5 Clever Ways to Use Countdown Timers to Sell Your Course

By Joanna James, Teachable Expert


Your course is live and it is selling but not as well as you’d hoped. You know the content is good–your students have told you that much–, so why aren’t you selling more copies?

The truth is, while a potential customer might like the look of your course, if there’s not a compelling reason to buy it right there and then, there’s a strong chance they’ll think, ‘maybe some other time’, close their browser, and forget all about it.

To stop this happening, you need to make them want to buy your course immediately.

So, how do you do that?

You come up with a special offer and show them that time is running out to take advantage of that offer. Slap a big fat countdown timer on your sales page to show that time is ticking. If they delay too long, they’ll miss out on your super special deal.

Makes sense, right? But what could you offer?

In this post, we’ll share 5 ways you can use countdown timers to get your customers to hit the buy button.

1. Early bird discounts

Countdown timer starts: When your early bird window opens
Countdown timer starts: When your early bird window ends

Before the timer expires: Everyone can get a discount
After the timer expires: Everyone can still buy, but at full price

If you’re launching a new course, or if you open your course up for enrollment periodically, you can incentivise customers to buy sooner rather than later using an early bird discount. Basically, if they buy your course before a certain date, they get it for a lower price. Once the deadline has passed, they can still buy the course but at full price.

Full disclosure… that’s exactly what’s happening on this page! See the timer at the bottom of the page? That’s a real offer that will expire soon. More about that later. 😉

2. Limited launch windows

Countdown timer starts: When your launch window opens
Countdown timer ends: When your launch window ends

Before the timer expires: Everyone can buy the course
After the timer expires:
Nobody can buy the course

Another way to create urgency is using launch cycles/whatever. This means your course is only available to buy during certain dates, so anyone who wants to buy it needs to do so before you take it off the market.

Again, you’ll want to make it very clear to your audience when your course will stop being available to buy. And you’ll want to remind them just before that deadline is reached.

Once the launch is over, redirect any visitors to a page like this:

3. New subscriber discounts

Countdown timer starts: When someone joins your email list
Countdown timer ends: After a set number of hours or days

Before the timer expires: The subscriber can get a discount
After the timer expires:
The subscriber can still buy, but at first price

If you have an email list (tip: if you don’t, start one!), you could incentivise new subscribers to buy your course by offering them a temporary discount. The first email they get after subscribing could say, for example, that for the next 24 hours only, they can get $10 off your course.

The added benefit of this option is that you immediately reward your subscriber for joining your email list. That’s bound to make them feel good about joining and grateful for your generosity.

4. Limited-time upsell offers

Countdown timer starts: When someone buys Course A
Countdown timer ends: After a set number of hours or days

Before the timer expires: The students can get a discount on Course B
After the timer expires:
The subscriber can still buy Course B, but at full price

If someone has signed up for one of your free courses, you know they’re interested in what you’re teaching right now. Don’t waste that opportunity. Presenting them with an opportunity to buy one of your paid courses right away and make that offer all the more tempting by dangling a nice discount in front of their noses.

Similarly, someone who has already paid for one of your products is much more likely to buy from you than someone who has never bought any of your products. That’s why cross-selling is a great approaches. 

I’m sure you’ve come across this techniques before, perhaps at McDonald’s. Let’s say you order a Big Mac. What do the cashier do? They ask if you’d like to make that a Big Mac Combo Meal by adding fries and a drink.

If a customer is buying or has bought one of your products, offer them a related one. Imagine someone has just bought your course The Beginner’s Guide to Decluttering. Why not offer them $20 off How to Organise Your Home? If they’re interested in decluttering, they’re probably also interested in organising and by offering them a time-limited discount on it, they’re much more likely to buy it.

5. Limited-time webinar offers

Countdown timer starts: When someone attends your webinar
Countdown timer ends: After a set number of hours or days

Before the timer expires: The person can get a discount on your course
After the timer expires:
The subscriber can still buy the course, but at full price

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus in pretium ipsum. Mauris ut posuere urna. Sed leo ex, viverra sed consequat non, aliquam fermentum lacus. Nam sed felis facilisis, sodales velit vel, blandit nisl. Curabitur sed eros eget urna fringilla tempus vitae quis erat.

But we hear you yelling at your screen…

How do I actually set this up?!

Well… keep reading!


The Course Creator’s Guide to ⏰ Countdown Timers ⏰

A step-by-step video series showing course creators exactly how to set up countdown timers on their sales pages to skyrocket conversions.


Give students a reason to buy your course now.

Not tomorrow. Not next week. Your students need an incentive to buy right here, right now and countdown timers are the number one way to create that urgency and boost conversions.

Why countdown timers?

  • Urgency – Nothing drives sales quite like a sense of urgency. If a prospective student leaves your sales page to mull things over, the chance of them coming back to purchase your course just fell through the floor. Countdown timers encourage fast action, making students more likely to convert there and then.
  • Visual cues – No matter how many times you tell your audience an offer will expire, it’s only when you show them with a visual cue like a timer that they really feel that deadline ticking away (literally!).

Follow Along As We Install Five Conversion-Boosting Timers

Step-by-step videos showing you in detail how to set up each type of timer. Every tutorial is made with “non-techies” in mind—no complicated jargon.



Welcome + support channels

Meet your instructor and get access to our support channels.

Software/tool requirements

We’ll explain the tools you’ll need to add countdown timers to your sales page and walk you through the sign-up process for each of them, ready to install our timers.

Video Tutorials

Early bird discount timers (15:23)

This timer lasts for the duration of your early bird phase. While the timer is active, students can get a discount. Once the timer expires, they can buy your course at full price.

Launch window timers (8:47)

A simple timer to indicate when your launch window will end. While the timer is active, students can buy your course but afterwards it’ll be made unavailable.

New subscriber discounts (21:19)

Triggers when someone joins your email list and offers them a discount for a set period of time. Once that time is up, they’ll need to pay full price for your course.

Limited-time upsell offers (13:33)

This timer will start when someone buys one of your course. Let’s call it Course A. For a limited time, they’ll be able to get a discount on Course B, but when the timer is up they’ll pay full price.

Limited-time webinar offers (12:09)

For those with a webinar funnel, this timer triggers when someone attends your webinar. They’ll be offered a limited-time discount. Once the time runs out, the course will go back to full price.

Next Steps

BONUS: Other strategies to boost conversions

Countdown timers aren’t the only advanced technique you can use to boost your sales page’s conversion rate. In this bonus lesson, we’ll show you a few more ways to drive course sales, including live chat, retargeting and social lockers.

Hurry! This special offer expires when the timer is up and the price will go back to $47 forever!

Frequently Asked Questions

Everything you need to know about your this course

When will I get access to the course?

If you pre-order to get the early bird pricing, you’ll get access to every lesson on Monday, April 27, 2020.

Will I need to buy any additional tools?

We’ll be showing you how to install timers on Teachable, but you can apply what you learn to other platforms too.

Aside from a course platform, you’ll also need a countdown tool. If your countdown will be the same for all visitors, we’ll show you how to use a free timer tool.

For evergreen countdowns where the timer is different for each person who enters your funnel, we’ll show you how to use Deadline Funnel, which has a free 14-day trial. After 14 days, it costs just $37/mo. Remember—just one extra course sale will cover the cost of Deadline Funnel.

Can I use these timers for an evergreen course?

Yes! We’ll show you how to apply a unique countdown timer for each user, triggered by an action they’ve taken.

How long will it take to install my timers?

Provided you have your sales page ready to go, adding a countdown timer shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes. And even that includes a fair amount of fiddling with the styling!

I’m a total “non-techie”. Is this course for me?

Every single one of our products is created with non-technical beginners in mind, so yes—this course will guide you every step of the way, no matter your level.

Can I add my own branding?

Yes, all of the tools you’ll be using allow you to add your own colours so the timer matches your brand.

What if I get stuck and need help?

We’re here to help out. If you run into any issues and we can’t get you up and running quickly via chat support, we’ll hop on a call to find out what’s going wrong 1:1.

Learn to Install Timers & Boost Conversions For Only $47 $27

🚨 WARNING! 🚨 This is a limited-time offer and you will not be able to buy this course at this price once it expires. We had to do it, right? 😉

Hurry! This special offer expires when the timer is up and the price will go back to $47 forever!