One of the proven strategies to improve sales and motivate subscribers to take action is a countdown timer. We have picked out three countdown timer providers, tested the features they provide and are ready to share our experience.
Why does your email need a timer?
To create a sense of urgency
A countdown timer showing the time passing creates a sense of urgency and a feeling that time is critical.
To call recipients to act immediately
A subscriber understands that the duration of an offer is limited. This deadline motivates the reader to act right away instead of taking a raincheck.
To command attention
Numerals on the timer change non-stop. Dynamic action against a static email content catches the eye of a recipient.
To prove the effectiveness of countdown timers in emails, Selligent and Lynda carried out research. Results showed that emails with a timer generate a 10% higher open rate and 33% greater conversion rate compared to traditional emails.
Let’s get testing underway!
We will create a timer counting down to the New Year. So, we will set the same event deadline – December 31.
This service is a special tool specifically for creating countdown timers. It takes seconds to register with the platform. Name, last name and email address – that’s all the information required.
There are four different pricing packages available:
- Bootstrap for small companies costs $10 per month
- Startup with a fee of $60 per month
- Enterprise for $200 per month – an option for large businesses
Users of the free plan start with 20,000 credits per month. One credit is one impression of the embedded timer. Once a recipient has opened an email that includes a timer, one credit is gone. If the same user opens your email five times, say goodbye to five credits. It appeared that a preview of the generated timer in an email template also counts as an impression.
Remaining credits will disappear at the end of the month if you are a Free or Bootstrap user. Credits are transferred to the next month if you are a Startup or Enterprise user. If all credits are used, there is an additional fee for impressions above the limit. This function is available only for users of premium plans. The price for one impression varies from $0.0001 to $0.000085.
MotionMail’s branding is displayed under the counter for free plan users, but background and text can be adjusted in such a manner that it becomes barely visible. Users of premium plans can turn the branding off.
If you are on the free plan, you can choose only one language for your whole mailing list. For premium plan users, the language is changed automatically based on the language of a subscriber’s browser. You set a default language, and the system does the rest.
The interface is user-friendly. There are four design options available. The timer is customizable; you can choose the background, change color and size of the fonts. The final code is editable. You can preview the created counter.
To generate a timer using this service, deep technical knowledge is not needed. You simply enter the required parameters and insert the generated code in your email template. Responsiveness can be achieved by adding attributes with style properties style=”width:100%; height:auto;”.
Unfortunately, the chosen counter had a poor display quality. All pixels are clearly visible regardless of the counter’s size. It is even more noticeable when you paste the code into your email template. The attempt to discover whether this issue is due to the free plan or bad configuration came to naught. No answer was found in the FAQ, and the company does not keep a blog.
We tried another design option. The generated counter was of good quality.
The Sendtric platform is another tool dedicated solely to countdown timers. The great thing is that it is completely free. It is an English-language service only, no adaptation to other languages is provided. The interface is easy-to-use, and all settings are intuitive and familiar.
To use this service, you don’t need to register. Just enter your email, choose the time zone, and set the event deadline. The timer can be set to any date within 30 days. It counts the time back for 60–90 seconds and then loops back to the time displayed when the email was opened. If a subscriber reopens the email, the timer will show the exact time to the specified event.
There are no design options. You can select colors for the background, labels and numerals. Click the “Generate” button and receive the timer’s script.
Editing the script inside the platform is not possible, so you should copy it to your clipboard and then paste it to the required block of the email template. Don’t forget about the style attributes for width and height properties for the timer size to be changed automatically. It is noteworthy that there is no branding.
A Professional Edition is under development. Currently, it is in closed beta stage. The website states that it will stay completely free. An unlimited number of impressions and created timers will be preserved. Pro version will include an advanced editor providing more features for customizing the timer. It will be extended with the possibility to preview and store newly-created timers, as well as to modify already sent ones.
The Niftyimages platform deals with personalized images, countdown timers and real-time social feeds. The company keeps a blog, and there is a categorized FAQ.
The service provides the following plans:
- Starter for beginners. Paying $20 per month, you will get up to 50,000 impressions. The annual subscription costs $192.
- Pro for advanced users. You will get up to 250,000 impressions per month for $80 or $768 with the annual subscription.
- Enterprise for large companies. This level offers 1 million impressions per month for $250; an annual subscription is not included.
There is a free trial version, which provides 10 thousand impressions per month. We will be testing the trial version’s functionalities.
The first thing to be noted is that the platform calculates an impression only if a recipient has seen the timer, and not just opened the email. The platform is not localized to other languages; it is available only in English. The trial version provides six different designs.
Configuring the timer is easy. Go to basic settings and set the event’s date and time, then choose the time zone. Next, customize the fonts. By the way, there is a wide range of fonts available. Indicate the required size and color for the font and background. You can also modify the colors for labels and numerals. For the last step, select the language for the timer and download your corporate background if needed.
You can preview the created timer inside the builder. As you can see, there is no company branding on it.
Tags, properties and attributes of the script are not editable. So, you need to copy it, add the required properties, and paste the final variant into your email template.
How to add a countdown timer in SendPulse
Based on the pros and cons of each service, we decided to use Niftyimages for our email. A countdown timer created using this platform can be inserted into SendPulse’s email template.
- Create a new email campaign. Select the mailing list, fill in the “From email address,” “Sender’s name,” and indicate the subject line.
- Choose a free email template from the gallery or go to HTML-editor to create your own.
- Add a new text block. Go to the source code in the block settings. Insert the timer’s code.
As you can see, it’s quite easy to create a timer, so choose your preferred service and add a piece of urgency to your email campaigns with SendPulse.