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How the Pros Use Countdown Timers in their Emails

Creating and sending an email marketing campaign is one of the most popular marketing strategies various business and companies use to generate more sales.

However, they’ll only be successful if receivers complete your desired action. Otherwise, they’ll simply read the content without actually following through and converting—that is, if they even bother to read the entire email at all!
One of the most effective, foolproof methods of encouraging people to snap into action is using countdown timers.
Immediately able to create a sense of urgency, countdown timers will instantly suggest to the reader that time is limited for them to get their hands on what you’re offering, strongly encouraging them to take action straight away as opposed to simply reading the email and going no further.

What Actually Is A Countdown Timer?

In simple terms, a countdown timer is an animated clock that counts down until the end of something specific.
Using animated GIF technology, these timers are able to automatically refresh themselves each time the email is opened. This gives readers an accurate representation of how much time they have left whenever they come back to the email, creating a consistent sense of urgency your audience are able to follow.
Due to the versatility of countdown timers available, there’s a variety of effective ways in which you can use this tool to generate urgency and increase conversion rates.
1. Cyber Monday Countdown

Perhaps the most appropriate form of a countdown timer for this time of year, giving readers an accurate representation of how long they have left until Cyber Monday creates both urgency and a sense of helpfulness to your target buyers.  See what Annie Selke did here:

Cyber Monday is notorious for being one of the busiest shopping days of the year in the run-up to Christmas, many in-demand items going out of stock almost immediately. And, with the dramatic increase in online shopping on this particular day, taking advantage of this is crucial to ensure you achieve as many conversions as possible.
So, by providing a countdown timer in your emails, you’re giving readers an automatic heads-up for when they need to be ready and waiting to get their hands on the items they want.



2. Shipping Deadlines
Showing delivery deadlines will not only encourage your audience to purchase perhaps quicker than they normally would, but may also generate sales from brand-new customers who have never purchased from you before.

However, as free delivery is typically offered frequently by a wide variety of different companies and businesses, your list may have received countless emails offering free delivery. This might make them almost immune to this offer, simply because they receive it so often.

So, by including an eye-catching delivery deadline timer in your emails, you’re not only creating the typical sense of urgency achieved by this tool, but also making your offer stand out from the crowd and be noticed.  See what Harrys did here:


3. End of Sale
Appropriate to be used at any time of year, an end-of-sale countdown timer is probably one of the most popular types used within email marketing.

Discounts and offers are an almost surefire method of generating increased sales, simply because buyers want to take advantage of the best possible deals they can find and feel safe in the knowledge they’ve successfully saved money.


So, to ensure you make the most out of any sale, offer or discount you’re currently providing, including a bold, eye-catching end-of-sale countdown timer in your emails is guaranteed to capture the attention of readers and alert them of how long they have left until your sale is over.  See what AdidasOutdoor did here: 

As time begins to run out, purchases are much more likely to be made simply because of the sudden urgency that’s been created—generating greater conversion rates and sales!
4. Brand-New Product
If you send an email to your list each time you launch a new product or service (if you’re not already doing this, you should!), an automatic buzz is created.
But, if you don’t create urgency surrounding this buzz, your list will soon forget you’re even launching something new, and this could damage opening-day conversions and sales.
By creating an initial buzz surrounding the launch and including a countdown timer, you’re creating urgency and providing readers with important information as to when this particular product will go on sale.  

And, in a similar way to a Black Friday countdown, giving them a heads-up for when they need to jump online and make an order as soon as the product is launched! This will be especially important if what you’re releasing is likely to appeal to the masses and be extremely popular.  See what FinaleMusic did here:



5. Personalisation
So far, we’ve discussed the many forms of countdown timers that can be used to create urgency and increase conversion rates.
But, to further enhance the successful nature of these countdown timers, adding personalisation is almost guaranteed to be a winner.
Instantly making the reader feel unique and special, personalising your countdown timers will make them feel as if you’re creating urgency just for them—giving them, and only them, a personalised heads-up as to when their time will run out.

In addition to increasing sales, personalisation is also likely to improve your relationship with customers and make your emails stand out from the rest. To discover the variety of email and countdown timer personalisation available to you, take a look at Nifty Images’ tailored personalisation service.


Countdown timers are an absolute must-have for almost any email marketing campaign. Immediate creators of urgency and highly likely to increase sales, this tool may be simple and easy to use, but it’s extremely effective.


Once included in your emails, you’re certain to reap the benefits this enhanced sense of urgency can provide—including increased conversion rates and the ability to stand out from the crowd!  See what the World Wildlife Fund did here: 


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