June 26th, 2017
12 min read
Countdown timers have long been a tool to increase online sales. They are a nice, visible and clear way to show urgency and increase sales.
You’ve probably also seen the Amazon Deals page where they constantly have deals scrolling buy, each one with a countdown timer.
You should be using countdown timers as well. But, there are quite a few different options out there these days. So, what’s the best tool for your online marketing arsenal?
In this post, we’re going to explore a few of the available options for countdown timers you can use for your offers.
Countdown Timers: When To Use Them (And When Not To)
Obviously, the use of the countdown is all about that sense of urgency. Put forth a deadline and have that countdown sitting there ticking down to zero and increase your sales.
But, there are good times to use them – and bad times.
Overusing countdown timers just increases the the pushiness and spammy feel of things. Notice that I said overusing them. Countdowns, when used correctly, do not do that.
If you take a brand new lead who just opted in for a lead magnet and then display a front-end offer to them with a big countdown, then I think you’re coming in too hot and heavy. These people don’t even know you yet. There’s no relationship there. So, way too premature for you to be that pushy.
Countdown timers work best when you have a relationship with the person seeing the offer and when that person is already pretty warm on the offer. In this situation, the countdown is used just to get them to make a choice. It is that “shit or get off the pot” tool. 😉
Taking a relatively cold lead and using a countdown is either going to drive them away… or earn you crappy customers who reacted solely on FOMO (fear of missing out) but not because what you sold them was good for them. You’re more likely going to have unengaged customers and higher refund rates.
Great use cases for countdown timers would be:
- Presenting a webinar offer. This person just sat through a webinar with you, so they’re engaged and they’ve got a relationship with you. Ideal use case for a countdown.
- Flash sales.
- Event-based sales with a firm deadline.
- Upsells. Depends on how strongly you want to come on, but if a person sees an upsell, they’ve just bought something from you. This is a high level of engagement already, so using a countdown timer would increase conversions on the upsell.
Bad uses of a countdown timer would be:
- Low-end front-end offer. Often, front-end offers are presented to new leads. And it just makes no sense to come off that pushy when you haven’t even established a relationship with them yet.
- Artificial urgency. Nothing worse than using a deadline when the urgency isn’t real. For instance, you come back to the same page the next day and the countdown is reset. It just completely blows your credibility.
So now that we’ve discussed when (and when not) to use countdown timers, let’s start scoping out the various options out there.
Countdown Timer Options
There are numerous solutions out there for running countdown timers. In fact, a quick search will find you tons of people making their own countdown timers for free.
But, if you’re doing legitimate online marketing, you need more than that. Because…
- You need the deadline to be real and not allow people to bypass it.
- You need to take into account the fact that users today use multiple devices and multiple platforms.
This is all made even more important when it comes to evergreen countdowns.
An evergreen countdown is where each user has their own deadline based on the time they entered the funnel. For instance, if you had a 24 hours deadline and Joe saw it on Monday, his deadline would be Tuesday. But, if Fred saw the offer on Tuesday, his deadline would be on Wednesday. Both deadlines are real – for them. It is unique to them.
Countdown Timers For Your Site
First, let’s discuss some of the main options out there for placing countdown timers on your website…
Deadline Funnel is kind of the Cadillac of countdown timers for online marketing. It is a subscription service starting at $37/month (as of this writing). If you want to have unlimited countdowns, you’d need to pay $67/month.
The idea of paying monthly for a countdown timer is admittedly a tough nut to swallow. But, consider the ROI…
If you have funnels set up and people are actually buying things, then the increase in sales from those countdowns will be WAY higher than your monthly fee. I mean, it is child’s play to increase sales by more than $67/month with a countdown timer. So, from that perspective, the monthly fee is reasonable.
Plus, you get a lot more than just some pretty formatting options. Deadline Funnels sports multi-platform countdowns that are legit. For instance:
- Each person sees their deadline regardless of device. If the person sees your offer on their phone then later switches to their desktop, their countdown remains intact.
- You can send them animated countdown timers in emails to your list, and it is totally in sync with their countdown timers on your site.
Deadline Funnel is an awesome tool.
My readers know that I am a huge fan of the Thrive Themes suite of tools. I view their Thrive Membership as being one of the best deals on the internet for anybody conducting online marketing using WordPress sites.
One of their tools is Thrive Ultimatum… which is a countdown timer tool. And while it doesn’t have every feature of Deadline Funnel, it has many of them (and some that DF doesn’t have).
- Unlimited countdowns
- Fixed deadline or evergreen (and it enforces the deadline so there’s no fake urgency)
- Ability to easily embed the countdown anywhere on your site, with deep integration with WordPress
- Track conversions and automatically expire campaigns once the person has bought.
The only thing Thrive Ultimatum can’t do is countdowns in your emails.
Also, while I appreciate the flexibility of where I can put Ultimatum countdowns, I do find the actual countdowns to be more limiting. There are not as many customization options as Deadline Funnel has. Plus, the widths do not automatically shrink for smaller spaces without a line wrap, so there are some places you may put the countdown where it doesn’t seem to fit.
Overall, though, Thrive Ultimatum is one of best such tools for WordPress sites. And if you already have a Thrive Membership, it is a no-brainer.
Thrive Themes actually has a feature-by-feature comparison of Thrive Ultimatum vs Deadline Funnel and it looks to be a pretty fair look.
Evergreen Countdown Timer, by IntellyWP
Evergreen Countdown Timer by IntellyWP looks to be directly competing with Deadline Funnel. In terms of pricing, they offer a free limited plan (which Deadline Funnel does not), plus their monthly pricing is set to compete directly.
It doesn’t seem to have every feature of Deadline Funnel. It likely has limitations, too, since it is designed to work as a WordPress plug-in while Deadline Funnel is a web app. Also, this plug-in says it works with email marketing, however I cannot see anywhere on their site or in their support documents about how that works.
Page Expiration Robot
Page Expiration Robot is a web-based service which is on par with Deadline Funnel. They also have a WordPress plug-in of the same name, however it is limited to WordPress. In order to have cross-platform use, it is a technical requirement to run as an independent web app.
This product started out in the Warrior Forum, as I recall. Which generally gives me an icky feeling, however it looks like the product has matured quite a bit. It is a little annoying that they don’t provide pricing upfront, although I can understand why they do it that way. Once you sign up for a free account, you’re presented with an immediate opportunity to get it at $97/year. They say that is half price, so I assume the normal price is $197/year.
The rate is more affordable than Deadline Funnel and it appears to give all of the same features.
OptimizePress, InstaPage, LeadPages And More…
Basically, almost any decent landing page creator worth your time has a countdown timer tool built-in. There’s simply no sense in listing them all separately.
Surely, if you’re using one of these tools already, then look into the options you have available.
- LeadPages has evergreen countdown timers.
- Instapage has countdown timers.
- OptimizePress has countdown timers.
- ClickFunnels, too.
This is pretty basic online marketing strategy, so most any landing page tool out there will have the ability. They will not, generally, have the ability to put countdowns in your emails. You would need another tool for that.
Countdown Timers For Your Emails
Putting countdowns in your emails to your list requires a different technology than what occurs on your website. While there are numerous ways to put countdowns on a website, the options for putting them in emails are less.
But, there are some dedicated tools for it (see below).
You can always use a separate tool (like one of these) to show a timer in your email, then another tool for your website. As long as the deadline is fixed, it will work. If you’re trying to do evergreen deadlines, though, things will likely get weird really fast trying to span that out over two different tools. This is one of the core strengths of Deadline Funnel.
Here are a few options for email countdown timers…
Countdown Monkey is another web-based service that offers all the basic countdown needs for online marketing. Despite being a web app, they offer a fixed pricing model of just $37 for lifetime. At that rate, there’s essentially no risk however it is usually a red flag to see a web service offer lifetime pricing because there’s no guarantee they’ll stay online.
Plus, it’s being sold on JVZoo. I don’t know, but JVZoo is used primarily by internet marketers and sometimes they just peddle…. crap.
But, hey… it’s an option.
Countdown Mail is strictly for displaying animated countdowns in your emails. While it is a nice tool, this would present an issue for you if you were running evergreen deadlines. If your deadlines are fixed, then you could use a different tool for displaying countdowns on your site and use Countdown Mail for your emails.
Their pricing is quite cheap. In fact, if you think less than 100,000 people will see your deadline in a month and you’re OK with some branding on the timer, you can use it for free.
Motion Mail is another tool dedicated solely to countdown timers in your emails to your list. Like Countdown Mail (above), they have a free level of account but it is limited to 20,000 views.
Sendtric is another tool for email countdown timers, but this one is 100% free. They have a Pro version in beta which looks like it’ll be quite nice. The timers it presents are nice and clean.
You are asked to enter your email address to create your free timer, so you are being put on an email list.
By this time, you know the drill and you know what it does. 🙂 Email Timers is another option. Their free plan gives 125,000 views for the month.
OuttaTimr is a tool created by the folks behind Digital Marketer for putting countdowns inside of emails. As of this writing, they are selling it as a front-end offer for $49.95. I played with earlier versions of it since they used to give it away for free in certain instances (as customers of other products). It worked. 🙂
To do a full-feature deadline marketing campaign, you should be able to put countdowns both on website as well as in outgoing emails. And those countdowns need to be in sync.
If you’re doing it based on a fixed deadline, then it is easy to do. If you want to run evergreen scarcity campaigns, then your tool needs to be able to do both site and email and keep it all synced.
The top tool to do it all is Deadline Funnel. It basically does everything and it does it well. I’ve used it and can vouch for it. Page Expiration Robot looks like a potential competitor, but I have no experience with it so cannot vouch for it.
If you don’t want the recurring charge, then you’re going to need a dual solution: One for your site and another for your email.
I would recommend Thrive Ultimatum for all of your on-site needs, then Motion Mail for your emails. Again, because the two systems are independent, they will only be synced if it is based on a fixed date. You could not run evergreen campaigns this way. For evergreen, just leave countdowns out of your emails and let your website do the work. Thrive Ultimatum is the best option for a WordPress site.
I’ll leave you with this…
If you’re going to make an online offer, you always need to be able to answer the question…
Why should they act now as opposed to later?
A deadline isn’t always the answer, but many times it is. When people were thinking about buying anyway, a visual deadline is one of the best tools there is for getting them to act.
Countdown timers always increases sales. While they can be misused in certain instances, I’ve never personally seen an instance where a countdown harmed sales.
Using one of the tools on this page will make you money.