For being so short, February is a pretty big month, giving email marketers many excuses to engage their audiences. There's Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, National Eat-Ice-Cream-for-Breakfast Day (Google it, it’s a thing), and my personal favorite holiday: my birthday!

Over the years, I’ve taken note of which retailers send me birthday gifts and which just send celebratory emails (both are appreciated, but let’s be honest – this girl likes her presents, so I open those first). As an email designer (and lover of freebies), I take special notice of what’s in my inbox.

One of my favorite birthday emails every year comes from DSW. It usually includes a $5 off offer, but this year they switched things up.

In January, I received this email:

And then in February, I received my $5 off coupon:

The first message caught my eye with this line: “get your wish list primed, prepped, and sent for the big day.” It’s asking you to start thinking about what you want for your birthday – like, “here, come build your wish list on our website with our products.” And then in a month, they send you a coupon to entice you to come back and buy what’s on your wish list, or buy more if you’ve already received those items for your birthday.

The customer engagement with triggered birthday campaigns speaks for itself. Birthday emails hold a high sentimental value, and according to the numbers, they’re hugely successful for retailers. Compared to everyday promotional emails, triggered birthday emails show a 481% higher transaction rate, 342% higher revenue, and 179% higher unique clicks.

Because birthday campaigns are so successful as one standalone message, think about how successful they could be if you directed your customers to your website before, during, and after their birthday.

Pro tip: if you really want to catch their eye, try calling your subscriber by their first name in the subject line. Emails with subject lines that include first name personalization have 17% higher unique open rates on average than emails that don’t include personalization.

Have you tried any unique ideas with your brand’s birthday campaign? Try switching up when you send -- before, during, or after (pssst… “belated” messages actually do really well).

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