Now with advanced email marketing platforms, restaurants that have their customers’ birthdays are able to automatically send a promotional gift to customers a week or so before their birthday arrives. This can be a powerful promotion (even with only 25% off the bill). A birthday email promotion is probably the most effective single email you may send a customer in a year. Even if they don’t come exactly on their birthday, they will likely redeem it. In short, you provide obvious value to a customer that they will appreciate. But it’s more than that. Below is an abbreviated list of benefits:

  • Individualized attention, showing concern for a particular person (their birthday)
  • Reminder of the value of your email list
  • Incentive for customer to visit the restaurant
  • Reward your most reliable customers
  • Possibility of visiting on birthday (usually means a bigger group and memorable experience)
  • Likely that customer will help with word of mouth marketing.

How To Start Your Birthday Email Marketing Campaign

So you have to do a little work to get birthday email marketing up and running. There are two steps to set up an automated birthday email promotion.

Step 1: Collect Birthdays with Emails

You need customers’ birthdays and emails. When customers subscribe to your email list, you should encourage them to enter their birthday. Like any other email list, you will have to use your website and Facebook to collect them. This may mean you need to look into companies that provides forms and databases because it is a little more complicated than a simple entry box. You can use forms that require customers to insert their birthdays.  You may worry that they will not share their birthday. Normally, many customers will give it up with thinking twice. With an incentive (like a freebie), they will probably think it comes with cost of getting the freebie. Some may not however, so it’s up to the restaurant to make it required. If there isn’t an incentive to sign up for the email list, it is a good idea to give them the option or include text that hints at why you need it: “Let us know when your birthday so we know when to send a gift.” More often than not, they will be surprised when their day comes up. Nearly everyone will follow the rules.

Step 2: Create Email Template and Set Up Automation

You need an advanced email platform to automate this process. This kind of promotion should also be in HTML as images are very important. Doing this manually would be very time-intensive and since you are sending form email from your IP, you can run afoul with spam filters. as you are using the same IP again and again (the email platform use many different IPs) . We have our own Gourmet Mail, but Constant Contact and MailChimp have these capabilities too although it may take you a couple rounds of tests to get it working right.

The Numbers

Even for email marketing, the results are terrific. At a restaurant that averages a 15% open rate, customers open the email birthday promotion about 35% of the time. I haven’t found one customer yet who has labeled the email as spam. On a normal email campaign, we sometimes see somewhere around .1% (1 in a 1,000) of customers label the email as spam. Only .5% actually unsubscribed. Well that makes sense. People appreciate gifts.

It is time to get started on preparing your restaurant for a birthday email promotions. You renew your relationship with your most devoted customers in celebration of their birthday.