I got a question the other day from one of my Email Copy Academy students:


I was wondering if you’re a believer in tripwire / entry point offers? You know, offering a small piece of your product for ~$7 to help move someone from prospect to satisfied buyer. And from there, it’s much easier to advance the relationship.


I thought this was a great question.

In fact, I thought it was so great… I should natter on for ~1,200 words about this topic.

What Is A Tripwire Offer?

A tripwire is a term used to describe a super low priced offer that can separate people who are ready to “buy right now” from those other prospects who might take some more time to come to a buying decision.

Well, at least that’s how I define it in my own brain.

You’ll usually see tripwires being used in cold traffic funnels… where marketers are trying to liquidate their ad costs by getting people into an upsell flow.

So if they have to spend $200 to get 100 people to their $7 tripewire offer page… they’re hoping that enough people buy the initial $7 offer AND take enough upsells so they can at least earn their initial $200 in ad spend back that very same day.

Does This Actually Work?


You know what?

I’m sure it does work, sometimes.

I think it probably doesn’t work as often as you might think it does.

And I think it probably works best for people who are A-level marketers who have deep pockets to test and test and test and can weather the storm of a few failed tests/campaigns before finally getting something to work.

But, I’m sure there are times when it works quite nicely and people can ride that wave.

(That is until ad costs rise and the funnel math no longer works.)

Tripwire Is Kind Of A Nasty Word

I wanna say it was Cialdini who did a study about companies and the language they use. (Please correct me if it wasn’t Cialdini – I just can’t remember off the top of my head).

Companies who used violent language tended to not do as well financially and culturally as companies who used friendlier language.

So using words like tripwire, killer offer, shoot you an email, pitch… those companies didn’t do as well as companies who might use words like: introductory offer, send you an email, collaborate… or whatever. (I’m riffing these examples off the top of my head).


A tripwire is something you’d use in wartime to make your enemies stumble as they’re patrolling the forest so you can ram your bayonet through their sternum.

That’s kind of where my mind goes when I think of the word tripwire.

I know it’s just a word.

And I’m not really butthurt over it.

But… words kind matter, ya know?

The words you speak and think can and will affect you somewhat on a subconscious level. I don’t want my customers to trip or stumble over anything. I want them to take off running and eventually get to the point where they can fly.


I know my student who asked this question does NOT have the mentality of tripping prospects into becoming a customer. I know that. And I’m not implying that they think this way.

But while I’m on the subject, I thought it was important to bring up.

Especially because…

If You Have An Email List, Tripwires Probably Aren’t Necessary

Listen… it is HARD to get a random stranger to give you money when two minutes ago they have never heard of you.

It is very hard.

That’s why it usually takes a team of the best marketers and copywriters in the world to create funnels that can do make this happen.

Those marketers then publish their results… the great unwashed masses consume these case studies and think THAT is what THEY have to do too.

I just don’t think that’s the case for most business owners.

I sell a $600 product and a $5,000 product.

I do it all through email.

The $600 product has no sales page. The $5,000 product has a short sales page, which is actually designed to turn people away… rather than to convince them to buy.

I’ve never had a tripwire offer.

I get the whole “it’s always easier to sell to a customer than it is to a prospect” line of thinking.

I get that.

I really do.

But why would I work my ass off trying to use a cold traffic technique when I can just get people onto a list and warm them up over time?

My good friend Ross O’Lochlainn has an incredible book where he demonstrates how almost ALL of the money in your email list comes from people who are NOT ready to buy right away.

(Grab a free copy of Ross’s book Open Every Day by clicking here. And no, he doesn’t know I’m plugging his book, nor did he ask me… it’s just awesome and you should read it.)

The reason my student asked this question is because he has a continuity offer. Which is definitely tougher to sell people into than just a one-off sale.

So here’s my advice…

Test Out A Tripwire And See If It Works. You Might Find Out You Don’t Need It.

I would love to believe I’m the smartest copywriter in the world.

But I am definitely not.

Not at all.

So my advice is… test out a tripwire and see what happens.

Are you happy with the quality of customer you’re getting?

Are people buying the tripwire, having a good experience and then upgrading more often to your full offer?

If so… keep doing it.

Why My Email Marketing Strategy Doesn’t Require Tripwire Offers

I don’t use tripewire offers. At least not right now.

One – because I’m not really interested in trying to convert cold traffic TODAY, before people have even had a chance to know, like or trust me.


Two – because I like keeping stuff simple.

You wanna know what I do every day?

I get up, write an email to my list… and sell something.

After that, I could be done for the day.

I usually take on other client projects or create more content or work on some other part of my business.

But once that email goes out, sales come in… and I “won” the day.

That’s the most important thing I do in my business. I don’t have to spend a ton of time testing out new front end offers because I choose to sell a little differently.

My method of selling involves telling stories that shift people’s beliefs and deepening my relationship with my readers. It involves building up a level of trust with my readers so I’m seen as their trusted advisor.

If you have a relationship… and you have trust with your readers… and if you have sufficiently shifted their worldview so that it lines up with yours over time… then you don’t really have to work that hard to sell at all.

You can literally just extend an invite to buy… and people take it.

It’s the simplest thing in the world.

That’s how I do it.

And it makes your business pretty damn easy and fun.

  1. Write emails that shift beliefs and build trust.
  2. Make the right offer to the right person at the right time.
  3. Make sales

Keep it simple.

And give that a try before you work really hard on a tripwire offer that might not give you the result you really want.

What You Should Do Now

If you’d like to learn how YOU can use my system to make a TON of sales from your email list, while building a ton of goodwill… then you should grab my book and get on my email list.

Click the link below

Make It Rain: The Secret to Generating Massive Paydays From Your Email List



1 thought on “Are Tripwire Offers Necessary?”

  1. I’ve struggled to think of a good trip wire offer that would actually help people. I have a free ebook (like yours), and a few free email courses. But my impression is that a good trip wire should be consumable quickly, to take advantage of impulse purchasing: a single tactic, experience, insight. I haven’t figured out yet something that would work for my audience, fiction writers.

    Plus there’s all the conversion testing challenges that you mention.

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