Tutorial: How to add a countdown timer in email

As we looked at last week, brands are using countdown timers in their email design. Countdown timers are dynamic, attention-grabbing, and fun to use. Brands are integrating them to encourage subscribers to snag a last-minute deal, register for a workshop, watch an event, and more.

In today’s workshop, we’ll be showing you how easy it is to add a countdown timer in your email messages. Our tools for this workshop will be the new custom HTML block in the BEE editor, along with a simple, free-to-use online tool that will generate the HTML for our countdown email timer.

Here’s our video recap:

Tools You’ll Need

Today, we’re going to use two tools to build our email with a dynamic countdown timer:

  • We’ll be using our BEE email editor. If you’re not already using BEE, sign-up for a BEE Pro free trial and have access to additional templates and design features.
  • A tool that can create and generate the HTML for a countdown timer. Be sure to use a tool that creates the countdown as an animated GIF so that you’re sure that it will render in email. We chose a simple tool called Sendtric. There are a number of online tools you can choose as well (just scroll down to our last section of this post).

A new content block: Custom HTML in BEE

Our BEE editor just got a new feature: an HTML content block (6th square below) that allows us to plug in custom HTML code. It’s exactly what we need to add features like countdown timers, and it’s super easy to do.

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Step 1: Design the email in BEE

We’re going to recreate a countdown timer email from last Tuesday’s Design Inspiration post: this J. Crew Factory email promoting shoppers’ last chance at holiday shipping:

jcrew

In BEE, we’ll open up a basic single column template and begin assembling the header.

First we need an image block for the logo…

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Text for the navigation menu…

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And an HTML block for the timer…

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We’ll also add another text block for the text underneath the timer, then start customizing the email design.

To add content, we’ll:

  • Drop in the J. Crew Factory logo
  • Update the text

To format, we’ll:

  • Update the font color and style (we went with Tahoma, size 14; black on the white background and white on the black background)
  • Change the HTML background color to black for the bottom portion of the header
  • Drop in divider lines above and below the navigation menu

We’re in good shape so far! This is our progress:

bee-1-prog

Let’s make the timer and see how it looks in our header.

Step 2: Make the countdown timer with Sendtric

Over at Sendtric.com, creating our timer is pretty straightforward.

First, we’ll enter our end date. Sendtric allows you to set the date up to a month out.

Then, we’ll update the colors. The background can remain black, but we’ll make the numbers green to match J. Crew’s email. We could also plug in HTML color codes for an exact match.

To create the timer, we also need to add an email address (presumably so Sentric can do their own email marketing to us later on!). We also recommend checking the box to encapsulate in a centered table.

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After we press the Generate button, Sendtric takes us to a new window with a preview of our timer and a block of HTML code.

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The timer is ready to use!

Step 3: Add the timer to your email

In Sendtric, simply copy the code provided:

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Back in the BEE editor, when we click on the HTML block, we can drop the code into the Content Properties field on the right. Just like that, our timer becomes active in the email:

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In Preview Mode, we can see how the width of the timer adjusts to fit a smaller screen. It looks great!

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Additional tools for creating countdown timers

A number of online platforms offer easy-to-use countdown timers you can add to your email campaigns. Here’s a quick list of additional options:

Using a countdown timer in email? Go Pro!

We hope you enjoy this new custom HTML feature, as we’re striving to build the Best Email Editor or BEE in short! If you’re not already using BEE, sign-up for a BEE Pro free trial and have access to additional templates and design features.

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