I didn't visit a single mall this weekend, but I did a whole lot of holiday shopping from the comfort of my dining room. So that makes me one of 233 million shoppers spending $50.9 billion on gifts, according to the Ebates Holiday 2016 survey. The phenomenon is fascinating:

  • 30% of the year's retail sales happen between Black Friday and Christmas
  • 1 in 3 American adults goes shopping on Black Friday
  • 72.8% of the weekend's in-store shoppers shop on Black Friday
  • 73.1% of the weekend's online shoppers shop on Black Friday
  • On average, each shopper spends nearly $300

And as I was perusing my overflowing email inbox, I noticed how effectively retailers craft their email subject lines. You'd think that all the messages would be the same: "Save X% because it's Black Friday."

In fact, those savvy marketers use a variety of attention-getting techniques to cut through even the most overwhelming clutter. Here are 5 techniques you can use for your upcoming emails:

  1. Cut to the chase. If it's a great offer, say so. Here is Lands' End: "Today only: 50% off sweaters + 40% off everything else."
  2. Try a little tease. This is from Lowe's: "You're Going to Want to See This..."
  3. Be specific. Yes, many retailers offer X% off EVERYTHING. But others provide a very targeted pitch. For example, The Vermont Country Store offers: "Holiday Deal of the Day: SAVE On Gifts for Women."
  4. Exploit key words. Our ears may be bleeding from all the references to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but they're also proven hooks. So Sears goes with it: "Monday's here already? Cyber Monday, that is! Get deals & coupon savings NOW."
  5. Start a conversation. Many of subject lines are written as if they're a text from a friend. Company Store says, "Who needs Black Friday?" And The Gap chats, "Shhh...you've got access to code CYBMON."

And here's a bonus tip: Remind us of something cinematic. Wayfair channels Schwarzenegger: "They're baaaack: BLACK FRIDAY SALES extended." And Banana Republic delivers a theme song: "Can't stop, won't stop--50% off + NO exclusions."

Of course, these were just the highlights of what was in my inbox. There are millions and millions more. Better get shopping!