With the last minute retail frenzy in full swing, the weekend of Christmas and Hanukkah shaped up to be an action-packed one in inboxes stretching from South Florida all the way to the North Pole! According to our sources at the Retail Email Blog, top online retailers sent each of their subscribers an average of 5.7 promotional emails during the week, ending Dec. 23, 2011. That’s up a fractional percent week-over-week, up 15% from where it was four weeks ago, and up 35% year-over-year.

In recent years, holiday email volume peaked two weeks before Christmas, but this year, retailers pushed hard for holiday sales up until the last minute by offering free or discounted express shipping, directing subscribers to their stores, and promoting gift cards and e-gift cards. This may very well be the new norm depending on how much churn retailers suffer by pushing so hard so late in the holiday season.

I wanted to recap some of the email subject lines I saw in my inbox over the weekend with you:

12/23: 2 Days Left

Groupon: Grab Last Minute Gift Deals

NetFlix: It’s Not Too Late to Give the Gift of NetFlix!

Duckhorn Wine: Last Minute Gift? Send an eGiftCard instantly!

The overriding theme obviously, was that if you waited until the last minute, you could still snag some great gifts.

12/24: The Last Day

Banana Republic: It’s not too late. An eGiftcard lets you give style in seconds!

Crate and Barrel: It’s not too late to give a great gift.

West Elm: It’s not too late!

The ‘it’s not too late’ theme continued on 12/24, making it look like every email marketer went to the same copywriting webinar! Maybe the way to stand out in the inbox isn’t to follow the norm, eh?

12/25: The Big Day

Piperlime: Pssst…someone needs some attention.

Piperlime scored some points with this subject line, which I thought was going to be a play on, “you’ve shopped for everyone else, now it’s time for you.” But, it was actually a nice reminder that I had some items sitting in my cart. Good job Piperlime!

A few others took the ‘treat yourself’ angle, which is smart considering what we wrote last week, that nearly six in 10 holiday shoppers say they plan to take advantage of retailers’ sales and discounts to make additional non-gift purchases for themselves and their families during the holiday season. The average person will spend approximately $130.43 during the holiday season to take advantage of sales and discounts on apparel, electronics, home goods and other items for themselves or a family member, up from $112.20 last year!

HauteLook: Treat Yourself! Great blowout events at up to 80% off – Starting now

Rue La La: Today’s Fix: Court of Versailles + The Gifts You Didn’t Get

And, a few email subject lines made me laugh out loud because before the holiday dishes were even washed, the work out emails already started to arrive:

Rue San Francisco: Put down the cookies. One-on-one Pilates training is here to help.

The Marine Mammal Center: Work Off That Pie and Learn About Pinnipeds!

But, one of the best, most targeted email subject lines I saw was from VR customer, ZAGG Inc. who targeted the zillions of subscribers who may have received a shiny new gadget this holiday. When you’ve got a fancy new gadget, the first thing you want to do it protect it. Enter ZAGG Inc.

ZAGG Inc: Protect those shiny new gadgets

So, the best subject lines this holiday addressed a specific need or obstacle and didn’t go along with the expected.

There’s still time to capture the last few opportunities of 2011. Check out our post about 3 Emails to Send Before 2012 Arrives.

© 2011 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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