Countdown marketing timers can change the world. Have you noticed that the Internet seems to have a mass case of attention deficit disorder?
Every other month another “must have” software or training program lands and is proclaimed as the holy grail of something or other. Everyone piles on to promote or buy it, there’s a huge noisy buzz for a couple of weeks and then everything quiets down for a brief moment until the next “big thing” is announced.
In the real world, entrepreneurs create a business and nurture it for years or even decades before selling it or moving on to something new. But online, many entrepreneurs launch a new product every year and, sometimes, even more frequently than that.
The reason is simple. Product launches are where the money flows. The hype and the affiliate rush combine to create a wave of excitement, everyone logs in to see what the fuss is about and 1-2% will decide to spend some money.
But after the launch, it isn’t long before the crowd moves away to look at something else. It’s not unusual for online entrepreneurs to make a big profitable splash when they launch a product, only to see sales flatline the next month.
The product could be nurtured and marketed through traditional channels to gradually attract leads and sales. But most online entrepreneurs quickly realize that this process only brings a fraction of the income they could achieve if they just put together a new product and a new launch.
And so we have a situation where most online business owners are serial product creators. Every 6-12 months another product has to be created, packaged and launched just to keep the business afloat.
Product launches are risky
Don’t think for a moment that any of this is intended as criticism. It’s just an observation of how the industry works.
However, it’s an observation worth noting because, if you’re in this product creation cycle (or plan to be), it’s a risky business model. One fruitful product launch does not guarantee the success of the next. And if the income you need to survive for the next six or twelve months is dependent on each new product launch, you’re always one lukewarm event away from financial difficulties.
It should also be acknowledged that this product launch-dependent model is something of a waste. If a product has launched successfully and attracted a healthy number of sales, that means you’ve created something that works and is something that people want or need.
If you could find a way to nurture that product instead of just letting it die, while at the same time planning your next launch, you’d have a steadily growing income to add some security to your bottom line.
Automation is more cost-effective than a sales team
The main reason why many entrepreneurs leave their products to gather cobwebs is because attracting leads and converting them into customers is time-consuming and expensive.
This is especially true if you’re a solopreneur and you don’t have a sales and marketing team to carry some of the burden.
The solution is to make better use of the automated tools that are available. When set up and organized correctly, many of the lead-generation and conversion activities your business needs can be carried out once and then left to run on autopilot.
Kartra offers a wealth of automation tools that are easy to setup and, crucially, easy to monitor and modify to improve your results. These tools are all the more effective as a means of lead generation and sales conversion when combined with EverWebinar, our automated webinar solution.
But these are subjects for another time. Today we’re going to look at how just one small Kartra feature can be used to deliver the product launch effect in an ongoing basis, even if you don’t have an army of affiliates at your command.
A personalized product launch
In Kartra Pages, you’ll find an option to add a countdown timer to your page(s). This is a staple of product launch pages and is an easy and dependable way to add scarcity to your page, as well as some excitement.
But this is no ordinary countdown timer…
This feature of Kartra can be customized to deliver a countdown timer that is unique to each visitor. The countdown period stays the same, but the timer doesn’t begin until the visitor arrives.
|You set a countdown timer for five days. RICK visits your page on Monday for the first time and Kartra, recognizing that he’s a new visitor, shows him your pre-launch page and a countdown timer with five days remaining. RICK registers to be notified when the sales page goes live and, for the next five days, receives a daily email, building anticipation for the launch.
RICK visits again on Wednesday. Kartra knows that he first visited two days ago and shows him a timer with three days remaining.
That SAME day, DARYL visits your website, but because it’s his FIRST visit, the timer displays a full five days remaining.
Three days later, RICK visits your website again, and Kartra recognizes that, from his perspective, the timer is up. Instead of showing him the pre-launch page, it directs him to the full sales page, as if it’s just launched.
Naturally, DARYL will have to wait another two days before he’s able to access the full sales page.
Get it? Kartra’s countdown timer is delivering a unique experience to each visitor. Whether they visit for the first time today, next week or six months from now, they’ll get to experience the pre-launch, the pre-launch emails, the countdown timer and the launch of the sales page.
It’s like a product launch that never ends!
While this feature isn’t intended to replace a traditional product launch process (although you can use it for your launch), as a long-term strategy it’s a smart way to keep your sales funnel fresh and relevant.
Is this… erm… manipulative?
Well… yes, it is. But only in the sense that all marketing is, to some degree, manipulative. Sales and marketing are about trying to affect the opinions and decision-making of your prospect.
Naturally, there are lines – and you have to decide which ones you’re willing to cross. If someone doesn’t want your product, should you strong-arm them into buying it anyway?
Not a good idea.
But if someone DOES want your product, it’s the job of your marketing strategy to influence them to purchase it from YOU.
If presenting your goods through the lens of a product launch is going to help you accomplish that, then, in my view, that’s perfectly acceptable.
There are two ways you can ensure this strategy stays firmly on the ethical side:
1. Don’t Lie
If you use phrases like, “This product will be available for the first time ever in five days!” Or “You’ll be the first person ever to see this offer!”, well… then you’re just asking for trouble.
Just be plain. Try something like, “In just five days, you’ll get full access to this amazing offer.”
Or you can use the positioning as a selling point – “Our sales page is restricted to ensure it’s only seen by people who are patient enough and smart enough to take a long-term view of their business.”
Placing restrictions on who can buy your products has been used for decades by real-world businesses. Making you apply for a membership card before you can shop, or insisting that you make an appointment to see the merchandise, has long been used as a way to create an air of exclusivity around a business.
As a general rule, the harder something is to attain, the more desirable it appears to be.
This strategy is like directing visitors to a squeeze page with a free gift before showing them the sales page. You’re artificially delaying their access so you can build your list and create anticipation.
2. Have a Solid, No Questions Asked, Money-Back Guarantee
If you have concerns that your marketing is so effective it may result in people buying your product who will later regret their decision, a no-quibble money-back guarantee ensures that no one is left disgruntled.
If you like this strategy, here are a few riffs on this theme…
Bonus Strategy #1 – The Discount Timer
Create a second version of your sales page with a reduced price point, add a countdown timer of one day, and set this as your initial landing page.
Now, the first time a customer arrives at your site, they’re presented with the news that they can get your product at a discounted price – but only for the next 24 hours.
If they return to your site any later than that, Kartra recognizes that, for this customer at least, the timer has expired and they’re directed to the regular, full-price sales page.
It’s like having an introductory offer, but you can leave it running indefinitely!
And, if you’re an advanced player, you can split-test multiple versions of the countdown with different timer values to see which is most effective.
I defy you to run this strategy and NOT see an increase in your conversions!
Bonus Strategy #2 – Try Before Your Buy
A countdown timer is generally used to delay access to something. But Kartra’s version has the ability to be used in reverse by giving access NOW and removing access LATER.
Let’s say, for instance, you have a vast archive of training videos. You could give your new customer full, unlimited access, free of charge, but attach a 24-hour timer. After 24 hours, if the customer returns to your archive, they’re redirected to a sales page that offers them continued access for a single (or even recurring) fee.
Bonus Strategy #3 – Scarcity Timers
The countdown timer works, in practice, by recognizing when a customer first visited, and adjusting which web page they see based on whether or not the timer has ended. If the timer is still running, it continues to show the visitor the first page. If the timer has ended, it shows the visitor the second page.
But there’s no reason why the second page can’t ALSO have a countdown timer. And when that countdown timer ends… the visitor is directed to a third page.
And you can keep going. Stacking timers on top of timers. Here’s an example of why you might want to try this…
Imagine your customer is viewing your sales page. It’s a great product, for a great price and it comes with FIVE exciting bonuses. But at the top of the page is a ten-minute countdown timer with a warning that, if the customer doesn’t purchase within 24 hours, one of the bonuses will be taken away.
After 24 hours, if the customer hasn’t made a purchase, they’re redirected to a sales page that is identical, except that there are now only FOUR bonuses available. And this page ALSO has a countdown timer and a warning that, in 24 hours, another of the bonuses is going away.
Let’s not kid ourselves – this is a VERY high-pressure sales technique and not everyone is going to have the moxie to try this out. But if you want to employ a very strong element of scarcity, using a countdown timer this way is very compelling.
When your budget and human resources are limited, automation is the key to creating a long-term marketing strategy for your products. And even the simplest of automation features, with a little imagination, can be utilized to powerful effect.
For more information on how Kartra can manage and automate your sales funnels, visit www.kartra.com.