Everyone loves moments when a family member or friend remembers something about you and shares that with you, like a birthday, anniversary, or memory. Those moments are meaningful ways to connect authentically, inspire, and create positive energy.
For a marketer, it isn’t any different. The way to connect with a customer, or buyer, is first to recognize those customer moments and then provide an authentic experience that leaves the customer inspired.
Make a meaningful connection
Sending messages on birthdays, anniversaries, and other recurring dates or milestones are powerful tactics to keep customers engaged and inspired throughout their journey with your brand. If done well, there are big rewards. These programs typically outperform other tactics, with 481% higher transaction rates, 342% higher revenue per email, 179% higher unique click-through rates, and 53% higher open rates.
Top 8 things you can do to celebrate your customers
- Apply triggers. The first step is to identify those moments through data and applying triggers. While triggered marketing messages are not a new concept, research shows they deliver a 46% open rate and 11% click-through rate. To roll-out a triggered approach, you first need to analyze if you have the correct data and the ability to time or trigger emails using the data.
- Create value exchange. Consider creating a value exchange where your brand offers promotions and discounts if you are not gathering data to support triggered campaigns or missing data elements. (One such tool that easily accomplishes this is Cheetah Experiences.) In return, customers share personal information such as birthdays, preferences, and other attributes useful for personalization. Research shows 70% of customers are willing to share if there is a meaningful value exchange with a brand.
- Understand where a customer is in the customer journey. Birthday or anniversary emails can strengthen engagement and help build loyalty. This goal can also be pursued with emails that celebrate other occasions. Identifying a birthday or anniversary since first purchase, joining a loyalty program, or first opt-in are examples of great occasions to identify. It is also essential to go beyond the celebratory messages to get attention and recognize milestones throughout the year, such as the number of purchases, reviews, or recommendations.
- Incorporate loyalty programs. A way to tie in milestones is through loyalty program data, where punch card activity, tier achievement, or other milestones can be celebrated. A great opportunity to gather relevant data is the moment a customer joins your loyalty program. That is the right time to ask for a birthday or other data points that can be used to trigger events throughout the customer journey.
- Go cross-channel. Go beyond email and tie in SMS, shoutouts on social media, or even creative direct mail. To go further, automate workflows to invoke subsequent actions, such as if your email is not opened, you can send a mobile message through SMS or push as a reminder.
- Go beyond “happy birthday <first name>. Think through other ways to make messages more personal and engaging. For example, adapting content to the customer’s gender, preferences, location, or loyalty to your brand.
- Send a gift, offer or discount. You will want to surprise your customers with well-timed messages, as well as delight them. Consider including targeted offers in the messaging, including discounts, coupons, or free shipping.
- Keep the content short, sweet, and visual. The messages and content should put the customer first, not your brand, and clearly celebrate the birthday or milestone. Incorporate fun and interactive content, that makes the reason for the occasion worth celebrating.
Birthday, anniversary, or milestone programs are about making a personal connection with customers. These tactics strengthen relationships with customers and a tactic that applies to all customers, not just a single segment or group of customers. The benefits include increased engagement, customer loyalty, and brand advocacy.
Celebrate the journey: Resources you can use
At Cheetah Digital, we have produced a series of Journey Companion Guides to help marketers explore different journeys available within the Cheetah Customer Engagement Suite. The Anniversary Journey Companion Guide focuses on birthday, anniversary, and milestone programs. The guide describes the user-accessible configuration options available when setting up the journey in Cheetah Customer Engagement solutions.
Bruce is Senior Director of Product Marketing at Cheetah Digital. He focuses on the go-to-market strategies for solutions within the Cheetah Digital Customer Engagement Suite, as well as creating and delivering thought leadership at industry events. Before joining Cheetah Digital, Bruce worked at Adobe for over five years as a Group Product Marketing Manager supporting the Adobe Experience Cloud. Bruce lives in Bozeman, MT, with his wife and three children.