where important data is collected and sent to your CRM platform, check if dates are saved correctly (MM/DD/YYYY vs. DD/MM/YYY) and linked to the right subscriber. 

Besides errors make sure your landing pages fit your design and tone of voice. Make them look legit, like they are really yours. With the many phishing attempts made nowadays, reassure your subscribers that they are in the right place to fill in their personal details.

Using discount code that are too generic

It can be challenging for small businesses just starting up their email marketing program on a small budget. You might find yourself stuck with limitations in your email service provider. Or you just don’t have the knowledge of setting up your platform to deal with custom coupon codes for every situation. (Also applies to welcome codes, of course) Still, you don’t want to show this to your subscribers. Using a randomly generated coupon code, instead of HappyBirthday-10, is an ok temporary solution, but if your database is growing fast (or you want it to grow more efficiently) I can help you set up your platform with a safer discount-code system.

Timing flaws

Sending one email on the day itself is a good start, but be honest, in the end you want them to buy your stuff. So think about giving them a heads up! 

| ’Look, we know your BD is coming up, here’s something to make it even better!’ 

And a small reminder when they haven’t used the coupon a week after their Birthday doesn’t hurt either.

I hope this first blog post I wrote will help you build your next Birthday campaign. Let me know if you need help setting it up on your platform by leaving a reply below! Or email me directly at

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