Learn about “tripwire” offers and how they can help your marketing campaigns and promotions. Written by Mau, a Senior Digital Marketing Specialist at eDigital.

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What is a tripwire offer?

Many people are asking the same question.

Successful Digital Marketers and growth hackers love tripwire offers and you are about to discover why they are the top-secret to get new customers.


A tripwire by definition is turning a lead into a customer by offering them a low-cost, relatively painless offer, then earning their trust and permission to upsell them once they have experienced your basic product or service.

It is meaning is that instead of asking a prospective customer to buy your more expensive or the most premium products or services; first up you repurpose or repackage parts of your more expensive services 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.

Once your new customers – who have accepted your tripwire –  have bought even an inexpensive item from you, they are more likely to purchase something else.

The tripwire terminology comes from the military meaning a type of “wire” used as a trap or alarm to notify about the presence of someone and sometimes even to get him down with less involvement. In business and especially in the startup community, tripwires is a selling growth hacking tactic quickly to grow an initial audience and customer base.


With a free offer, people will often be suspicious and wonder “what is the catch?”, whereas with a low-cost offer (tripwire) it tends to convert better because it helps to alleviate that suspicion.

Plus once someone goes from lead to buyer, they are more emotionally connected to what you offer next. It also allows your brand 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.

No surprise, companies that sell food and grocery products use tripwires across the whole year as Australia is the most promotional food and grocery market in the world, according to Nielsen, with an average of 35% of products sold at a discount between 2009-2019 with an average discount of 27%.

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Think of a Tripwire like dating.

If you ask a random stranger to marry you, chances are they’re going to end up saying no. If they actually say yes, there’s something wrong!

But the reason they’re going to say no is because they don’t even know you. But if you ask a random stranger, “Hey would you like to go out for coffee?” There’s a much higher chance that they’ll say yes. And if the coffee date goes well, then you may ask him/her for dinner, and if the dinner date goes well, you may have more dates. Then you may end up moving in together, then fast forward a few months, then you may continue dating for a year or two. And then if you ask her/him to marry you, the chances of him/her saying yes are much higher.

“A tripwire is an initial offer that is impossible to resist. A tripwire says: hey, let’s do an easy thing together, with a low price with a great benefit, giving you amazing value”

Mau, a Senior Digital Marketing Specialist at eDigital.

By getting people to take small little actions, you’re much more likely to get them to say yes to your big core offer. Pizza restaurants do this really well.

Example: You could offer a large pizza for just $4.99 just 3-4 pm on Tuesday (when visitation/walks ins are the lowest). Such a good deal, it is an offer impossible to resist: A tripwire.

You may not be making that much money on that offer, but you may be just cultivating a relationship with a customer who have the potential to spend several thousands of dollars during many years, just because of that initial offer.

A Tripwire, which is a “micro-commitment”, get people to try your product/service for the first time with the aim of delighting them and get them to buy more premium or more frequently from you. Not just using promo codes, offers, or discount codes.

After a customer uses a tripwire, it is important to remind them and./or educate them about your hero (hopefully premium) product. Yes, that hero product you actually make the most revenues and profit.

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Mau is has been meowing digital marketing for 16+ years. A certified Facebook, Google Ads, SEO specialist and keynote speaker; Mau also offers marketing strategy support & digital marketing training. Mau‘s Digital Marketing Plan & Social Media Plan templates are used by hundreds of marketers. Subscribe to Mau’s newsletter or connect on Linkedin Instagram or Facebook