Creating Urgency In Email With Countdown Timers

Much of the recent talk about email marketing focuses on personalisation -- and for good reason. However, that’s only one part of the story. Yes, emails are better if they have some degree of personalisation, but the other (and arguably more critical) element is relevance. The big problem with email is that its relevance is dictated by the point in time at which it is opened. The greater the gap between sending and opening, the less relevant the message is likely to be.

To try and ensure that a message is opened at the relevant time, marketers will try to create a sense of urgency to grab the attention of the recipient, perhaps marking the message as “URGENT,” “Last Chance,” “Sale Ending” or other calls to action in the subject line to encourage the message to be opened quickly.

The issue of relevance really hit home in recent weeks when I went on holiday and for once I didn’t check my personal email. When I arrived back and logged on, my inbox was full of New Year sales offers. In fact, most of it wasn’t spam and there were some great offers that I would have been really interested in. And “would have” is my point! I clicked through hoping to bag a bargain but the sale had closed.

This leads me to one of the big trends in email marketing for 2015 that I am seeing: the widespread adoption of Countdown Timers.

Countdown Timers are exactly that. They let the recipient of an email know exactly how much time they have left to act. So for example, if you are an insurance company and customers request a quote, the email they receive will let them know how long that offer remains valid, and each time they open the email the Timer will show the revised remaining time. Similarly, if tickets are going on sales for a big tour on Friday morning at 9 a.m. and you send an email out on Wednesday, the ticker will keep on counting down in customers' inboxes, creating a sense of urgency but also keeping them informed.

In the case of my post-holiday sale emails, it would have been great to have opened each email and known how long each sale was still on for. Couple this with some real-time content that is updated only at the point of opening, perhaps highlighting alternative offers that are currently on that matches customer likes, and you have a hugely compelling and engaging email!

Countdown Timers are not new, but they have been the preserve of organisations with deep pockets. These organisations have been willing to spend big money because they know they work. Now Countdown Timers have begun entering the market at a price point that is making them affordable and easy-to-use. I would go so far as to say that every time-sensitive email should have a countdown timer displayed within it.

2 comments about "Creating Urgency In Email With Countdown Timers".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, February 6, 2015 at 12:10 p.m.

    Totally agree.

  2. Eddy Swindell from Triggered Messaging, February 9, 2015 at 8:46 a.m.

    Great timing for readers of this article in that Triggered Messaging is offering a free trail of Email Count Down Timers amongst other things as part of a TFM&A promotion. You can sign up for this promotion here:

Next story loading loading..