The answer to “What are you doing for your birthday?” hasn’t been writing the Benchmark 5 any of the times I was asked it today. Yet, here I am. Birthday emails are a great tool for email marketers. You design it once and let autoresponders do all the work for you. All you need is a birthdate field in your signup form. They make your subscribers feel good on their special day. In honor of my birthday, here is The Benchmark 5: Birthday Emails.

1) Liberty Mutual Insurance

I haven’t always approved of their email marketing practices. However, this was nice. Simple, but thoughtful.

2) Piperlime

I happen to need new shoes, so I was especially happy to see this one. Even if this is a thinly veiled attempt at getting me to spend money on their site. Be careful of the “gift” you’re giving. A free dessert at a restaurant is one thing. A promotional discount could go either way.

3) NBA All-Access.

This is another percentage off discount, like Piperlime. However, as I’m still upset about Derrick Rose’s knee injury, I’m not likely to shell out some of my birthday cash for some Bulls merch. That’s why you need to be careful with a discount. In some cases, a simple happy birthday is better.

4) Indiana University

I happened to minor in General Music Studies at IU, so I know and enjoy Joshua Bell. You’ve probably heard of him, but maybe not by name. He’s the violin player who dressed like a homeless guy and played in the subway, going unnoticed by many. However, the musical interlude included in the birthday message sounded closer to elevator music than that of the virtuoso I know Bell to be.

5) Coachella

Umm…we’ll chalk this one up to it being the thought that counts. I was just happy that a music festival was wishing me a happy birthday. It’s appropriate for me. However, weak sauce, guys. Weak. Sauce.