Are you spending a lot of money, time, and effort driving traffic to your website – but it isn’t converting enough?
Are you using SEO, social media, content marketing, and paid ads, but your conversion rates are below par?
What if I told you that you can change this and start getting massive conversions and profits simply by introducing a tripwire in your sales funnel?
What is a tripwire you ask?
Well, a tripwire is a low-cost introductory offer specifically designed to convert cold traffic into paying customers.
In other words, you use a tripwire to warm people up to purchasing your core product/service.
But will it work for me?
It definitely can and there are many companies that use tripwires to rake in huge profits.
McDonald’s, for instance, has been using tripwire marketing to build a billion dollar empire.
McDonald’s does not make any profits on their burgers (which is supposed to be their core product) as they sell it at a lower price (tripwire) to attract customers.
They make the profits on upsells and order bumps which include everything that is bought along with the burgers – like fries and drinks.
In this guide, you will learn everything there is to know about tripwires and most importantly, how you can use them in your sales funnel to maximize conversions and profits.
Here’s what we will be covering.
- What Exactly Is a Tripwire?
- How Is a Tripwire Different From a Lead Magnet?
- How Is a Tripwire Different From a Discount Coupon?
- Where Should You Use a Tripwire in Your Sales Funnel?
- The 5 Factors That Make a Tripwire Successful
- 8 Types of Products You Can Offer as a Tripwire
- How to Price Your Tripwire Offer?
- 9 Powerful Examples of Successful Tripwires in Action
- Use CartFlows to Create Successful Tripwire Funnels
- Wrapping Up
So let’s explore this further.
What Exactly Is a Tripwire?
To put it simply, a tripwire is a high-value product/service offered at a far lower cost, making it an irresistible deal.
It lowers the barrier to entry as it involves low risk and a lower level of commitment.
The goal of a tripwire is twofold.
The first goal is to quickly increase your customer base by converting cold traffic into buying customers. And the second goal is to identify qualifying leads who are more likely to spend money on your products/services (and hence easier to sell to).
Once a customer takes up your tripwire offer, you can upsell them complementary offers leading to your core (or high ticket) offer.
This works because of the fact that it’s much easier to sell to existing customers who have purchased and used your product/service than to a new customer who has no idea who you are.
Let’s look at a simple example.
Let’s say your goal is to sell a box of 50 premium chocolates priced at $350.
If that’s your initial offer, people will be hesitant to buy because for one, the product cost is very high, and they also don’t know who you are or how those chocolates actually taste.
So instead, you make your initial offer a tripwire.
You give them a smaller pack of 5 chocolates at a highly discounted rate of say $5 (instead of the actual rate which would be $35) making this a no-brainer deal.
Anyone who is genuinely interested will find it silly to pass on such a deal.
Once a customer takes you up on the tripwire offer, you can then upsell them a slightly bigger box of chocolates, say a box of 25 at the standard rate of $175.
And if they take you up on that, you can sell them your core offer which is the box of 50 at $350.
Not every person who takes up your tripwire offer is going to end up buying your core product, but a lot of them will (which will also lead to repeat transactions), making you a ton of profits.
So even though you might incur a small loss initially (as part of your low-cost tripwire offer), you will end up making a whole lot more going forward.
Now the obvious question that arises is, why not give away the 5 chocolates for free?
Well, by giving away the product for free, you will get a lot more leads, but there is no way to figure out if these leads will be interested in shelling out money to buy your products.
Instead, when you put a price tag on it and someone buys your product, they become your customer and it’s much easier to sell to your existing customers.
So a tripwire offer helps you identify buyers. It helps you separate the wheat from the chaff.
Now let’s look at a real life example of a tripwire offer.
The following image shows a tripwire offer from Rebus university that sells real estate related training courses.
As you would notice, the product, which in this case is a membership to a real estate training course is of an extremely high value consisting of 12 power-packed courses.
In comparison, the offer rate of $7 (for 7 days of access) appears miniscule making it an irresistible deal.
Once the customer takes up the offer and gets to experience the courses first hand, they are highly likely to continue the membership at its original price which in this case is $127 after the trial period.
So instead of presenting the customer with an initial offer of $127 which will put them in a state of freeze, the company offers them a no-brainer tripwire offer of $7 with an option to cancel anytime.
This brings down the customer’s guard as it’s a low cost, low risk, and low commitment offer. And once they find real value in the training course, they are more than likely to sign up for the monthly membership.
We will look at many such examples of tripwires in action in the later part of this article. Ideas that will help you formulate your own successful tripwire.
How Is a Tripwire Different From a Lead Magnet?
A tripwire might seem very similar to a lead magnet but it is not.
A lead magnet is used to generate leads by offering a free incentive whereas a tripwire is used to convert leads into customers by offering a low cost (not free) incentive.
Let’s look at the differences in further details.
A lead magnet offers an incentive in the form of a free product (eg. a free ebook) in exchange for the prospect’s email address or other contact information.
The following image is a good example of a lead magnet.
As you can see, the prospect just needs to enter their email address to get a free copy of the gardening book.
A tripwire, on the other hand, offers a heavily discounted product/service as an incentive to convert prospects into customers. For example, an ebook that is sold for less than one-fourth of its original cost.
You can use a lead magnet and a tripwire together in your sales funnel as shown in the image below.
You first generate leads by offering a related product as a free lead magnet and then pitch your tripwire offer to those leads.
Finally, you pitch your high ticket offer to customers who took up the tripwire offer.
This is a really popular sales funnel model used by a lot of marketers.
Hello! My name is Sujay and I’m CEO of Astra.
We’re on a mission to help small businesses grow online with affordable software products and the education you need to succeed.
How Is a Tripwire Different From a Discount Coupon?
A lot of people tend to confuse tripwire offers with discounted offers (like discount coupons). Although they might look the same, they differ in terms of their objectives.
The objective of a discounted deal is to increase conversions while also increasing profits. Therefore, you can only offer a nominal discount that does not cut too deeply into your profit margins.
Whereas the sole objective of a tripwire is to quickly convert as much traffic as possible into customers. Therefore, while offering a tripwire, you are not usually focused on making a profit.
In-fact, there is a possibility that you may incur a loss because you are offering a high-quality product at a very low cost. This loss can be recovered by upselling to your customers once they have taken up your tripwire offer.
For example, let’s say the cost of an ebook is $25 and you offer it for $20 as part of a discounted deal for a limited period. This will increase your conversions while increasing your profits.
Whereas in a tripwire offer, you will be offering the $25 ebook for some insanely low price like $2 or $5. The moment someone sees this, they will want to take up the offer as the value they are getting from the product is far higher than the price they need to pay.
So you get far higher conversions but in doing so, your profit margins become extremely low or non-existent in-case in some cases.
Where Should You Use a Tripwire in Your Sales Funnel?
A tripwire is generally used in the beginning (top) or middle of a sales funnel.
Top of Funnel
In this strategy, you drive traffic to your website using SEO, social media, paid ads, etc. and then sell them your tripwire offer.
For customers who take up the tripwire, you can show a discounted order bump and then an upsell or two before selling them on the core offer.
Upsells can be sent via a series of emails.
This is a great way to convert people quickly.
Middle of Funnel
You can also use a tripwire in the middle of your sales funnel.
In this strategy, you drive traffic to your website and use a lead magnet (free offer) to get people to sign up for your email newsletter.
You can then send your tripwire offer(s) through a series of emails.
You can also use this strategy if you already have an email list.
You can also use this funnel strategy to bring back existing customers who are no longer actively engaged with your business.
The 5 Factors That Make a Tripwire Successful
Simply implementing a tripwire does not necessarily guarantee its success.
If you want your tripwire to be successful, your tripwire offer needs to have a combination of 5 important factors.
These factors are as follows.
1. Low Cost but High Perceived Value
To be successful, your tripwire offer should be a combination of low risk, low commitment, low cost, and high value.
Always make sure that the perceived value of your tripwire product/service is much higher than the price being charged.
A question that pops up in the minds of most customers upon seeing such offers is, ‘Okay, where’s the catch?’
Give a clear message to your customers that there is absolutely no catch and no risk involved when they take up your offer.
Also, offer a money back guarantee.
For example, if your tripwire is a product/service trial, assure your customers that they are free to cancel the trial anytime and that they will not incur additional charges (as shown in the image below).
2. High Product Quality
The product that you offer as a tripwire needs to be of high quality so it builds trust and encourages your customers to continue doing business with you.
Think of this product as a small sample to your core offer. If the sample is not good, people will not be interested in purchasing your core offer or your upsells.
Therefore, it is important that the product you offer is of the best quality and offers high value to your customers.
3. Useful but Incomplete
Your tripwire product should offer high value but also leave your customers wanting more.
It should evoke a desire in them to go back to your website and buy more products/services.
For example, if you are selling an online course, you can give away the first few chapters of the course as the tripwire product. This way, your customers gain value out of the chapters and their most natural step would be to buy the remaining chapters.
So always make sure that your tripwire naturally leads to your core product.
4. Creates a Sense of Urgency
In order to be successful, your tripwire should create a sense of urgency.
Let your customers know that your offer is not going to last forever.
If it’s a physical product you can tell your customers that you have limited inventory and that the products will be sold out quickly if they don’t act fast.
In the case of a digital product, you can put a time limit for which the tripwire offer will be available.
Urgency creates the fear of missing out which will motivate your prospect to take up your tripwire offer.
5. Specific and Relevant
If you offer a tripwire product that is completely unrelated to your core offer, then people will not be interested in buying your core offer.
So make sure that there is a connection between the products your offer as your lead magnet, tripwire, order bumps, upsells and your core offer. All of these should naturally lead to the other.
For example, if you offer a free ebook on indoor gardening as a lead magnet, your tripwire should be something related to an indoor gardening webinar, and your core product could be a complete indoor gardening DVD course.
As you can see, all of these products naturally lead to the other.
As a rule of thumb, try to come up with your tripwire offer based on your core offer and not the other way round.
8 Types of Products You Can Offer as a Tripwire
Depending on your industry, there are a ton of products/services that you can offer as a tripwire.
The following are just some examples to give you a head start.
1. Product/Service Trials:
Trials can work great as tripwires.
You can offer your customers a limited time trial (ideally 7 to 10 days) at a low cost (say $7 for 7-day access) that allows them to test out and use all the features of your product or service.
This can work great for digital products, training courses, and membership sites.
2. Physical Products as Free-Plus-Shipping Offers:
In this type of tripwire, you offer a physical product completely free of cost as long as the customer covers the shipping fee.
For example, you can sell a physical book for free and charge only for shipping.
3. A Smaller Version of a Core Product Offering:
You can take a small portion of your core product and offer it as a tripwire.
For example, if you sell a training program that consists of 15 modules, you can give the first two modules at a low cost as a tripwire.
4. Complementary Products
A complimentary product that ties into your main product can make for a great tripwire too.
For example, if you sell sneakers, you can give a sneaker cleaner as a tripwire.
5. Small Workbooks or Journals
You can offer workbooks or journals that go along with your main product as a tripwire.
6. E-books or Info Products
An ebook related to your core product can make for the perfect tripwire.
Just make sure that the ebook offers high value and is not merely a product plug.
Webinars are usually used as a free lead magnet, but they can work well as tripwires too.
A good way to go about this is to use a free lead magnet to get people on your email list and then send them a link to the paid webinar.
People will sign-up for a paid webinar as long as they are sure it is going to give them great value.
You can offer a 15-minute one-on-one consultation on phone, chat or email as a tripwire.
Again the best way to approach this is to first start off with a lead magnet and then pitch your tripwire to people on your email list.
Your free product should give them a great value which will encourage them to take up the tripwire offer.
How to Price Your Tripwire Offer?
Tripwires are typically priced between $1 and $20. But the price can be higher depending on the average cost of your products.
For example, if your core product sells at $2000, you can even consider selling a $100 tripwire offer.
As a rule of thumb, just make sure that the product that you are offering is of a far higher value than the price you are charging for it.
For example, an ebook that sells at $45 can be offered at one tenth its price at $5. Now that’s an offer that is super hard to resist. Also, because this is a digital product, you will not incur a loss.
So you have the freedom to price it as low as possible. This is not the case with a physical product though.
If your tripwire is a physical product, make sure that you price it in such a way that it does not burn a huge hole in your pocket.
Ideally, you need to price it so that you break even or incur as little loss as possible. You can always increase the shipping fee a little to offset the low price.
You can keep making corrective changes to your tripwire strategy based on the conversion rate and the average cart value (ACV) of your tripwire funnel.
9 Powerful Examples of Successful Tripwires in Action
Let’s look at 8 powerful examples of tripwire offers from successful marketers and e-commerce stores that will help you formulate your own tripwire strategy.
1. Ryan Levesque – Free Plus Shipping Tripwire Offer
One of the most popular tripwire strategies is ‘Free plus shipping’.
You basically offer a physical product completely free of cost as long as the customer pays for shipping.
The following image is a good example of this strategy in action.
As you can see, Ryan Levesque, the founder of, ‘The Ask Method’, is selling his bestselling book ‘Ask’ for free as long as the customer is ready to pay $7.95 for shipping.
The book retails at $12.99.
Given the popularity of the book and the high value it promises, this is a no-brainer deal.
A tripwire like this can be used for any physical product (as we will see in the next example), but books definitely work great for this as you can keep the cost of production low and still up the overall value of the product.
Just make sure that the product you give for free is complementary or is in someway related to your core offer.
2. DotcomSecrets – Free + Shipping + Order Bump
Another popular tripwire strategy is to combine your free plus shipping offer with an order bump and upsell.
This way you can start making profits from your tripwire even before showing your customer the core offer.
As an example let’s look at how Russel Brunson the founder of ClickFunnels users this strategy.
As you can see from the following image, Russel sells his popular book DotComSecrets (cost $19.95) free of cost as long as you are ready to pay the shipping of $7.95.
But that’s not all. Once you enter your shipping details and go to the payment step, you are presented with an order bump as you can see from the image below.
The order bump includes a package deal of 5 of Russel’s best selling books available at a discounted rate of $37.
Because you are already paying for shipping and the shipping cost will remain the same for 1 book or this deal of 5 books, this deal is sure to tempt you to take up the order bump.
It’s a given that not everyone will take up the order bump, but many will, resulting in a considerable increase in earnings.
Let’s look at another example.
TheAwesomeParents.com offers a free pair of premium socks (original cost – $22) as a tripwire. You only need to pay for shipping
Once you take up the tripwire offer, they upsell related products as you can see from the image below.
In this way discounted order bumps and upsells can help you easily make a profit using a tripwire.
Of-course once the customer has taken up your tripwire and order bump/upsell, you can start selling them your core offer through a series of emails.
3. Name.com – First Year Discount and Then Regular Pricing
Name.com (domain name reseller) offers an extremely low price for registrations of newer domain name extensions.
For instance, you can buy a ‘.club’ extension for as low as 99 cents for the first year making this an irresistible deal. From the second year onward, the regular rate of $15.98 is charged.
Name.com knows that once a customer buys a domain name there is a high likelihood that they will continue for many years to come. So they make more than the low-cost tripwire over repeat transactions.
This strategy can work great for membership sites like forums.
Instead of the entire year, you can give the first month at a lower cost and then charge regular rates from the 2nd month onward.
Once a customer starts participating in the forum and starts finding value, there is a high likelihood that will continue their membership.
4. DesignCuts.com – Bundled Products as a Tripwire
Bundled products can work great as a tripwire offer.
Let’s look at an example.
DesignCuts.com offers design related resources like fonts, graphics, textures, templates and more for designers.
They release tripwire deals on a regular basis that generally includes a bundled collection of various design elements at extremely low prices.
All of their deals are offered for a limited time making it that much more attractive.
The following is one such example.
As you can see (from the above image), they offer an absolutely amazing deal for their vintage design library that includes vintage fonts, lettering library, textures, decorative elements, vintage brushes, illustrations and a lot more at an insanely low price.
Any designer will find this offer too good to pass up on. And once they take up the offer, they are more than likely to checkout the multitude of other resources offered by the site.
5. Ahrefs – $7 Trial for 7 Days
Product trials can make for great tripwire offers.
Ahrefs (online competitor research tool) offers a $7 trial (for 7 days) as a tripwire.
The 7 days trial gives you full access to all the features and you have the option to cancel anytime.
Once the trial is over, you will be charged the regular amount which is $99 per month for the Lite plan or $179 per month for the standard plan.
Many Ahrefs competitors offer a free trial with limited features but this is a better option as you get to use all the features for a low cost.
There is a high likelihood that anyone who signs up for the tripwire will continue with the monthly plan as they get to experience all the amazing features firsthand and know that these features are worth the money.
6. ExceedNutrition – $1 Trial for 14 Days
A really popular tripwire option is the $1 trial.
This tripwire is absolutely irresistible because of its super low rate and the fact that you get access to all the features of a product for a set period of time.
A good example is Exceednutrition.com that sells recipe packs.
This site offers a $1 trial that gives you access to all membership features for a period of 14 days.
As you can see from the image below, the customer is free to cancel anytime and there is also a money back guarantee that makes this deal completely risk free with low commitment.
Here’s another example (refer to the image below) of a $1 trial from JumpManual.com that offers training courses for basketball players to improve their vertical jump.
JumpManual.com offers a $1 trial for 7 days access to their complete training library.
Once the trial is over, you get to keep the product at a 73% discount or cancel anytime.
The discount makes this offer even more enticing. There is a high likelihood that the discount and the value that the product offers will motivate the buyers to make the $66 payment and keep the course.
Here’s one more example of a $1 trial from SaleHOO.com which is a directory of wholesale suppliers and dropshippers.
This is again a 7-day trial where you get full access to the directory.
Once the trial is over, you are charged an annual fee of $67 to continue access.
And while we are at it, let’s look at one more example, this time for a physical product.
YogaBody.com offers a $1 trial (for 1 month) for their Yoga Trapeze product (original cost $199).
So you only need to pay $1 plus the shipping fee to get this product.
This trial allows you to use this product for 30 days and if you are not satisfied, you can send it back at no additional cost. If you are satisfied and want to keep it, you can make the remaining payment.
So as you can see, trials can work for physical products too.
7. Snackcrate – A Smaller Sample as a Tripwire
Product samples can work great as tripwire offers too. Let’s see this in action.
Snackcrate is a subscription service that sends its customers snacks from various countries on a monthly basis.
In order to get more customers, Snackcrate offers a starter subscription box as a tripwire.
As you can see from the image below, this box costs only $5 and comes with over half a pound of snacks. So customers get to enjoy amazing snacks at an insanely low cost making this a super attractive offer.
To encourage customers to continue, Snackcrate also offers a discount for the 2nd month.
From the 3rd month onward the regular price of $26 is charged.
Customers are free to cancel their subscriptions at any time.
8. Shawn Thomas – Low-Cost Flash Sale as a Tripwire
Flash sales where you offer a product/service for an extremely low rate for a short period of time can make for a great tripwire offer.
The following image is an example of a popular course by Shawn Thomas (author and entrepreneur) that you can get access to for as low as $8 for a limited period of time. The actual cost of the course is $48.
As you can see, this course gives you access to a multitude of ebooks, videos, and articles making this an irresistible deal to pass up on.
Also, the deal is available only for a limited time that creates a sense of urgency that will motivate people to buy this as soon as possible.
9. Disney Movie Club – 4 Movies for $1 Tripwire Offer
In order to encourage you to join, the Disney Movie Club offers 4 movies of your choice for as low as $1 along with free shipping!
Anyone who is considering joining the Club will find this offer silly to pass up on.
Disney more than makes up for this low-cost offer because as per their membership terms, once you join (using this offer) you need to buy five more movie titles in the course of 2 years at a regular rate.
This again sounds very nominal as anyone who is into Disney movies, will certainly buy more than 5 titles in over 2 years.
Use CartFlows to Create Successful Tripwire Funnels
As we saw in this article, there are various strategies that go into making a tripwire successful and one of them is using order bumps and upsells to promote related products/services to customers who take up your tripwire offer.
If you are wondering how you can add these to your tripwire offer without hiring an expensive programmer or buying expensive software, then worry not.
You have an extremely easy to use and affordable solution available in CartFlows.
What Is CartFlows
CartFlows is a complete checkout optimization plugin for WordPress that integrates seamlessly with WooCommerce.
With CartFlows, you can easily build complex sales funnels including landing pages, checkout pages, order bumps, upsell/downsell pages and thank you pages with the click of a button.
The following image is an example of a checkout page created using CartFlows for a Free plus Shipping tripwire offer.
As you can see, this page also features an order bump right above the ‘Call to Action’ button.
You can create such pages easily using CartFlows as this plugin gives you access to prebuilt templates (for landing, checkout, upsell and thank you pages) that can easily be edited using your favorite page builder be it Elementor, Divi or Beaver Builder.
Once the page is designed, you can add additional functionalities like order bumps right from within your WordPress dashboard as shown in the image below.
You can also add Upsell/Downsell pages with ease and decide where you want them to appear in your checkout flow (sales funnel).
The following is an example of an upsell page created using CartFlows.
We encourage you to take CartFlows for a spin today and see how it changes the way you do business online.
You can download the free version of CartFlows from the WordPress repository here.
You are probably good at driving traffic to your website and even at generating leads using a lead magnet.
But if you are not able to get those leads to convert into customers, then all your effort is going to vain.
As we saw in this article, a tripwire could act as a bridge helping you convert leads into customers, whom you can then upsell to maximizing your profits.
So if you have never used tripwire marketing before, then it’s high time you give it a try even if it is only for a short period of time.
Use the strategies and tools mentioned in this article to create your own tripwire offer and see how it increases your conversion rates and your profit margins.
We are certain you will fall in love with this marketing tactic.