Three birthday emails that worked brilliantly – and why they did

I don’t think there’s one person in this world who doesn’t love birthday wishes and presents from their friends and family. 

I also don’t believe that, in a world where brands are trying to adopt the H2H (Human To Human) model and create a “face” behind their name, there is any reason why they shouldn’t give back to their customers with a birthday email.

Birthdays are all about acknowledging the other person and the difference they make in this world. And boy, oh boy, do customers make a difference to brands. But you can take more than just customer feedback into account, and you can do more than having a customer-centric approach to everything to show how much your customers mean to you.

You can use specific, targeted email marketing campaigns that will have a higher transaction, open, and click-through rate. Like so:


It’s only logical. Your customers love to feel valued, and a little good deed – or, in your case, a little exclusive deal – never goes unnoticed. Birthday emails succeed where a plain email newsletter would fail, as they can draw in attention and promote the offers you want to promote in a way that will keep you and your customer happy.

But how can you send an effective birthday email campaign? Let’s see some examples that have totally hit the mark, using all the correct elements and the copy that makes them winners.

1) Nike – “Lucky You: It’s Your Birthday Month!”

If there’s one brand that understands digital, it’s Nike. Nike has been the leader in sportswear and leisurewear. Its campaigns are always on point, touching upon serious subjects – like the “For once, don’t do it” campaign – and perfectly serving their buyer persona templates.

The birthday email below shows it all:


It’s happy, it’s colorful, and the email’s subject line says everything you need to know about the email. You’re lucky because it’s your birthday this month, and Nike wants to do something about it.

Their email is happy, with bold visuals and colors, balloons that carry a pair of Nike shoes as a present, making it clear that the brand is ready to party with something special, as the CTA button indicates.

Not many brands allow you to shop for new arrivals at a discount, and Nike knows as much.

And so do Nike’s prospects. Giving a “limited time offer” that covers pretty much all of the products your eCommerce store carries can make you pretty popular among your customers and their friends and family as well. Oh, and take a look at that:

They really want to celebrate with you. And this can be true for anyone you recommend as well. This action will make room for some affiliate marketing if you urge your prospects to spread your message around.

Just make sure to include a sharing button and choose an ESP that allows affiliate marketing – a feature that is pretty popular amongst most alternatives to Mailchimp, as the popular ESP doesn’t allow this feature.

So, do it like Nike: Happy, colorful, with just a sprinkle of party mode and a clear CTA.

2) BarkBox – “BarkBox ✅ Birthday BarkBox? ✅”

BarkBox celebrates your puppy’s birthday in a genuinely adorable way. This is an eCommerce store that offers a subscription-based service that provides products for your puppy – when I say puppy, I mean just any dog of any age – delivered at your doorstep.


This email screams “Happiness” and “Playfulness”, from the puppy wearing a party hat to the products promoted in it: A “Happy Barkday Pup-Pie”? 

This copy is nothing short of genius. The visuals are perfect for happy puppies, yet not chaotic – I, personally, would have added a video from photos of satisfied puppy customers and “parents” to work as a testimonial, but it still works as is.

Also, notice the “Add to my box” button. This takes huge advantage of the impulsive nature of a sale, allowing the prospect to never leave their inbox while making their purchase.

And, of course, apart from the prospect’s impulses, using FOMO is one of the best tactics out there. See how you need to “act before 4/5” to keep keep your puppy all happy? 

BarkBox’s email completely hits the mark: You got visuals that are calm and beautiful, there is a special offer that can be purchased through the email, and there’s some perfectly placed, not-too-blatant FOMO.

3) Sephora – “Happy (belated) birthday, -🎉 Time to choose your gift”

Makeup is one of the things I absolutely love, and I find that the way makeup brands handle social media content, use social media tags, and create digital and campaigns, is nothing short of brilliant. And email campaigns from makeup brands in my inbox are something I always look out for. Especially if my birthday is coming up, and there’s a gift in them:


As pretty much one of the customers closest to Sephora’s ideal customer, I can tell you that this birthday email nailed it.

The offer is enticing, as it is relevant: A gift on your birthday month. This is more personal than a generic discount code – albeit riskier, as the person may or may not have some use for your gift.

This is where personalization and segmentation come into play. Of course, you’ve already segmented your list to pinpoint your prospects’ birthday months. 

It would help if you were also looking out for their most common purchases or set triggers and trace the products they’re most interested in. Worst case scenario is to present your brand as one that cares a lot about its audience’s preferences – which is a fantastic scenario and will boost your online pr efforts and digital presence.

Personalize their birthday message with their preferences and not just by using the recipient’s first name and offer something they’d love to purchase in the first place as a gift. It shows thoughtfulness, and your prospects are more than likely to take advantage of this by making an extra purchase.

Of course, let’s not forget the beautiful visuals and how Sephora showcases exactly what the gift entails so that the prospect will know what they can pick and choose.

So, do it like Sephora: Use a relevant offer, hit the mark with spot-on personalization and segmentation tactics, and be as straightforward as possible on what you’re offering. 

How can you use a birthday email campaign?

Being remembered on your birthday is nice. Being acknowledged by your favorite brand is more like “doing-my-happy-dance” nice, as it shows that your favorite brand took the time to appreciate you and give something back.

After all, a little appreciation can go a long way, and you can use a birthday email campaign to remain connected with your audience or increase your leads by encouraging them to spread your marketing message and share it with friends and family.

Just make sure to always A/B test your elements, segment and personalize, and always test if they work on all devices. And of course, make them an offer they can’t refuse!

Téa Liarokapi is the Senior Content Writer for Moosend, an email marketing and marketing automation platform, and an obsessive writer in general. In her free time, she tries to find new ways to stuff more books in her bookcase and content ideas – and cats – to play with.

Photo by Deva Williamson