The Art of Selling Online Courses

Exploring Tripwire Funnels with Josip Belina

August 25, 2023 John Ainsworth Season 1 Episode 102
The Art of Selling Online Courses
Exploring Tripwire Funnels with Josip Belina
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Prepare to transform your leads into customers with the magic of tripwire funnels. We've got Josip Belina, our funnel strategy lead, on board to unravel the mystique of tripwire funnels, their operation, and their effectiveness in driving sales. Discover from Josip's wealth of knowledge how to employ just the right kind of low-priced offers to entice potential customers and boost your conversion rates.

We're also pulling back the curtain on a successful tripwire funnel from one of our clients, exploring the vital elements that contribute to its success. Learn to align your lead magnet with the tripwire offer, and understand the role that the above-the-fold section of your page plays in this process. We've got some intriguing case studies lined up where we share tips on structuring a powerful tripwire funnel that perfectly knits together the lead magnet, tripwire, and main product. So, tune in for an exhilarating journey through the world of tripwire funnels, where we leave no stone unturned in helping you leverage them for your business.

Speaker 1:

Basically, your main goal with the trip bar is that you get as many sales as you can, even more, not most of the time, even at an expense of the revenue total revenue you're getting. If you're not doing Facebook ads Because it's a lot more valuable for a business long-term to get buyers upfront that are spending 10, 20 bucks, then it is to make 29 bucks. That's in an optimized way at this stage, because if you can get more buyers and if you do regular email promotions that we generally recommend, you will get them to buy again and again.

Speaker 2:

Hello, welcome to the art of selling online courses. We're here to share winning strategies and secret hacks from top performers in the online course industry. My name is John Ainsworth and today's guest is Yozip Belina. Now Yozip is our funnel strategy lead. He's worked on dozens of funnel building and optimization projects. He's developed and tested most of the systems that DDM is now using when working with our clients.

Speaker 2:

Today, we're going to be talking to Yozip about trip wire funnels. I fucking love trip wire funnels. We're going to talk about what they are, how to use them, why they work, conversion rates, what kind of offers to use all of these kind of things. It's going to be super useful. You're going to understand at the end of it what they are, whether you should have one in place and how much money you might make from it. Now, before we start learning from Yozip, I've got an announcement for you.

Speaker 2:

If you enjoy the tips, techniques and hacks you hear on this podcast and you want to get more of them in a straight to the point condensed version, check out our YouTube channel. What we do every week is we turn the highlights from each episode into YouTube shorts. These shorts feature the most potent and helpful sound bites from each episode. They're a great way to grab the one big thing from each episode that's going to improve your business and increase your profits. Plus, they're also kind of fun to you know. It's just like just a short little bite that you can just grab quickly.

Speaker 2:

We've also got full versions of each episode of the podcast on the YouTube channel as well, if you're listening to this rather than watching it already, and we've got a library of funnel building how-to videos too. So check out the YouTube channel the link to it is in the show notes or go to datedriffinmarketingco, scroll to the bottom and click on the YouTube link, and, of course, make sure to like and subscribe to the channel so you get notified every time we release a new video. That's going to help you sell more online courses. Yosef, welcome to the show. I'm happy to be here again, so give everyone a background. What is a tripwire funnel and how does it differ from any other sales models?

Speaker 1:

Basically, a tripwire funnel is a low priced offer that's designed to turn a lead into a customer as soon as they subscribe to your email list. Usually priced up to 30 bucks, they are the second thing that people will see when they subscribe to your list. So, basically, the first interaction is going to be them scrolling through your website. They will find the lead magnet. They will find something that they like, they will subscribe, they will give you their email address and then the next thing is going to be the tripwire offer. The main difference between a tripwire funnel and a regular sales funnel is that for a regular sales funnel, they probably don't have to opt in, or they at least they don't have to opt in first in order to see the offer. So in a tripwire funnel, you capture the email first and then you're automatically redirected to the offer. In a regular funnel, you would probably send them to a funnel via an email promotion or they would just stumble upon it social media or on your website.

Speaker 2:

Can you give any examples from elsewhere, outside of the course world, so people can kind of get their head around this? They might have seen it somewhere else before.

Speaker 1:

Yes, absolutely. The easiest one is a free trial. So let's say that you want to start exercising. You're trying to find a gym. You're probably going to search around and you'll find a few that offer a first class for free. You will get there. You will sign up at the end of the class or in the middle of the class. They will offer you to continue as a monthly member or as an annual member. You basically put your foot through the door and then they try to upsell you or tripwire you to continue being their member. The standard practice software does this as well, like Dropbox, there was a free version of a Dropbox, so SaaS businesses have a free version. You start if you like it. Do you immediately get offered something else?

Speaker 2:

It's basically like a. It's a cheap offer to get you started buying, and we kind of in courses, we use it like behind the lead magnet, but the concept is it could be used anywhere. You could drive people like ads, straight to a trip or offer you could do. I heard a really interesting example of this company. They were like a marketing agency. They went to a trade show and they wanted to get new clients and they tried just talking to people to get new clients and nobody was very few people signed up. So instead, what they did, I think they were doing like local search engine optimization that get you to appear higher up on Google Maps, that kind of thing, and they offered like 20 bucks they would do your Google Maps listing, and so loads of people bought that because it was like, oh fuck, it's a great deal, I'll buy this cheap thing for 20 bucks, of course and then on the back of that, they're able to then sell a load of those into getting more expensive services from them.

Speaker 2:

And then with us, like with our company, it's, I mean, low price is relative. We have an audit as the first thing that we do when we work with somebody, which is like 4900 bucks, and if somebody buys it in the first couple of weeks after they are sorry, the first week after they we first talked to them then it's reduced to 2900 dollars and that is our tripwire. It's like it's the cheap way of getting started working with us. Obviously, if you're doing selling courses, 2900 sounds like an enormous amount of money, but if you're selling services, 2900 dollars is incredibly cheap. So that's like the starting point is the cheap front end product to get someone to buy something from you and then later on they're more likely to buy more because they got something and it was fucking brilliant and then, like cool, I want more of those things.

Speaker 1:

Plus, also with tripwire funnel or tripwire product. A tripwire product doesn't necessarily always have to be behind the free first initial product. You can have a initial purchase and then a tripwire or an upsell to something that's even more expensive. It's basically the way you call it, doesn't really matter. A tripwire concept works in various different ways. Your positions in a funnel. Basically, we start, or one of the initial things that we do when we work with clients is a review of the way the capture leads and just setting a simple tripwire funnel or a tripwire offer, and the reason for that is that you'll just get more sales quickly. That's basically the gist of a reason why you need a tripwire funnel to get people buying from you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, cause a buyer is 22 times more likely to buy other stuff from you. According to the last like time that I looked through the data about it from our clients, the buyers are 22 times more likely to buy out of any given email list than the non-buyers. So if you get someone to buy and they have a great experience, they're way more likely to buy again. Now, obviously some of that is because the people who are gonna buy anything who bought the tripwire will gonna buy this other thing. It's not total cause and effect. By doing this, you make it much more likely someone's gonna buy something else because you get the chance to give them a great experience.

Speaker 2:

Also, you make a bunch of money upfront, which is nice right, like we've got clients making, like I don't know, 30 grand a month or something like that for a tripwire funnel. I don't know, is that right? Am I exaggerating that?

Speaker 1:

No, no, no, we have 10 to 30, 40 grand even so, that's pretty good. Even though the main goal of a tripwire funnel isn't actually to make you money or to make you a ton of money Long term, the main idea if you can get the tripwire funnel to work well, long term main idea is that it will serve as something that's gonna allow you to make money back that you invest in your front end marketing and ads.

Speaker 1:

A lot of businesses struggle, scaling above 20 to 60K a month and then more than like a hundred. So one of the first things that you can do is start investing in front end ads and if you can get leads and then liquidate at least 80% of their cost upfront or in the first few hours of leads interaction with your brand, you can scale with email marketing behind it. That's what we've done with a lot of people, that's what we've seen a lot of people doing and that's basically the goal. So I call it an almost infinite number of almost infinite free leads, if you can get it.

Speaker 2:

All right cool. So let me summarize. So a tripwire funnel is basically where you offer something cheap early on in the process to get someone to buy something from you. It normally the way we use it. It goes behind the lead magnet. So someone signs up for the free offer, the lead magnet and then behind that they get offered immediately, like on the confirmation page, they get the tripwire offer.

Speaker 2:

A few benefits to it. One, it makes you some money up front, which is great. Not the main purpose, but it's still great. Secondly, it means you're getting people the chance to love your brand more because they bought something from you. They get a great experience. They're much more likely to buy again. And then, thirdly, because it's something that gets a return very quickly, you're able to drive ads into that as well, if you get it working well enough, and therefore you can scale your business that way too. Nice, okay, can you talk everybody through the key components for tripwire funnel, what is included in it? And if you want to share screen and like take everybody through it on the YouTube video, then we'll talk everyone on the podcast. Don't worry, we'll talk you through it at the same time, but that way the YouTube guys get to actually see it too.

Speaker 1:

Basically, a tripwire funnel, like any other funnel, has a sales page, but there is something that before it which is a landing page or a place where people can opt in. So this is the best performing tripwire funnel from one of our clients and this is a heavily split tested version of the landing page with about 54, 55% conversion rate. So out of 100 people that land here, 55 of them will sign up. So if we sign up, we are gonna be redirected to a tripwire sales page. So first the lead magnet opt-in, then the tripwire. This is the first important step, which is the offer.

Speaker 1:

It's super important that the tripwire or the lead magnet and the tripwire offer are aligned and that they make sense. You can't just randomly put something. It needs to be aligned with the landing page. So the landing page in our case was five free meditations and the tripwire is the meditations vault. So basically you can get a lot more meditations here for 27 bucks, which is in line with the price points that we suggest. We normally suggest starting with around $27 and then testing that.

Speaker 1:

The above the fold section here for people watching on YouTube is important. This top section that basically congratulates people on taking this first step, tells them thank you and tells them why this is in front of them is important so that they don't click away. And you have a compelling headline and a clear call to action button with a scarcity element in terms of a countdown timer. So these are some of the elements of a tripwire sales page. When you click on the offer, you will be redirected to a checkout page, and that checkout page then has, of course, an order bump, as we always suggest, and if we were to buy the product, there would also be an upsell. At the end of that, there is a thank you page.

Speaker 1:

Now this is a standard model for doing tripwire funnels. So almost the same as any regular funnel, where we always suggest at least one upsell and at least one order bump. The only difference is that you need to opt in first. However, if you are spending money on ads, this can be a lot more optimized in terms of percentages and the way percentages that you get back when you invest money in front and times. Let's say that you want to optimize this funnel for ad spend. Even though this funnel is very, very good in terms of conversion rates, you can probably squeeze in 40 to 50% more revenue with proper conversion rate optimization. We can talk about that if we will have time Cool okay.

Speaker 2:

So what we had there was to leave a sign up page through to a regular sales page that is offering this $27 offer. The offer needs to be aligned with the lead magnet. So the lead magnet was five free meditations. The tripwire offer is was it like another 18? How many was it? The tripwire vault?

Speaker 1:

It was $27, but the number of meditations is like 40.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so an extra. So it's more of what they just bought, which is a great fit for a tripwire offer. Then you go through and at the top of the sales page for the tripwire it says congratulations, your five free meditations are on the way to your email in about 10 minutes, so everyone knows that they're in the right place, that it all makes sense as congruent in their mind.

Speaker 2:

And then, if they click through from there, there is the checkout page and the checkout page is offering an additional offer as an order bump, and if they buy, then they get to a next page which offers the upsell as well. So that's the whole process. All right emails. Talk to me about what emails do people get, depending on whether they bought the tripwire, didn't buy the tripwire, didn't get the upsell, like what happens after that.

Speaker 1:

So the first step in doing a tripwire funnel is just a basic branch. So you need you have a lead magnet, you have an offer, you have a checkout. You don't even have to have an upsell when you're just starting out. Then you add a few things to it Once you start optimizing. Then you need to start adding emails that are gonna significantly increase the conversion rate there. Most people, or most funnels, will have a lead magnet delivery email, obviously. So someone's opt in, they get what they signed up for and then, instead of a regular welcome email sequence, if people don't buy your tripwire, you start with a followup sequence for them to buy the tripwire. It's normally 36 hours up to 48 hours long. We normally send three emails out and those emails basically you check in your CRM system Okay, this person opted in, did they buy the tripwire? If not, send them these three emails. Basically, we'll always check whether the tripwire has been bought or not. We call it the tripwire followup and those three emails normally get you about 40% of all tripwire sales.

Speaker 2:

Wow, so that's a really significant part of it then.

Speaker 1:

Yeah pretty significant. Sometimes it's an overkill, sometimes it's not, but let's say that people do buy the tripwire. There is also a followup sequence to use there if you have an upsell. So you basically check okay, this person signed up, they did buy the tripwire. Did they buy the upsell? If not, you can send them the similar sequence to that, so three emails over a period of 36 hours trying to get them to buy the upsell as well, and that also significantly increases the number of upsells being sold. Our normal upsell take rate is about 20%. With that you can get to anywhere from 15 to 25%. So it's pretty significant, especially if you run Facebook ads or any ads.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So to really hit that part home, it's the. When you're doing ads, you need to make the money back as quickly as possible. So therefore, you can afford to keep running ads. If you have to wait six months before you make your money back, that's really really, really hard, because you're spending a lot of money up front and not getting it back for a long time.

Speaker 2:

If you can make it all back in 36 hours, that's absolutely fantastic, because it means you can within 36 hours you've got all the money back and you've got new buyers who later want to get a buy more stuff from you, so you can afford to put that money straight back into ads. So anything we can do upfront to reduce the amount of time it takes to make the money back is really helpful. So all those little improvements, the little refinements, they might not make that big of a difference with your organic traffic, but it makes a massive difference if you're running ads. So therefore it's worth putting all these extra emails into sell more of the trip or up front to sell more of the upsell, to refine the checkout page and make it that little bit better. All of these kind of things.

Speaker 1:

I know that people also watch on YouTube so I can share my screen, actually show a funnel map or a trip or funnel, and this might be useful for some. So here on the screen we can see various different sources, how people can enter either a website or a landing page.

Speaker 2:

Right, we've got Google search, we've got Facebook or Instagram, youtube, all pointing people into the website.

Speaker 1:

And then we download the lead magnet they see a trip or page, which is this page. We showed the trip or page, so this page here corresponds with this page here that we've shown. That has the congratulations, your free gift is on its way and the offer is aligned with the lead magnet they just downloaded.

Speaker 2:

That's the trip wire sales page. They download the lead magnet and meet at the. After that they see the trip or sales page.

Speaker 1:

And then they follow up emails that we talked about. In this case, they point back to the trip or page. In an ideal scenario, they would point to a copy of a trip or page that has a 48 hour 36 hour countdown, with something like that landfunnels instead of 30 minute countdown timer. By the way, we have tested this and a 30 minute countdown timer works by far the best for trip hours.

Speaker 2:

What we'd originally have is people, after the lead magnet, they're redirected to a sales page for the 30 minute countdown timer. But if after that 30 minutes they haven't bought, they get these three emails that point them back to a copy of that sales page that has a 36 hour countdown timer, using deadline funnels to say really sorry to see you missed out on the original deal.

Speaker 2:

So this is. You know we want to give you an extension to that as here's more of a chance to go and buy. But now you still got countdown timer to give scarcity, but you're giving. So do you have the same price when?

Speaker 1:

they, yes, yes, the prices the same for those 36 hours.

Speaker 2:

Okay. The conversion rate here it's also good to know that we are aiming for a 3% conversion rate of a trip or funnel.

Speaker 1:

That means that out of 100 people that will opt in and see your trip or product, we want three of them to buy. Then we have a standard order page with an order bump. You can also see some of the standard conversion rates. We talked about this in our other podcasts, so if you want to know more about the conversion rates, you can look for our other podcast where we talked about that.

Speaker 2:

And then at the end of the day, there is an upsell, just one upsell. In this case. This is a basic trip or funnel for organic traffic.

Speaker 1:

And those follow up emails that we also talked about are here. So if people bought a trip or, but invite the upsell, you can do the same follow up here and it would significantly increase the revenue are making from your front and leads, which would be pretty good because you can then invest in more of your marketing. So that would be pretty good, because you can then invest in more of your marketing.

Speaker 2:

So the basic version of this is just lead magnet to a tripwire offer with an order page, and then you can add in an order bump, and then you can add in an upsell, and then you can add in follow-up emails as well, and then you can start to optimize every stage of it.

Speaker 1:

But like the basic version is just lead magnet to tripwire sales page with an order page, I'd say the cool thing is that this funnel, if we were to run ads to it, could probably be improved by about 100%. We can 2x this with some conversion rate optimization, but that's for another time if people are going to be interested in how to do that.

Speaker 2:

Nice, if you're interested. If you want us to go into more detail about this how you would optimize this then drop me an email, john, at datadrivenmarketingco. I'd love to hear from you about what is it you want to hear on the podcast. I want to ask more about that. So any topics you've got overall that you want to hear about, or if you want to hear specifically more detail about how to optimize a tripwire funnel, just drop me an email about that. All right, yozef, to carry on there. Can you share a case study with specific numbers of like what an actual client got on these tripwire funnel?

Speaker 1:

We showed some of the pages and I think we mentioned that this is one of our best performing tripwire funnels of all time, so let's talk about that. So the landing page that we showed so deals one landing page, five free meditations actually has about 55% conversion rate. So 55 out of 100 people that see the offer are a sign up for the five free meditations. Then they will see the meditations vote as a tripwire offer this year.

Speaker 1:

So I've excluded all of the email promotions that we've done and anything that could have changed the results. So clean results only from organic people. 6.35% of people that opt in will end up buying the product. That's double what we aim for normally, so 6.35%. And then you have the order bump take rate, which is around 41%, and the upsell take rate, in this case, which is around 12%. All of that increases the average order value significantly, which means that this is a perfect funnel for pay debts. We do try to pay traffic to that funnel as well and it's breaking even in the first day and actually it's making return on ad spend in the first day, which is something to more than you can expect from a regular trip bar fund. As I said, an almost infinite number of almost infinite, really. You pay a dollar, you get the dollar, you get the lead and the dollar, and now you can scale with email promotions Nice.

Speaker 2:

All right, let's get into some of the details of how someone could actually set this up. What is a great offer to use as the tripwire.

Speaker 1:

As you know, tell you what I want to give another example, another case study before.

Speaker 2:

So there's a guy who's been. The first ever episode of this podcast was with Alan Matthews, who runs classical guitar show, and Alan heard about tripwire funnels for me. I got a presentation one time and he set it up. It took him about a day, I think, to set up his version. I've never test checked to see how optimized his version is, but he made about five grand a month from that funnel without any extra work after that, and so when I interviewed him for the podcast, which is quite a while ago now, he'd made I think it was, 18 months worth of 5000.

Speaker 2:

Which is then what? That's nearly 100 grand. Yeah, nearly 100,000 just from that one day's where, which is a pretty bad ass kind of a day rate, isn't it To put a day in and get 100,000 back? So that's kind of some examples of the kind of numbers you can get. It depends on your traffic, it depends on a whole bunch of things, right, but that's like just a couple of examples, all right. So I want to talk now about what's a great offer to use as the tripwire we touched on this earlier because we were talking about how we had five free meditations was the free offer, the lead magnet, and then 43 meditations was the tripwire, and that's a beautiful fit, because everybody signed up for the lead magnet is obviously interested in meditations. So therefore offering the more meditations is a great offer. What generally can people use the tripwire offer? How do you think about this?

Speaker 1:

So something it needs to provide great deal of value. It needs to be so much value that when they buy this they think, oh, this was a steal yeah.

Speaker 2:

And what you can do there.

Speaker 1:

Let's say, you have a bigger course, you can add a single course module. So if you have written materials, video lessons, private Facebook groups and whatnot, you could segment a one off module from that bigger course and offer it as a tripwire at a lower price level and then that gives you a perfect entry point into an upsell of that entire product. Then you can have some bonus materials mini video courses, templates, bundles, checklists. There is also an option of a low cost trial, so maybe a $1 trial. We generally don't like doing the trials if we don't have to, but that's definitely an option and probably the best thing is something that you can easily put together. So that's why template bundles and checklists work the best. You probably have that already. You take 10, 20 of those, you bundle them together and those meditations. In our case, they were selling those meditations for like a dollar each. So instead of doing that, we bundle that all together into a vault. You have a pretty good value for the money and a pretty good offer.

Speaker 1:

You start with that. So start with something simple. Don't spend too much time creating the entry-par product. Create something simple and test it out and see what the conversion rate is. You only need, if you're just starting out. You only need to understand your benchmark. It's never going to be perfect I mean it could happen but you're going to be lucky. Just start with something, review the KPIs and then go from there iterate on that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, what I think is a really beautiful way to do this is like a offer splitting. So you take your main product that you actually want to sell them let's say that's a $200 course and you split out one bit from that that could get them value immediately Like a trip offer. You want someone to get value really really quickly, like within a day or a week or something like that, without them having to put that much effort into it. So let's say you've got those templates within your main course or you've got swipe files in there, or you've got a checklist in there you've already made and you pull that out and you make that into your trip offer. So therefore, and you might even pull out a bit of that and make that into your lead magnet like if you're getting really fucking clever Because that way anybody who signs up for the lead magnet is obviously interested in getting the next element, the bigger part, which is then the trip offer. And then the people who buy the trip are then interested in getting the whole full course. Because the whole thing all fits together.

Speaker 2:

The bits in the trip where I'm the lead magnet are pulled out of the main course, and the guy who does this really well was Shannon, who was a client of ours before and he'd actually set this up. He had a main course that he was selling for doctors and it's really like relatively expensive, like $8,000, something like that. It's not massive for doctors but for most people selling courses that seems like a lot. But then he sold one module, I think for like $200. So it gave people a chance to try it out, see if it was good, and then his lead magnet was a little bit from within that one module as well. And so if you just bought the one module, the trip wire, for like $200, that was cheap, that was useful, it was helpful straight away, they got value from it.

Speaker 2:

And if you just got the lead magnet, then it was also really useful straight away but it's incomplete. So what we're looking for here useful but incomplete because you want something to then go on to buy the main thing. So that's kind of the one way of like splitting out the offer. What about price point? What would you generally recommend for people as a price point for trip wire offer? I've mentioned $3,000, $200. We've talked about $27. Like, what would you say is the starting point for most people?

Speaker 1:

For most people it's gonna be anywhere from $5 to $30. So we almost exclusively suggest $27. And that's because it normally works.

Speaker 2:

It's one digit, you don't have to think about it and just go. Let's start with that. We can always refine and tweak later.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, but as you said, it's relative to what the main offer is that you are selling. So in our case 4,900 or discounted. If you get it in the first week, that's a very good price for a service-based business.

Speaker 1:

If we were selling online courses, our trip wire would probably be $27. And then upselling to $200 and then $500 products would be sold or $1,000 product would be sold. Differently, we have webinars. Basically, your main goal with the trip wire is that you get as many sales as you can, even more, not most of the time, even at an expense of the revenue total revenue that you're getting. If you're not doing Facebook ads, because it's a lot more valuable for a business long-term to get buyers upfront that are spending 10, 20 bucks and it is to make 29 bucks. That's in an optimized way at this stage, because if you can get more buyers and if you do regular email promotions that we generally recommend, you will get them to buy again and again.

Speaker 2:

Nice. All right, we're gonna stop there. If you wanna hear more about this, you wanna hear how to opt once you've built a trip wire funnel, how to optimize it? If you wanna know about common mistakes that might be made, we can come back and do like a follow-up episode about this, but just let me know if that's something you want to hear, john at datadrivenmarketingco, and if you do, then that's what we'll put together. Joseph, thanks so much for coming on and explaining about this to everybody. These are fucking brilliant. I am. It's like. I think they're absolutely fantastic. If you found the interview useful and you wanna get future episodes, please subscribe wherever you listen so that you can get episodes in future. Thanks so much for listening, really appreciate your time, and thanks again, joseph, for coming on and sharing your wisdom.

Tripwire Funnels and Their Benefits
Understanding and Optimizing Tripwire Funnels
Creating a Tripwire Funnel Case Studies