The Value Ladder
When considering the 7C’s of marketing, please consider the value ladder as an essential ingredient to your overall sales success, this is a popular concept, but one that I feel is not taken advantage of in many small businesses. Others might illustrate this differently; no matter what, the important point is to understand the detail behind the concept.
The Value Ladder can be applied to most businesses, and I hope you can see how it will be relevant to your particular business model. Let’s take a look at this step by step from the very beginning.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is to use my own business, The Rainmakers Club. But I want to point out that I have used this process in many of my previous businesses. Each step has its own sales funnel. No matter what you call it, the result is the same.
The value ladder is a way of graphically illustrating the progress a person makes as they are navigated through your range of products and or services and the marketing process to encourage their progress through your range of offerings. During this journey, all of the ‘C’ words are utilised at various phases.
You can see in this example we start with the initial contact that comes in the form of an offer which is a framework that is related to the entire program. The DIY version of the Program follows this; in our case, this is in the form of a book. Those who want more can have the assisted version, which leads to membership offers.
There is no doubt the Framework has significant value in its own right, and many will gain much just from taking part. Others will want to take this further, and the DIY version will answer that need. It will also draw them further into the process. The key is the value increases significantly so that price is never an issue. Many will see the clear benefit of membership, and that is the main objective of this value ladder. Using the 7C’s of marketing underpinned by all the other C’s, a loyal and valuable client is created.
Please wait until you get this right before you start to use the other tools for marketing that come with a cost; I am talking about PPC and other aspects of marketing that require greater expertise. You will need to use these but get the foundations right first and make these subjects part of your ongoing learning. If you are a member of Rainmakers Club, use our ‘Quick Advice’ service to start your additional learning journey. We deep dive into the subject of the Value Ladder and Sales Funnels in other content in the series of courses on the Hub.
Where to start
First, I want to make sure that you have this concept pegged. This can be a complex subject, but we don’t need to worry about all the tech stuff; we just need to understand the principles, so here goes… Consider this, when you decide to launch and build a business, you do it based on a product or service. While developing that product or service, you will work on several elements that collectively make up that product or service. These by-products can be separated and become income earners or lead generators in their own right with a little thought. You can then put a value on them, bundle them and place them in your value ladder so that no matter what the budget or stage of readiness, your market has something to buy in addition to your mainstream feature product or service.
Typically at the bottom of the value ladder, you will have free samples of some description, perhaps an e-book or report, and then as you progress up the value ladder, the items become more expensive. Perhaps the next level is a book the visitor can purchase, and after that, maybe something in support of the book. Ultimately at the top of the ladder, you have your ultimate offering, the big ticket item.
When you develop your value ladder, it is important not to let this take over and interrupt your daily business routine; you will still want to generate revenue while developing this potentially new approach to marketing and sales for your business. Like most people, when I first looked at my version, I wanted to start at the beginning and build it from the ground up. I already had a business, so this was not such an issue, but if you’re starting, this is not the smartest way to run things.
Far better to either start with the flagship product or service or, better still, start in the middle of the value ladder. Let me explain my thinking on this. You could spend time constructing the low-end by-products into viable offers, but they will not make you rich. These low-end prospects will take their time, learn about you and progress up the ladder to become truly profitable. But in some cases, that can take a lot of time. So I think once you have your wireframe value ladder, like the one illustrated above at the top of this section. When it comes to launching the various stages, start in the middle, these will be easier to sell than the top end, and you will start generating revenue for sales far sooner than you will at the top or bottom end. Once established, you can work outwards in both directions to complete the construction of your value ladder plan.
How it works
People won’t always understand the need they have for what you do, or they may lack confidence and need to ease themselves into a working relationship with you, and that is just the way things are. The value ladder is a way to offer assistance to those not fully committed to taking the ultimate plunge. Your opportunity to offer them value and help them to gain the confidence to purchase your bigger ticket items. In the ideal world, each step up the ladder will have its sales funnel and be linked to the next to encourage the up and, in some cases, the down-sell.
I can illustrate how this works using the illustration of our early version of the Rainmakers Club value ladder. In this version, our ultimate aim is to gain new members, so Elite membership is at the top end. At the bottom is the 7C’s framework, which is a free introduction to what we were doing at this time in our development.
The next level up from the gift is our DIY version of the program, which requires the prospect to buy a copy of the book, giving them all they need to learn how to do what the program teaches them. Some may want even more support, so the next rung up, which takes more of our time and therefore increases the value, will cost a little more, and then we work with the customer with their development desires. After that, we have various membership levels, each one as it goes up the value ladder, offering still more value. That is how it works. This gives the prospect all the options they could desire and the ability to upgrade, and they grow in confidence as they recognise their needs and the value of our support.