Value Ladder

Value Ladder – Map Your Products

Oct 10, 2021 | Customers, Marketing, Products

A value ladder is a way of visually mapping your product/service offering, so you can clearly see the relationship between price and value. The idea is that, as the client ascends the ladder – the level of value increases with the price paid.

Building your Value Ladder

Before you can build your value ladder, you need to have two things nailed down, your:

  1. Value proposition, and
  2. Target audience

Your value proposition is basically -> what is your offer? What is the solution you are offering your customer? And, how is it better than your competitors.

In terms of your target audience -> who is your dream or ideal customer?

When you know these two things well – you can reflect on what you are delivering and how to build a ladder of different offers and price points.

Proprietary method

Proprietary Model

As a subject matter expert, or service provider, you will (hopefully) have a specific WAY in which you deliver your solution to your customers. If you haven’t yet documented that WAY yet – make it a priority to do so.

Building your value ladder around this proprietary process will boost the value of your offer and your ladder as a whole significantly.

What helps even more – especially in marketing or communicating your value, is to create some kind of visual model that describes your model / method / framework  or way of doing things. THEN – if you can name it too and give it an identify of its own – even better.

All of this will form the backbone to your value ladder and help you to really shape your different product categories.

Five product categories on the Value Ladder

Product Categories

You will no doubt have heard about people who have webinars, courses, lead magnets or even transformative programmes. However, the important thing to know – is that, as a service provider, you need to pay particular attention to ensuring that the outside world understands CLEARLY, what the different products are.

Much of the work I do is with subject matter experts (consultants, coaches, specialists) – so they have to ‘package’ something intangible. Their knowledge has value, and they definitely have an output (or deliverable) that they promise their customers.

So, when putting a value ladder together it’s important to look at the different categories and how they all work together. (And more importantly – that they DO NOT compete with each other and confuse your customers.)

I advise the following (borrowing and building on Daniel Priestley’s four product categories):

#1 Gifts

This is the main way in which you share your knowledge and expertise without expecting ANYTHING in return. Not even an email address.

Examples: Podcast, YouTube channel, blog, Live Show, PDF’s, white papers.

#2 Products for Prospects (P4Ps)

Low-cost, low risk product for someone to gain a closer understanding of your approach.

Examples: book, webinar, low-end product

#3 Core Product

Your main transformative, high value proposition product (takes your customer from A to Z). this will have the most profitability for you. Pricing does depend on the rest of your ladder, but as a guide it will be somewhere above the £3000 mark.

I will say that, depending on what you do, you could have two levels to your Core Product – one which is a one-to-many offering (like an online group programme) and another which is the “VIP” option (i.e. more of you directly supporting/helping them and less of a DIY and small bits of your time).

Examples: a mentoring or coaching programme over a period of time

#4 Products for Clients (P4Cs)

These are smaller investments than what the core product is priced at, but are sold to existing clients. May be less profit margin, but can be sold in higher volumes.

Examples: Community, retainer services, add-on services, software licenses

#5 Attraction Products

The valuable products or tools you create as lead magnets for specific campaigns to drive qualified traffic, and gain a data connection with interested prospects. In other words – a list builder. So, while the tool itself is FREE, you do give it in exchange for an email address and the permission to market to the person.

Examples: Mini-video series, Masterclass, Profiling tool, Quiz, Test.

Visual Representation of Value Ladder

Once you have mapped where your products/services lie on your X and Y axis of Price vs Value (in eyes of your customer) – this is what you will have:

Value Ladder Map


Tangible vs Intangible Value

Intangible valueWhile tangible value is more easily recognisable and possibly easier to price up, intangible value is a sneaky one.

Many subject matter experts do not recognise value in some of what they do. I thought it may be helpful to give you some ideas on what your customers could value, which you haven’t even thought about.

I’m going to divide this into two parts: value that can be “add-ons” to your offering and possibly appears around your website, and the kind of value that you can build into your service offer.

(a) Value add-ons

These are the kind of things that you add around your messaging, your website or your marketing collateral. They support your value proposition, and act like “boosters”:

  • Money Back Guarantee
  • Lifetime access
  • Free returns
  • Free delivery
  • Secure payment
  • 24-7 customer support
  • 24hr turnaround on queries

(b) Intangibles that add value

If you read Marty Neumeier’s book Brand Flip, he lists 25 intangibles. I have listed my top 7 here which I think most relate to subject matter experts:

  • Clarity – make something super easy to understand
  • Certainty – remove  all doubt about the benefits of what you do
  • Curation – act as a tastemaker on behalf of customers (refer them direct to a great resource, remove the need for searching, qualifying and testing)
  • Delight – deliver more than just reliability, do more
  • Guidance – add support, learning or interpretation
  • Simplicity – streamlining the product or purchase
  • Surprise – disrupt expectations and do things differently or without asking

Last tip when it comes to building your value ladder, make sure that when you are evaluating whether you have very different products or not, ask the question: “what problem does this solve?” And keep asking the question, until you get to the REAL problem your level of solution solves.

Your higher valued core product will be solving the biggest, most transformative problem and your lower end products will really be solving one or two of the initial obstacles people will have before they want to jump to your core product.

We work extensively on your value proposition and your value ladder within the Brand Compass Programme – have a look and see if that’s something you’d be interested in doing with me.

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