A countdown timer can be a fun and interesting way to generate hype for an upcoming event or product launch. It’s essentially a virtual clock that you can set up to count down from a specific date to indicate the beginning or end - or both, of a specific offer. When done right, this can create a sense of urgency and drive conversions.
These timers can be found anywhere such as in
- Email Marketing - specifically through newsletters that report on any new offers you may have on your site. The timers on these usually take in the form of a GIF or a link to take you to the live timer on your website.
- Product pages - usually static pages that include a counter for when special offers or auctions may end, depending on your selling style.
- Landing pages - to hype upcoming events or product releases.
Countdown timers have also been used as placeholders for when a page is under construction or under maintenance, to help inform site visitors of when the website can be completed, and a site would function back to its full force.
Countdown Timer Benefits and Uses
Whatever the case, there are so many different ways and benefits to using a countdown timer for your website, illustrated as follows:
Support your call to action - you can cut down on customer procrastination when you add a timer to special offers. When there’s an infinite amount of time for customers to checkout your carts later, give them a little push to do it as soon as possible by adding a little timer that’s limited enough to create a sense of urgency but long enough to complete the checkout process and a little extra in between for some quick but measured thinking time.
Think about how marketing tactics that say “3-Day Sale” or “Limited Time Only” has consistently driven customers into traditional consumer practices - and you can recreate this too and be more effective when you’re nailing the point of how good deals don’t last forever.
Creating excitement and urgency for any of your new store offers - anticipation can be contagious! If you’re excited about a launch, chances are, your clients are feeling the same way too. Hype up your customers for what you’ve prepared for them through a newsletter with a clock countdown that becomes a focal point right before the actual product release.
You can even create a culture around your countdown market by celebrating the holiday mood with them through seasonal countdowns. Not all offers last a weekend, but set up an offer around your favorite holidays and add multi-tiered countdowns to keep driving agency.
Create buzz and focus for your business - something key in the most successful productivity hacks is allowing yourself a fixed time period to complete a task. Large scale projects are planned with specific milestones to cover and setting up a countdown time between each milestone can help drive action.
You can even make a public countdown timer as a dedicated page on your website to engage your clients to join your team in anticipating a release. If you’re working on something on the back end to support your upcoming product, you can use an under construction page to house your timers and other important information you want to give your users to know.
Promote online sharing - this is more of a consequence of the second point but when you inspire anticipation for a product with a good combination of planning and marketing strategy, you can use a clock countdown as a sharing magnet for your customers to send to their friends and help drive conversions on your site and promote your upcoming release.
Another supporting value to add to your countdown timer is showing the pace of sales in your online store. A small corner pop-up or splash pages of the ongoing checkouts that happen in your site can convince a casual visitor that your products are popular - and selling out fast. Combine inspiring a sense of urgency through a countdown and an idea of scarcity through declaring how many of the specific items are remaining, and your products can start selling like hotcakes. A lot of “Flash Deals” in these online stores use these methods by promoting an exclusive product for a limited amount of time where the more “shares” it gets, the bigger the discount gets.
- Improve site analytics - when you’ve successfully inspired that sense of urgency, customers spend significantly less time on your site when they’re in a hurry to checkout. This means they complete forms and checkout details faster, and spend the rest of their time browsing on your site.
Strikingly’s intuitive website editor allows you to easily incorporate this tool into your own site. With over 3 million users all over the world, the platform aims to make it easier for small businesses and startups to implement marketing strategies including the use of countdown stopwatches seamlessly through its built-in app store.
How to Set Up a Countdown Timer on Strikingly
If you’re looking to build excitement for an upcoming event such as a concert, seminar or festival, you can use an online ticketing service such as Eventbrite to manage ticket sales and promotions. Connect this to your Strikingly website by adding the Eventbrite countdown widget.
Image taken from Strikingly App Store
You can do this through the following steps:
- From the site editor, select “Add New Section” > “App Store & HTML”
- Click “Edit” on the new section and select “HTML” from the App Store.
- Paste the Eventbrite countdown embed code on the space provided and click Save.
Image taken from Strikingly Builder
You can follow the same steps above for any other free countdown timer widget that you prefer to use. Some of the most popular ones include Powr.io, Tickcounter and Countdownto. These sites allow you to learn how to make a countdown timer and customize it according to your site’s appearance.
Countdown Timer Tips and Best Practices
Just like any other marketing tool, countdown stopwatches can be effective in attracting conversions and improving user experience when used well. Here are a few best practices that you should keep in mind when implementing this strategy.
1. Customize your countdown timer according to your branding
Nothing is worse than a widget that stands out like a sore thumb on a website. You want people to zero in on the countdown but you still need to make sure that the widget’s color and general look and feel is consistent with your web design. Visual appeal is almost always a top priority in any website. Many site visitors can be thrown off by any unappealing element and will leave your page in a heartbeat. Do take the time to customize the widget so it doesn’t look like a haphazardly added component on your site.
2. Check start and expiration dates before implementation
Make sure your countdown timer section indicates the expiration date and proofread every detail about the widget before you proceed to add it to your website or any other online marketing material. For instance, if you’re doing A/B testing that includes a countdown time on both emails, make sure that you have checked both materials before rollout.
3. Add a clear Call-to-Action with the countdown timer
Don’t leave web visitors wondering what the timer is for. Push them in the right direction with a clear and strong call to action. Having said that, make sure to give them ample time to respond as well so the common rule of thumb is to launch the custom countdown timer no less than 24 hours before the expiration time for emails and even longer than that for websites. If your promo is available to global customers, you want to account for time zone differences as well.
4. Use timers sparingly
A custom countdown timer for a website can be a great marketing tool for creating a sense of urgency for a product, event or promotion. However, if you use it way too frequently, you run the risk of sounding too gimmicky and people will simply start ignoring your clock countdown and your promotion or event in general. Leverage on the power of the countdown market to hype up key events or product launches.
5. Placement is key
Finally, emphasize urgency by making sure your countdown timer widget is located front and center of your website. It has to be the first thing that users see when they land on your site followed by the associated Call-To-Action.
A countdown timer can help your site tremendously but only when used correctly. It can drive conversions and interest on all that you have to offer on your website, but when abused, it can drive away your customers through anxiety and annoyance over poor placements and design choices. Use this article as a jumping off point on making your own countdown timer and don’t hesitate to reach out to us here on Strikingly at firstname.lastname@example.org for all your site support needs.