Is the uphill schlep of building your brand holding you back? A value ladder could be just the thing you need to give your marketing strategy a boost.

A value ladder is a series of offers that increase in price and value to incentivize potential buyers on their journey to becoming loyal customers. In a nutshell, you start by offering something of value for free, increasing the price and value of each subsequent offer.

A value ladder is a powerful technique for building brand loyalty. When a new customer makes a purchase from you, no matter how small, the chances they will buy from you again increase by 60-70%. So by offering a potential customer something of value at little to no cost, you are creating that first transaction, while simultaneously building trust and cultivating a long-term relationship.

Not sure where to start? Here is a simple 3-step formula to build an effective value ladder. Plus, we’ve added a bonus step that will take your business sales and growth to a whole new level.

But first, you’ll have to do your homework…

Learn Your Customer’s Needs

Hopefully, you’ve already established who your audience is. Now you need to dig deeper and think of what your customers’ most pressing needs are and how your products or services can meet them.

It’s crucial to unearth the emotional needs (ex. peace of mind, increased confidence, sense of belonging) that underly the functional ones (ex. value, aesthetics, user-friendly). Your value ladder will culminate in a premium offer that solves your customers’ deeper emotional issues, which they will be willing to pay a higher price for.

You also need to research your market and get a pulse on what’s trending in your industry. Who is your competition? How are they engaging with your audience (free webinars, ebooks, etc.) and where (books, websites, social media).

Build Your Last Step First 

You first want to create a bullseye or premium offer that your other offers will build up to. This will be the main product or service you’re selling that offers the ultimate solution to your customer’s emotional needs- one they are willing to pay a premium for.

For example, for a nutritional coach, this might be a one-on-one session; or for a real estate agent, it might be buying/selling a home.

Now that you know where you are headed, it’s time to get in front of your new customers.

Your Value Ladder, Step by Step

Step 1: Entice them with a free offer
Your free offer is to get the customer who is window shopping to come inside. This is also your chance to get their contact information, in exchange for their free offer, which will facilitate communication to guide them up the rest of the ladder.
Remember, this is your first impression, so make sure you are building trust and giving them something they will love!

Examples: blog posts, a free ebook, how-to videos.

Step 2: Hook them with an intro offer
An intro offer (also known as a tripwire) is a low-priced, irresistible deal that incentivizes the customer to take a small financial risk. Your intro offer isn’t designed to make a profit, but rather, to create a new customer and make a statement that you are worthy to receive their hard-earned money. So again, you’ll want to make sure your offer gives the customer something valuable to strengthen their trust in your brand and expertise.

And if you are worried about giving away “something for nothing”, remind yourself that acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer. When done well, these low-cost offers pay off in the end by securing repeat business and customer referrals with minimal effort.

Examples: discounted first sessions, paid workshop/webinar, free trial with paid shipping.

Step 3: Pull the trigger 
Hit them up with your bullseye or core offer. Again, this is your prized product or service- whatever you do to solve your customer’s biggest problem. Don’t sell yourself short here. If you’ve done your research and worked your magic communicating the value of your products or services, people will pay what you are worth.

Examples: A more comprehensive course, private sessions, individual coaching.

Bonus Step: Loyalty offer
A loyalty offer provides on-going services and products that continue to help serve your customers’ needs for the long haul. Your loyalty offer will likely be priced lower than your premium offer, but the revenue will be on-going. This is the ultimate way to solidify a long-term relationship with (and income stream from) your customers.

Examples: weekly group-coaching calls, private paid membership sites, additional digital products and courses.

“Studies show that increasing customer retention by just 5% can increase profits from 25-95%.”

Creating a value ladder may seem daunting, but this simple formula will have you reaping the rewards of an ever-expanding customer base and profit margin for years to come…one step at a time.

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