Happy Birthday! While statistically it is likely your birthday is today for approximately 0.376% of you (birthdays are not evenly dispersed throughout the year), we apologize to the rest for missing your special day. We endeavor to improve and hope to collect your birth date as soon as we can figure out a way to ask for your date of birth without being creepy. Our dream is to one day send you a special card or at least an email with a gift inside as when it comes to marketing, that is one of the best campaigns a bank can do. In fact, JP Morgan Chase does it with great effectiveness.
According to Experian’s marketing arm, after conducting more than 50 birthday campaigns last year, the data is clear – birthday wishes make a difference. Compared to regular bank email marketing, a personalized birthday email is 99% more likely to get opened and 107% more likely to get clicked on. In fact, in terms of clicks, many people click a birthday email more than once presumably because it makes them feel good. A birthday email is also 4.8x more likely to result in a transaction and 3.4x more likely to generate revenue.
For banks wanting to send emails, it is obviously best to send an email on the person’s birthday as about 55% do, but sending three weeks prior is common ( 20% do), two weeks prior (9%), one week prior (10%) or even after a birthday (7%), which we might add is also the least effective.
For banks wanting to send a birthday email to your customers, we have found through research and testing that the ideal bank birthday email contains four elements: 1) A mystery, 2) A personalized subject line and opening, 3) a birthday wish, and 4) A gift. For example, one of the best tested subject lines to garner the highest conversion rate would be: “Chris, we have a special birthday gift for you.” In the body of the email would be a birthday wish and the description of a gift.
While not all banks give away gifts, those that do have found the following to be effective either given away online or as a coupon to be redeemed in the branch: reward points, bank merchandise (t-shirt, water bottle, backpack, pen/pencil set, etc.), $10 gift card (many use local merchants), a crisp currency bill, fee reduction/free service or just an outright, non-branded gift. Whatever the case, giving away something is not only marketing dollars well spent to drive pure appreciation, but also results in better marketing performance.
Another best practice tip is to send two reminder emails letting your customer know that their gift is waiting. This most likely takes some email automation or at least a program such as Mail Chimp or Constant Contact (what we use) that has some email analytics, but sending a reminder email that your birthday gift awaits, tends to increase the effectiveness by about 20%.
In addition to building customer appreciation, having a birthday is the lynchpin to any lifecycle marketing campaign and is well worth the effort and expense to collect the information. If you don’t have birthdays of your customers, below are three examples of templates that have been tested that can make your bank successful at collecting a birthdate. Subject lines such as “We want to celebrate your birthday,” “When is your birthday,” or “We want to throw you a party but we are missing one thing” have all proved to produce results.
Birthday emails are a great way to engage the bank customers without being intrusive. Everyone loves a birthday wish and an ongoing campaign around a birthday helps increase satisfaction to your current customers and helps win over those qualified prospects. We have found that 75% of customers said they feel more positive about a bank’s brand when you send them a birthday greeting and almost 90% of recipients claim increased brand loyalty. If you don’t have an email campaign, resolve to put one in place as it will likely be your best performing marketing effort all year.
Submitted by Chris Nichols on April 16, 2015