The science of urgency: Why e-mail countdown timers work
Why do you have to use countdown timers in e-mail? Take into consideration common clocks; they assist us hold observe of time. Whenever 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 speak about limited-time gives, like reductions. Whenever you see one, you may routinely begin considering, “Do I need to miss this?” And right here’s the twist: when one thing is uncommon, unique, or arduous to get, it turns into extra fascinating. As people we tend of wanting what we are able to’t simply have. That’s the shortage issue 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 working out, and one thing particular is slipping away. That’s why they’re impactful—they seize your consideration and make you act quick.
Except for promotional functions, countdown timers could be nice for creating pleasure for an upcoming occasion, e.g. a convention or vacation. They will additionally function reminders for an vital date. The choices are countless!
Kinds of countdown timers
So—how do you have to strategy countdown timers in e-mail? There are two approaches you may 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 could be extra particular—with out the extraneous planning and design work. For instance, let’s imagine you’re selling a nationwide live performance the place tickets might be obtainable to buy at 10am, native time. As a substitute of scheduling every marketing campaign ship time to match up together with your animated GIF—or creating one for every completely different time zone—you may ship one e-mail that updates dynamically based mostly on a subscriber’s location.
- Accuracy. A dynamic countdown timer will all the time be right as a result of, effectively, it’s dynamic! The very nature of dynamic content material is that it’s going to change based mostly on a algorithm, knowledge, preferences, and so forth., and for that motive, it can all the time be updated.
- Related—even after the clock strikes zero. What occurs after a countdown timer hits zero? With dynamic content material, you may have your content material flip after its executed so that you just’re not serving up a picture with 00:00:00 to subscribers in the event that they open after the occasion.
Take a look at this screengrab of a dynamic Litmus Personalize countdown timer in one in all our very personal emails!
When do you have to 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 lots to visually present supply data (e.g. two hours left to buy next-day supply).
- Style manufacturers additionally use them for brand spanking new launches, occasions, and trend reveals.
- In journey, it is perhaps a countdown till your departure date.
- Media shops may 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 can 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 must use with a countdown timer
For optimum influence, clear messaging is crucial to creating a countdown timer significant and straightforward to grasp. In some instances, we’ve seen countdown timers positioned on the prime of an e-mail with none accompanying data explaining its goal. Keep away from doing this and contemplate including concise messaging close to the timer that clearly conveys what it’s counting right down to.
It’s additionally vital 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 truly has an finish date. If you happen to create a false sense of urgency with a countdown timer your subscribers will keep in mind and including a countdown timer to your subsequent e-mail won’t have the influence that you desire to.
This instance from lingerie retailer Boux Avenue is a superb instance of utilizing clear, informative messaging, however nonetheless protecting the model’s identification on the forefront.
How do you have to label a countdown timer?
Ensure that 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 neglect to incorporate days, hours, minutes, and so forth. 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 do you have to place a countdown timer?
As most issues in e-mail: it relies upon!
For instance, in the event you’re sending a promotional e-mail concerning the launch of a sale, putting a timer on the prime will improve the chance of subscribers seeing it. And with quick subscriber consideration spans (lower than 9 seconds), having it seen upon open might 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 good use of contrasting colours attracts consideration to it much more.
What sort of timer ought to I exploit?
There are various several types of timers and so they 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 tune launches”
- Subscription renewal countdown, e.g. “3 days till your subscription renews”
- Birthday, wedding ceremony, or anniversary countdown, e.g. “7 days till your massive 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 may get extra granular by switching to hours, minutes, and seconds because the occasion nears.
The web retailer Studio makes use of a brilliant 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 ideal instance of customized imagery.
Design concepts for countdown timers
Let’s check out other ways to include countdown timers into your e-mail design.
Timers could be small, however mighty. This timer from Kate Spade, positioned instantly beneath the brand, is a beautiful instance of a small, punchy timer that captures consideration.
Timers don’t need to be linear—and so they 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 prospects understand how lengthy that they had left to alter their departure dates for no additional price. Easy, but efficient!
Enjoyable and distinctive timers
Whereas the choices are countless with design, it’s greatest to stay to the less complicated designs to let the timers communicate for themselves. If the design is just too advanced the timer can get misplaced amongst the chaos. After all, you’ll need to incorporate design components to assist the timers adhere to your model’s feel and appear—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 stay performance alongside the timer. Customized pictures work tremendous effectively to reinforce the message, it reveals the recipient that you just worth them as a buyer.
This timer from trend retailer Topshop consists of the recipient’s identify (through customized imagery) above the countdown timer, including a contact of personalization in addition to urgency to buy.
Don’t neglect a CTA
After all, you’ll need to embrace a call-to-action (CTA) together with your countdown timer. Ensure that your viewers is aware of the way to reap the benefits of 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 manner, late openers—or people who reopened—can have the chance to interact together with your gives.
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 through the use of e-mail timers at this time!
Utilizing e-mail countdown timers in your e-mail advertising campaigns is a superb option to drive urgency and engagement. Find out how Litmus Personalize will help you create individualized experiences at scale.
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