Direct Mail Strategy: Birthday Greetings!
Observation: Each mailing was appropriate for the brand/source from which it came. Use whatever paper stock, shape or size that fits your brand and budget.
Last year's mailings that included offers provided discounts from 15 percent off to $5 to $10 off. Several had no expiration date.
Observation: While it's worth testing, I felt like the "no expiration date" was as big a gift as the discount.
Copy and Creative
The only birthday greeting that truly was disappointing from a creative perspective was the e-mail from Brookstone. The gift box visual was ho-hum and the copy was too "we" oriented—e.g., "At Brookstone, we believe every birthday is special." The other mailings supported the brand and were engaging communications. Southwest Airlines showed a roller bag covered with confetti, party hat and noisemaker on a luggage carousel; Victoria's Secret's sentiment—a repeat from the previous year—was "Get Sexier Every Year"; and Banana Republic used its signature colors, contemporary graphics and copy to say, "This isn't just another birthday card. It's also a gift."
Observation: You don't have to send custom cards to get the envelope opened and your message remembered. If the card is signed by a personal shopper, sales associate or anyone else who has a "personal" relationship with the recipient, it can be just as appropriate, and less expensive, to send cards mass-produced by commercial greeting card companies with your business card or company gift certificate as an enclosure.
The logistics of when to mail are determined, in part, by how many pieces you mail.
Observation: Ideally, you want the card to arrive as close to the birthday as possible. However, it's better to err on the side of caution: better early than late. If it works best to drop all birthday cards on the last day of the month prior to the birthday month, that's OK. After-the-event birthday cards have a less positive impact.