The 3 Step Tripwire Funnel To Build Your Own Huge List

Sales funnels are used to build your list. In my sales funnel guide I showed you a basic three-step sales funnel. That sales funnel is all you need. It’s simple and easy to implement. 

Later on, you can improve it and make it more complicated to increase the number of sales it generates…

The goal is to create a break-even funnel. This means if you spend $200 on paid traffic you want your funnel to generate $200 in sales. 

And of course, at the same time, you’re collecting the name and email address of prospects within your niche.

The real money is made from backend sales – the sales you make promoting additional products or services to your email list.

In case the funnel is not working, therefore you don’t have a break-even funnel there are a lot of things you can test.

One of those is a tripwire offer and in this guide, you’re going to discover all about tripwires and how to implement them in your funnel.Table of Contents

Now, before we discover tripwire offers and how to use them, let’s see a brief overview of the three-step sales funnel.

3 Step Sales Funnel

I made an entire guide about this sales funnel. This is the one I recommend you use because it’s simple and it works!

There are marketers who have more than 50,000 subscribers on their list and they still use this simple sales funnel.

But here’s a quick overview of how this basic, three-step sales funnel works.

It consists of these three pages (and the order form/page).

When you place ads on Facebook or drive traffic using any other method you’ll send all the traffic to the first page of the sales funnel, the optin page.

On this page, visitors will optin (submit their name and email) to get a freebie. They’ll immediately be redirected to a new page. 

This page is a sales page offering your fresh new leads a product. The price of this product can be from $27 up to $97. 

If you sell the product elsewhere, on this page it should be priced about 30% off, that’s why this is called a One Time Offer (OTO) page because they’ll only see this offer (at a reduced price) on this page only.

After they order this product they’ll be redirected to the thank you page to download the product.

And of course, they can simply close this page if they don’t want to buy the product. The download link for the freebie they opted for will be sent to them via email.

Now let’s see a definition of a break-even sales funnel, and ways to improve your funnel…

A Break-Even Sales Funnel

If you use paid traffic methods like Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, Solo Ads, etc., you’re spending money to build your list.

The goal of your sales funnel is to recuperate all of the money you spend (liquidate). 

Therefore if you spend $200 and get 100 leads, you want your sales funnel to generate at least $200 in sales (from product sales on the One Time Offer page). 

That’s called a break-even funnel. 

You’ll be building a list for ZERO cost because whatever you spend you’ll earn back from the funnel.

As you can probably imagine the challenge is to build a break-even funnel. You need to do a lot of testing to build a break-even funnel. And there are a lot of elements you can test.

These are the most important elements you can test because they produce the most significant improvements to your funnel.

  • You can test different products for the OTO page until you find one that people really like and it sells like hotcakes. One of those offers can be a tripwire offer, which you’ll learn all about in this guide.
  • You can split test various elements on your sales letter, for example the headline, bullet points or the offer… in order to sell more for the same number of visitors.

    In my other website conversion guide you can discover how to perform split testing. Split testing is an advanced technique.
  • You can try to reduce the cost of your ads so that you spend less money and get the same volume of traffic.

    For example let’s say you spend $200 on ads and get 400 visitors to your sales funnel and you earn $100 in OTO sales.

    Perhaps you can reduce the cost of your ads to $100 and still get 400 visitors and earn $100 in OTO sales.

    In most paid traffic platforms e.g. Facebook Ads you can reduce your ad cost by writing better ads. Copywriting can help you write better ads.
  • You can test a new freebie, perhaps your audience will like it more and you get more leads for the same price you’re paying on advertising.

    For example, let’s say you spend $200 on ads and get 100 leads and 1 OTO sale. Your OTO page has a 1% conversion rate, which means for every 100 visitors you make 1 sale.

    If you test a new freebie and get 200 leads for the same price $200, you’ll make 2 OTO sales, increasing your profits.

Now let’s discover all about tripwires…

What’s A Tripwire?

A tripwire is a product that you can use in the one time offer (OTO) page of your sales funnel. This product should be priced very cheaply, at about $7… but you can test different prices all the way up to $20.

Obviously you’re going to earn a lot less from your sales funnel if you’re selling just a $7 product. That’s why you’ll have to use a One Click Upsell (OCU) when using a tripwire.

The OCU is basically another offer that you present to customers of your tripwire product. After they purchase the tripwire they’ll be redirected to another sales page offering them this OCU product.

This offer can be priced at about $49.95 all the way up to $97 or more.

This combination (tripwire + one click upsell) can work better than just a one time offer. You have to test both options to really know what works best for you.

But let’s find out the reason why the tripwire + one click upsell can work really well.

Why Tripwire Offers Work?

There’s a psychological reason why tripwire offers work. When someone spends money with you, even if it’s just $1 they’re much more likely to do it again and again. They gain what’s known as buyer momentum.

Their initial commitment is the most difficult step to make. They’re skeptical and they don’t trust you.

But once they make their first purchase, even for just $1 and all goes well they’re gonna find it easier to buy again and again from you. They trust you now. They have no worries of buying again.

It’s 10X easier to sell a product to an existing customer than it is to someone who’s never bought anything from you.

Let’s see some examples of sales funnels using the combination of a tripwire + one click upsell.

Tripwire Funnel Examples

All three offers in the sales funnel have to be just right for your sales funnel to produce the maximum number of leads and sales. The three offers are the freebie (lead magnet), tripwire and one click upsell.

Each offer should be the next logical thing your prospects need in order to solve their particular problems.

For example, let’s say our freebie (lead magnet) is a “Complete Car Tire Maintenance Video!”. Lead magnets should be quick to consume, so this video is about 20 minutes long. In it they’ll learn:

How to check tire pressure
How to properly check and fill tires
How to measure tread depth
How to change a tire

Now think of what they’ll need next. They’ve shown interest in do it yourself (DIY) car maintenance. 

They’re very likely to be interested in other car maintenance videos, so we can present them a $7 tripwire offer. This could be a larger video course, perhaps 5-7 videos each about 20 minutes long and teach them.

How to check oil levels
How to check drive belts
How to check engine coolant level
How to replace the engine air filter
How to replace spark plugs
How to check battery terminals and clean the contacts
how to replace broken indicator bulbs
How to store your car for winter

Now they’re getting a lot more value for just $7. It’s a tiny investment and they’re going to learn a LOT. It’s an irresistible offer. An offer they simply can’t refuse.

It’s just $7 so we need to present them with another offer, the one click upsell in order to make some decent money from the sales funnel.

So what’s the next thing these customers want in order to solve their problems?

So far they’ve got a lot of videos teaching them a LOT about car maintenance.

The next offer you make isn’t going to interest everyone. However, there will be a certain percentage of people who’ll need it.

We can offer them a complete A-Z video course on how a car works. This can contain 115 episodes, a 20-hour video series. It will teach them everything about autos and auto engineering. Learn it once, know it forever.

In this video series, we can dismantle a used car, take it apart completely and then put it back together. We document the entire process.

This is exactly what Alex Muir did with his Ultimate Guide To How A Car Works

This mega video course can be priced anywhere from $49.95 to $97 or more. 

Customers who buy the tripwire product are going to see this One Click Upsell offer. Car enthusiasts, which may make up only 1% of those customers will buy this offer.

You need to know your niche really well to understand what are the right products to offer your prospects. It all depends on the type of problems they have and the solutions they need.

When you have the right offers in place in your sales funnel, i.e. the freebie, tripwire, and one click upsell you’ll have a “killer” break-even sales funnel!

“Product Splintering”
To Create Your Funnel Products

One of the best ways to create the right tripwire and one click upsell (OCU) combination is to use product splintering.

First create the OCU product, and then splinter one piece from it to create your tripwire product. 

Therefore the first product you should create is the higher priced OCU product. Then splinter one module/piece from it to create a tripwire.

And you can take it a step further and splinter a piece from the tripwire to create your freebie (lead magnet).

Anton Kraly (Drop Shipping Lifestyle with 10,000+ members) explains this technique perfectly in his video, with several examples:

Let’s see some more examples of tripwire and one click upsell combinations.

Example #1

I sell CashCopyInSeconds™ software. It contains lots of swipe files, a sales letter template, and a sales letter checklist. That software can be the OCU. 

We can splinter off a piece from it, e.g. the sales letter template and use it as the tripwire, selling it for just $7.

Product splintering works very well because you can tell tripwire customers, “Hey you just ordered one piece of the puzzle, why not get the complete package?”.

After you buy the tripwire it will make total sense to buy the OCU and get everything! 

Psychologically speaking when you have a tripwire splintered off the OCU it’s easy to sell the OCU because it’s a very logical thing to get the complete package.

Example #2 sells a membership site as the OCU. The membership site gives you access to 36 execution plans (guides with video tutorials). Therefore as tripwire offers, they grab one of those guides and sell it for only $7. 

Then on the OCU sales page, they’ll tell you, “Hey you just got 1 of the execution plans, why not get 35 more and collect the complete library”. 

This makes a lot of sense. We all want to finish what we start.

Example #3

40 Days and 40 Nights was a big multi-module training course showing you how to survive off the grid for at least 40 days and 40 nights. 

That was a good OCU product, and for the tripwire, they splintered off just one of the ideas/modules in that course. It was called “170 Gallons a Day”.

Example #4

Pro Church Tool’s lead magnet is a 3 step checklist and a short video showing you “How to design 7 beautiful church graphics in 11 minutes!”

You’ll learn where to get free stock images, 8 of the best free fonts, a secret ingredient to create the graphics in mere minutes and a video walkthrough of the entire process.

The tripwire offer is $7 and you’ll get 3 graphic templates customizable to create dozens of beautiful templates!

The templates would make it easier to use the checklist they just downloaded. They’ll also learn about a free alternative to photoshop software that makes it easy to design the graphics.

The one click upsell is a $199 church graphics handbook containing 401 fully customizable church graphic templates, 1028 stock photos, and a 137 page ebook.

The one click upsell is giving them 20X more of what they already got!

Notice how all three products go hand in hand with each other. After they get the free lead magnet they’re offered the next logical thing they’ll want… and once they get the tripwire offer they’re offered the next logical thing.

A Tripwire Without
One Click Upsell

There’s one possible way to use just a tripwire without any need for any upsell.

That’s when your tripwire is a trial for a membership or software. The tripwire can be a $1 14-day trial for a membership and if they don’t cancel they’ll get billed the regular monthly fee. 

There’s no need for an upsell since they’ll pay you the membership fee every month.

The trial can be 7-day, 14-day, it’s up to you.

Tripwire Product Ideas

You can obviously use any Info product format for your tripwire product. 

For example, video course, audio program, ebooks, software, paid webinar replay, templates, swipe files or physical products like books, DVDs, etc. 

Physical products are usually sold as free, but the customer pays only shipping, which will be around $7-$19.

One click upsells can be those same product formats but with more content e.g. bigger courses, membership site or home study courses, etc.

How Does A One
Click Upsell Work

After your customers buy your one time only product, which in our example is a cheap tripwire product, they’ll be redirected to a new sales page.

On this page, they’ll see a new offer. This is called the One Click Upsell because they can buy this product just by clicking the Buy Now button.

They don’t have to re-enter their credit card information again. It eliminates a lot of work for the customer, making it super easy to buy the product. This is what makes an OCU offer so effective.

These are some of the shopping carts that allow you to use one click upsells:



Now let’s see what you can do to improve your sales funnel…

How To Test Your
Sales Funnel Offers

The first goal should be to achieve the average conversion rate on your optin page, which is about 25%. This means you get 25 leads for every 100 visitors.

You can use a free tool to calculate your website conversion rate.

If you’re getting less, that’s the first page you need to improve, before testing anything else in your funnel. Here are the most important tweaks you can make to improve the optin page conversion rate:

  • Use a proven optin page template. The one I recommend is super simple.
  • Write better copy because it has a significant impact on the conversion rates. That recommended template consists of a headline, 3 bullet points, the freebie image and a download button. You can try writing a better headline and bullet points.
  • Test a new offer, which means try a new freebie, perhaps they don’t like the one you’re offering them, or they don’t find it really useful.

Once you have an optin page that’s converting visitors into leads at the normal conversion rate of about 25% it’s time to work on the next page of the funnel.

The next page is your sales page where you offer your new leads a product. This is the OTO page where you sell a product. This can be a cheap tripwire product or a higher priced product.

Either way, the most important thing is that you write a “killer” sales letter.

Therefore learn all you can about copywriting and specifically how to write a “killer” sales letter! You can also use a Video Sales Letter (VSL) especially if you’re good at making videos.

Use swipe files to help you write headlines, bullet points, and other parts of the sales letter.

This page should convert at about 1-2%, if not you need to improve the page. Here are some of the important tweaks you can make to improve it. Only test one thing at a time.

  • If you’re selling a high priced product, anything over $49 try using a cheaper tripwire product. See if you can get 1-2% conversion rates with a cheaper tripwire.
  • Add more bonuses to your product to make the overall offer more valuable.
  • Sell a new product. This is a radical change but it could be that the product isn’t the right offer for your sales funnel.

    Remember this product needs to be the next logical thing your prospects want or need after they optin for the freebie.

Statistical Significance Tests

Keep in mind that when you’re testing you need to send enough traffic volume for the test to be statistically significant.

This basically means that before you calculate your conversion rates you need to send enough visitors through your sales funnel. 

Otherwise, the conversion rate you calculate might be attributed to pure chance.Statistical Significance Statistical significance is the likelihood that a relationship between two or more variables is caused by something other than chance.

For example, let’s say you send 100 visitors to your optin page and you get 70 subscribers. That’s a 70% conversion rate. However, 100 visitors is a very low number.

It could be you get a lot of leads just by pure chance or other lucky coincidences. Perhaps just the right people happened to view your optin page by sheer luck.

In fact, if you send more visitors, say 500 to the same optin page you might notice a drop in your conversion rates from 70% to 50%.

To know more accurately and realistically (not effected by chance or coincidences) your optin page conversion rate, it needs to receive at least 1000 visitors.

And any sales page in your funnel e.g. the one time offer or the one click upsell needs to receive at least 100 visitors before you calculate its conversion rate.

Your test should also run for at least one full week, because once again if you send all 1000 visitors in 1-2 days lucky coincidences can skew your data. 

Perhaps by luck on those days you got just the right people to view your optin page.

To calculate a more realistic conversion rate, not effected by chance or lucky coincidence let any test run at least 1 week. 2 weeks is even better.

A/B Testing (Advanced)

Once you reach average conversion rates, which is 25% for the optin page and 1-2% for sales pages you can use A/B testing to improve your conversion rates even more.

It’s a slightly more advanced technique but you should be using it especially when you’re spending money on paid traffic. 

You need to be constantly improving your conversion rates to get the most conversions for the amount of money you’re spending.

When doing an A/B test you’re testing two identical pages (e.g. two optin pages) against each other. 

One of the pages will have just one thing different, e.g. a different headline.

You can then test and see which page converts the best.

A/B Split Testing Guidelines

When doing an A/B test on an optin page keep the test running until you get 500 conversions (leads) or 1,000 visitors.Then check the conversion rate for each variation to learn which page performs the best. You can stop a test before you get 500 conversions and still get a statistically valid test. But never stop a test before you get at least 100 conversions! 

When doing an A/B test on sales pages e.g. one time offer or tripwire pages keep the test running until you get 100 sales or 1,000 visitors.

Never stop any split test you do before you get at least 100 conversions.

Neil Patel has a free tool you can use to calculate if an A/B test was statistically significant. It will calculate the conversion rate for each page as well.

Free tools like that one can be misleading sometimes. If you end a test before the recommended number of conversions the tool may still tell you that your test was statistically significant!

In this short video, Neil tells more about A/B testing.

You can find several split testing tools to perform A/B tests in my sales funnel guide.


Remember that you can test a tripwire product in your sales funnel if your current funnel isn’t performing very well.

Since tripwires are very cheap products you’d also have to add a one click upsell to increase the amount of money you make from your funnel.

A cheap tripwire product may perform better than a higher priced product in the OTO spot (the 2nd page) of your sales funnel.

To create a tripwire product first create the more expensive one click upsell product, and then splinter a module/piece off it to create the tripwire product. 

You can take it a step further and splinter a piece from the tripwire product to create the freebie (lead magnet).

Your funnel is your lead generation machine, so spending considerable time testing all the different options to create a break-even funnel is a good investment of your time.

So what challenges if any are you facing while building your own sales funnel? Leave your answer in the comments.

2 thoughts on “The 3 Step Tripwire Funnel To Build Your Own Huge List

  1. James lake Reply

    have a quick question on all this. There is a lot to unpack here TBH. Anyway i am looking to help ecoms – most of them have only one or a couple of high end product they are trying to get awareness of and ultimately sell.
    Now i am wondering which Click funnel template would be the best to do that and would funnel stacking also be involved?

    • Jack Post authorReply

      The “Free plus shipping” funnel is very popular for physical products. A good example is if you’re trying to sell guitars. Your funnel gives away a 20 pack of guitar picks for free, they pay only shipping. The ‘one time offer’ or upsell on the next page of the funnel sells some type of guitar.

      And at the same time, you build a list of buyers that you can then promote your guitars.

      The Funnel Cookbook ( is a free ebook by Russell Brunson. It contains a lot more funnel types. And for each one he tells you what to do if you were selling in eCommerce (physical products). That’s a useful book too. 🙂

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