Ultimate Guide to Tripwire Marketing: How to Make Amazing Offers That Convert

Kate is our master copywriter and content expert here at IcebergBuilder. Her expertise in sales-optimised content marketing and linguistics allows to dive into the depths of the power of language in advertising.

Is your e-commerce business struggling with sales? If your efforts to enhance conversions are not moving the needle, you may benefit from tripwire marketing. This well-established marketing trick converts undecided customers into loyal patrons by luring them with cheaper offers. It’s a strategy employed by marketing experts for decades, and the popularity of digital services has made it even more prolific. If your business needs a little sales boost, read on.

Learn all about the basics of tripwire, get inspiration from examples, and discover why this brilliant tactic often yields impressive results.

What is a tripwire?

Some consumers are wary of making big purchases even though you’ve done everything to convince them of your product or service’s value. Marketers often use tripwires to give those on the fence a little nudge.

Tripwires are incredibly cheap and attractive offers that aim to convert leads into actual customers. It enables your audience to get a feel for the product without committing to a large purchase, which in turn helps accelerate the buyer’s journey.

Marketers often employ tripwires to turn leads into buying customers rather than to make a profit. Research has shown that customers taking tripwire offers are more likely to purchase more expensive offers in the long run.

Tripwire vs. Lead Magnet

While tripwires and lead magnets offer something cheap or free to customers, their purpose is entirely different. Lead magnets aim to generate leads, while tripwires aim to convert those leads into customers by enticing them with a more affordable offer.  

Customers who take up your tripwire offer are primed to make more significant purchases, making them perfect candidates for pitching your core offer.

Check out our step-by-step guide on how to create your own lead magnet.

What makes an effective tripwire?

Tripwire marketing isn’t just about making cheap offers; the most successful tripwires have these attributes in common.

CHeap and Risk-free

A successful tripwire offers high perceived and actual value but is low cost, low commitment, and low risk. Know, however, that providing valuable tripwires for free or at a low price may raise some eyebrows as some might think there’s a catch to your offer. Assure your audience that your tripwire is risk-free, or consider offering free cancellations or a money-back guarantee.

High quality

Low-quality tripwires will reflect poorly on your business. If your tripwire offer is substandard, why would your customers continue doing business with you? High-quality tripwires encourage more sales while boosting your brand’s credibility.

Leads to your product

Successful tripwires offer lots of value but should not be the end-all solution to your client’s problems. Your tripwire should leave your customers curious about your core product or service while leaving them wanting more.

For example, consider giving your customers limited access to features if you’re selling software. If they’re impressed with your product, they’re bound to pay more to unlock the entire software.

Related to your core offer

Several companies make the mistake of offering tripwires that have no logical connection to their core products or services. If your tripwire doesn’t leave your customers curious about your other offers, what’s the sense?

Go back to your marketing strategies (e.g., upsells, lead magnets, order bumps, tripwire) and make sure they connect while ultimately leading to your core offer. Tripwires are often offered to fresh leads gathered by lead magnets as they encourage potential customers to make their first purchase.

For example, if you’re an SEO writing company with SEO writing services as your core offer, your lead magnet could be a free SEO writing checklist, and your tripwire could be a low-cost webinar on SEO writing.

Inspires a feeling of urgency

Successful tripwires spur customers into action with urgency. They are often promoted as limited-time or limited-inventory offers to encourage customers to grab the deal before they miss the chance.

How are tripwires used in the sales funnel?

There are two common ways that marketers use tripwires in the sales funnel. Here’s how these practices are employed:

Top of the funnel. When tripwires are used at the top of the funnel, traffic is driven to the website via paid ads, SEO, or social media. Visitors will see and take up the tripwire offer on the website and become entangled in the sales funnel. From here, they may be shown a discounted order bump, several upsells, and finally, the core offer.

Middle of the funnel. In this situation, traffic is driven to the website where a lead magnet turns website visitors into leads. The tripwire is then sent to the client database, where it is offered through a series of emails. Customers who take up the tripwire offer are later provided a discounted order bump and, finally, the core offer.

Discover the most effective lead magnet examples to spur action and impress clients. 

The best tripwire examples

If you’re looking to create your own tripwire, get inspiration from these well-established examples that are often employed by expert marketers. 

Free Plus Shipping

The Free Plus Shipping strategy is one of the most common tripwires employed by marketers. In this type of tripwire, the product is offered for free in exchange for the cost of shipping.

Address labels tripwire

In the example above, Evermine offers 60 address labels for free with only the cost of shipping and Facebook share. Notice how the tripwire is leveraged to boost the brand’s social media presence. Customers also have the choice to get free shipping by making another purchase.

Free Plus Shipping with Order Bump/Upsell

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.


In the example above, customers can get a free Everystryke Waterproof Match for only the shipping cost of $3.95. What’s more, they can upgrade their order and add three more Everystryke Matches for only $9.95. If they’re already paying for shipping, why not add more?

Discount, then regular pricing

Many software companies offer their products for free for a couple of months, knowing full well that the offer will tempt customers to subscribe after the free run.

Adobe tripwire strategy

In the example above, the Adobe Creative Cloud is free for two months, with an additional offer of getting discounted rates in the customer’s first year. The combination of low cost and low risk makes this tripwire a brilliant idea.

Bundled products

Low-cost bundles make great tripwire offers thanks to their high perceived and actual value. 

DesignCuts design bundle

In the example above, DesignCuts offers a design bundle with a full extended license worth $443 for only $29, an impressive offer that many will find hard to resist. To add a sense of urgency, the deal is only made available for a limited time. 

Discounted trials

Extremely low-cost trials make excellent tripwires, as they serve as irresistible deals while introducing your customer to the quality of your product or service.

Coloring book trial deal

In the example above, customers enjoy a 14-day trial of weekly new coloring books for only $1. It’s a risk-free offer, as subscribers may cancel at any time.


Offering small samples of your product for a very affordable price can be attractive tripwires, especially if the value more than makes up for the cost. 

SnackCrate Tripwire Deal

Here, SnackCrate offers half a pound of snacks for only $5 with free shipping. Customers who purchase also enjoy $50 off their next box.

Create a High-Converting Tripwire with Iceberg Builder

Developing an effective tripwire can be a complicated process. Tripwires can be successful through various strategies, and their effectiveness may vary depending on where you put them in the sales funnel or whether you intend to add order bumps or upsells.

Iceberg Builder’s extensive suite of marketing tools and tutorials can help you leverage the power of tripwires without the need for an expert marketer or designer. Check out our pricing plans today.