Don’t Email Me a Happy Birthday!
Through a special arrangement, presented
here for discussion is an excerpt of a current article from the Compete Blog.
Compete Inc. is a web analytics company that focuses on understanding how consumers
use the internet.
Email personalization makes complete sense. If you have specific
information about your clients, users, etc. you should use that information
to provide the most relevant and personal message possible. But one thing I
am increasingly against are happy birthday messages.
Here are some examples
of the good, the bad, and the ugly that were sent to me on my birthday. We’ll
start with the ugly …
1. My Dentist:
First, the email message included a stock photo that isn’t
even my dentist. Also, I was just at my dentist a few weeks prior to have a
cavity filled. The last thing I want is to be reminded of is the four-inch
Novocain needle and the feeling of a drill to my teeth on my birthday. Lastly,
in it for me? How about a free tube of toothpaste or savings on tooth whitening?
2. A bank that shall remain nameless:
I’ve been a happy customer at my bank for years. A birthday email
came in with an offer for a discount at their store. This sounded great until
I realized that the only thing you can buy in their store is bank branded gear.
As much as I’m dying to feign excitement over a duffle bag with Bank
logo on it, I think I’ll pass. Seems like a weird way to communicate
your brand message.
3. Men’s Wearhouse
Finally, an acceptable birthday message that doesn’t want to make
me hit "unsubscribe." The
email included a $25 discount for any purchase over $100. Sure, they could
have made the message more casual by not using my last name. But,
they got it right and gave me a gift.
In the end I think it comes down to three
guidelines to follow when wishing your clients, customers, or prospects happy
a. Make it as personal as possible. If you can personally send a birthday
message to your contacts, then do. Building a personal relationship with
your contacts will go a long way.
b. Give a gift! If your list is too large or you have too many contacts to
personally send messages (I think most of us are in this boat), then send
a message with purpose. Give your clients a discounted offering on your products
or even send them a digital gift card to another store.
c. If you can’t send something nice, don’t send it at all! Think
before you send and ask yourself what is going to be accomplished by sending
Discussion Questions: Are you a fan of happy birthday email messages from retailers? What can retailers do to make birthday greetings that consumers value?