Cheap offers…who can resist them?
That’s the allure of tripwires. By offering something cheap initially, the hope is that your audience will buy it and like it. That way, when you offer them something more expensive down the line, they’ll be more likely to bite.
I remember watching a video a few years ago from Ryan Deiss, the co-founder and CEO of DigitalMarketer.com. He explained how people who bought a cheap tripwire were 5-10x more likely to buy a next-level purchase later in the funnel.
Here at AutoGrow, we’ve also written about what tripwires are in the past.
But I wanted to go one step further with this article. So, I actually launched our own tripwire about a month ago, $7 for my personal marketing swipe file covering landing pages, pop-ups, checkout pages, smart funnel, and more.
In this article I’ll share what I’ve learned so far from doing that, and I’ll provide you with 10 examples of tripwires.
For each example below, I’ll explain what the tripwire is, the alignment of the offer and where to place it in your funnel.
I hope these examples will inspire you to try them out in your own funnel.
Because, hey, even a 30% increase in sales for your core offer would be well-worth it right?
Tripwire Example #1: Old-School Columbia Records Tripwire
Offer Description: Although it seems almost improbable now, as recently as a few decades ago, if you wanted to own music, you’d buy it on CD or even (gasp) cassette.
To incentivize music lovers to get all their tunes from the same place, record companies like Columbia Records started music clubs. Theirs was called Columbia House.
Proving that tripwires go way, way back, those who joined Columbia House could spend just $1 and get 13 cassette tapes or records. This tripwire made Columbia House one of the biggest music clubs until the early 2000s.
Price Range of Offer: In Columbia Records’ case, their tripwire was incredibly cheap. Could you even imagine getting 13 vinyl records for $1 nowadays?
Offer Alignment with Free Content: Since Columbia Records is a music label, all they sold through Columbia House was music. Cassettes may have been more popular than records at the time, but because records were in decline, they may have been cheaper. Thus, from an economic standpoint, it made sense to include records in this tripwire.
Where to Place the Offer in Your Funnel: If you have a tripwire like Columbia Records’, it’s best to place it at the beginning of your funnel. After all, you’re hoping to inspire customers to buy long-term via a club, so that funnel placement works best.
Tripwire Example #2: Vistaprint Tripwire
Offer Description: Vistaprint is one of the biggest card-printing companies today. They produce digital marketing materials, bags and clothes, stationary, posters and signs and business cards.
If you do some research, you’ll find business cards aren’t cheap. If they are, you very often get what you pay for. To grow their customer base, Vistaprint created a worthwhile tripwire.
With this offer, you could get up to 250 basic business cards absolutely free. If you wanted Vistaprint’s premium business cards, you could still get 250 for only $10. The shipping was free for both offers, too.
Price Range of Offer: It doesn’t get better than free, right?
If you do pay, a $10 tripwire offer is right in the sweet spot. In this case, you get a lot for the money: 250 premium business cards. The free shipping is a nice touch, too.
Offer Alignment with Free Content: According to IMPACT Branding & Design, Vistaprint’s upsell offer includes more premium business cards at a higher price. So, it’s not like you get free business cards and then Vistaprint tries to sell you stationary. The offer is aligned.
That said, if someone is looking for business cards, it’s often for networking purposes. To really make the most of their tripwire, Vistaprint could have maybe offered a digital marketing product, such as a brochure.
Where to Place the Offer in Your Funnel: Like the Columbia Records example above, a tripwire like Vistaprint’s should go at the beginning of the funnel. This is an introductory offer meant to intrigue potential customers to try Vistaprint’s products.
Tripwire Example #3: Authority Hacker’s Introductory Course Tripwire
Offer Description: Gael Breton of Authority Hacker shared this case study of how his introductory course tripwire helped net him thousands of dollars.
The core product was Double Your Leads, a five-video course. Breton expanded it to include 40 videos in all. He also hosted webinars and created an exclusive Facebook group for those who paid.
The course cost was $297. To get leads interested, Breton broke the course down, offering a portion of it as a tripwire. This was a much lower price of $9.95.
Before selling his product, Breton had spent time gathering an email list. Over 30 days, he sent 301 emails. In those emails, he offered the tripwire.
In that timeframe, he earned nearly $300 of revenue from the tripwire. With a little bit of math, it appears that 30 of his customers bought the tripwire.
Then Breton introduced his main offer, the full Double Your Leads course. His upsell rate was 26%, leading to $2,376 in revenue.
Remember, this was just within 30 days. Breton goes on to say that he’s “made almost four times more sales” in the time since.
Price Range of Offer: Again, Breton’s tripwire offer was in that $10 sweet spot.
Offer Alignment with Other Content: The alignment with the tripwire and Breton’s other content couldn’t be more in-sync. After all, Breton was giving away part of the full course as the tripwire.
Where to Place the Offer in Your Funnel: Breton says, in this case, an offer like this would do best at the beginning of the funnel.
Tripwire Example #4: AutoGrow’s Swipe File Tripwire
Offer Description: Here at AutoGrow, we’re currently selling our own tripwire in the form of a swipe file. Designed for business sales funnels, our Swipe File helps you produce ads and pages that convert. Yes, even landing pages, pricing pages and checkout pages.
Also included in the Swipe File are upsell examples, Smart Funnel examples, explainer videos and 73 pop-up examples.
Price Range of Offer: Like many tripwires, our Swipe File is available for $7.
Offer Alignment with Other Content: The Swipe File is part of our online sales funnel training, which includes our free four-part video series and our 6-Figure Sales Funnel. The information gleaned from the Swipe File coincides with the material offered in the training videos and the course.
Where to Place the Offer in Your Funnel: We place this offer towards the beginning of our funnel, right after someone opts in for a lead magnet in one of our blog posts.
It’s more of an introductory offer for those not yet ready to invest in our 6-Figure Sales Funnel training.
Tripwire Example #5: Videofruit’s Vault Tripwire
Offer Description: 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.
So what was the Vault? It was a six-module blueprint that included swipe files, workflows and contractor information.
The modules were as follows:
- Launch Sequence (Module 1) with email sequences
- Landing Pages (Module 2)
- Sidebar Opt-Ins (Module 3) with templates and workflows
- Pop-Up Opt-Ins (Module 4)
- Facebook Ads (Module 5) with more than 150 examples
- Explainer Videos (Module 6)
Price Range of Offer: I couldn’t find the exact price for the Vault package from 2014. Harris threw around various figures for some of the products and services included in the Vault, some of these a few hundred dollars and some more than $1,000. If I had to guess, I’d say the Vault probably cost between $49-99.
That may be more than the typical tripwire, but you’re getting so much valuable material with this offer.
Offer Alignment with Other Content: Like our Swipe File above, Harris’ Vault is in direct alignment with Videofruit’s other product offers.
Where to Place the Offer in Your Funnel: 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 other, 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. They also spent quite a bit of money for this tripwire, frankly more than they would with a typical tripwire.
This allowed Harris the opportunity to market to more people with the larger products he’d come out with in the future.
Tripwire Example #6: Turtle Necklace Offer Tripwire
Offer Description: Travis Petelle at Kingpinning made a video case study explaining his tripwire, which appeared on one of his sister sites, Crushing eCommerce.
Petelle has sold consumer goods in the past, and he heard that jewelry was popular. He decided to make the move to selling jewelry, using a necklace as his tripwire.
The necklace was a crystal rhinestone tortoise pendant, which you can see below.
Petelle says the necklace had a value of $19.95, but he was giving it away for free. You only had to pay for the shipping costs.
Price Range of Offer: Petelle states that the average shipping cost was $9.95.
Offer Alignment with Other Content: According to Petelle, his website sold related turtle goods and jewelry, so this tripwire was a great means of introducing his audience to those products.
One of our clients here at AutoGrow did something similar recently, a skincare company called Skin Dermis. What they did was offer a free face cleanser with $7 for shipping.
Immediately after that, they’d try to upsell their customers on their core offer, which was a discounted pack of various skin treatments and cleansers. This was worth thousands of dollars but was offered for under $100 if customers acted within several days of the offer.
Where to Place the Offer in Your Funnel: Again, this is a fantastic introductory offer that should be placed at the beginning of the funnel.
Tripwire Example #7: Thrive Market’s Free Six-Pack Bar Tripwire
Offer Description: Thrive Market is an online retailer of your favorite organic products. Those who join can shop these products in one convenient place and have them shipped to their homes. Packaged together, the organic products also cost less than if you bought them individually at the grocery store.
To intrigue people to sign up for their service, Thrive Market produced a tripwire. Those who joined could get a six-pack of organic Primal Kitchen Dark Chocolate Almond bars free.
The bars were worth about $30. Of course, like the turtle necklace, shipping and handling costs weren’t included.
Price Range of Offer: Shipping and handling, depending on where in the country you lived, was probably no more than $10.
Offer Alignment with Other Content: The alignment with the free bars offer is not necessarily as crystal clear as the other tripwire examples on this list.
That’s because while yes, Thrive Market does sell bars, it also has many other products. But like their other products, these bars did fall under the category of “organic”, so it was still a fit.
Where to Place the Offer in Your Funnel: For this offer, place it at the bottom of the funnel. This is a basic funnel where what you’re selling as the tripwire is a smaller portion of the core product.
You’re trying to appeal to leads who are reluctant about paying for a year of Thrive Market membership.
By showing them the quality of the organic products, and throwing some free almond bars into the mix, they’ll hopefully be inspired to sign up for a membership.
Example #8: Square’s Free Product Tripwire
Offer Description: If you do a lot of small-business shopping, then you’re probably familiar with Square. This company produces both a software and a physical product for processing credit cards quickly. If a small business doesn’t have a cash register (such as at a convention or expo), Square is the perfect alternative.
Square’s tripwire was quite ambitious. The company offered a card reader to intrigue curious leads to try its service. The cost? Nothing. Shipping also seemed to be covered.
Okay, so how would Square make any money? Well, the card reader is useless unless you join Square.
Price Range of Offer: It seems this tripwire was available for free. That said, those who signed up would be essentially forced to pay for Square. The pricing of their service is available here.
Offer Alignment with Other Content: The physical Square product and the software go hand-in-hand; you literally cannot use one without the other. There probably isn’t a better example of offer alignment on this list than this one.
Where to Place the Offer in Your Funnel: If you have a similar product/software combo, you want to place this at the beginning of your funnel. After all, it’s not like you can advertise the product without the software or vice-versa. They’re a package deal that you want to sell leads on early.
Tripwire Example #9: The Motivation Manifesto Free Book (with Paid Shipping) Tripwire
Offer Description: The Motivation Manifesto is a book from New York Times bestseller Brendon Burchard. Besides writing, Burchard also does training on how to build confidence, public speaking and more.
His book focuses on discovering personal freedom. By clicking the above link, you can watch Burchard’s introductory video as well as read a testimonial. If that doesn’t get you intrigued, the free book should.
Burchard also threw in 12 weeks of access to his private Facebook group and a 12-week motivational course. These are also available free of charge. Customers only have to pay for the shipping cost of the book.
Price Range of Offer: According to Burchard, the value of the book is $19.95 and the value of the motivational course is $297. Both prices are from his website so customers can see how much money they’re saving. Shipping, in this case, is $7, including internationally.
Offer Alignment with Other Content: As mentioned, Burchard does more than write. He’s also known for his podcasts, instructional courses and blogs. His book and free motivational course fit in well with the rest of his products and services.
Where to Place the Offer in Your Funnel: The free product with paid shipping tripwire works best at the beginning of the funnel.
Tripwire Example #10: The Invisible Selling Machine Book Tripwire
Offer Description: Here’s another book, although the tripwire strategy is different.
Ryan Deiss, who I mentioned at the beginning of this post, wrote a book called The Invisible Selling Machine. It’s meant for small business owners who want to master marketing.
The book normally sells for $19.95, but that’s not how much Deiss offered it in his tripwire. Instead, he cut the price by $10 and covered shipping and handling.
Price Range of Offer: Customers in the United States would pay just $10 for the book, a common theme among tripwires. There was an extra $7 tacked on for international orders, but that still makes this tripwire under $20.
Offer Alignment with Other Content: There is almost near perfect alignment because the book teaches you 95% of what you need to know. What Deiss is upselling is complementary information, such as a step-by-step course or a video course. Those can be a bit easier for his customers to consume compared to reading a book.
Where to Place the Offer in Your Funnel: For that reason, an offer like this can go at the beginning or even the middle of the funnel. Deiss is trying to appeal to new customers, but he’s giving them a lot of cheap and free content for their money.
Think of tripwires like a batch of cookies. If you give someone a taste of the cookie dough, or even give them one cookie, they’re going to want more.
That said, your tripwire must align with your bigger, more expensive offer to be successful. These 10 examples featured a variety of industries, but offer alignment was key among them all.
So which of these offers works best? That depends on your business, but let’s review:
- If you sell a product/software combo where a user must have both to use your product, like Square, a tripwire is a great idea. You can give the product away for free but still make money since customers must sign up for your software to use it.
- Giving away the basic version of your product to incentivize customers to buy the premium version is another option. Vistaprint did this with its business cards tripwire.
- One popular tripwire that came up again and again in this article was giving away a free product but making customers pay for shipping. This is a win-win. The customer gets a freebie (well, almost) and you still make money off the shipping costs.
Which of these 10 tripwire examples inspired you the most?
Do you think you’ll use any of these tactics when making your own tripwire? Let me know in the comments.
Keep Hustlin’, Stay Focused,