Tripwire Marketing and its Uses in Ad Campaigns

15 February 2023
Reading: 5 min

Tripwire is a marketing technique, which has always been used to sell something, one way or another. Assume you promote an offer with a product that does not have the fame of iPhone or Mercedes-Benz. The credibility would be low in this case, especially if the price tag is high. Even if the quality of the product is exemplary, the lack of established reputation can leave it without any noticeable impact.

This is where tripwire comes into play. By offering something humbler in terms of value proposition, you lure the client in to have a look at your top offer. For example, an ultimate guitar playing course for $20 monthly might appear overpriced, due to the lack of established brand name. Tipping the scales in your favour by offering free basic version or cheap trial one, costing about 10-50% of the full price, should ease the tension between your clients and yourself.

Another application of tripwire is when a loyal customer suddenly unsubscribes. This is where you can reach out to him with a “can’t miss out” offer, providing a huge discount. Make sure to inquire the causes of unsubscribing and ask for feedback on how to become better.

Tripwire should not be confused with lead magnet, because they serve different purposes. The lead magnet is needed to accumulate the client base, using freebies, gifts, or discounts – the advertiser pays for the data.

Tripwire, on the other hand, functions as an ice-breaker to warm the clientele before offering something genuinely valuable.

Tripwire Marketing and its Uses in Ad Campaigns

Tripwire purposes

  • Revenue – a sale is a sale, even if the returns are unassuming
  • Trust – clients are full of doubts and tripwire must alleviate this
  • Facilitation – the main offer will more likely fire a conversion

Tripwire is not about giving out a product for free. Furthermore, we discourage you from doing so, because if you do not value your own product, no one ever will. Even a symbolic price tag of $1 would make it look more intriguing and appealing.

Tripwire can be implemented on top of the funnel. For example, after gathering the client database using SEO or casual paid advertising, you can bombard the leads with cheap offers to accumulate your first conversions faster.

Another option is the middle of the funnel. A bright and attractive lead magnet, say a spinning wheel with a discount, can lure in your customers. Next, the link to the tripwire offer will make sure that the customer turns into a lead. Once the lead is generated via a tripwire offer, it will be much easier to promote your flagship offer, because the user is already engaged.

Tripwire can also backbone your funnel by grappling back the customers that are about to go loose. Offer the wanna-leavers something of immense value for a small price and then turn their attention to some other offers at hand.

Tripwire construction

Tripwire Marketing and its Uses in Ad Campaigns

Think about the following while making a tripwire of yours:

  • Value proposition – keep in mind your ultimate goal and your stance. The tripwire offer is a filler for the main one. At the same time, the tripwire must cover some basic needs of the clients, otherwise they will turn the attention away to something else. It also has to be somehow related to the main offer, because you simply warm the audience up before the grand purchase. Ask yourself the following:
    • Who do you target?
    • What does your audience want?
    • Why can’t they get the wanted?
    • How to solve the issue?
  • Optimal price (trial period) – neither too high, nor too low. An evident bargain raises suspicions: scam, poor quality, desperation. Ultra-high price on the other hand brings back the problem of mistrust that the main offer is unable to tackle. Aim for the price of 10-50% of the main product.
  • Limited effect – once again, you want the main offer to convert, not the fillers: restrict the trial period or limit the functionality.

Long story short: discount reasonably, otherwise your clients will settle for free trials; revolve everything around the main offer; keep the conditions of the tripwire offer clear and easy to understand; make sure the trial version leaves some needs unfulfilled.

Tripwire Examples

Tripwire Marketing and its Uses in Ad Campaigns

Tripwire marketing can take multiple forms. If you struggle to come up with an idea that will resonate with your audience, think about the following forms of content:

  1. Webinar – highlighting the expertise of the star.
  2. E-book – might be troublesome to protect from copy-pasting.
  3. Consultation – if we talk about astrology or webcam verticals, 15 minutes of free (heavily discounted) show will be enough to engage anyone. The models will do the rest.
  4. Check list – to motivate for completing all the fields.
  5. How-to videos – one for free, the other 999 for the full price.
  6. Trial and partial products – VPNs, Antiviruses, Games, iGaming, etc.
  7. Downloads in bulk – unlimited access for a limited time.
  8. Email consultations – you can reassure the client yourself that the product is worth it.
  9. Content upgrade – one can show off the supremacy of a grammar tool by permitting using it with heavy limitations on symbols or something else.


Tripwire is an essential tool for gaining and improving trust between the corporate and individual entities. It minimizes the risk of getting acquainted with a new product, which has no foul-proof history. It can be integrated on any stage of the conversion funnel.

Tripwire is not a lead magnet, despite some similarities. However, they make wonders when used in conjunction. Make sure to always remember about the main offer and craft the tripwire one accordingly. The later should complement the former and direct towards it, not replace it.

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