Tripwire Funnel

Tripwire Funnel is a specific type of sales funnel that converts website visitors into paying customers by offering a low-cost, high-value product or service (the “tripwire”) as an initial offer.

The primary goal is to initiate a small transaction to turn a prospect into a paying customer, making it easier to upsell them on more expensive products or services later in the sales process.

Once the customer has made this initial purchase, they are given opportunities to purchase more expensive and profitable products or services.1

Visual Representation:

tripwire funnel visual representation


  1. Tripwire Offer: This is the initial low-cost offer made to potential customers. The primary purpose of this offer is not to generate significant profit but to change the relationship from a casual visitor to a paying customer. Getting them to make a small commitment makes it easier to lead them towards making bigger commitments in the future.
  2. Core Offer: After purchasing the tripwire, the customer is presented with the main product or service, which is typically more expensive than the tripwire. This is where the business aims to make its primary profit.
  3. Upsells: These are additional complementary products or services offered to the customer after they’ve purchased the core offer. The idea is to maximize the value of each customer by offering them additional items that enhance the value of their initial purchase.
  4. Downsells: If a customer declines an upsell, they might be presented with a downsell, which is a lower-cost alternative. This ensures that even if a customer isn’t interested in the primary upsell, there’s still an opportunity to increase the overall transaction value.2

Purpose of a Tripwire Funnel:

The purpose of a tripwire funnel is to lower the barrier to entry for potential customers, allowing businesses to establish a relationship and build trust.

It allows you to sell low-cost products first to set the stage for further sales of more expensive and profitable products or services.

By doing so, you can:

  1. Break the Barrier: The most challenging step in the sales process is often getting the customer to make that first purchase. A low-cost and high-value tripwire reduces the risk for the customer, making it easier for them to take that step.
  2. Establish Trust: Offering value at a low cost allows businesses to showcase the quality of their products or services. When customers see the value they’re getting, it builds trust, making them more open to subsequent offers.
  3. Lay Groundwork for Future Sales: Customers are more likely to consider future offers once they have purchased. The tripwire sets the stage for upsells, downsells, and other marketing strategies.

Benefits of a Tripwire Funnel:

  1. Higher Conversion Rates: By starting with a low-cost offer, businesses can increase the likelihood of converting a visitor into a paying customer.
  2. Customer Trust: A tripwire allows customers to try out a company’s product or service without a significant investment. If satisfied with the tripwire product, they will likely trust the company and consider purchasing more expensive offers.
  3. Increased Customer Lifetime Value: By leading customers through a sequence of offers, businesses can maximize the amount a customer spends in a single transaction.
  4. Data Collection: Businesses can gather valuable customer data for future marketing efforts even if a visitor only opts for the tripwire offer.3

Usage of a Tripwire Funnel:

  1. E-commerce Stores: Many online retailers use tripwire funnels to offer a popular product at a discounted rate. Once the purchase is made, they upsell related products or premium versions.
  2. Digital Products and Courses: Creators often offer a mini-course or a starter kit as a tripwire. After the purchase, they upsell the full course or a more advanced version.
  3. Service-Based Businesses: Service providers, like consultants or agencies, might offer a basic service or a consultation at a reduced rate as a tripwire. Once the client sees the value, they can be upsold to a full service or a longer-term contract.
  4. Subscription Models: Businesses can offer a basic version of their subscription service at a discounted rate or even for free. Once users are on board, they can be upsold to premium versions with more features.
  5. Local Businesses: Even brick-and-mortar businesses can utilize tripwire funnels. For instance, a salon might offer a discounted basic service. After the service, they can upsell additional treatments or products.


A digital marketing agency offers a website audit service for $20 as its tripwire.

Customers who purchase the audit are then presented with a core offer, such as a comprehensive monthly SEO package.

After purchasing the core offer, customers might receive a profit-maximizing offer, such as a discounted rate for a social media marketing add-on.

Related Terms:


1. Sheahan, J., Spencer, S., & Matzan, J. (2014). Social ecommerce. O’Reilly Media.

2. BRUNSON, R. (2022a). Dotcom secrets: The underground playbook for growing your company online with sales funnels. HAY HOUSE INC.

3. Tripwire funnels: Your complete guide with examples. OptimizePress. (2023, June 24).

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