There is a popular term being used by marketers online called “tripwire marketing”. It is actually a concept that has been around for a long time (even before the internet). It involves segmenting your leads into interest groups, selling them into a low priced item and then up-selling those who buy into one of your main products or services.
SEE ALSO: Check out our podcast episode where we walk you through loads of examples “How to Use Tripwire Marketing for Your Business“.
What is Tripwire Marketing?
Ok, the term may sound a little sinister, but what it commonly means is turning a lead into a customer by making them a low-cost, relatively painless offer, then having the opportunity to upsell them once they are in your sales funnel.
This means that instead of asking someone to invest in your more expensive products or services first up you are able to repurpose or repackage parts of your more expensive items based on a certain more detailed solution in a way that delivers value and also “teases” what else is in store if someone chooses to buy more from you.
The idea is that once people have bought even an inexpensive item from you, they are more likely to purchase something else. Why? Veteran online marketer Frank Kern explains it well when he says that with a free offer, people will often be suspicious and wonder “what is the catch?”, whereas with a low-cost offer it tends to convert better because it helps to alleviate that suspicion.
Plus once someone goes from lead to buyer they now justify their purchase with you and are more emotionally connected to what you offer next. It also allows you to sell many of these inexpensive items across different topics to test what your market wants and then customise follow-up communications that are more targeted.
Whatever your preferred terminology…tripwire, splinter product, loss leader, front-end offer, or introductory offer… this idea has been around in one form or another for years and is still a very effective marketing technique. (Does anyone remember Columbia House’s old 11 “albums for a penny” mail order music club deal?)
Here are 5 Ways to Master Tripwire Marketing:
1. Start with a lead magnet (or as we like to say, party starter)
Before you can even offer the initial tripwire you need people to sign up for your email list. In order to do this you need to offer them something for free that leaves them thirsting for more and eager to take the next step with you. We give a list of ideas in our podcast about opt-in ideas that convert. (find out why the free eBook is pretty much dead for most markets!).
The important thing here is to offer something that your entire market will find valuable. It is the tripwires that will help you segment your list by using different topics and solutions of your larger products or services.
2. Create your tripwire
This is a low-ticket item that solves a very specific problem in your buyer’s life. This means that in order to create a successful tripwire, you need to get very specific about what kinds of problems your ideal customer may have.
Ideas include webinars, something physical that you mail out (such as a book – Brendon Burchard used this technique for The Charge), or even a personal consultation. Companies who offer a great deal (such as 5 children’s books for $3.95) to entice you into signing up with their subscription program are a great example of tripwires at work. Note that the idea is not necessarily to make any profit, in fact many tripwires are sold at a loss in order to bring in the customers.
Don’t just stop at one. Outline all of the different topics your list may be interested in and then start creating tripwires for each of these.
On our blog, for example, we ask how we can help…business automation, online marketing, social media strategy or website traffic tips. Why? We have found these are our most popular article types. Our main solutions are around building automated funnels and content marketing, but we generally help people first by addressing issues with their website or social media traffic.
A couple of our tripwires are a website checklist to help people see what they are leaving out on their website to grow their business and a Facebook ads training and cheatsheet to help people do better market research and quickly place an ad to the right people. Every business owner has issues online when it comes to growing their business. For some right now it will be traffic, for others it will be their website, and then there are people who aren’t good at follow up with their email list. We could have hundreds of online marketing stress points we could develop products for… all ultimately leading to either our DIY online marketing training or our done for you services.
Let’s use a personal trainer as an example next. If they were to only focus on weight loss they are potentially leaving 2/3 of their market from finding them…those that want to lose fat or gain muscle.
A great lead magnet for them would be a 5 minute ab exercise that melts fat and builds definition. This would be something all 3 groups would be interested in. Once someone gets that, then 3 tripwires could be a smoothie recipe booklet for weight loss, 10 cardio moves to melt fat and a 3-step formula to double your mass in 3 months. All three would then upsell into the trainer’s signature 6 month program. This way he or she will know how to sell their program better by providing the benefits that only matter to the person who wants it. So suddenly instead of having one sales page they would have 3, and each tripwire purchase then sends the buyer to the sales page that is best for them.
Are you starting to see how powerful this can be, both by mastering your customer avatar but also only promoting things to your email list based on what they want.
3. Introduce your tripwire to prospects on your list
One way to do this is by sending out 2-3 emails offering your product for a limited amount of time. You can do this in a couple of ways: send your list straight to a sales page to get your tripwire or send them to a free piece of content that then sells the tripwire at the end.
The important thing to remember here is that not everyone on your list will click. This is what you want. You want to segment your list at this point into interest groups. This means your emails should be written in a way that clearly outlines the problem and the benefit of your tripwire or piece of content and how it can help. Get specific at this point.
Eventually you could have several different segments (or lists) based on the preferences shown by people on your list so that you can start sending certain types of emails to a certain segment.
Many email systems will allow you to segment your list. Some require using landing pages to get people to opt-in again to a new list and some allow you to create rules based on the links clicked in your emails to move people to different lists based on their preferences. No matter what email marketing program you use, you can still offer tripwires.
4. Introduce buyers to your core product
The intention of every tripwire is to introduce customers to a bigger offer and entice them to seek more from you. To that end, they should logically lead to a core product of yours that you wish to upsell to the customer. Many successful marketers offer a deal on the upsell while the customer is purchasing the tripwire – a “striking while the wallet is open” technique. Or, of course you could email out an offer on your core product separately, or use a combination of the two.
Trial periods are an example of a tripwire that is also a core product. For example, many different software or membership programs will allow you to have a 30 day trial period at very low cost. They tend to have a condition that you will start to be billed for full membership after the trial period unless you contact them and cancel. It gives customers the chance to check that the product is really for them and removes any doubt that the customer will opt in to the full subscription as they must opt out rather than opt in.
5. Rinse and Repeat
The chances are that there are many possible tripwire ideas that can lead to marketing your core product. You can run different tripwires concurrently or sequentially.
As you continue to set them up you are basically building a multi-faceted funnel or “web” of info highly targeted to solve a very specific problem that ultimately leads into what you really want to sell.
Make sure you test your tripwire ideas, including tweaking headlines and copy so that you get a definitive idea of what works and what your customers are looking for. You will find that there will be some more popular than others and that is OK. It all leads you one step closer to knowing what your leads want and helps you fine-tune what problems you should be solving instead of what you think your customers want.
Here’s a little tip: An easy way of developing a tripwire is to take your main offer and break off a piece of it and package it as an individual product. A website designer could sell a logo, a stylist could offer a wardrobe review, a massage therapist could offer an organic stress release lotion, a pool cleaning company could offer a DIY chlorine check, an accountant could offer a tax time checklist, a business lawyer could offer a contract template pack… these are all items they would use with you anyway should you “upgrade” to their main product or service.
For those interested in DIY learning in Autopilot Your Business we sometimes use some of our individual trainings from inside Digital Traffic Institute as a tripwire. It allows people to get a sneak peak into the type of training we do, and of course the upsell would be into the Institute.
Now it’s your turn to get creative. All you need is your email list, a product to sell and a few techy things set up behind the scenes to link and automate this and you could be promoting your first tripwire!