How to Turn Your Customers’ Birthdays and Special Events into a Retention Opportunity


There are many ways to turn an ordinary day into a special event, and then utilize it for your retention strategy. For starters, everyone has a birthday, and you can celebrate the day for your business’ advantage. A report by Experian found that when compared to mass-promotional emails, birthday and anniversary messages were opened at higher rates, 235% for birthday and 150% for anniversary. But, it’s not just birthdays and anniversaries that can be used for retention. Gearing messages and offering incentives to celebrate your own company’s milestones can solidify your bond with your customers. Through the use of email marketing and automation, text messages, and social media, you have the potential to turn a birthday into business and use special days as a tool to help retain your customers over time.

How to Turn Your Customers’ Birthdays and Special Events into a Retention Opportunity header

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1. Digitally Gifted: Email Marketing

It’s your customer’s birthday or anniversary, and your system knows it. You’ve already employed strategies to communicate with the customer on this special day, but how can you go further to ensure they take advantage of the reward you’re offering? Start before the big day. For example, ASOS sends a special email 12 days before a customer’s birthday with clever copy that explains how the company will celebrate their customer’s birthday with them by offering an early discount to take advantage of, for let’s say, a new birthday dress. Another option, like what jewelry company Pandora does, is to send an early message asking customers to select their wish list. This way, your company goes straight to the source to find out the products you can gift your customer or discount for them on their big day.

Additionally, based on a customer’s purchase history, you can tailor the exact offer to products you know they’ll like and want to buy. The same Experian studied mentioned above found that offering dollar amount discounts as opposed to percentage discounts tended to perform more strongly. Another interesting way to celebrate would be to show customers their year-in-review of what they’ve purchased and how much they’ve saved in that amount of time. Then, as a special gift, you can extend an offer based on their spending amount so they feel rewarded for their loyalty at the same time and are urged to continue spending more so that they earn bigger discounts by the time their next birthday rolls around.

2. Make Milestones Matter

In a digital world, the number of likes and follows that your company maintains has become social currency. As a retention manager, you know that it’s not easy to organically grow social media accounts, but when your business takes off across platforms, it’s something to celebrate. Why not make a special event out of it by engaging your customers, after all, they are the ones who need to engage with your brand to make social media matter. Internet and cellular service provider AT&T did just that when they created personalized “thank you” videos to their fans when they reached two million fans on Facebook. Via a Facebook app, fans were able to share why they thought AT&T was awesome, and then AT&T responded personally with these messages of appreciation. By taking the conversation to the next level, AT&T turned their social media presence into something beyond just words on a screen and digital mentions. They created a special event out of what seemingly would have been another ordinary day and were able to invite their audience to be a part of the celebration.

3. A Mobile Moment: Automated Text Messages

Phones are usually in the hand, purse or pocket of most people, so having the ability to reach your customer via text message is a surefire way to get your birthday message across in a timely manner. Text messages have a 98% open rate, and there’s no denying the simplicity behind this medium of communication. With tools like smoove’s automated text messages, you can simply personalize a SMS message and send it to individuals or lists alike.

Additionally, if you wanted to lead a customer directly to a landing page within the text message, you have that option. Like email marketing, offering a discount code or a coupon code for a customer’s birthday incentivizes a transaction. However, SMS text messages are simple and to the point, so they don’t necessarily need much personalization nor do they require extra design features. Instead, they can be automated ahead of time to present the offer on your customer’s birthday with simple text and either a link to a landing page or solely a discount code.

Smartphone Messaging

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4. Be a Social Media Butterfly

Social media is another touch point to address your customers on their birthday and special events like holidays. If you want to advertise to people specifically around their birthday, Facebook allows for detailed targeting where you can specify this criteria and then create a message geared towards offering a birthday gift. Once a customer takes actions and clicks through on this ad, you can trigger a personalized message thanking them and following up to ensure they got what they wanted and had a nice birthday. This added touch will separate you from the crowd and signal that you really care about your customer’s loyalty with your brand.

It’s not just birthdays that can be targeted. Holidays are typically universal and allow for another opportunity to connect with your customer in creative ways. Pizza Hut had a love-ly campaign (pun intended) for Valentine’s Day that was both timely and celebratory. Since many people procrastinate finding a gift for their loved one, the pizza chain decided to step in and get cheesy. With their #LastMinuteLovers Twitter campaign, customers could tweet at them and they promised to deliver a gift card with a “Eau de Pizza Hut” perfume.

5. Use Your Company’s Birthday to Celebrate

Companies have birthdays too, and your customers will be willing to celebrate when there is something in it for them. Whether you offer a discount code as a gift to your customers on your birthday or get more creative by creating an entire campaign, using your milestone as a way to drive business is a win-win situation for everyone involved. For creative campaigns, landing pages are a handy way to get something started.

For example, on Heinz’s 130th birthday, they offered customers the option to customize ketchup bottle labels for their own special events, whether it be weddings, birthdays or anniversaries. By creating a landing page just for their birthday, customers could go through three simple steps to personalize their bottle.

Speaking of ketchup, burger behemoth McDonald’s took advantage of their 50th anniversary of the Big Mac by partnering with Coke. McDonald’s created a Big Mac designed coke can and brought the two iconic brands together in a seamlessly creative offering that turned into a collector’s item of sorts. While this may not seem like something that would retain customers, it offers an additional incentive for people to come into McDonald’s specifically as opposed to going to a competitor like Burger King of In-N-Out for a burger because a customer may genuinely want that specific and limited edition Coke can.

Offering ways for customers to get involved in the celebration also translates into word-of-mouth marketing. When people have customized products that they can use during their own big life events, it creates a way for your brand and their memories to be remembered together, and that promotes loyalty. This also translates into product placement within your customers’ broadcasting across social media platforms.Heinz

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Cherry on Top: Wrap Up

Tools such as smoove can help greatly with this. smoove believe automation tools should be easy, and caring about such events should be simple. That’s why smoove offers automation tools that can be tailored for usage around such milestones and stores those special dates in one cohesive system, making your job easier. That’s as good as having a birthday wish come true!

Looking at the calendar year ahead, what holidays and events align well with your brand to take advantage of and build campaigns around? Furthermore, how can you better position your loyalty/rewards program to incorporate birthday and anniversary gifts?

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