The Ultimate Birthday Emails Guide

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Birthday Emails

If you’re an online retailer and haven’t started your own birthday club, you’re missing out. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that birthday club emails should be a part of every brand’s marketing toolkit. Why? Because measured against regular promotional email campaigns, they achieve far higher rates for engagement and conversion. 
Who wouldn’t want that?

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We want you to reap the rewards of running your own birthday club, too. To help you do this, we have analysed data from over 1,000 DTC brands using Happy Birthday for Shopify. Collectively, they have sent over 13 million birthday emails and generated a combined revenue of over $25,000,000! Our analysis gives us unique insights, which we will share with you to help you start your own e-commerce birthday club. Are you ready? Great, let’s go!


What is a Birthday Club?

A birthday club is a personalised email marketing tactic where you celebrate customers' birthdays with exclusive offers on or around their birthday. This could take the form of a unique discount code, access to a special gift or some other form of incentive designed to make them head back to your store and make a  purchase. It doesn’t require any third-party data collection tools, and unlike other forms of permission-based marketing, the likelihood of a member unsubscribing is much lower due to the personal nature of the campaign.

Benefits of a Birthday Club

VIP Treatment

Unlike generic promotional campaigns, birthday club emails are highly  personalised, relevant, and will make your customers feel special

Easy Sign Up 

Becoming a member of a birthday club is as simple as signing up for an email  newsletter. You can even allow potential customers to sign up before purchasing.

Easy to Add On

You don’t need any complicated tech or a developer to get started with your own birthday club, simply install an app, and off you go.

Increased Website Traffic

Birthday emails are proven to increase traffic to your online store thanks to the incentivised CTA.

Increased Sales

In addition to taking advantage of the offer, a customer may also take advantage of stocking up on other products.

Increased Customer Retention

A positive brand experience is likely to increase the likelihood of the customer buying from you again in the future.

Increased Customer Data

Collecting D.O.B data will give you greater insight into your customer demographic, allowing you to make better business decisions.

Increased Segmentation Opportunities

Having access to new ways of segmenting your customer base will allow you to target your members with more relevant offers.

Increased Brand Advocacy

Birthday club members can become vocal supporters via word of mouth and sharing their experiences on social media.

Brands using Birthday Clubs

It’s not just independent retailers who are embracing birthday clubs, well-known brands from across the retail spectrum are using birthday clubs to build deeper relationships with their customers.

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Setting up Your Birthday Club

The Birthdate Format

Sadly, date formats aren’t universal. Depending on your geographical location, 1/4/2024 could either be January 4th or April 1st. It can get confusing. Thankfully, most systems make it easy to specify your preferred date format. We recommend setting the format to the region in which the majority of your customers reside. 

Year or No Year?

Once you’ve decided what comes first (the day or the month), you need to consider whether or not to ask your prospective birthday club members for their year of birth.

Here are some things to consider:

Full Format (e.g. dd/mm/yyyy)

  • Pros: You’ll have more data about your member, which will enable you to create more personalised marketing campaigns outside of their birthday email
  • Cons: Some customers won’t want to add their year of birth or may add a false year, which will skew your data.

Short Format (e.g. dd/mm)

  • Pros: It’s quicker and takes away the barrier for those who don’t want to give their year of birth but do want to join your birthday club.
  • Cons: Less data will make it harder to segment and target your customers by year of birth, should you wish to.

Collecting Birthdays

Once you’ve decided on your date format, you’ll need to make it as easy as possible for people to sign up for the club. Luckily, there are multiple ways to encourage customers to become members.

Leading ecommerce platforms will allow you to incorporate your birthday club in many of the following ways:

  • The order confirmation page — The page that your customer sees after payment
  • The order status page — The page that your customers use to check on the current status of their order
  • A Birthday Club sign-up page — A dedicated page on your store that you can link to directly from your main menu and footer sections 
  • Point of Sale order page — If you operate a brick-and-mortar store with a Point of Sale system, then integrating the ability to take a customer's birth date will allow customers to join in person 

Top Tips

  • Be clear about what your new birthday club member will get in return for giving their details. Will they get a discount code, a free gift, or something else? 
  • Add a link to your birthday club sign-up page in your footer menu or in your social media profiles
  • Include a link to your dedicated sign-up page in your order confirmation and order update email templates to encourage memberships
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Setting the Discount

When it comes to setting the type and amount of discount to offer your birthday club members, we recommend trying out a few variations to see which format resonates with your customer base. 

When deciding on what “birthday gift” to offer your members, it’s important to consider factors such as sales margins, free shipping rates and other ongoing discounts. For example, if you incentivise signing up to your email newsletter with a 10% discount code then you could consider offering 15-20% off purchases for birthday club members to make it extra special.

As well as the actual value, you can consider the type of discount:

  • Fixed — E.g. $10 off total order 
  • Percentage — E.g. 10% off total order

Most leading ecommerce platforms will also allow you to specify certain conditions for the discount. For example, you may wish to offer 25% off, but only if the order exceeds $150. Additionally, you may wish to scope the offer to certain products or collections of products.

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Top Tips

  • Consider a time-limited offer to encourage your birthday club member to take action
  • Try a very time-limited offer against a longer/no-limit offer and see which works best for you
  • Depending on the types of products and their price, a fixed amount discount might work better than a %.

Customise Your Birthday Club Email Template

With the basics set; it’s time to think about the style and format of the email that will be sent to your members on or around their birthday.

Customise Your From Name & Subject Line

Birthday Club emails are all about making a connection with your customer, so unlike regular promotional email campaigns, a birthday club email is ripe for personalisation. 

Standing out in a crowded inbox is vital for any business. One of the main ways you can achieve this is by customising the from name and subject line. 

Not all email applications show the full name of the sender (GMail, for example, will show the first 19 characters in the inbox), so it’s important to use this space wisely. Experiment with options and try sending a few test emails to see how they appear in your own inbox. 

Our research shows that the majority of “from names” are simply the name of the business. We believe that this is a missed opportunity to stand out. 

After setting the from name, it’s time to focus on the subject line. As with the from name many businesses neglect to change the subject line and opt for defaults chosen by their email platform or birthday club app — the most common being “Happy Birthday”. In the same way that we believe customising the subject line is important, we also recommend personalising the subject line. 

Here are some options to get you thinking: 

  • Happy Birthday! 15% Off!
  • Happy Birthday! (psst ... gift inside!)
  • Happy Birthday! A little birthday treat from ACME HQ
  • Happy Birthday! Enjoy 10% Off
  • Happy Birthday! Enjoy your gift
  • Happy Birthday! Here's £5 to spend at ACME HQ.
  • Happy Birthday! Here's 25% off on us!
  • Happy Birthday! We got a surprise for you!
  • Joyeux anniversaire
  • Let’s Celebrate Your Big Day!
  • We Heard It’s Your Birthday

Subject Lines with >85% Open Rate

  • Happy Birthday {first name}! Your gift inside 🎂
  • Happy Birthday!
  • We’re Celebrating You {first name}
  • 🎂Happy Birthday {first name}! 🎂
  • Happy Birthday from us to you.

Email Content

The final opportunity to delight your birthday club member comes when they open their email to see what’s inside. Here’s what we recommend for inclusion in your email:

  • A birthday-themed design that will distinguish this email from other promotional email campaigns that they may receive from you
  • A personalised birthday greeting making it clear that they are receiving this offer as they are a member of your birthday club
  • Your “gift” to them clearly stated along with any conditions, e.g. a “use by” date, the value of the gift, and how to claim it
  • A prominent call to action button (CTA) or link that takes the birthday club member to your store
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Need more inspiration? The Happy Birthday gallery is regularly updated with the latest and greatest birthday club emails. 

Top Tips

If your discount applies to a single product or collection use the text to remind your birthday club member of what it applies to and use the button link to take them directly to the single product or collection in your store.

When to Send Your Birthday Email

The vast majority of birthday clubs send emails on the member’s actual birthday. However, you could choose to send yours in advance and get ahead of the game. Our data shows that 7-10 days out is a popular choice, with 45 days being the longest.

Even if you decide to send “on the day”, you can try out different delivery times to see if it makes a positive difference to your open, click-through, and conversion rates.

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Top Tips

  • Beat your competition (and your member's inbox overload) and send your birthday club email in advance of their big day
  • Sadly, you won’t be the only email in your member's inbox on their birthday. Why not be different and send out your email later in the day?

Follow Up

There’s one last feature you should consider to maximise the impact of your birthday club. 

Despite all your best efforts, it’s possible that your Birthday Club members won’t take advantage of the offers they receive. To improve the chances of success, you should plan on following up with customers who have yet to claim their discount. 


That’s it — if you’ve followed along, you should be well on the way to launching your own ecommerce birthday club. 

You’re now ready to start promoting your birthday club to existing and new customers. Here are some effective ways to market your club to existing and prospective customers.

Publicise Your Birthday Club

Unlike generic promotional campaigns, birthday club emails are highly  personalised, relevant, and will make your customers feel special

Order Confirmation and Shipping Update Emails

Add details and a clear call-to-action in your store’s email notifications — e.g. order confirmation, shipping confirmation, and customer account invites.

Homepage Banners and Featured Sections

Create prominent banners or featured sections on your homepage dedicated to the birthday club and ensure that the call-to-action is visible and directs users to the dedicated sign-up page.

 Previous Customers Email Marketing Campaign

Send a compelling, personalised email to your previous customers announcing the launch of your birthday club, which includes a clear call-to-action (CTA) to join the birthday club and provides a link to the dedicated sign-up page.

Campaign Emails

Include details of your birthday club in all outgoing email campaigns highlighting the benefits and how to join

Social Media Announcements

Create visually appealing graphics or videos to capture attention on your preferred social media platforms to announce your new birthday club to existing followers

Social Media Advertising

Run demographically targeted social media ads to reach a broader audience and introduce new customers who are likely to be interested in your products, offers, and birthday club 

Instore Advertising & Point of Sale

Make use of counter top adverts and customise your Point of Sale receipt to add details of how to join your birthday club for those that choose not to join at the till. 

That’s it!

Your store, business, and customers are unique, so remember what works for someone else might not work for you. It’s easy to try out different subject lines, button texts, and header images, so keep iterating until you find out what works best for you and your brand.

Welcome to the club!

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The full PDF guide is available to download here

Ready to launch your Birthday Club?

Launching a Birthday Club can take just a few mintues. And if you follow all the steps and best practices listed in this guide, it can have a huge impact on your Shopify store.

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