The science of urgency: Why e mail countdown timers work
Why must you use countdown timers in e mail? Take into consideration common clocks; they assist us maintain observe of time. If you see a clock ticking, it reminds us that point is transferring ahead.
However now, think about that clock as a countdown timer, ticking nearer to zero by the second. What occurs then? It triggers a way of urgency, a sense of “I ought to act quick!” This sense of urgency is sort of a psychological nudge that tells us to get transferring shortly.
Now, let’s discuss limited-time provides, like reductions. If you see one, you would possibly mechanically begin considering, “Do I wish to miss this?” And right here’s the twist: when one thing is uncommon, unique, or arduous to get, it becomes more desirable. As people we generally tend of wanting what we will’t simply have. That’s the scarcity factor at play.
So, what’s the connection to countdown timers? Properly, countdown timers carry collectively each urgency and shortage. They make you are feeling like time is operating out, and one thing particular is slipping away. That’s why they’re impactful—they seize your consideration and make you act quick.
Apart from promotional functions, countdown timers may be nice for creating pleasure for an upcoming occasion, e.g. a convention or vacation. They will additionally function reminders for an essential date. The choices are countless!
Varieties of countdown timers
So—how must you method countdown timers in e mail? There are two approaches you’ll be able to take: animated GIFs or dynamic content material. Let’s dive into the professionals and cons of every.
Dynamic content material vs. animated GIFs
At Litmus, we go for dynamic content material with our countdown timers. Right here’s why:
- Much less manufacturing. With dynamic content material, you may be extra particular—with out the extraneous planning and design work. For instance, shall we say you’re selling a nationwide live performance the place tickets will probably be out there to buy at 10am, native time. As a substitute of scheduling every marketing campaign ship time to match up along with your animated GIF—or creating one for every completely different time zone—you’ll be able to ship one e mail that updates dynamically primarily based on a subscriber’s location.
- Accuracy. A dynamic countdown timer will at all times be appropriate as a result of, nicely, it’s dynamic! The very nature of dynamic content material is that it’ll change primarily based on a algorithm, information, preferences, and so on., and for that purpose, it’s going to at all times be updated.
- Related—even after the clock strikes zero. What occurs after a countdown timer hits zero? With dynamic content material, you’ll be able to have your content material flip after its executed so that you simply’re not serving up a picture with 00:00:00 to subscribers in the event that they open after the occasion.
Try this screengrab of a dynamic Litmus Personalize countdown timer in one among our very personal emails!
When must you add a countdown timer in e mail?
Countdown timers are extraordinarily versatile! They can be utilized in a wide range of methods:
- In retail, they’re predominately used to countdown till the beginning or finish of a promotion. They’re additionally used loads to visually present supply data (e.g. two hours left to buy next-day supply).
- Trend manufacturers additionally use them for brand new launches, occasions, and trend reveals.
- In journey, it may be a countdown till your departure date.
- Media retailers would possibly use them to indicate the time left till your subscription expires.
- For occasions they could possibly be used to countdown till an occasion happens, or till pre-sale tickets are executed being bought.
- Non-profits may use a countdown timer to create urgency round a donation matching time interval.
Countdown timers may also be utilized in transactional emails (or operational emails). Under is an instance from a transactional ship to Litmus Stay 2022 attendees that includes a countdown timer not essentially to drive motion however extra so create pleasure for an upcoming occasion.
E mail messaging you need to use with a countdown timer
For optimum influence, clear messaging is crucial to creating a countdown timer significant and simple to know. In some circumstances, we’ve seen countdown timers positioned on the prime of an e mail with none accompanying data explaining its function. Keep away from doing this and take into account including concise messaging close to the timer that clearly conveys what it’s counting right down to.
It’s additionally essential to be clear and sincere. Countdown timers can create a way of urgency round an occasion or promotion, however provided that the occasion or promotion really has an finish date. When you create a false sense of urgency with a countdown timer your subscribers will bear in mind and including a countdown timer to your subsequent e mail may not have the influence that you want to.
This instance from lingerie retailer Boux Avenue is a good instance of utilizing clear, informative messaging, however nonetheless protecting the model’s id on the forefront.
How must you label a countdown timer?
Make certain to place time labels on each countdown timer for a similar causes as having clear messaging: readability. Recipients must understand how lengthy they’ve left earlier than the timer runs out. It’s that easy.
Don’t overlook to incorporate days, hours, minutes, and so on. to make it clear to subscribers what you’re counting right down to. Keep away from solely utilizing numbers as this may be complicated.
On this instance from sports activities diet and wellness retailer Bulk, they’ve clearly marked out the hours, minutes, and seconds within the header picture.
The place must you place a countdown timer?
As most issues in e mail: it relies upon!
For instance, should you’re sending a promotional e mail concerning the launch of a sale, inserting a timer on the prime will improve the probability of subscribers seeing it. And with quick subscriber consideration spans (lower than 9 seconds), having it seen upon open will probably be optimum for visibility.
Within the e mail from Hunter Boots, a countdown timer is positioned on the very prime of the e-mail, making it the very very first thing seen when the recipient opens. The nice use of contrasting colours attracts consideration to it much more.
What kind of timer ought to I exploit?
There are various several types of timers they usually serve the identical (and completely different) functions. Listed here are some examples:
- Occasion countdown, e.g. “48 hours, 5 minutes, and 27 seconds till the webinar”
- Launch countdown, e.g. “3 days and 4 hours till our new music launches”
- Subscription renewal countdown, e.g. “3 days till your subscription renews”
- Birthday, wedding ceremony, or anniversary countdown, e.g. “7 days till your large day”
- Expiration countdown, e.g. “5 days left till your trial expires” or “5 hours left to buy”
If the occasion is additional out, strive utilizing variety of days. Then nearer to the occasion, you will get extra granular by switching to hours, minutes, and seconds because the occasion nears.
The net retailer Studio makes use of a vivid and daring countdown timer to alert recipients that there have been solely 100 days till Christmas. In addition they used their CRM feed to incorporate the recipient’s identify within the timer, too—an amazing instance of personalised imagery.
Design concepts for countdown timers
Let’s check out other ways to include countdown timers into your e mail design.
Timers may be small, however mighty. This timer from Kate Spade, positioned immediately beneath the brand, is a stunning instance of a small, punchy timer that captures consideration.
Timers don’t need to be linear—they usually don’t need to tick. A easy days or hours to go roundel can work wonders and will get the message throughout simply as successfully.
P&O Ferries makes use of a roundel for his or her countdown timer to let clients understand how lengthy that they had left to vary their departure dates for no further price. Easy, but efficient!
Enjoyable and distinctive timers
Whereas the choices are countless with design, it’s finest to stay to the easier designs to let the timers communicate for themselves. If the design is simply too complicated the timer can get misplaced amongst the chaos. In fact, you’ll wish to incorporate design parts to assist the timers adhere to your model’s appear and feel—like Anya Hindmarch does under.
Are you able to embrace different types of personalization with a timer?
If you wish to actually up the stakes, add different reside performance alongside the timer. Personalised photos work tremendous nicely to boost the message, it reveals the recipient that you simply worth them as a buyer.
This timer from trend retailer Topshop consists of the recipient’s identify (by way of personalised imagery) above the countdown timer, including a contact of personalization in addition to urgency to buy.
Don’t overlook a CTA
In fact, you’ll wish to embrace a call-to-action (CTA) along with your countdown timer. Make certain your viewers is aware of the right way to benefit from your restricted time provide!
This e mail from Canadian retailer Endy features a “Store now” CTA button proper within the header picture, beneath the timer. By including the CTA near the countdown timer, it encourages recipients to click on.
What occurs when it’s over?
Simply because it’s over, doesn’t imply it’s actually over. There’s nonetheless alternative for timers, after they’ve hit zero!
Many manufacturers will swap the timer with one other message after the clock strikes zero. This fashion, late openers—or of us who reopened—could have the chance to interact along with your provides.
When this timer from Australian trend retailer Johnny Bigg expired, they changed it with win-back messaging studying “You’re too late! See what’s left.”
Create a way of urgency with subscribers by utilizing e mail timers at this time!
Utilizing e mail countdown timers in your e mail advertising campaigns is a wonderful technique to drive urgency and engagement. Learn the way Litmus Personalize can assist you create individualized experiences at scale.
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