I bet your childhood was very different than kids’ nowadays…
For instance, I have a little cousin who’s just 5 years old and it’s amazing how he has already purchased “things” online (for his Thomas The Train game) and learned what money is for.
He’s obsessed with Thomas the Train and always plays it on his father’s computer.
But he got to a point in the game where he “needs” to pay with gold coins—and with very real dollars—to unlock the next levels.
Because let’s face it, it’s not going to be about Thomas racing on incredible tracks filled with twisty roller coasters, epic jumps, and splashy water slides forever. There’s got to be way more than that and my little cousin wants to experience those new unknown boards.
He’s so into the game that he’s actually told his parents that he needs to buy the coins with his savings in order to keep playing.
Without even realizing it, my little cousin has already gone deep down the “Thomas Funnel”—and you know that initial purchase of gold coins that started it all? Well that’s the tripwire.
And the same thing that happens in video games happens in with smart business sales funnels. But what can learn from how a Thomas the Train game sells a tripwire to a 5-year-old kid, leading to a longer-term buyer relationship?
Well, in this article I’ll show you step-by-step how it’s possible for you to create your own high-converting tripwire and send your visitors down your funnel towards your higher-ticket core offers.
Let’s start, shall we?
What Is A Tripwire?
A tripwire—also called “splinter”—is a small offer (usually between $5-$50) sold to new email subscribers after they opt in to your website.
It’s meant to accelerate and strengthen the buyer/seller relationship.
And by accelerating the relationship, that means the tripwrite is basically a “launchpad” for more easily upselling people on your core offer (e.g. your more premium product(s) and service(s)).
People might sometimes join your email list but might not want your core offer. So your first step to persuading them should be making them a simple and affordable offer.
Doing so will help those potential customers overcome the fear of buying from you and gain trust.
If you think about a relationship with a customer as a slope, the value ladder is a straight line. The customer will visit your website, subscribe to your email list, and BOOM! That ladder goes way up at an almost 90-degree incline.
Then your customer may make a bigger purchase. Maybe for $100, $500, and even more.
But how do you service a larger market with automation services while building trust?
With a tripwire.
A tripwire converts more people and nurtures the relationship.
According to Ryan Deiss from DigitalMarketer.com, “People who purchased tripwires were 10 times more likely to purchase their core offer.”
When you offer a tripwire, you deliver value for a little bit of money in exchange.
This creates an association for the buyer. They think that if they spend a small amount of money, they get a bit of value. And if they spend more money, they’ll get more value.
Eventually, it’ll become something natural for the customer to spend money on your products.
However, your goal isn’t necessarily to make a profit from your tripwire offer. It serves to increase your customer base and cover all of your lead generation expenses.
In fact, lots of companies sell their tripwire at a loss to gain more customers long term.
Your tripwire should be an irresistible offer. Something that is so great that your prospect wouldn’t want to miss out. And keep in mind that we all have the fear of missing out (a.k.a. FOMO).
Now, don’t think you need to be a marketing guru to create your own killer tripwire.
All you need to do is follow the steps I put together for you in this supreme guide.
STEP 1. CREATE A LEAD MAGNET.
First thing’s first. Before you create and offer your tripwire, you need people to sign up for your email list. And for that you need to create a lead magnet. Right?
I think this step is just a refresher because you already know how to create a killer lead magnet in 9 easy steps and you already know the best lead magnet examples.
Offer your site’s visitors something for free that leaves them thirsting for more and eager to take the next step in your website—to buy something.
But the important thing here is to offer something that your entire market will find valuable.
You need to understand and define the value of your product or service for that. Then, and only then, you’ll give your prospects a compelling reason or motivation to download your offer.
The best value proposition you can offer to them is the one that your prospect needs. So, instead of trying to create something you think they could just want, think about what they really need.
Find the common problems that your site’s visitors struggle with and provide the quick solution they have been looking for.
Remember to think from your customer’s perspective based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs—first physiological, then safety, and then love.
To help you find the right lead magnet idea, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is your target customer?
- What does your audience want?
- What’s preventing them from getting what they want?
- How can you provide a solution?
Once you answer those questions, you’ll be able to create a lead magnet (and then a tripwire) and market it effectively.
The faster you understand how your products or services will solve money, time, and efficiency problems for your prospects, the more likely they’ll buy from you.
It’s your lead magnet as a starting point that will help you segment your list by using different topics and solutions of your larger products or services.
STEP 2: BRAINSTORM TRIPWIRE OFFERS RELEVANT TO YOUR LEAD MAGNET *AND* THAT HIGHLIGHT THE VALUE OF YOUR CORE PRODUCT OR SERVICE.
Your tripwire idea isn’t the first thing that crosses your mind.
It’s not something you just throw together and toss into the air expecting prospects to catch it.
Although it doesn’t require an exhaustive and meticulous thinking process, it does require a productive brainstorming session. Ask again the questions you asked yourself when creating your lead magnet to see what pain points prospects are looking to have solved.
When brainstorming, consider surveying your audience to find out what problems you can help them solve with a low priced product—think of $5-$50.
If for instance, you sell multiple products or services, look for the ones that sell the most. This will give you an idea of what to copy or model.
However, the best way to come up with a tripwire that’s relevant to your lead magnet and that highlights the value of your product or service is to look at your current core offer and what you’re selling now.
Take a look at your info products and services and see if you can splinter, package, and sell them.
For example, if you’re selling a service, you can offer a “Project Roadmap.”
Simply make your tripwire an integral part of your business. Use it as a reason or excuse to make your customers come back to your site.
Also, think about common objections to your products or services. Does your target market find your product or service too expensive?
Like a relationship with a friend, build trust.
Once you gain their trust, the rest of the process will flow smoothly.
STEP 3. DECIDE ON THE TYPE OF TRIPWIRE YOU’LL OFFER.
It’s time to choose the type of tripwire that will deliver your value proposition to prospects when they visit your website.
When deciding, consider the following:
- Focus on your skills: It’s time to show off your talent and skills. Offer a product you know you’ll be great at creating. If for example you’re a good writer, offer an ebook. Not so great at writing but you feel comfortable talking? Go with a video training instead.
- Keep your tripwire simple: A complicated and hard-to-digest product won’t attract customers. Keep it simple and easy to digest.
- Promise one quick win: The tripwire type you end up choosing should promise (and deliver) one quick win for your visitor. It should help them achieve something easily. Forget about really long training and courses that will take them forever to accomplish.
- Set a cheap price: Don’t offer expensive tripwires because no one will buy them. Offer products between $5-$50.
- Prioritize rapid consumption: Choose a tripwire format that’s easy to download and consume. This will give your prospects peace of mind and will move them down your funnel quicker.
There are hundreds of different tripwire types and/or formats. Decide the tripwire type that you feel most comfortable creating based on your skills and knowledge.
Here are some options for you to consider:
- Audio file
- Swipe files
- Inspirational quotes
- Printable poster
- Plug-in or web app
- Desktop wallpaper
- Toolkit/resource list
- Sales material
- Video training
- Free trial
- Free shipping
- Case study
STEP 4. DETERMINE THE NAME FOR YOUR TRIPWIRE.
Determining the title for your tripwire is similar to creating a title for an article you write. You want an eye-catching headline for your value proposition that appeals to your site’s visitors.
The title will be the first thing that’ll catch people’s attention when they see your offer. For instance…
- Be clear, not smart: Don’t try to sound too fancy using words that no one ever uses. Instead, be clear, descriptive, and not vague or generic.
- Mention the end result: If people don’t read what benefit(s) they will get from purchasing your product, they probably won’t purchase it. So always mention the benefit or the end result your tripwire will convey to prospects.
- Use list-posts and how to-guides: People like simplicity. When you read a blog and scroll down, you’re looking to read something visually attractive, something easy to follow. For instance, if you organize your content with bullet points and/or numbers, the experience for the reader will be more pleasant.
- State the problem: Follow the tried-and-true PAS (problem, agitate, solution) framework that many marketers use. This works because it’s based on a proven persuasion strategy called “pacing and leading”. If you pace your prospects by showing that you understand them, you empathize with their problem. Then, they’re more likely to buy your solution when you direct them to it. In fact, stating the problem on a landing page can grab nearly 50% more sales according to one of the 313 case studies analyzed in the Proven Sales Conversion Pack.
STEP 5. USE FRIENDLY TOOLS TO CREATE AND DESIGN A VISUALLY ATTRACTIVE TRIPWIRE.
Make sure your content is properly formatted. No one will want to read something that’s disorganized and filled with grammar errors.
Focus on writing the message that will encourage people to purchase your offer.
Include a reason why they shouldn’t miss your offer. In fact, one of the 313 case studies analyzed in the Proven Sales Conversion Pack states that FOMO can increase the number of people opting in by 38.25%.
The tools you need for creating your tripwire will depend on the type of content you’ll offer. Some of the most common and friendly tools are:
STEP 6. CREATE A LANDING PAGE TO SELL YOUR TRIPWIRE.
Creating a dedicated landing page where you’ll state all relevant information to your tripwire will give customers peace of mind.
When you purchase something on Amazon or something online, you always look for as much information as possible. You need to have all the information before you make up your mind. You look for reviews, price, description of the product, guarantee, and more.
It works the same way when a prospect visits your site. They want to find out how valuable your product is.
- What happens if I don’t like the product?
- What happens if I want a refund?
- Will this product solve my problems?
- Will this product add value to my business?
- Why should I buy this product here and not from a different website?
Those are questions your prospects will automatically think of when they come across your tripwire offer.
So answer those questions for them and build trust. Include your guarantee policy, risk reversal, and/or money-back guarantee.
Simply show them what they’ll get with your offer and why you are the best option for them.
Being transparent and clear about our product has helped us sell over $$4,935.00 this year, and $315 so far for this month.
So create a dedicated space where prospects can take a thorough look at your product right after they opt in to your email list.
STEP 7. MAKE SURE YOUR TRIPWIRE’S PRICE IS ENTRY-LEVEL (I.E. INEXPENSIVE).
Your tripwire offer must be affordable. And by affordable I mean cheap.
Forget about pricey products just because you’re looking to make money. Your goal at this point shouldn’t be to make a profit from your tripwire offer. It would be great if it happens of course.
But instead, see it as something to increase your customer base and cover all of your lead generation expenses.
Most startups sell their tripwire at a loss so don’t feel bad if you’re not making millions with it—yet.
STEP 8. START AN EMAIL CAMPAIGN FOR CUSTOMERS WHO BUY YOUR TRIPWIRE OFFER.
Don’t stop after you sell your tripwire. The journey hasn’t ended yet.
Do you think my little cousin stopped the Thomas the Train game after he purchased the coins? Not at all!
If anything, he’s now even more into the game because there are new boards that he hasn’t transited yet!
Same goes for your customers. If they purchase something from you and they like it, they will want to keep exploring new offers on your site.
So nurture your leads. Communicate with them via email because you want those customers to return to your website and spend more money in your business.
Here are some ways to “keep in touch” with them after their purchase…
- Remind them via email of the value they received from your tripwire.
- Redirect them to your blog page so they can read your content.
- Invite them to follow you on social media.
- Upsell them to a more expensive product that’s directly related to your tripwire.
STEP 9. FOLLOW UP WITH CUSTOMERS TO ASK FOR THEIR FEEDBACK.
Feedback matters, and it matters a lot.
Hearing what your customers have to say about your products is vital for your reputation.
Remember, word of mouth can be very powerful.
For instance, bad reviews can simply hurt your sales. So you should always, always take into consideration your customers’ feedback and improve the quality of your products.
Don’t miss out on an opportunity to get direct feedback from your customers.
Send out emails to your customers and ask them what they have to say about your product—good and/or bad.
But don’t bore them with a long and tedious survey or poll. Just ask them to reply to your email and share detailed feedback.
You can apply the insightful feedback you receive to improve your tripwire moving forward.
STEP 10. MODEL PROVEN (AND SUCCESSFUL) TRIPWIRE EXAMPLES.
Here are some tripwire examples that can help you create yours. They’re proven to convert so you can find some inspiration in them…
At AutoGrow, we’re currently selling our tripwire in the form of a swipe file.
It’s designed for business sales funnels and helps them create ads and pages that convert like sales pages, pricing pages, and checkout pages.
We also include in our offer examples of upsells, smart funnels, explainer videos, and pop-ups.
Our tripwire is available for $7 and it sells like hotcakes.
We place this offer towards the end of our funnel, right after someone completes the survey.
It’s more of an introductory offer for those that aren’t ready to invest more money in our more expensive products.
Back in 2014, Videofruit founder Bryan Harris unveiled his tripwire for The Vault. This was the first product he had offered in a while.
It had scarcity, with only 100 Vault passes in all.
The Vault was a 6-module blueprint that included swipe files, workflows and contractor information.
Like our tripwire, Harris’ is in direct alignment with Videofruit’s other product offers.
At the time The Vault was offered, Videofruit was still starting out. They didn’t yet have a core offer so they just kept putting out smaller offers.
The Vault then was basically a core offer without an upsell. It did serve the purpose of a typical tripwire because it got more people onto his email list.
STEP 11. ADVERTISE YOUR TRIPWIRE AS A LIMITED-TIME OFFER.
(Source: Meera Kothand)
Creating a limited-time tripwire can actually boost conversions even further.
The scarcity tactic works because people naturally have a fear of missing out on things and we fear losses more than potential gains.
Adding scarcity can even translate to a 24.5% revenue boost just like it did for one case study from the 313 analyzed in the Proven Sales Conversion Pack. And all by just adding the expiration date into the copy.
Simply appeal to people’s fear of missing out because fear of loss is powerful.
STEP 12. PROMOTE AND OPTIMIZE YOUR TRIPWIRE.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) can play a substantial role in your tripwire marketing’s success.
By now, you already have a working strategy to tease more customers. You also understand your audience and know how to better serve their needs.
For instance, to promote and optimize your tripwire, feature it throughout your website. Make it visible and easy to find.
Exposure is vital to the success of your tripwire sale. If prospects can’t find your offer, they won’t buy.
You can even consider advertising your tripwire in your navigation bar or header.
And don’t forget to emphasize the value proposition and the benefits and/or end result it will provide to your customers. For instance, use a clear and outstanding CTA to guide your customers to the next steps.
Analyze their behavior when they navigate through your site…
- Which pages do they visit first?
- How much time do they spend on each landing page?
- How far do they scroll down?
Tools like heatmaps allow you to visualize and analyze your users’ behaviors. So don’t rely on guesswork.
Always A/B test the placement of your tripwire offer on your website to determine what’s the place that converts better.
Set up a basic retargeting campaign to see if it’s cheaper for you to run ads to cold or warm audiences.
When it comes to selling your tripwire, you can use a tool like SendOwl. This is a friendly tool to complete your customer’s purchase and deliver the digital product directly to their inbox.
You can also use Teachable if your tripwire is an online course. In this case, simply give your customer access to the course after they purchase it.
Or you can simply set up automation through your email marketing platform. We use MailChimp and ActiveCampaign in AutoGrow. So once a customer finishes a purchase, an email is sent to their inbox with instructions on how to access or download the product.
To wrap up this point, promote your tripwire via…
- Facebook groups
- Blog posts
- LinkedIn Pulse
- Facebook Ads
- Landing page
- Social Media
- Guest post
- Sidebar widget
- And word of mouth… my little cousin keeps telling his friends (and me) how great Thomas the Train game is and I bet the company has already made some sales thanks to that word of mouth!
Despite what you’ve been told, creating a high-converting tripwire is not that difficult.
All you need to do is first create an offer relevant to your lead magnet. It must be business orientated, concise, actionable, problem-focused, specific, useful, and easy to digest.
Start by asking yourself…
- Who is your target customer?
- What do they want?
- What’s preventing them from getting what they want?
- How can you provide a solution?
And then follow the 12 easy steps to finally create your high-converting tripwire…
- Create a lead magnet.
- Brainstorm tripwire offers relevant to your lead magnet and that highlight the value of your product or service.
- Decide on the type of tripwire you’ll offer.
- Determine the name for your tripwire.
- Use friendly tools to create and design a visually attractive tripwire.
- Create a landing page to offer your tripwire.
- Make sure your tripwire’s price is entry-level.
- Start an email campaign for customers who buy your tripwire offer.
- Follow up with customers to ask for their feedback.
- Model proven (and successful) tripwire examples.
- Advertise your tripwire as a limited-time offer.
- Promote and optimize your tripwire.
Remember that a tripwire is a small bribe, it’s cheap ($50 or under), and it’s low risk.
Now tell me something, have you ever created a tripwire for your business? What are you currently offering to your prospects?
Let me know in the comments below.
Keep funnelin’, stay focused,