What if you could add an extra $250 to your blog income every month, without having to do a lot of extra work?
I might just have the answer for you!
OK, there is a little bit of setting up to do, but once that’s in place, this really is a set-it-and-forget-it way to boost your income.
What am I talking about? Tripwire Marketing!
What is a tripwire?
A tripwire is a paid product that people are offered after they sign up for your newsletter or download your freebie.
Basically, after they opt-in, they are given the opportunity to buy something from you.
It’s normally a low cost, value-added product that is an obvious no-brainer.
The products that make the best tripwires are those related to your freebie. It should be a natural next step for your audience.
For example, if you have given away a pack of 5 dairy-free recipes for kids, some tripwire ideas would include:
- An ebook of dairy-free lunchbox ideas
- A guide to how to get calcium into your child’s diet without dairy
- A short video series on how to substitute dairy products in recipes with dairy-free alternatives.
You wouldn’t offer a pack of gluten-free recipes, or a cookbook of fine dining, or a course on making bread.
Well, you could, but you wouldn’t see so many people buying them! We want conversions because conversions mean cash, right? So think carefully about what your tripwire product could be.
How to Find Ideas for Your Tripwire
Tripwires convert best when they are directly related to the next question someone would have after downloading your freebie.
Think about what problem your freebie solves? The download maybe answers a simple question for your readers. So what is their next issue? What resources do they need to take the next step?
You might already have a suitable product that you could offer as a tripwire. I already had a couple of checklists and an ebook.
I put them together to make a ‘Productivity bundle’ and that became a high-value, $7 product, directly related to why they came to my blog in the first place.
Got a product already? Or something you could put with something else to make a product? Great. If not, that’s where you should be focusing your effort. Make something you can sell!
Here are some more ideas for your tripwire offer:
- Worksheets or workbooks (along with a video guide of how to fill them in)
- Swipe files
- Access to exclusive videos.
Basically, anything you could make as a fully-fledged product could also be a tripwire.
How to Set Up a Tripwire
OK, now you’ve got your tripwire product. We’re ready to get it up on your site so people can buy it.
- A landing page.
- A countdown timer for urgency (not essential, but as you start to notice tripwires everywhere you’ll see that they are common because they work to increase sales).
- A way for people to buy.
- A way to deliver the product.
Step 1: Create your landing page
Here’s the customer journey before the tripwire:
- The reader arrives at your blog.
- They love it, and download a freebie or sign up to your newsletter.
- You direct them to a landing page that says, “Thanks! You are now on the list/your freebie is in your inbox.” Or you may use the default option from your form provider and just show a message that says “Success! Please check your inbox.”
You need to switch out that last step to show a different thank you page: one with a prominent sales offer on it for your tripwire product.
Create a landing page in any product you like. Many people use LeadPages but I found it expensive for how much I was using it. I simply create a WordPress page on my blog and use Thrive Architect to style it. You could do the same with Elementor or any page builder.
The page should have on it a nice ‘thank you for subscribing message’ and then information about your product.
You can see my tripwire page below.
Check out a few pages on sites you follow, or bloggers you like. See how they style the page.
For example, if I built my page again, I would choose red or orange for the sales buttons, and make them look more ‘button-y’!
Create a design that works for you, but don’t make the page too long. Remember, these people barely know you. They aren’t going to scroll down a super-long sales page. Make the copy appropriate to the value of the product; they’re only spending a few bucks.
Step 2: Add a countdown timer
This is a totally optional step, but as I mentioned above, you’ll see a better conversion rate if you add an element of FOMO (fear of missing out) to your offer page!
The timer on my page is a feature that comes with the page builder I’m using. Your page builder tool might have the same. I set mine for 25 minutes, and that feels like a good amount of time for people to properly think about the offer before they buy.
You can see the timer in action here.
Tip: If it’s not easy to set up a timer at this point, don’t let that put you off completing the other steps and getting your tripwire offer up on your site! You can always add it later. If your tripwire page isn’t published, you won’t make any money, so get it live, and then tweak and improve as you go.
Step 3: Set up a way to take payment
If you click the blue buttons on my tripwire offer page, you’ll go to a Thrivecart checkout page. You need a way for people to buy your product.
If you don’t already have a shopping cart tool, there are lots on the market. You can even embed a PayPal button. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but you do have to have a way of taking the cash.
Tip: Make sure you tag the buyer in your email provider so you know what they’ve bought. This is useful in case you ever update the product – you can send a new version to all your previous customers.
Step 4: Deliver the product
Next, you have to be able to fulfill your sales order! Thrivecart handles this for me by emailing the customer with a link to where they can download the product.
Once the sale is complete, your cart should direct the buyer to, say, a page where they can download their items, or send out an email with the links.
Tip: If your product is made up of multiple items, package them together in a .zip file so you are only directing people to one file.
You’ve now made a sale! And you’ve deepened the relationship with the person on your list. You might even choose to send them different emails based on what they have bought from you.
It’s up to you to decide how best to nurture that individual – perhaps even targeting them with your higher price offers if you have them.
How To Price Your Tripwire
The tripwire product should be a low-ish price, something that people won’t mind spending on the off-chance that the product is good, or because they’ve had a quick look through your freebie and decided that you do know your stuff and they’d be happy to test out something else from you.
Remember, at this point, people don’t really know, like or trust you. They’ve only just opted-in to your list. Make it easy for them to say yes and don’t pitch the price too high.
A common price for tripwires is $7 so start with that – you saw that on my tripwire page above. You can always adjust the price as you test.
Note: the tripwire is hopefully the start of an ongoing relationship with this person. With any luck, they’ll be buying higher-priced products from you in the future. So make this product good! No one wants to pay $7 and get a rubbish one-page PDF. Make it something valuable and awesome, so if it feels wrong to be selling it so cheaply at $7 then it’s probably a good choice for your product!
My Tripwire Results
So does selling something cheap with no ‘real’ interaction from you actually work? It’s hardly the model we see when big bloggers do launches, with all the emails and Facebook live videos.
In my experience, yes, it does work!
Below you can see my Thrivecart dashboard for the last six months. OK, I’m not going to retire early on this average monthly income, but it’s a totally passive income stream.
Now I’ve set up the landing page, cart and way to get the product to people, there’s nothing else much to do beyond the odd customer service email query to respond to.
These are typically people who can’t access a .zip file on the Apple mobile device or who bought the product ages ago and have lost their link to access it.
You can see that I don’t even get a lot of traffic! The tripwire page gets 563 views a month on average.
You don’t need a big blog and lots of traffic to make a passive income stream. And I expect I could even get the page to convert better with a little bit of tinkering (and changing those buttons to red!).
Why Tripwires Work
A micro-interaction is a small step you take in building a relationship with someone. It’s clicking like on a Facebook post this week, only to build up to leave a comment in a few weeks’ time.
It’s opening your email – and next time they might click through.
Micro-interactions on your blog are the steps people take to know, like and trust you.
Ultimately, these interactions make up the steps on their relationship with you, and it makes them more likely to buy higher-priced products from you in the future – having said that, this only works if you wowed them with your free content and your tripwire offer!
It’s unlikely that someone will land on your signature course page, and drop a couple of thousand dollars without having any previous knowledge of who you are and why they should invest in your teaching.
Tripwires go a little of the way to help build someone’s confidence in you.
What To Do If They Don’t Buy
You’ve got someone on your Thank You page and they simply click away. They didn’t buy the tripwire. You’ve missed the opportunity to sell to them.
Except… you haven’t really.
Maybe it wasn’t a good time for them. Or they were on their phone in a meeting and didn’t have their payment details with them. Don’t waste the opportunity to reach out to them again later with the same (or slightly different) offer.
You can add an offer to buy into an email sequence later on. Segment your list so you don’t make this offer to people who have already bought the product, obviously.
When someone has been on your list for a while or has had time to use and appreciate your freebie, they might be more inclined to buy.
Tip: There’s a school of thought that says your tripwire should be a discounted price, and when you offer the same product again, at a different time, it should cost more. Your take on this will depend on how important that countdown clock is to you. If you want it to remain authentic, and when the clock hits zero they can’t buy at that price ever again, you’ll want to increase the price slightly in any new offer you make to someone in an email.
Not Ready to Sell?
If you don’t have a product to use as a tripwire right now, that’s fine. You can still make better use of your Thank You page while you get that product ready.
Here are some ideas as alternatives:
- Invite people to share your content or freebie on a social channel – there are sharing plugins for this.
- Invite people to join your Facebook group.
- Offer them a discount on a more expensive product.
- Tell a heartfelt story and start the connection between you and them.
- Point them in the direction of your best content or most popular articles.
Whatever you do, don’t waste the opportunity to do something with your Thank You page, beyond just saying thanks!
Tripwires are easy to set up and provide a good way to deepen interactions with your most loyal fans, provide extra valuable resources at a reasonable price, and make a bit of extra cash from your blog.
Elizabeth Harrin has been blogging for over 10 years as a side hustle and moved to full-time blogging in 2019. She teaches online entrepreneurs how to plan, manage and complete their work so they can achieve their bigger goals, over at TotallyOrganisedBlogging.com (and she’s from the UK, which is why it’s spelled like that!). She also writes the award-winning blog, A Girl’s Guide to Project Management.