Browse by...

Table of Contents


Email marketing is a great channel for connecting with your audience. You can use it to share product news, communicate company updates, promote a special deal, drive event registrations, deliver relevant content, send newsletters—you get the idea. You can use email marketing for just about anything you can dream up to drive your business forward.

But dreaming up an email marketing campaign is one thing. Ensuring your subscribers follow through on your call to action is another.

There are plenty of tips and tricks to get your emails opened and acted on, and one of the most effective is creating a sense of urgency in your email. This makes it clear to your readers that if they don’t act fast, they might miss out on all you have to offer—and no one likes feeling left out. It’s science. In fact, urgency can be one of the most powerful aspects of human psychology, driving people to convert.

So no matter how you use email marketing, one thing that’s essential to the success of these emails is how well you convey a sense of urgency to your subscribers. That could be through a clever subject line, including active language in your copy, promoting product scarcity, or maybe playing to FOMO in the body of your email.

A surefire way to highlight the urgency of your email? A countdown timer.

Use Campaign Monitor’s new Countdown element to visually reinforce the sense of urgency in your emails—and drive your customers to act.

Chapter 1

Add Countdown Timer to create urgency in your emails

Countdown Timer is a live updating timer you can add right to emails built in Campaign Monitor. This feature makes it easy for marketers to create a sense of urgency for limited time offers, letting subscribers know exactly how long they have to take action. All you have to do to add Countdown Timer to your email is to hop into the drag-and-drop email builder, add the content block, and voilà!

It’s simple to use, super fast, and doesn’t require any coding on your part. Add the content block like any other within the drag-and-drop email builder, set the expiration date and time, and you’re ready to go.

Best of all, the Countdown feature is built right into Campaign Monitor, meaning you don’t have to use or pay for any 3rd party platforms. Your Campaign Monitor account grants you access to this powerful feature at no additional cost.

Chapter 2

Best practices using Countdown Timer

1. Drive urgency with care.

Don’t use a countdown timer in every email. If you do, your subscribers will grow weary and will come to think of your email marketing as gimmicky. Instead, only use urgency tactics if you really have a deadline—or decide to share those deadlines sparingly.

Remember, urgency marketing is not all marketing.

2. Be clear.

Anytime you have a marketing campaign, clarity is always a goal—but it’s even more important when using Countdown. You’ll want to be sure you are crystal clear about what event or deadline you’re counting down to.

If not, you’ll just frustrate your subscribers and won’t see the kind of results you’re looking for.

3. Keep it above the fold.

If you use Countdown below the fold, you’ll send a mixed message. If the deadline isn’t important enough to be the very first thing in your email, what is it doing there at all? It goes back to the first point: You only want to emphasize urgency if you really mean it, and if you really mean it, you’ll want the countdown timer to be the first thing in your email.

The main message is urgency, so keep your timer above the fold to attract the most attention and focus from your subscribers.

4. Keep your CTA close by and make it strong.

Emails that drive urgency typically have an increased click-through rate, so you’ll want to have a strong call to action and in close proximity to the timer.

Because you want to make it as easy as possible for your subscribers to visit your site and convert, don’t make them go searching for the CTA button. Instead, keep a clear, actionable CTA right by the countdown timer to increase your click-through rate even more.

5. Don’t mix your messages.

You don’t want to overwhelm your subscribers. So when you add a dynamic element like Countdown to your emails, make sure it’s the prime focus of the entire message. In order to avoid giving your subscribers motion sickness, minimize the movement in your emails and don’t include any other animated GIFs.

6. Test, test, test.

Testing is key when it comes to optimizing your emails. Use Campaign Monitor’s A/B testing feature to test two variations of your email to see which one works best: one version of your email with Countdown, and one without.

This will help you see which version works best and prove the value of implementing Countdown in your emails along with these best practices.

Chapter 3

Examples of Countdown Timer in email

1. Gusto Restaurants

Gusto’s email opens with a great image and a countdown to Father’s Day. There’s no room for misunderstanding or ambiguity with this Countdown; Gusto’s copy tells readers straight away: This is your Father’s Day countdown.

In addition to the countdown that reminds readers they are running out of time to plan for dad’s big day, they capitalize on that sense of urgency by offering subscribers the chance to book now, which will take care of their Father’s Day plans once and for all. And if subscribers aren’t sure, Gusto explains the value of their offer clearly and deliciously.

Imagine getting this email right around lunchtime. It’d be hard to pass these delicious looking meals up!

See the full email below:

2. Vienna Beef Company

Vienna Beef Company keeps their email simple and straightforward. They don’t include a bunch of other offers or images to distract from the timer. Instead, Countdown is the primary feature in the message.

Everything in the email supports and reinforces the scarcity of the sale: Father’s Day reminds readers that an occasion is coming up, the limited time only banner reiterates the scarcity of the sale, and the copy urges readers to act quickly.

With the addition of the free socks, the discount, and the promo code, this email delivers everything subscribers need to knock out their Father’s Day gift with everything their dad loves.

See the full email below:

3. Berliner Philharmoniker

Unique offers with a specific timeframe are perfect candidates for Countdown, as they are honed in on urgent sense of conversion.

Trying to make the most of a new season of concerts during the COVID-19 pandemic, Berliner Philharmoniker gives a chance to purchase a 12-month ticket at a discount. Because this is a time-specific offer—once the season begins, you can’t buy a 12-month ticket any longer—urgency is the main driver.

Chapter 4

Wrap up

Countdown Timer is available to Campaign Monitor customers on the Unlimited and Premier plan. If you’d like to upgrade, log in to your account, head to the Settings dropdown in the top-right, and select Billing.

And adding Countdown Timer is simple and fast, without any need for coding on your part. Use the drag-and-drop email builder to insert a Countdown Timer, then follow these best practices to see stellar results from your next email marketing campaign.

As always, if you run into any obstacles along the way, we’re always here to support you.

Send beautiful email campaignsCampaign Monitor makes it easy to attract subscribers, send them beautiful email campaigns, and see stunning reports on the results.Request a live demo
Straight to your inbox

Get the best email and digital marketing content delivered.

Join 250,000 in-the-know marketers and get the latest marketing tips, tactics, and news right in your inbox.


Get started with Campaign Monitor today.

With our powerful yet easy-to-use tools, it's never been easier to make an impact with email marketing.

Try it for free
Contact Sales