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What Is The Trip Wire & Could it be the Key to Scaling Your Profits?

Tripwire-smallToday it’s becoming increasingly difficult to gain the trust of prospects and get them to hand over their hard earned cash for your product or service. 

The biggest game changer for businesses in the past year or so to help convert more prospects and leads into customers, is ‘The Trip Wire’.

The Trip Wire is an irresistible, super low risk paid offer that gets you more customers on the front end. And, it’s probably the most important step in your sales funnel because its the most underdone. 

Traditionally, marketers would use a lead magnet (a compelling free offer in exchange for customer contact information) to gain leads, then convert them to customers on the back end. What makes the Trip Wire so sexy is that it has the potential to not only turn your leads or prospects into customers upfront (it’s not much use having a massive list if it’s full of leads that won’t covert) but, it also allows you to break even on your traffic, because you are converting them to dollars upfront.

It’s no longer effective to have a large list of leads, that go cold easily and are not easy to convert. Converting leads online requires a lot of clever marketing and a complex content marketing strategy.

On the other hand, customers who buy your Trip Wire (or the shipping costs associated with your free offer tripwire), are 7-10 times more likely to make a repeat purchase.

Daisy, Jules & the Tripwire

Tripwire-massage-smallMy General Manager Jules,  Operations Manager Daisy, and I were all out on the town at night in Coogee organising a Christmas Party for our High End Collective Mastermind Members.  We were walking down the street when I saw a sign and said “look $10 massages” and before I could say anything more the girls shoved me to the side and sprinted inside the door and sat down on the massage chairs.   “I guess we are getting massages” was my next thought.

The 10 Minute massage for $10 was exceptional as we all purred like cats.  I then proceeded to book the 3 of us a full 60 minute massage for us to come back later that evening once we had finished organising the Christmas Party and getting more than a little tipsy at our team meeting/ team drinks (I have a crazy team, when we are out on the town together it always gets a bit messy, but is great fun).

So this was a great example of a tripwire in action.  We hadn’t even intended on getting massages that day but because the offer was so irresistible and low priced we tried it, and then I went on to drop $180 there before the evening was out.  Very smart marketing on their behalf.

How it Works

The Trip Wire needs to be an irresistible offer. It needs to be quality. You need to give your customers something that’s of value to them. It needs to make them feel like an idiot if they don’t take up the offer and ideally it shoulFree USB Tripwired scare you to offer it.

It can be a digital product, however physical items have been shown to convert better.
 The price point needs to be low, relative to your market/product/service, however generally speaking, it should be less than $20 with the best price points being around the $7 – $10 mark or ‘Free + Shipping’.

With ‘Free + Shipping’ you are not charging the customer for the product itself, just the cost to ship it out. In most cases you can cover the cost of the postage in the postage charge. Here is an example of a Free + Shipping USB Tripwire that we did really well with in the last


How to Test it Quickly

Perhaps you don’t have a tangible product you can sell or you don’t have the time or resources to create a new product… A hack that Ryan Deiss calls ‘Product Splintering’ is to take some of the best bits out of your core product and turn it into a Trip Wire.

You can do this with digital products really easily, or, if it’s applicable to your product or service, taking parts of it and putting the content onto a DVD or USB stick. This is relatively low cost to produce, but offers something tangible. In both cases the key is that you’re using content you already have so you can move quickly and test. You must make sure it’s high quality and is not a whole course in itself.  It should relate well to your core product, so your new acquired customers will be compelled to then buy your core product in the next step as an upsell.


The Secret Sauce

Once you have made your irresistible low price tripwire offer the customer whips out their credit card and completes the purchase.  At the time of the checkout the cart has a very low dollar value listed in it such as $7 or $0 with $4.95 for Shipping and Handling.  There is very little friction at the time of checkout because of the low dollar value.

The secret sauce is that you don’t then take them to a thankyou page, you take the customer to an upsell page with another high value complimentary offer. Because of the power of ‘One Click Upsell Technology’ for the customer to buy the upsell it is as simple as getting them to click a button to say they want it – you already have their credit card info stored in the session so they don’t need to go through the cart again and they don’t see the big ticket item price in the cart.  It works beautifully.


The Key to Scaling

Many business owners drive traffic at offers that don’t pay for themselves on day 1.  There is no such thing as traffic problems, only offer problems.  So if you can get a tripwire with an upsell behind it that covers the cost of the traffic or even better it makes profit on day one then effectively you don’t have a marketing budget and can continue to scale without limits.

Many entrepreneurs have marketing funnels that cover most of the cost of the traffic on day one, but not all.  This can be fine also if you have a backend to your business such as a big ticket offer that works as a ‘slack adjuster’ and brings in big dollar transactions for a smaller number of clients.

He or she who acquires the most customers, wins…

That is the goal of the Trip Wire. Get more out of your list and more out of your traffic.
 By changing the relationship with your customer upfront early on (and converting them to a customer vs a lead or prospect) you’ve got more people who are more likely to make a repeat purchase; you don’t have a bunch of fake email addresses hurting your list rating; your margins are improved because you can cover the cost of acquisition.

Ultimately, you are better of with 1000 customers, than 10,000 prospects.

 – and that is why the Trip Wire is fast becoming the most important step in your sales funnel.

Let us know your thoughts and experiences.  Have you got a tripwire working successfully in your business?


  • This concept is very smart. I’ve always only really focused on lead magnets, but I can see that really needs to change if I want more customers and not just a bigger list.

  • I’ve only just implemented the trip wire in my business. I’ve gone with a digital trip wire first because it was easier to set up and test, but if that gets reasonable results I have a few ideas for a physical product I want to try next.

      • Why would a physical USB stick or DVD work better than the simple digital product? In the era of dissappearing DVDs as people prefer consuming info online, plus people preferring the ability to eliminate time/cost of shipping, I don’t see how/why physical shipped goods would outperform digital. Can you explain, or show what your studies conclude?

        • People get excited when something turns up in the post. Digital works well for free products, it can also work for tripwires, but from our experience if its physical it will get them more excited and a better take-up. Also with physical you can make the product free but still acquire a customer with shipping and handling. I’d say test different offers with your market and see what works best.

  • For this to work effectively, does the upsell have to occur immediately after the tripwire purchase? I’ve read something about tripwires from Ryan Diess where he has the tripwire then the upsell doesn’t come until a few days/emails later.

      • Thanks Greg.

        Is there any benefit to having a smaller tripwire-like product which doesn’t directly lead into an upsell as your describing it? I thought it might help to build trust anyway if you deliver well on a smaller product which doesn’t have much of an investment that will make conversions of your larger investment product easier.


        • Nick the tripwire is often a ‘splinter’ out of the main product that is the upsell but it doesn’t have to be. The tripwire can just be any highly desirable low cost offer that the market really wants. It’s an easy and safe way to turn them from a prospect into a client

    • Nick the upsell has to happen in the same web session as the initial purchase or otherwise the ‘one click’ technology that remembers the card details won’t work. You want the upsell to be very smooth so that all they have to do is click the button to take it, we don’t want them to have to put their credit card details in again.

      When Ryan talks about sending emails to get them to come back to buy he calls that a ‘profit maximizer’

  • Hi Greg, I intend to start a writing service catered to college students. How do I go about with the lead magnet, tripwire, core product (upsell) and profit maximizer in the sales funnel? How do I customize it given the nature of my business is a service, and am targeting students? thanks

    • Kevin with this one because its more of a service they need rather than something they are passionate raving fans of the niche about, the fundamentals of a great service page and call to action and effective advertising from Google and Facebook ads may work better. This is certainly where I’d start. Checkout this hour long training as it covers exactly what you need to do and gives examples to follow –>

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