How To Use Countdown Timers To Encourage More Sales

One of the most popular tools that you can use to increase your conversions is a countdown timer. Countdowns provide you with a clear, visually appealing way of showing urgency and increasing sales.

There's no doubt that countdown timers work.

 Some marketers have reported increases of up to 330% in sales through the use of these tools.

You've probably seen these kinds of timers at work on the Amazon Deals page and other similar e-commerce sites where they have deals that constantly scroll by, each of them with its own countdown timer.

If you are selling any product online, you should consider using countdown timers as well. But, there isn't one option that is ideal for every site.

In fact, there are so many different ones to choose from that it can prove to be a little hard to try and figure out which timer is best for your site.

So, which countdown timer is the best one to add to your arsenal of online marketing tools?

In this article, we're going to take a look at some different tools that you can use to quickly and easily place countdown timers on your site and in the emails you send to your subscribers.

But first...

When To Use Countdown Timers (And When to Avoid Using them)

The most obvious reason for using a countdown timer is to create a sense of urgency.

You basically just place a deadline on your offer, and then have the countdown timer increase your sales while it sits there, ticking all the way down to zero.

But, it's not always that straightforward.

There are instances where it's a good idea to use countdowns and others where it's not. Overusing these timers will just make your marketing seem pushy and spammy, but when used the right way, countdowns will actually be very effective.

For instance, if you've got someone who just signed up for your email list and you immediately show them your front-end offer with a huge countdown timer on it, they may feel that you're coming on too strong.

I mean, the people don't even know you, and there isn't a relationship there yet, so it would be way too early for that level of pushiness.

The best time to use countdown timers is when you already have a relationship with whoever is seeing the offer.

That person is already warm to the offer and so a countdown timer in that situation is used mainly for getting them to make a choice and take the action.

If you use this tactic with a cold lead, it will either drive them away or you'll just get a lot of lousy customers who only reacted simply because of their FOMO (the fear of missing out).

You may be thinking that customers are customers, right?

Wrong!

These types of customers are bad for your business because they are not likely to be engaged customers, and you'll have a higher refund rate.


Some examples of GREAT ways to use a countdown timer would be:
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To present a webinar offer. If the person just sat through an entire webinar with you then it means they are engaged and they have a relationship with you.


In this case, it would be ideal to use a countdown timer.

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For flash sales

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For event-based sales that have a solid deadline

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For your product up-sells.


If someone sees an up-sell, it means they have just purchased something from you so they're already highly engaged so a countdown timer would be great for increasing conversions on that up-sell.

Some examples of BAD ways to use a countdown timer would be:
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On a low-end front-end offer. Typically, you present the front end offer to new leads, and you already know it doesn't make sense to be that pushy so early in your relationship.

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Trying to create artificial urgency. Your audience can smell a phony from a mile away. Don't use a deadline if the urgency is not real.


For instance, ever seen one of those pages that have a countdown on it but when you come back to it the next day, the countdown has been reset? Those types of tactics make you lose credibility with your audience so avoid using them at all costs.

Now you know when to use countdowns and when not to use them, it's time to start exploring the different options available to you.

Countdown Timer Options

If you conduct a search on Google you will discover that there are numerous options for running countdown timers.

There are paid solutions and free options, and some people even make their own timers which is easy since at its core, the timer is just a bit of javascript and anyone who has basic knowledge in javascript code can create their own simple countdown timer.

But, if you are legitimately doing online marketing, then you are going to need more than that basic timer because your deadline needs to be real and people shouldn't be able to bypass it. You must also take into account that users these days use multiple platforms and multiple devices.

 This is particularly important with regards to evergreen countdowns.

What is an Evergreen Countdown?

This is where each person who views your offer has their own deadline that is based on when they entered your funnel.

For example, if Mary saw the timer on your 24-hour deadline on Tuesday, her deadline would be Wednesday. But if Joe saw the offer on Wednesday, then Thursday would be his deadline.

The deadlines would be real for both of them, but also unique to each user.

You wouldn't be able to pull that off using a simple javascript countdown timer because all the user would have to do is just switch devices, and after that their timer would show a different deadline.

The Best Countdown Timers for Your Website

Before we get to choosing, let's look at some of the options for placing timers on your site:

This is the Cadillac of timers for online marketing. It's a subscription service that starts at around $37 per month. I get that this is a tough nut to swallow.

No one wants to pay a monthly fee for a countdown timer, but when you consider the ROI, it starts to make sense.

If your funnels are set up the right way and the people landing on your pages are actually buying stuff, then the increase in sales that you get from those countdowns mean that this tool will essentially pay for itself many times over.

So, looking at it from that perspective, it seems quite reasonable to pay that monthly fee to get a proven, professional, and effective timer on your site.

Also, you get much more than just pretty formatting options with this timer.

Each person gets to see their own deadline regardless of the device they're using. If they switch devices, the deadline remains the same.

You have the option of sending animated countdown timers in your emails which are in sync with your subscribers' countdowns on your site. All in all, this is a really awesome tool.

Thrive Themes has an amazing suite of tools that include Thrive Ultimatum, a countdown timer tool.

It has many of the features that Deadline Funnel has, and some unique ones as well. With this tool, you get unlimited countdowns and you can use it anywhere on your site.

It also tracks conversions and once someone has bought the product, it automatically expires the campaign.

Unfortunately, you can't use this one for countdowns in emails.

This countdown timer directly competes with Deadline Funnel in terms of features.

They have a free plan which is limited but it allows you to see enough of their platform to know if this is the tool for you or not.

It's designed to work as a WordPress plugin which means it has more limitations as opposed to Deadline Funnel which is a web app.

This plugin also works with emails.

This web-based service is on the same level as all the others mentioned above.

There's a WordPress plugin for this tool, but that is limited only to WordPress so if you want cross-platform use of this tool, you're going to have to run it as an independent web app.

It gives all the same features as Deadline Funnel at a more affordable price of $97 per year.

OptimizePress, InstaPage, LeadPages , ClickFunnels, etc...

If you are already using one of these landing page creators, then you probably have the countdown timer in your options. But, these timers generally won't work with emails so it means you will probably need a different tool for that.

Countdown Timers For Use in Emails

Being able to put countdown timers in your emails requires different tools than those for placing countdowns on your site.

There are not as many options for putting timers in your emails as there are for your site, but here are some of the dedicated tools for doing that:

This is a web-based service offering everything you need for online marketing countdowns in your emails. They have a fixed price of just $37.

This one only displays animated countdowns in emails. It's a great tool, but if you were running evergreen deadlines then it would present a problem for you.

However, the pricing is very cheap and you can even use it for free.

This tool is dedicated only to email countdown timers and like the one above, it has a free basic account but this one is limited to 20,000 views.

This is another great tool for email countdowns, and it's 100% free!

The timers are nice, clean, and professional looking. They also have some of the options that you'll find on many of the paid services.

This one does most of the same as the rest of them. There isn't really anything special about it except that the free plan for this tool gives over 100,000 views each month.

This email countdown timer was created by Digital Marketer developers. It works extremely well and is being sold as one of their front-end offers for just under fifty bucks.

My Recommendation?

If you want to conduct a full-feature deadline promotional campaign, then you want a tool that will allow you to place timers both on your site and in outgoing emails.

Not only that, but those countdowns have to be in sync, especially if you're running an evergreen scarcity campaign.

The best tool to achieve all of this is Deadline Funnel because it does everything you could want to use a countdown timer for, and it does it very well.

The next best tool, based on my research and online reviews, would be Page Expiration Robot. It has all the features to give Deadline Funnel a run for its money.

However, if you don't want to have to pay a monthly fee, then you will have to go with a dual solution – one for your website and a different one for your email.

Thrive Ultimatum is great for your site needs, especially if you're using WordPress, while Motion Mail is a good option for your emails.

But since the two options are independent systems, they can only be synced if you base your deadline on a fixed date. This means that you wouldn't be able to run evergreen campaigns in this way so you would use the countdowns on your site only and leave them out of the emails.

In Conclusion

If you make an online offer, you need to ask yourself why your prospects should act now as opposed to later.

Putting a deadline on your offer is not always the best answer, but often a visual deadline is the most effective way of getting people who were already thinking about buying to act. When used correctly, these tools always increase sales so if you've never used a countdown timer before, now is the time to try it on your offer.

Feel free to post your comment below.  An email address is required but it will not be shared with anyone, put on any list, or used for any kind of marketing, just to alert you if there are any replies. Thanks and happy hunting!

PlanetBizOp.com

->Steven

Updated: Originally published July 18th 2018

July 2, 2020
  • Alan Edwards says:

    Hi Steven, I read your very informative blog about countdown timers, and was amazed at the number available, and also that you have evaluated all of these as well. I will re-visit your site whenever I need to refresh my knowledge about countdown times, and the psychology of when and where to use them, Best Alan

  • Stella says:

    I really like the notion of a countdown timer.

    I come across them from time to time whilst surfing the net. And yes, you are right, there are some timers that are still there the following week saying the time for the deal is almost up.

    So I understand how they work.

    $37 for starters? Hmm, it seems like a hefty price for the tag. What else can they do apart from countdown?

    I am yet to learn and thanks for sharing.

    • Steven says:

      They can seem expensive when you are first getting started. However, after you start getting some significant traffic and prospects, they really start to make sense, if they are sincere or evergreen in nature.

      Stay away from generic, simple countdown timers that reset each time a visitor returns or refreshes the page, they are used mainly by the less than honest or desperate. Users are smart and will see through simple timers that simply create artificial scarcity.

      Thanks for the comment Stella!

  • Reyhana says:

    I always saw countdowns on scammy websites, trying to sell me something and when I would go back to the website the next day, the timer would have started again.

    My experience having been negative around timers, I just never thought that they could be a good idea to implement with promotions that are running. But thanks to your article, I now know what I am missing out on.

    It makes sense to tie the countdowns to a legit promotion and use them where it makes sense. I think I will have to use it some time and see what the results will be.

    • Steven says:

      Always use evergreen timers. If your prospect sees the timer restart, if they look the next day, you’ll get pegged as a scammer. Evergreen timers will actually countdown, even on revisits.

      They do work if used wisely.

      Thanks for the comment Reyhana!

  • Bibian says:

    I tried using a countdown timer when I created my website but I never knew, it’s has more disadvantage than its value. And my audience kept on avoiding using it but at a point I stopped it..
    And this writeup can as well educate some newcomers who might or have fallen to this mistake.
    Nice job!

    • Steven says:

      Be careful to use an evergreen timer. Non-evergreen timers come across as disingenuous and will hurt your credibility. A good evergreen timer, on the other hand, will increase sales if used correctly.

      Thanks for the comment Bibian!

  • Bailey Boudreau says:

    Thanks for the useful information. When I have encountered countdown timers, they have usually been used in a scammy way. It’s good to know that they can also be used in useful and effective ways if done correctly. It makes sense that they are best used after a relationship has already been established. One effective countdown timer I can remember seeing was a discount on a course following a webinar. The seller had already established trust, and the countdown was related to an action I had taken (watching the webinar), so it made sense in that context.

    • Steven says:

      Countdown timers can be very useful, or, really hurt your credibility. Use evergreen timers only and use them wisely. If you do, they will increase your sales for sure.

      Thanks for the comment Bailey!

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