Time is the scarcity, and it’s the commodity we can’t create any more of. ~ Jim Mitchell ~
The holiday season has just gone by, so too the avalanche of sales offers for any item you could think of. In the Indian sub-continent, the festival offers start from October and lasts till mid-November.
The festive bonanza would then shift to the West where the Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of November in the US marks its spectacular beginning lasting through December.
Some reports this year suggest that there have been record-breaking Black Friday sales and nearly all businesses – from football clubs like FC Barcelona to airlines to software, you name it – jumped into the fray to rake up sales (picture below).
For millions of small web businesses this was an opportune time to make more sales than any time in the year. And for that, often the trick would be to create a sense of scarcity – both time and quantity sensitive – in the minds of the people to generate the sales.
Here is an example of time-sensitive scarcity offer in action.
Scarcity works, why?
Time and again it has been proved that scarcity can instantly boost sales & revenue. This happens because scarcity is an equivalence of urgency.
As noted by Chris Goward in this post, the increase in any conversions – be it more purchase, click throughs, or email opt-ins – depends on these 6 factors. It’s termed as The LIFT™ Model (illustation above).
- Increase clarity of offer
- Increase the relevancy of offer to the audience
- Improve value proposition
- Reduce anxiety (phrased differently, increase trust)
- Reduce distractions
- Add urgency to your offer
4 Types of ‘popular’ scarcities marketers use
Scarcity is a strong catalyst that sort of urges people to take affirmative action. Words like ‘now’ and ‘today’ add implied urgency suggesting that there’s a need to act without delay.
Implied urgency can be expressed in headline, call-to-action or both. Countdown offers can be one time sale, time sensitive or restricted by quantity. It can be of any combination and can work well if your offer sounds logical and appealing.
4 popular scarcity models are as under:
- Automated Evergreen Timers – When you want to have ‘constant’ scarcity all day, every day for 365 days, you need evergreen timers. Every time a new page visitor comes, the timer is triggered automatically, she sees the countdown prompting her to act. The timer is set to expire say after 10 minutes when your ‘special offer’ ends. If she doesn’t act before this time she fails to avail the offer.
- Regular Timers – Planning special weekend sale? Setup regular timer, pick the end date and time. Your offer will expire for everyone at the same date and time.
- One Time Offer – One time offers (or OTO) are a sudden burst of serial deep-discount promo that lasts only a few minutes (sometimes less than a minute). The idea is that the visitors get one shot to avail the offer or they lose out.
- Limited Quantity Offer – Finally, the limited quantity offer will limit the quantity on sale usually with discounts. This creates a strong sense of urgency to buy the stuff you’re offering before the limit you set runs out.
Let’s now look at some popular countdown timers which you can use in your WordPress website and also in emails.
Free standalone evergreen countdown timers
There are quite a few WordPress plugins for countdown timers. But if you have trouble using plugins there is good news.
Here are a couple of free standalone countdown timers that are simple, responsive and can be embedded easily in your WordPress post or page.
Both are fixed-time or regular timers. I’ve made them expire on January 1, 2019. The embed code is given below.
The timer will appear as under.
Here’s the embed code –
<iframe src="https://free.timeanddate.com/countdown/i5j7wz7b/n188/cf105/cm0/cu4/ct0/cs0/ca0/cr0/ss0/cac909/cpc000/pcfff/tcf1d8e7/fn3/fs200/szw470/szh198/tac90f/tptTime%20since%20Event%20started%20in/tpc000/matThis%20offer%20will%20end%20in.../macf9f/mpc000/iso2019-01-01T00:00:00" allowTransparency="true" frameborder="0" width="470" height="198"></iframe>
The timer will appear as under.
And the embed code is given below –
Countdown timer plugins for WordPress
Most countdown timer plugins have freepremium model – free for basic use while priced for premium version(s).
There are ‘n’ number of countdown plugins vying for your attention. Nearly all of them offer the 4 scarcity models. Here are some of them although I advise you to search them yourself and choose the ideal one for your need.
- 3. Page Expiration Robot (PER)
- 4. IntellyWP’s Evergreen Countdown Timer (Freemium)
- 5. WebsiteCountdown.com (Freemium)
- 6. Countdown Monkey (Premium)
- 7. T(-) Countdown (Free)
- 8. Uji Countdown (Freemium)
Free email countdown timers
Lastly, let us look at some countdown timers for use inside emails. Marketers have found that email countdown timers are an excellent way to improve click through rates in email. They create urgency & drive calls to action.
Some of the products above have the option to embed timers in emails like PER, IntellyWP’s Evergreen Countdown Timer, etc. A couple of more tools that can be considered are:
As you can see, scarcity countdown timers come in several models. There are many more WordPress plugins that give you the same features. The final result however depends factors like how good your product is, how your product is perceived by buyers (testimonials), how responsive you are in helping your customers, and so on.
What about the plugins you use? Share your inputs below.