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Definition: It is a method where businesses create a series of upsells in their sales funnel for different levels of customer purchases until they reach the final offer.


A value ladder is a marketing strategy that helps customers see the full range of your products and how they align with their needs.

It often starts with the very lowest priced product and ends with the most expensive product. 

Businesses use this strategy to provide customers with information about their products or services and how they can benefit more as they ascend on the next step of the value ladder.

The idea behind this strategy is not to offer one, all-inclusive package but to allow customers to purchase varying levels of products and services. 

This encourages people to purchase more expensive items because they see them as having greater value.

It also helps increase customer satisfaction and retention.

How does it work?

A value ladder is important for businesses because they are very effective in building the value of the product.

For example, an optometrist offers free eye consultation services to its customers.

When the customer goes to their appointment, they realize that they have astigmatism and need prescription glasses to see better.

The optometrist then starts to ask them if they’re experiencing migraines.

The patient admits to having migraines, especially when working in front of the computer.

They get offered a special deal on regular eyeglasses for $$. The patient buys the deal.

Then the optometrist starts asking the patient about how often they spend time in front of the computer and recommends special lenses that block radiation from the screen.

Patient buys the $$ offer since they needed extra protection for their eyes.

Lastly, the optometrist asks the patient if they would like to get an eyeglass protection plan by paying an annual fee of $$.

This plan covers the fees for replacing their eyeglasses in case it gets lost or broken in a year.

The optometrist then talks about the benefits of the plan such as highlighting the total amount the patient can save when buying new glasses the next time around.

However, this protection plan is only available on the first visit of the patient, if they don’t grab the exclusive deal right away, they’ll miss the opportunity.

The patient agrees and gets the protection plan to avoid spending more in the future.

As you can see in this situation, the patient/customer bought more even if they were only interested in the free service.

This is how businesses make more money from their customers.

In eCommerce, value ladders work the same way inside a sales funnel.

What is a sales funnel?

A sales funnel represents the journey of your customers from the awareness stage until they reach the bottom of the funnel where they convert as a customer or lead.

It is a strategy that can be used for different business types but is usually more common in eCommerce.

There are different stages involved in this concept specifically; Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.

Prospects are more likely to progress down the funnel as they become more familiar with your brand and offers.

This also helps businesses maximize the number of prospects that go through the funnel by testing out and applying strategies that will help increase conversion rates.

When done correctly, businesses can expect to see an improvement in their sales.

How do you create a value ladder?

Creating your value ladder is actually very simple.

The goal of a value ladder is to build value at each step that your customer takes in your sales funnel.

Usually, there are four steps in your value ladder: Free offer, Front-end offers, mid-level offers, and back-end offers.

Free Offer

This is usually something free or cheap for people to try out what you have to offer.

It’s not really an offer but more like a bait that attracts potential customers.

You can also use this in lead generation.

Front-End Offer

A front-end (low-value) offer is a product or service that an individual may purchase to enter the sales funnel.

This type of offer can be used for both offline and online businesses.

They are often the most popular form of direct marketing because they are affordable and beneficial.

Mid-level offers

The middle of the value ladder offer is an offer that lies between a front-end offer and a back-end offer. 

This type of offer costs more than the primary offer and it gives the customer an idea that it gives them more value and benefits.

Back-End or High-End offers

This type of offer is the most valuable offer that’s only accessible when the user went through all the stages in your sales funnel.

These are typically the final step in the customer’s purchase, and often come at a discounted price or have added value.

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