Remember Your Customers’ Birthdays and They’ll Remember You!

One of the definitions of elegance is simplicity.

When it comes to promotions, I’m a big believer in keeping things simple – especially in this age of the 11-second attention span.

Here’s a promotion any radio station or advertiser can put together easily and at minimal expense.

Its appeal is universal.

Can you say: Happy Birthday!

Take the total population of your market, however you may define it—whether your city, county, region, customer database, or what-have-you—and write it down.

Divide that number by 365.

The result equals the average number of birthdays taking place in your market every day.

Yes, the actual number will be lower on some days and higher on others.  But the point is, each and every day represents an opportunity to wish your listeners or customers a Happy Birthday.

It’s easy enough to start your Birthday Club.  Simply invite people to register via email, a form on your website, your Facebook page, or whatever.  Be sure to collect at minimum a name, email address, and date of birth; mailing address and telephone number are also desirable for building a useful database.

Each day you publicly recognize the people whose birthday it is.  If you’re a radio station, mention them on the air several times throughout the day.  Congratulate them on your Facebook page (and theirs), in your Twitter feed.

Add to the fun by drawing at least one name each day to win a birthday prize: a cake, a birthday meal, a special gift, etc. – traded in whole or part with advertisers who help sponsor the promotion.

If you’re in a business other than radio, use all the means at your disposal to recognize your customers’ birthdays.  Design a “Happy Birthday” whiteboard or print up sign to post prominently near the door, in a window, at the service counter, or behind the till where everyone can see it.  Maybe put up a community bulletin board for this purpose.

If you can afford to send a hand-signed card, do so.  If you have an email address, you can send an e-card.  Dayspring, Hallmark and many others offer them.  My personal favorite is Jacquie Lawson, a British artist whose intricate and whimsical e-cards are little works of art; the cost is just $12 a year!

Consider offering a free meal, a special birthday discount (make it meaningful) or a small gift—a Happy Birthday balloon or candy bar—even the littlest things can leave big impressions.  I used to go to a dentist who had carnations delivered to his office each day.  Every patient went home with one, and it lasted in water for at least a week, a fragrant reminder that the family dentist had a heart.  The cost was minimal; the delight factor, huge.

One of the members of Radio Sales Café, “Jingle” Jim Reilly, sends his clients and prospects an email on their birthday.  When the recipient clicks on the link as requested, singers start singing a special “Happy Birthday” jingle.

Want to surprise and delight each and every one of your customers?  Start your own Birthday Club and watch their faces light up as brightly as the candles on their cake.

About Rod Schwartz

Rod Schwartz backed into a lifelong career in radio advertising in 1973 in Springfield, Illinois. He joined the Pullman (Wash.) Radio Group in 1979, where he worked until his retirement at the end of 2022. Since 1991, Rod and his family have operated Grace Broadcast Sales (, providing short-form syndicated radio features to radio and TV stations across the U.S. and Canada. Rod also operates an independent advertising, marketing, and communications consultancy for small business owners and professionals, An avid photographer, Rod shares some of his favorite images of the Palouse at and on his Viewbug gallery.
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2 Responses to Remember Your Customers’ Birthdays and They’ll Remember You!

  1. I’d credit the person who taught me this, but I can’t remember who it was — it was at a seminar, somewhere, maybe six or seven years ago. But it’s a great “cut through the clutter” variation on your idea. The person who brought it up was talking about the car business, but it could work in a number of industries.

    During your first meeting with an auto dealer, ask, “When did you first get into the car business?” The dealer will give you a year — “I started out as a lot boy in 1978.”

    Follow up by asking, “What month?” Most people won’t remember the exact date, but they’ll remember the month.

    Let’s say the dealer says “September.” On September 1, 2011, send him or her an anniversary card: “Happy 33rd Anniversary in the business!”

    Your clients may get several birthday greetings, but they’ll only get one of these.


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