What is Tripwire Marketing and How Does it Increase Your Conversions?

What is Tripwire Marketing and How Does it Increase Your Conversions?

Tripwire Marketing is a great way to turn visitors into paying customers or to reengage existing ones. In this post, you will learn how to use this customer acquisition technique and how it can help you increase your conversion rates.

What is a Tripwire in Marketing?

First let’s try to define a tripwire in marketing.

A tripwire is an offer that is simply too good to pass up. The only intention is to accelerate the customer’s journey. It is a method often used to convert warm traffic (your audience) into hot traffic (your customers).

The way it works is that you get someone to buy a low-priced product (the tripwire) from you, thereby turning them into a customer and only then start to promote your more expensive offers to them.

Why Tripwires Lead to More Conversions

It’s always easier to get a customer to buy from you again than to convince someone to become your customer in the first place. Especially if you don’t have a well-known brand, most people will not be comfortable to spend money on your services or products.

And that is why tripwires are so effective. Because you only have to convince someone to spend a few dollars, your chances of getting them to convert are a lot higher than if you immediately tried to sell them your high-priced offer.

Create a website to kickstart your Affiliate Marketing success

Now you might only break even or even lose a bit of money with your tripwire, considering that you probably use advertising to drive traffic to it. This is why tripwires are sometimes also referred to as loss leaders.

But it doesn’t matter: Your new customers now know that they can trust you and are now in your sales funnel, ready to buy.

Tripwire Marketing Funnel Example #1: DotCom Secrets by Russell Brunson (Book + High-Ticket)

I was introduced to the whole concept of sales funnels and tripwire offers by internet marketer Russell Brunson in one of his books, DotCom Secrets.

Using Russell’s book as an example, here is how your funnel could look like:

A Free + Shipping Offer with a two-step order form leads to One Time Offer #1, which then leads to One Time Offer #2. You could also include an Order Bump on the second step of your Free + Shipping offer, further increasing your earnings potential.

DotCom Secrets Tripwire
Russell uses this book to introduce his audience to high-ticket items and his software

The secret to a successful tripwire marketing funnel is to keep the buying circle open. Have another look at the DotCom Secrets funnel above:

Russell gets you to buy the tripwire (book) for $9.95 but doesn’t stop there. There is not only an order bump (audiobook) but two more upsells. And that is where the profits are made. The purpose of the book itself is solely to generate leads and help pay for customer acquisition costs.

Five More Tripwire Marketing Examples and Ideas

Let’s analyze five more sales processes that use tripwires. You will realize that a lot of different businesses use this method and that you should be one of them.

Super Affiliate System (Online Course)

The Super Affiliate System PRO by John Crestani is a six-week course teaching you how to use paid advertising for affiliate marketing and costs $997. How does John convince someone to invest that kind of money?

John Crestani and Chris Hansen presenting Work at Home Secrets and Scams

He uses a two-hour free webinar to get people to sign up for his email list and provide value to them. John also sells the digital version of his book Work at Home: Secrets & Scams for just $1. Only after people attended a webinar, joined his newsletter, or bought his book, John promotes his main product to them.

Ahrefs (Software as a Service)

Ahrefs is one of the leading all-in-one tools for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and targets digital marketers and agencies with their service, which can cost up to $999 per month.

Ahrefs Tripwire: Paid Trial

They use Content Marketing to reach potential customers and raise brand awareness. Ahrefs also offers some functions like their keyword research tool for free. Finally, they offer a 7-day trial for just $7 to turn their audience into customers.

Vistaprint (Physical Product)

Vistaprint help businesses market themselves. Customers can use it to design everything from business cards to other marketing materials like brochures or banners.

Vistaprint Tripwire: Back to Business Bundle

But Vistaprint understands that small businesses just starting out only want affordable business cards. Therefore, they offer great deals on those cards and actively market their other products to them later. They also like to offer bundles.

Square (Physical Product + Software)

Square sells both hardware and software that help small retail businesses run their operations. One of the services offered by them is Square Point of Sale, which allows their customers to easily accept credit cards and other payment methods in their store.

Square Tripwire: Free Reader

Square takes the tripwire strategy one step further: They don’T charge anything and give away the card reader for free. The company can afford to do so because people will sign up for their services, thereby generating income later.

Dentist (Service)

For another example of tripwire marketing in the real world, think of your dentist’s business model. How does he or she get you into the sales funnel?

You probably get a call or postcard once in a while to remind you of your regular checkup. Assuming you don’t have any issues with your teeth, the price for that should be fairly low.

But during the checkup, your dentist might mention that your teeth became a little yellow. So rather than quitting coffee, you’ll go for the upsell (teeth whitening sessions and buy some special toothpaste, while you are at it).

How to Create a Tripwire

One of the best ways to come up with an idea would be to go over the objections that potential consumers had about your product. Why did they not buy from you yet?

Do they not trust you enough? Is your product too expensive? Or even worse, do they not realize that your product can help solve their problem? Have your customer service team help you out with this.

Notebooks on a table during a meeting

Next, simply look at your best selling product and how you could slice it up. This is also known as a splinter offer. You could even go one step further and create a free version of your splinter offer to use as a lead magnet (to get your audience to sign up for your email list first).

Remember that we are trying to provide insane value with our offer so that your audience has no choice but to buy. Again, don’t try to make a profit with this – all you want is the consumer to say “Yes” for the first time.

Ten Ideas for a Tripwire

  1. Book / eBook
  2. Webinar
  3. Product Trial
  4. Splinter Offer
  5. Consultation
  6. Checklist
  7. Step-by-Step Guide
  8. Industry Report
  9. Swipe Files
  10. Product Bundles

How to Know Where to Put Marketing Tripwires on Your Website

Now that you have created your offer, it’s time to place it in front of potential customers. Tripwires can be used for cold and warm traffic, but will obviously convert better with a warm audience.

Top of the Funnel

You could definitely put your tripwires in front of cold traffic and still break even. That is why this method is often used as a top-of-funnel strategy. Here is how this could work out:

Potential customers stumble upon the content of your website or YouTube channel and have no clue who you are yet. But now that they have read your article or watched your video, you present them with this great offer that will help them solve their problem for the price of just two cups of coffee.

Gmail Email inbox
Target the warm audience on your email list to achieve better conversion rates

Middle of the Funnel

For even better conversion rates, try to target warm traffic with your offer. This could be people that not only read your article or watched your video but also signed up for your email list.

Tripwires can also be used to reengage with existing customers or customers who canceled their membership, using the unbelievable offer you created as an excuse for you to contact them.

Tripwire Case Study

An often-cited case study about tripwire marketing was done and published by Gael Breton and the team at Authority Hacker. They followed the process laid out in the paragraph above:

Target the warm audience on their email list with a low-priced introductory offer and promote a high-ticket item (in this an online course) to buyers later.

These were their results in the first 30 days:

  • Emails send: 301
  • Revenue with Tripwire: $298.50 (30 Customers)
  • Revenue with Upsell: $2,376 (8 Customers)

So that’s a Conversion Rate of 10% and an Upsell Rate of 26% for a $297 product just by using tripwires. Not bad, right?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Tripwire?

A Tripwire is an irresistible offer designed to convert an audience into paying customers. This is achieved through a low-priced or sometimes even free offer, which provides great value to the buyer and creates trust towards the seller.


Tripwires are a great way to turn the audience of your website or YouTube channel into paying customers. It is a customer acquisition technique used by small businesses and large corporations alike, no matter if they sell physical or digital products.

The key is to provide outstanding value with your tripwire offer and not be focussed on making a profit at this point in the sales process. Instead, use this method to grow your customer base and build a long term relationship with your customers.

Do you use tripwire marketing as part of your marketing strategy? How did it affect your conversion rates? Let us know in the comments!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *