The concept of a value ladder may seem confusing to you, or maybe you just learned about value ladders and want to know more about how they can help boost your business revenue.
Either way, this article will help you in learning exactly what a value ladder is, why every business needs one, and the exact steps you need to take to build one out for your business.
I will even include a video training to show you an example, and how to get into the right mindset to think about your customer’s journey and building a ladder that will provide them with the best experience possible.
What is a Value Ladder?
A value ladder is a visual representation of the series of steps that your customers will take from their first introduction of your business all the way to your highest offering.
The idea is to take cold traffic (those people that have never heard of your business), give them an answer to a question they have, or a solution to their problem, and capture their contact information.
From there you can offer them low-ticket items you sell within your business to get them accustomed to buying from you and build trust.
Once they have a good experience in purchasing from you and they trust that your answers and solutions have a positive impact on their life, you can then offer them higher-priced products and services.
Give people more value as they climb the ladder, and you will create an amazing experience for your audience that will keep them coming back for more and turn them into raving fans of your business.
Why Every Business Needs One
Not sure if your business can utilize a value ladder?
The truth is that every business needs one to provide a great experience for their buyers.
Say you sell social media marketing services to small local businesses.
You can’t go door to door and ask businesses if they want to purchase a $2,000 per month program with you. These are small businesses on a tight budget that have never met you or heard of your company.
On the other hand, if you offer them a free social media profile audit, followed by selling them a short guide on how to create posts their audience will love, you’ve got them in the door. You can then move them up into a paid course on how to manage multiple social media accounts, and then sell them the done-for-you solution you wanted to sell them to begin with. Now the experience is much better for them.
Value Ladders can be created quickly with pen and paper, grabbing a tablet, or using the templates provided below.
Value Ladders can be created quickly with pen and paper, grabbing a tablet, or using the templates provided below.
You will have walked them up your value ladder from giving them something for free, building trust, making a small sale, and then ultimately selling them your retainer package offer.
The local business will become much more familiar with you and be more willing to spend their hard-earned money with you once they know you know what you are doing and can deliver them the results they are looking for.
Once they see everything involved, they are more likely to buy your done-for-you services since they likely don’t have the time to manage it themselves. They will also respect what you do more since they will have a little inside knowledge of everything involved in providing that service.
The higher appreciation will create better clients for you, and even if people don’t convert to your retainer, you still get money from people who bought the course.
It’s a win-win for everyone, but especially for you as everything up to the high-ticket sale can be automated to help save you time and money in acquiring leads.
Building a value ladder is as easy as grabbing a pen and a sheet of paper (but the templates below may help).
First, make a list of everything you offer in order of cheapest (or free) to highest price.
Once you have this list you will be able to identify any gaps that your ladder may contain, and where you will need to create products to help answer questions in that area.
If the only thing on your list is a high-ticket offer (over $2,000 one-time, or over $500 monthly), then you need to create some lower end offerings to help warm people up to you.
If you are only offering low-ticket products, you need to find out what other questions your customers are looking to have answered, and create some high-end content to sell them.
Once you have your list of products (or brainstormed future products), it’s time to put each item on the ladder.
Value Ladder Templates
To make this part easier, here is a link to a value ladder template that you can download and print out.
Alternatively, if you are more the digital type, I’ve created a handy template within one of my favorite programs, Funnelytics.
You can set up a free account with Funnelytics and use the template to build out your value ladder.
What to Do With When You’ve Got It Mapped
Now that you have your value ladder drawn out using one of the above templates, you have a rock-solid plan for your business moving forward.
Now is the time to outline and create any products that you are missing in your ladder, and devising marketing strategies to get people to see your lower-ladder offers.
Once you start getting traffic and signups to your low-end offers, you will begin building up your email list.
People can then be sent to your next-step offers in a sales funnel , or you can utilize your email list to drip-sell them over time as you continue to educate them, provide value, and work them up the ladder.
Your value ladder will easily become your #1 business planning tool going forward.
The Benefit to Your Customer
Customers like to buy from those that they trust.
Think about your own buying habits and you will find this to be very true.
When you begin to research the solution to a problem, you likely don’t jump on the first $2,000 offer you see.
You read a blog article. You learn some surface level solutions.
You download the free PDF guide in that article to learn more.
Within that guide you are offered a cheap course that will show you the exact steps to solve your problem.
As you take the course you realize that the solution is going to take up too much of your time or money in getting the knowledge and the supplies you need to solve the problem.
You see they are offering a discount on a done-for-you solution, so you buy that to help save time and get an expert to help you.
If you’ve done this and you didn’t know you were being worked up someone’s value ladder, you’ve probably just had an “a-ha” moment.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and you shouldn’t be angry at the person who sold to you.
You got value out of the deal every step of the way and you were willing to pay for it.
This is the experience we are looking to create for our customers.
Sell without being pushy, and provide extreme value. Enough so that the person doesn’t even feel like they are being sold to since they are getting such a great solution to their problem.
Again, it’s a win-win, and the way that raving fans are created.
What If You Don’t Have a Product for Each Step?
If you’ve found holes in your ladder and you aren’t sure how (or don’t have time) to find a range of products to fill the gaps, you can always use someone else’s products.
You can become an affiliate marketer for pretty much any type of product or service you can think of. You just have to do a Google Search.
If you are missing a low-end offer you can become an affiliate for a related product and push low-end products that tie into the rest of your value ladder.
You can also explore Private Label Rights (PLR) products and buy guides that other people have created, but give you the rights to use as your own. Put your name on it, change the text to fit your business, and add a discount to your next step offer on the last page. Good to go.
If you only sell low-priced offers, you can do the opposite.
Find someone who already has a full solution built out, become an affiliate, and make that offer to them after they buy your low-ticket offer. Again, good to go.
I would recommend eventually replacing someone else’s high-ticket offer with something of your own, but if you don’t know what to offer, or don’t have the time or desire to make a more in-depth solution, you will do just fine going the affiliate route.
Learn How to Fill Your Ladder
If you fill out your value ladder and find some gaps that you want to fill with affiliate offers, that’s a whole other ballgame to learn.
You have to know how to find a good affiliate platform, how to find a good offer that ties in, and know how to make sure you are getting a good deal (commission) for the sales being made. You also need to make sure your product doesn’t step on the toes of the business owners you are trying to promote.
I talk more about the value ladder in the course, and how you can use the affiliate upsell funnel to either sell your product on the back of an affiliate offer, or how to add an affiliate offer to the back end of your product.
Either way, it’s a course that’s jam-packed with value and no-nonsense lessons to help you build a well-thought-out value ladder the quick and easy way, with other people’s products!
An Example Value Ladder
We’ve already discussed a few examples of what value ladders may look like for your business, but I also wanted to share this example I created for a fictitious travel agency that gives guided tours in Italy.
In the example video you will see how we go from offering advice in a blog post, to offering a free travel guide book, to a full immersion Italian culture course, to selling guided tours in Italy.
A Deeper Dive
Great! Let’s take a deeper dive into the different stages of a value ladder, what each of them means for your business, and how they all work together in a cohesive ladder model.
Mapping Out Your Customer Journey
Before we even get to adding products to our value ladder, we need to make sure we are mapping out our customer journey from start to finish.
We need to know the main problem we want to solve with our business, and how people get to the point of knowing they need that problem solved, as well as what their next problems are after this main problem is solved.
By having a fully fleshed out customer journey, we can now begin to list out and create our products.
Deciding Your Core Offer
If you know what you want to be known for, everything else become irrelevant.
Your main, core offer can be physical products or digital, and will help to turn your customers into raving fans.
We must decide what this main offer is first, because this will help us to better understand what we need to do to welcome people to our world on the low end of the ladder, and what premium services we can offer on the high end.
You want to make sure that you can give this offer your all, and over-deliver the value that you are providing (which should be true in any step of your sales funnel).
Finding Your High Ticket Offer
When you solve one problem, more are almost always going to pop up.
Our job is to take the problems that our core offer creates, and find a higher-end offering to help solve these new problems.
I know this sounds like shady business, but it’s not.
Think about a personal trainer.
Her core offer may be to get people to sign up for a nutrition plan for a monthly fee. This plan could educate people on what they should be eating to go along with their workout routine in order to hit peak physical form.
The main problem is likely “how do I have time to prepare all of these meals with these specific nutrients I need?”
That means that our high-ticket offer should be a done-for-you meal prep plan offering highly-nutritious meals that are delivered prepped and ready to eat.
Driving Traffic With a Low-End Offer and Education
Now that you have the top end of your ladder model built out, it’s time to figure out how to introduce people to your world.
Since we have our customer journey mapped out, we should know what state of mind people are coming from, and what early questions they likely have.
It’s our job to answer their questions with videos, blog posts, and low-end offers that help answer these questions and start to give value to our audience.
At this point our profit margins are low or non-existent.
We may be losing money as we work to produce our helpful content. Making a profit at the low-end isn’t important. Our goal here is to collect an email address, build our audience, and then send these potential clients and customers up our value ladder to our core offer, and then our high-ticket offer.
This is where the real money is made. The low-end is meant to introduce yourself as an attractive character, and get people in the right frame of mind to be ready to accept the answer, which is given in the higher-end stuff.
Plug It Into Your Sales Funnel
As you may have guessed, by mapping out our value ladder, we’ve completed all the work we need to decide what to add to our sales funnel.
While you don’t have to, you could easily add everything we have mapped out to the different steps of a sales funnel, and then people can buy our products based on how far they are interested in going through the process.
If you have a good sales page on the front end, people will already be pre-framed for your core offer.
If the copywriting is good on your core offer page, customers may be interested in a done-for-you option to get everything handed to them and their problem solved now.
You can always use email follow-up later to offer any steps people didn’t buy into in the sales funnel. It all depends on how people want to go through your sales process. Some people will want to buy now. Some people will need more education and will buy later.
Russell Brunson Value Ladder Vs. Dana Derricks
The concept of the value ladder was popularized by Russell Brunson in his book DotCom Secrets.
The Russell Brunson Value Ladder is what we’ve been talking about throughout this article.
Map your customer journey. List out what you have to offer. Fill your offering into steps in the ladder model from least expensive (and least amount of value) to most expensive (and most amount of value delivered).
Here is a picture of this model from DotCom Secrets:
*Photo Credit DotCom Secrets
This method makes a ton of sense, and if you set this up in your business you, will have a solid plan for success.
As Russell taught his method of the value ladder, one of his protégés, Dana Derricks picked up on the idea and ran with it.
*Photo Credit Truth About Business
This may seem like overkill, but it makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
The Russell Brunson Value Ladder builds out your business and fills a need for demand in the marketplace. But now that you have all of this set up, you have created a demand for something else.
If your business has a core offer that teaches people Spanish, and you are really good at teaching people and making them fluent, you now have an army of people who know Spanish.
When they leave your world, some will go off on their foreign vacations, but others will be looking for occupational opportunities to apply their new skill such as teaching it themselves, or becoming a translator.
If you have both sides of your value ladder built out, you will also develop a backend to help facilitate these transactions as well, such as a marketplace that lists the translation services of your graduates.
If you are able to think outside the box like this, you can own the whole system from front to back and make money and provide extreme value coming and going.