How to get customers to plead for an email from your business

Engage your customers every year with a low-cost, high reward birthday email campaign!

Email can be a frustrating digital marketing tool to hone. If you’ve tried it in the past and failed – you’re not a unique case. There are several factors that go into creating an email campaign that yield results and not achieving immediate success in attempting to develop a winning email strategy is common.

Generally speaking, one of the major goals of digital marketing is to develop a personal connection with your customers. It’s a tool we use to make money, sure. But more accurately, it’s a way to give your customers a reason to feel a sense loyalty to your brand.

Of all the people in your life, whose birthday do you remember without the assistance of Facebook? Think of the people that make-up this (assumedly) small portion of people – who are they? It most likely consists of your dearest friends and family members. Folks you trust. They know your favorite foods, desires, and they probably remember your birthday. These are extremely strong connections you’ve made over time.

If you forgot their birthday, you might get a frantic, emotional email or text from them that looks like this:
Hi – you missed it this year! But you had it every year in the past? What happened please?

As a business owner, your goal is to build strong, lasting connections with other people who are important to you – your customers. The easiest way to achieve this, is to treat each of your customers like they are your family member or close friend – give them a gift on their birthday.

The Numbers

Although we’d like you to take our word that these birthday campaigns work, we understand that in 2018 it’s important to take everything you read on the internet with a grain of salt large enough to coat every soft pretzel in the US.

Case in point, a long-time client of ours – a barbeque restaurant called Armadillo Willy’s out of California – has been sending coupons to their customers around the time of their birthday for a few years. Let’s take a look at some of the metrics generated over the past couple of months from these birthday email campaigns:

Month (2018) Open Rate Unique Open Rate Unique CTR
April 279% 73% 28%
May 229% 67% 23%
June 194% 51% 22%
July 308% 81% 30%
August 336% 81% 30%
September 237% 59% 23%
Total 264% 69% 26%

They’ve averaged an open rate of 264% (this isn’t a typo – this a result of people opening the email over and over again), unique open rate (or the percentage of people who opened the email at least once) of about 69% and a unique click-through rate (or the percentage of people who clicked the CTA at least once) of about 26%.

If you’re at all familiar with email marketing benchmarks, you realize that these numbers are no small potatoes – or in this case, sweet potato fries.

You may be thinking to yourself – sure, but what’s the offer? I can’t afford to give stuff away for free every month!

The offer is an $11.99 discount on any purchase of 2 sandwiches, entrée salads, small plates or regular BBQ plates, the cheapest option being about $16 before the discount and tax.

And if that’s not enough to convince you that these birthday campaigns are worth your time, you should know that most Armadillo Willy’s customers who are familiar with this tradition immediately contact the restaurant if they don’t receive the coupon when their birthday rolls around. Here’s just one response we received directly:

Customers love receiving special offers for their birthday and will continue to visit these businesses year-round.

These customers are essentially clamoring for a reason to spend money at this restaurant. Yes, it’s a testament to how delicious the barbeque must be at Armadillo Willy’s, but it’s also a powerful message to anyone who doesn’t believe a strong email marketing campaign can effectively generate sales and create loyal customers who feel connected to your business.

Armadillo Willy’s has successfully captured the emotions (and taste buds) of its clientele. Just look at this guy’s emotionally-charged email. He simply cannot believe they forgot his birthday. “But you had it every year in the past? What happened please,” he says.

What happened is that he’s grown to expect a birthday wish from a business, and in his mind, they forgot (actually, he inadvertently unsubscribed a few weeks back and we sent him the coupon anyway). This customer understandably got a little emotional about that – someone with whom he felt a connection didn’t remember his birthday.

If you’d like to develop a bond like this with your customers – consider implementing a similar email strategy and see if it doesn’t help you grow your relationship with customers and bring in a little more revenue each month.