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Best Countdown Timers for WordPress (and how to use them)

What are countdown timers

Countdown timers can be used for many things, including boosting your sales through scarcity marketing by visually displaying the time remaining before they can get your free offer (or the number of items in your ecommerce store).|

Using scarcity psychology is one of the best hacks to boost your revenue. Click here to learn more about how to sell more using scarcity.

Why countdown timers work so well

Of all things on the internet, your visitor’s attention is the most scare (and valuable) resource you can have.

And countdown timers are amazing tools for attracting attention because they have an advantage that’s never talked about.

The ticking timer itself …

It’s a fact that human eyes are attracted to movement.

This phenomenon developed during the hunter gatherer times, when the human brain evolved to focus our attention on movement. This helped us spot dangers (and animals to hunt) in the forest.

see how the movement attracts attention?

Of course, you can take this attention-grabbing effect to the next level by using bright colors which are in contrast with the main colors of your page.

Another thing that makes timers so great is that humans don’t think in words, we think in pictures.

So on your website, you can write: The sale ends at midnight of May 31st

And most people won't pay much attention to it.

But if you present the deadline in form a countdown timer, your visitors can literally see the clock ticking away.


the timer makes the deadline real

And that’s what makes your visitor realize that they need to buy now, before the timer hits zero.

add countdown timer

a timer in this promo would skyrocket sales

Where to place countdown timers

Countdown timers have many different uses, from counting down to salary day to countdown to Christmas and to the day you’ll start running the next promotion on your site.

But the most powerful use of countdown timers is using them to create scarcity which encourages your customers to buy from you now, rather than later.

And here are some more uses of countdown timers:

  • One-time sales (individual product or storewide sales)
  • Recurring sales (end of year or end of month sales)
  • Evergreen scarcity (special offers for new newsletter subscribers only)
  • Trial expiration dates
  • Order shipping and delivery dates
  • Coming soon pages (website launch, product release etc)
  • Customer’s birthday, anniversary etc (send best wishes with or without discounts)
  • Webinar date and time notifications
  • Abandoned shopping cart expiry
  • Upcoming Hotel Stays or Flight Times
  • Contest end dates (encourage existing customer to bring in new customers and win prizes)
  • Online and offline event dates (real life meetups, sports events, online group conference etc)
  • Survey end dates
  • Website maintenance ends in …

You can also countdown limited quantity items to create scarcity and urgency (only 100 books for sale or first 50 customers get discounts)

Countdown timers can make a big difference to your sales numbers when they’re used to create scarcity or urgency in your customer’s mind.

When your customers know that time is running out and they must hurry to buy your product, your sales can literally take off.

But, scarcity needs to be real.

If your customers can simply reset the timer by refreshing the page or by visiting the URL in incognito mode or by signing up again using a different email address, the scarcity is not real.

In fact, using the scarcity principle in this way can harm your business instead of helping you sell more.

Difference between fixed, recurring and evergreen countdowns

If you run a one-time special promotion with a fixed end date, you’ll need a fixed countdown timer.

This timer will end for everyone on the same date and time.

Recurring countdowns are useful when you run the same sale, with the same products (or storewide) on the same dates every year (or every month or every week … you get the idea).

You can setup these countdowns to automatically run on the schedule you want and softwares like Deadline Funnel or Thrive Ultimatum will automatically display the countdowns on these dates.

Evergreen countdowns are specific to each new subscriber on your email list and run for a specific duration (which you can specify)

For example: you want each new newsletter subscriber to get 10% off on your book for the first week after they signup.

Or you want each person who visits a specific URL (like the sales page for your book) to get a discount if they buy within 10 days.

But if someone can simply signup with a new email address and reset the timer, then they can buy anytime and still get a discount. That defeats the whole purpose of the evergreen timer.

To make sure no one can cheat, you need the lockdown feature

Build an Evergreen Scarcity Funnel

Create real scarcity that sells your products on autopilot!

Lockdown feature explained

The lockdown feature is a complicated piece of tech that makes sure that no one can beat the timer by signing up from a new email or by visiting the URL in incognito, or clearing cookies or changing their IP address.

Basically, with lockdown, every person is uniquely identified by the software and once the deadline has passed, there’s no way anyone can claim the discount, no matter what trick they pull.

So if you want to use the power of scarcity marketing, you NEED to have the lockdown feature.

Note: Of all the plugins mentioned in this post, lockdown feature is only available with Deadline Funnel and Thrive Ultimatum

How long should the countdown be?

For countdowns to be effective, the visitor needs to realize that the offer might go away soon.

That’s what gets them to take action.

This is why you see that the maximum sales for any scarcity marketing campaign happening on the last day of the sale.

sales skyrocket on the last day of the deadline

sales shoot up on the last day of the deadline

So should you make the countdown as short as possible?

Simple answer: No

See if you make your countdown really short, potential customers won’t have the time to check out your sales page or read reviews about your product to decide if they really want what you’re offering.

You need to give them enough time to research your product otherwise you’re putting them in a tight spot where they have to make the decision RIGHT NOW or lose out.

In this situation, most people would feel that they are being pressured to buy now.

And that means they have to drop whatever they’re doing and start researching your product immediately.

So if they don’t know about your product and aren’t ALREADY CONVINCED about buying your product, they’ll simply choose to move on.

So should the timer be really long?

Again, no.

If the timer is long, like a month, then your visitors will put off researching your offer till later.

And as they days go by, they’ll start to lose the initial excitement for the offer and that’s where the leads go cold

The ideal countdown timer length actually depends on how long it takes customers to research your product but the ideal time is between 3-7 days.

If your product is easy to understand and research, use 3-5 days.

If it’s not, use 5-7 days but never go more than 7 days.

Also, make sure you email your contacts regularly during the offer period, telling them how much time remains.

And make sure you mention the days/hours remaining in the subject line of the email.

ramit sethi sales emails

Ramit Sethi adds scarcity marketing deadlines to his emails as the final date approaches

How to design and display timers

Use more than 1 timer

For the max effect place more than 1 timer on your sales page, ideally just above or below the price list and money back guarantee sections.

If you have a long sales page, you should place these elements near the top of the page and near the bottom.

On the rest of your site, countdown timers should appear either on top or on the bottom of the page, as floating elements which stay in position as the page is scrolled.

Keep things in balance though. Too many countdown timers will make you seem like an untrustworthy, pushy used car salesman.

pushy used car salesman

don’t be this guy

Designing the countdown timer

For the best results, follow these 3 rules when designing your countdown timer(s):

  1. 1
    The timer should have contrasting color to the page so it gets noticed easily and doesn’t blend into the page
  2. 2
    Place a big, bold call to action button next to the countdown timer
  3. 3
    Also include a short, easily understood and precise benefit for the visitor so they can easily understand “What’s In It For Me”

Best WordPress countdown timers & widgets

This isn’t a complete list of wordpress countdown timer plugins.
You can suggest plugins for me to take a look at using the contact form.
However, I can’t guarantee when I’ll look at the plugins or if I’ll include them in this list at all.

Thrive Ultimatum

Feature packed, fast loading & easy to use. Excellent scarcity countdown timer plugin for WordPress.

Deadline Funnel

The best scarcity marketing and countdown timer tool. Timers can be placed on any site and in emails too.

Fake Scarcity Countdown Plugins

Here's a list of other wordpress plugins you can use to display a countdown timer on your site.

But these plugins don't have the lockdown feature. So they can't create real scarcity.

So I couldn't be bothered to actually review any of them and I definitely don't recommend using them. But here's the list anyway:

If you have any questions about scarcity marketing or using countdown timers on your website, leave a comment below and I'll try my best to help you out.

About the Author

I'm obsessed with building profitable online funnels.
I created this blog to teach digital marketers the skills, tools & techniques needed to generate evergreen revenue from their online business.
Blogs I like: ActiveCampaign, Ahrefs, Backlinko, Thrive Themes.

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