Earlier this year I was searching for a hotel in Southern England. After scanning a few sites, hotels were slowing filling up over the two-week search period I was looking at.

One of the sites I had visited started using some smart scarcity tactics. So good in fact that I placed the booking right there and then.

After I made my booking I thought I must have been previously tracked by a cookie for marketing.

Had I been presented with some fake numbers about how many rooms were available at in my location, at “that price” and how many other people had booked?

Either way I had booked my room. I made a note to return to the hotel site in a few weeks and see how legitimate their marketing efforts were.

When you work in the world of online marketing, it’s hard not to look at what other companies are doing and how they entice you to spend.

TOP TIP: Success leaves clues, study and learn from marketing strategies used in your industry.

Messages, pop ups, notices and warnings all help towards conversions. We wouldn’t see them if they didn’t work. This is how you can learn ways to increase conversion from the big boys.

Since the early days of marketing online, little countdown timers have often been seen being used on the sites of many companies large and small.  These timers clearly worked, but how truly and ethically were they used?

Adding Scarcity

The persuasion technique is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Why? Simple; because it worked.

However, if you use scarcity, make it legit!

There’s nothing more annoying than purchasing a product before the countdown period expires. Only to discover you go back the next day and still buy at the same price.

There are so many ways to use scarcity it doesn’t have to be a countdown timer.

Travel agents have started adding scarcity to show available seats. I don’t know if the seat spaces get filled up or the price of the seats goes up, but this scarcity tactic encourages people to book up quicker if they want the flight.

The European budget airline Easyjet, shows you how many other people are looking at the same flight:

Scarcity with Countdown Timers | Easyjet Viewing

They also show when the last booking was made:

Scarcity with Countdown Timers | Easyjet Last Booked

British Airways step this up another level by showing you how many seats are left on a given flight. This may come across as useful flight information, but it’s also a smart tactic to increase sales.

Scarcity with Countdown Timers | Limited Quantity

The Ethical Countdown Timer

We receive many feature requests for countdown timer ideas.

We decided to code an additional feature into the OptimizePress countdown timer to help you build scarcity and a sense of urgency.

The countdown timer redirect feature.

Using the “Countdown Timer Redirect Feature” you can make offers to website visitors and when that offer expires, you can automatically redirect the customer to another page on your site or any page on the web.

The countdown timer Redirect URL feature will switch the page when the timer reaches zero.

 

Create Urgency In Your Marketing

After you have written your marketing message into your content and built up the emotional connection with the user, it’s time to create a sense of urgency.

The emotional connection and the urgency in your message should create a feeling that the user must act now to avoid missing out on something important.

This is where you can be selective in your choice of words to help create that feeling.

OptimizePress-emotion-urgency-conversion

Here are some persuasive words to add urgency into your headlines, content and call to action buttons:

  • Discount
  • Free
  • Today
  • Now
  • Only
  • Offer
  • End
  • Ending
  • Fast
  • Easy
  • Soon
  • Results
  • Instant
  • Immediate
  • Quick
  • Limited
  • Availability
  • Nearly Full

Using a mix of the words above you can produce some urgent phrases like act now, fast results, instant access, offer ending today, limited availability and only 100 seats left.

You get the idea.

People want to be part of something; they don’t want to feel left out. By incorporating these words and phrases into your sales copy, you will create urgency in your marketing message.

Countdown Timer Uses

Here are some potential uses for the Countdown Timer element on your pages:

  • Countdown until webinar starts
  • Countdown until webinar replay is taken down
  • Flash sale/offer starts
  • Offer ends (free shipping, bundle deal)
  • Product launch
  • Website under construction
  • Earlybird ticket events
  • Affiliate offer launch
  • Redirect to the start of a live event/webinar (EG Live Hangout)

You can even add a countdown timer to your email confirmation pages like Ramit does here:

Countdown timer on email confirmation page

How To Setup A Redirect

To create a URL redirect all you have to do is add the URL of the web page into the Countdown Timer Redirect URL field shown here:

Scarcity with Countdown Timers | Countdown Timer Redirect URL

Default Countdown Timer Styles

We have three different OptimizePress timer styles in the countdown timer element:

Scarcity with Countdown Timers | Countdown Timer Style #1
Countdown Timer Style 1
Scarcity with Countdown Timers | Countdown Timer Style #2
Countdown Timer Style 2
Scarcity with Countdown Timers | Countdown Timer Style #3
Countdown Timer Style 3

Some of our new templates in OptimizePress version 2.4 include some custom CSS designed countdown timers that you can use on other pages.

Scarcity with Countdown Timers | Limited Time Sales
Limited Time Sales Page Countdown Timer
Scarcity with Countdown Timers | Webinar Countdown
Webinar Countdown – Timer

Editing The CSS Timer Code

If you wanted to change how the timer looks you could freely edit the existing CSS code.

This CSS is found in Page Settings > Other Scripts > Custom CSS.

Scarcity with Countdown Timers | Timer CSS

The screenshot shows an example of the highlighted CSS code you can edit (obviously you need to know a little CSS).

Scarcity with Countdown Timers | Timer CSS Code Edit
Edit the highlighted code

If you wanted to use one of these timer styles on another OptimizePress page you can just copy the .countdown-timer styles and paste it into your new page.

The style used for the custom countdown timers is Style 2:

Scarcity with Countdown Timers | Countdown Timer Styles
Countdown Timer Style 2

Countdown Timer Examples

Here are some examples of the countdown timer after changing the CSS:

Scarcity with Countdown Timers | Countdown CSS Dashed
Dashed border
Scarcity with Countdown Timers | Countdown CSS Blue
Blue Border
Scarcity with Countdown Timers | Countdown CSS Small Font
Smaller font
Scarcity with Countdown Timers | Countdown CSS Square
Square border
Scarcity with Countdown Timers | Countdown CSS Dotted Square
Square dotted

Depending on the design of your page, you could easily tweak the CSS to match that of your design.

If you like CSS and want to get technical be sure to read our OptimizePress CSS hacks post. Its shows examples of CSS code you can copy and use on your sites.

Now, setup the URL redirects on your offer pages and don’t worry about having to wait up until midnight to take down a webinar replay.

Tell Us What You Think - Please Comment Below!

We would love to hear your comments or questions. Do you use this feature in your marketing?


    47 replies to "Use Scarcity in Your Marketing with Countdown Timers"

    • Workout Anywhere

      Great read. What’s your best example for a fitness based website countdown? Also, How do you get that “Tell Us What You Think” feature box on every blog post?

      Thanks,

      Justin

      • David Frosdick

        Thanks Justin! I don’t know any specific fitness examples. Most timer I see are just designed to catch attention on a page. The ‘Tell Us What You Think’ feature box is exactly that… a featured box using the feature box creator element :)

        • Workout Anywhere

          Right on, but does the feature box get added automatically like the Author bio?

          • David Frosdick

            No, we just copy the code from the previous post. It could be coded into the theme.

    • KM Lee

      indeed scarcity works. that’s what got me to instantly book my rooms too (e.g. 2 more rooms left for this price) hah!

      • David Frosdick

        Did you return a hour later to see if it was showing 1 room or still 2?

        • KM Lee

          so far the numbers seem real to me. also, I found out the little ‘pop up’ message worked as well, i.e. xx people are looking at this now. maybe just me :)

    • Kirk Du Plessis

      Can you make it custom JUST for specific users inside OP? So if I want to show a timer to each new member on day 1 (whenever they sign up) vs broadly for the whole site how can I do that dynamically?

      • Rachel Mathews

        Yes please answer this! I’ve asked for that feature a lot over the past year!

      • James Dyson

        We don’t have a countdown timer that would work for specific users, but if you are using OptimizeMember you can show a specific page the first time a user logs into your membership site – so you could present a special offer here.

        In our upcoming Plus Pack add-on pack (which we’ll be sharing more information about soon) we will have an “Evergreen” countdown timer which allows you to setup a timer for a specific time (e.g. 24 hours) vs a specific date – so combining these might give you what you need

        To find the login offer options in OptimizeMember go to OptimizeMember > General Options > One-Time-Offers (Upon Login) and follow the instructions there to show a specific page on 1st login (or other combinations of actions from your user)

        • Kirk Du Plessis

          Thanks @jamesdyson:disqus appreciate the response and looking forward to it coming out soon.

        • Jason Hilkey

          Soooo looking forward to that evergreen timer!

        • Brett Simpson

          Is Plus Pack included for Gold Clubhouse members?

        • Justin William

          Hey James,

          Have y’all setup the “Evergreen” countdown timer which allows you to setup a timer for a specific time (e.g. 24 hours)?

        • Bruno Picinini

          Hi, has this been released? The evergreen countdown timer. Thanks

      • Thiago Henrique

        Oh, You made the question that I was looking for answer for 2 weeks!!!

    • Stefano Ferruggiara

      Interesting but every user dont come in the same page at the same time the the last one have less time then the first or there is a cookie funtion that for every client the timer start? This can be the best!!

      • David Frosdick

        Hi Stefano, we don’t have a cookie based function yet. One thing to note is countdown timers should be real to show people that an offer is ending. If you had it cookie based then it’s a never ending offer. Don’t quote me on this but the FTC might not like never ending countdown timers…

    • jonathan

      Does the countdown time work in Evergreen mode? i.e. based on when a user hits the page, rather than just a specific date and time?

      • James Dyson

        Jonathan – not at the moment. We do have a forthcoming add-on pack which will include an evergreen timer element. We’ll be sharing more information about this in the next few weeks

        • jonathan

          Thanks James looking forward to it! I’ve tried other solutions like Scarcity Samuri, but would be ideal to have it contained within Optimizepress :)

        • Emiliano

          Hi James, everyone ask for the same thing :) Me too! evergreen timer element for each user that enter in my sales latter, plus this great feature of redirect. We’re waiting for this!! Thank you!

        • Nata Aliyeva

          Hi there, I can see this comment was posted a year ago. Has this happened?

    • julianmcnally

      What I’d like to know is how to add a countdown that’s not time-based but is ticket/sales-based. So if i have 30 places in my seminar, let’s say I’m selling tickets through Eventbrite, is there a way to feed the remaining unsold number to an OP page? Or for that matter a way to feed the ‘number visited’ to an enrolment page, so that at least people have an idea of how many potential buyers they’re competing with. Any ideas?

      • David Frosdick

        That sounds more like a shopping cart feature where it shows how many products are left. You could probably have a custom plugin coded but at this time our countdown timer doesn’t show this info. It sounds like it would make a great little plugin!

    • Brett Simpson

      A few suggestions…

      1.) Please make the timer LOCAL to the timezone of the visitor, so for example, expires at Midnight (in your local timezone), can you add that? I know you can grab local time by looking at the IP address of the visitor, and figure local time. This is absolutely essential for selling globally. I cannot understand why other timers never have this feature? It makes no sense to expire a timer in One Timezone, I have customers all over the world.

      2.) Please make Evergreen time settable in Hours/Minutes/Days, etc, so NOT just 6 hours, but more like 1 hour 12 minutes, that way it doesn’t look like it’s an Evergreen timer, and if I want to use it on another sales page, I change up the Evergreen time, so ALL of my timers are available to run at different times until expiration, that way someone visiting doesn’t catch on that these are evergreen timers… Another very important timer feature that is often missing in other timers.

      3.) Timer also embeddable in emails, so provide us a code, or give us HTML code that can show/embed that same timer that is running on the website into our Emails.

      Love to see all these great features to make your Timer truly stand out as TOP of the heap.

      Thanks, -Brett

      • David Frosdick

        Thanks for the requests Brett. We take note of them all the requests we received.

        • Brett Simpson

          @David_Frosdick:disqus- just looking around, can you tell me what the status is of the Plus Pack – Add-On Pack? I can’t seem to locate it in the Marketplace? Also, it seems my Clubhouse account is not the same, as it seems everything is a fee now, and no free items??? I should still be platinum status account?

          • Linda McNamara

            Ditto to @brett_simpson:disqus’s question. I found this page when searching for evergreen timers that can be used with OptimizePress.

            @David_Frosdick:disqus and @jamesdyson:disqus – any updates on the “upcoming Plus Pack add-on pack” mentioned in this discussion thread? The add-on pack, which was expected to include an evergreen countdown timer, was mentioned in comments a year ago as “forthcoming”and “we’ll be sharing more information about soon”. I was optimistic when I saw those comments as I thought it’s likely the Plus Pack will be available by now, but I haven’t been able to find the pack in the marketplace or any search results.

            I’d appreciate it if you could provide an update on the status of the add-on pack and/or evergreen countdown timers. If this feature is now available, can you let me know how to access it? I’d much rather purchase an evergreen countdown timer designed for OptimizePress than purchase a 3rd party plugin that may or may not be compatible. Thanks in advance.

            • David Frosdick

              Hi Linda,

              We are releasing a new theme, the plus pack and another new app alongside these OP updates. They have taken much longer than planned but our team is currently beta testing the plus pack. We hope to roll it out in the coming weeks.

            • Linda McNamara

              Thanks for the update David. I’ll keep an eye out for more news in the coming weeks. Cheers

            • Giampaolo Floris

              Hello David, any news on the evergreen timer?

    • Tommie Smallz

      Does Optimizepress have a countdown timer?

    • Brett Simpson

      Will Plus Pack be something that is included for Gold Clubhouse members?

      • David Frosdick

        Hi Brett, we’ll publish more info closer to the time. Our ClubHouse members will be looked after ;)

    • Sergio Félix

      And all this time I thought these countdown timers on OP sales letters were third party plugins lol I think I need to revisit OP’s learning center again!

      Great article btw David!

    • David Frosdick

      Yeah great example Marty. That company has done well in the UK. Worth following to learn their strategies.

    • Esther Bruhl

      Hi, thanks for your article! I agree with you that legit scarcity is better than an evergreen timer. When using a sales timer, I understand that once an offer expires, users can be directed to a different page which shows the non-discounted price -BUT isn’t creating an identical sales page only with a different product price a problem for SEO? Won’t it be counted by google as duplicate content? How can we get around this problem?

    • Robson Tavares

      It is very sad to have the optimizepress, we spend hours working on it and not have a good solution and easy for timers**** where I find css to copy and paste or html timers? Or have to buy?

    • Ande Anderson

      Is there a way to use the countdown timers in a Perpetual/Evergreen Launch? So that if a customer entered the funnel today, for example, the timer would count down and in 7 days they would be redirected to a wait list. But someone who enters the funnel next week, the timer would count down and 7 days from that day, they would be redirected to a wait list?

      Question: How do you set an END to a launch when it’s in Perpetual/Evergreen Mode?

      • Diana Kohzer

        Hi Ande Anderson! That´s exactly the question I have! We are creating an evergreen launch funnel and we want to do it with scarcity. Our offer should be valid for only 2 hours, after it expires the price will rise and one bonus will not be available. Do you now have a solution with optimizepress?

    • Emanuella Maria

      Hi there.

      I have just created a new page and placed a count down timer for a launch offer. The Count down timer is not appearing on live page
      Is there some reason why this would be?
      Thank you

    • William Foley

      there seems to be no simple way to customize these included timers.. Trying to show a 48 hour countdonw.. no way to do it easily

    • Sam

      Hi there, do you know any wordpress plugin or any other website that allows you to add how many people are looking at a specific product/page ?
      Thanks,

    • Sebastiao Leonardo

      Very good!

      Thanks

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