A few months ago I wrote a blog post about recognizing your customers’ birthdays, in which I noted that according a study conducted by Fulcrum, celebrating a customers’ birthday increased positive feelings about the company, brand loyalty, and sales. In my blog post, I acknowledged that not all brands will know their customers’ birthdays and suggested a few ways to get that information such as asking fans to provide that information when signing up for a club or a newsletter, or purchasing data from an enhancement company. Within the past month, I received the following emails from two separate brands (Jo-Ann and West Elm) asking when my birthday is in order to send me special deals to celebrate:

JoAnn West_Elm

I’ll find out next month how great these offers are, but in the meantime, here are my thoughts on each of these emails:

  • Sometimes the best way to get information from customers is to simply ask. Most of the time, especially when an incentive is offered, customers will consent to give you the information.
  • I enjoyed West Elm’s creativity over Jo-Ann’s simple message design. Being clever can go a long way.
  • When I clicked on each message, West Elm provided an in-depth form to fill out asking for my contact information, month and date of birth, and email address, whereas Jo-Ann simply asked for my birth month. The request from Jo-Ann was much less intrusive. Since I’m already receiving daily (if not twice a day) emails from both companies (so they clearly already have my information), I didn’t mind filling out my contact information again for West Elm, but I could not help but think, “Why is West Elm asking me this AGAIN? They must already have some of this information.” To avoid reactions like me, I’d suggest to West Elm that they modify their form to make it as basic and to-the-point as possible.

As I recommended before, join in on the birthday party fun and celebrate your fans by sending a personalized birthday email and offer (if possible). If you don’t have their information, just ask! Let them know you are planning a special treat for them and you’ll be sure to have success.

Don’t stop there, though – think about the different upselling opportunities you have by knowing their birth date. A month or so before their birth month, send them an email toting your “birthday party” special at games. If their birth month is in the off-season, suggest merchandise that might make a great birthday gift for themselves. There is no downside to knowing your fans’ birthdays – you can have your cake and eat it too!