Targeted Email Marketing: The Birthday Email

POSTED BY Stacey McGurk - 02.13.14 - Email marketing

Targeted Email Marketing A common challenge for marketers is to provide valuable content to customers which produces an ROI on that campaign.  Targeting customers with a specific offer or content is continuing to be the key to success. Email marketing offers that opportunity for businesses to target a message or offer to a specific audience that will most likely respond to that offer.

A previous blog post, written by my colleague outlines the benefits of email marketing. One of those benefits was to segment your list and target your customers. If done effectively, that can help you drive sales. And when it’s the right offer to the right person at the right time, it creates an even bigger win. This is the strategy behind a targeted email marketing campaign. You might be asking, ”what is one specific idea that I can use for a targeted email marketing campaign?” One strategy for targeted email marketing is to offer your customers something special for their birthday.

In order to effectively execute on a birthday email campaign you must take these three elements into consideration:  

1) Timing of the email

2) Value of the offer

3) The content

Using examples of targeted email campaigns that I received from a national retailer and a local business for my birthday, I will share how they used these three targeted email best practices and why their campaigns worked. 


Anthrologie is a retailer with women’s clothing, accessories and home décor. The ambiance, décor and personality the store has created makes it a fun place to shop. Their email marketing carries over that same personality and style.

Timing: Anthropolgie, sent two emails: an email on my birthday and then a reminder email before the end of my birthday month.  The emails were the same, except for the subject line. “Reminder: your birthday month is coming to a close.” This reminder email prompted me to make the purchase I had wanted to make but had forgotten about. A good nudge to remind a shopper about a good deal isn’t perceived as intrusive but is actually appreciated. 

Anthropologie Birthday EmailOffer: Their birthday offer was 15% off the total purchase in-store or online any day during the month.  Giving the consumer options of where to redeem makes it easy on the shopper. The discount expired at the end of my birthday month.This creates urgency but it also gave the recipient enough time to take advantage of the deal.  The end date can also help you measure the success of the campaign at the end of the month since the campaign doesn’t run forever.  The fewer restrictions and the easier it is to redeem the offer, the better experience for the subscriber and the increased likelihood they will respond.

Content: The email template was designed with party hats with the header “happy happy happy birthday.” The content of the email was clear; the birthday offer at the top and a compelling call to action “but first things first… let’s get you gussied up >” that linked to a special section on their website with their suggested items. The best part about this is that the message of the email matched the content on their website.  This section of their website highlighted whimsical birthday messages like “Playing Hooky. This calls for a look that’s comfy” and “Night on the Town the style mantra is simple; fun, fun, fun!” This is a great example of how to tie content and an offer together for a successful targeted email campaign.  

City Looks:

City Looks is a full service salon and spa in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They take care of their customers so it was no surprise that they are offering their email subscribers something special for their birthday.  

Timing: When I originally signed up to receive emails from City Looks Salon & Spa, it was for their newsletter promoting events or special offers and to receive appointment reminders. While I am opted-in to receive their emails, it was a pleasant surprise to open my inbox on my birthday to see “Stacey, Happy Birthday from City Looks Salon & Spa” with a complimentary $20 gift to use on the salon or spa service of my choice.

Offer: The $20 gift is like cash to be used on the service of my choice. The $20 is a value that is easily recognized rather than calculating a percentage off a total purchase.  It can be redeemed at either of their two locations and recipients have 60 days to redeem it. This flexibility is convenient for the customer, making it a valuable offer.  

Content: The design of the email is not attractive. However, the message was clear: “Happy Birthday! Enjoy this $20 gift” with a clear call to action to reserve an appointment. The wording of the email was consistent with their other promotions and personality of the brand. City Looks Salon & Spa created a distinct offer with clearly defined instructions about how it can be used and how it can be redeemed.

Email marketing is effective for businesses because you are sharing content and offers with people that have opted-in to hear from you.  When you segment your subscriber list with a more targeted offer, like on their birthday, the potential for success rises. 

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Stacey McGurk

Stacey McGurk

Stacey (Stefani) McGurk is a Product Manager for social media, reputation and email marketing at Fusionfarm. She is passionate about marketing and helping businesses grow through digital marketing strategies. For a girl who could never stop talking, it’s no surprise that she frequently writes on Fusionfarm’s blog.

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