You’re out for a nice birthday dinner with friends: Great conversation, delicious food and drink—life is good! You see a bright post card tucked next to the salt and pepper on the table. It reads, “Sign up for our Birthday Club! Get a free meal!” Of course, you sign up. Why not? You want to feel this fantastic next year too.
A majority of Americans love to celebrate their birthdays. We also love promotions that are all about us.
As a small business owner, you can tap into these good feelings with a birthday promotion of your own. Whether you offer automotive or home services or own the neighborhood gastropub, you can design a campaign that will bring in new business and strengthen brand loyalty.
How can you make the most impact with your campaign? Include direct mail. Customers get a ton of emails every day. A tangible piece of celebratory mail is rare and will get your customers’ attention.
Gather the data
The first step to an effective birthday marketing strategy is to gather data about your existing customers. If you’re in a service industry, chances are you already use a form to collect customer information. Collect at least the month and day of each customer’s birth on your form.
If you don’t routinely collect personal information, offer a “birthday club” sign-up at your location to gather birth date as well as address information from your existing customer base.
Alternatively, you can offer a small gift in return for a customer filling out an electronic form via a point of sale terminal, tablet or website.
Don’t have a robust in-house client list? Use a service to put together a targeted list of new prospects to supplement your list.
Once you have an up-to-date birthday database, you can run a variety of campaigns to help your customers celebrate their birthdays and build your business.
Deliver a deal
According to fierceretail.com, younger shoppers are twice as likely to use paper coupons than digital. Send each customer a discount coupon for their birthday in the mail. If you know the year they were born, it’s easy to send a discount equivalent to their age for an added personal touch. Send a coupon in the mail every year along with updates about your business to build customer loyalty.
Offer a party
Most folks like to share birthday fun with their friends and family. Send a direct mail piece to your customer base or a specific neighboring demographic with a contest entry for a free birthday party. It might seem like a splurge, but the mailer will get the word out about your business and the party will introduce you to all of your customers’ friends and family. This method can also help you establish your birthday database.
Wish them well
Send treasured customers a hand-written card for their birthday. This simple gesture will let each customer know you care about and are thinking of them—a must for a service-oriented business. There are programs where the font used is a script style, so it looks hand written even though it was digitally printed, increasing likelihood of the direct mail piece being opened and read.
Give a gift
Send a mailer offering a “surprise” gift if customers stop by your business and mention the mailer during their birthday month. Chances are they might also pick up another item, make an appointment or bring their best friend when they do.
Tie it together
Include a specific call to action in your direct mail piece offering a special deal or freebie if a customer takes a picture of herself on her birthday in your company hat or next to her favorite wait staff and uploads it to social media. The picture will likely be shared, along with good feelings about your business, and your customer will get a birthday gift too.
Push that Envelope
Use your birthday data to market to customers more than once a year. Be innovative and try sending your customers a “wish list” mailer or a “celebrate your half-birthday” mailer like the folks at marketingland.com. Your customers will be delighted: they won’t expect to celebrate ahead of time.
A great birthday marketing program will strengthen your business by reinforcing goodwill and introducing new customers to your brand. Start celebrating with your customers soon to see your business balloon!