Cyber Monday is only the second biggest shopping day of the year, but it’s the busiest day for Internet sales. This year consumers spent a record amount of $3.45 billion, surpassing expectations and increasing sales by more than 10 percent from last year, reported Fortune. Much of this is thanks to the compelling messages marketers used to grab consumer’s attention.

1. Focus on the Subject Line

An intriguing subject line increases the odds of subscribers opening an email. Although this was particularly important on Cyber Monday, when consumers were bombarded with offers, it is necessary at any time of the year. You never know how many newsletters you are competing with for your customer’s attention.

A few top tactics we saw this Cyber Monday included:

  • Short and to the point – let customers know just how good a deal is from the outset.
  • Humor – if you’re able to get a laugh, there’s a better chance subscribers will both open and read the email.
  • Urgency – Cyber Monday lasted only one day, as did many of the related sales, but you can always use a sense of urgency to let subscribers know that an offer will last for a limited time.
  • Keywords – most emails made use of the phrase “Cyber Monday” to ensure customers knew that the message referred to the sales. You can use the same tactic for other holiday deals, or with words that could act as a hook at other times of the year.
  • Emojis – an emoji in the subject line increases unique open rates by 45 percent, according to Campaign Monitor.
  • Originality – Cyber Monday was a chance for marketers to experiment with creativity. If you can come up with an idea no one has ever used before, try it.

2. Include Visuals

Text-only messages are dull — they have nothing to help them stand out or set them apart from other email newsletters. This Cyber Monday, many consumers found their inboxes filled with attractive graphics, including simple GIFs, bright tones, and basic but effective color schemes featuring just two or three colors maximum.

We also saw images dominating emails, sometimes accompanied by very little or no text. If you want to market a particular product or service through your email, use a picture of that. Otherwise, a better option may be a coupon or another image that communicates your message.

3. Offer Exclusivity

Subscribers want to feel as if they are receiving special treatment or that they are part of an exclusive group by belonging to your mail listing. You can promote this idea by using your emails to offer subscribers deals available to no one else.

Over Cyber Monday, we saw plenty of examples of this tactic. Most common were coupon codes sent only by email, or the opportunity for subscribers to start shopping before everyone else. Other ideas included giving the first 100 or so shoppers an additional discount, and providing free gifts to shoppers who accessed online stores by using a link from an email.

4. Holiday Shopping

Much of the Cyber Monday newsletters are aimed at finding consumers the perfect gifts for their friends and family. Even today, there are still plenty of consumers shopping for the holidays, and stress is high to find presents in time. Over Cyber Monday, gift guides were a big hit, and these are still relevant into late December. As the holidays approach, remember to emphasize your shipping times to assure consumers that their purchases will arrive in time.

We also learned a lesson from messages sent after Cyber Monday reminding consumers of abandoned shopping carts. Retailers ran campaigns after Cyber Monday reminding people of  abandoned carts, thereby  converting around 10 to 11 percent into sales.