Building a Value Ladder and Upselling Effectively | Do you have a value ladder in your business? Find out how to create and organize your offers to lead your customers on the path from free user to high-value client!

We’ve talked about the power of free and freemium offers in attracting new customers. After all, who doesn’t want to try something free? There’s a reason so many grocery stores have tables with free samples!

But getting a customer to download your digital freebie or sign up for a freemium service isn’t the end goal. It’s just the first step! What you really want to do is nurture that free customer into a higher level of your value ladder.

In other words, you want to turn that free user into a paying customer! And eventually, you want to upsell that paying customer into your premium offer. 

That’s what a value ladder is — a path designed to lead customers from your free offer to your low-price offer, and eventually, to your highest-priced offer!

1 | Value Ladder 101

As a business owner, you want to attract loyal customers. Long-term customers offer the biggest return on your investment — especially if you can bring them into higher offer tiers over time.

That’s essentially what a value ladder is. You bring in potential customers at the bottom of the ladder with a freebie or freemium offer. Then, your goal is to upsell those clients at the bottom of the ladder into progressively higher-priced offers.

It’s pretty clear how a value ladder benefits your business, but it’s also useful for your customers. They’ll see more value from your offers as they move up the ladder. It’s a win-win!

Related post: 5 Ways to Convert Free Users Into Lifelong Customers

2 | Develop a Path From Free to Premium

So, how do you build a path from your freebie lead magnet to your high-value offer? It’s all about understanding your customer and their point of view.

An effective value ladder makes sense to your clients. Think back to the free sample stand at the supermarket. Bagel, Inc. lets you try a bite of a new bagel flavor, and then what? Is the brand representative pushing you to buy a wholesale case of bagels or buy stock in the company?

Of course not — because that’s not the next step on the ladder. You try the bagel and receive a coupon to buy a package of bagels at a discounted price. 

You use the coupon to get your first package of bagels at a one-time discount. And then? You’re hooked! 

You put the bagels on your weekly shopping list. And maybe a few months later, Bagel, Inc. changes the packaging to promote their new “family-size package,” which includes multiple bagel flavors! 

Bagel, Inc. took you from a free bite to their highest-priced package of bagels. It was a slow, one-step-at-a-time journey, but it worked!

So, how can you apply this model to your business? You need to develop a path for your customers to follow — a path that leads them to your high-value offers one step at a time.

Related post: Tripwire Funnels: What They Are & How to Use Them

3 | Identify What Your Customers Need Next

When you’re building your value ladder, it’s easy to just look at all your offers and place them on a ladder according to their price points. But that might not be the best way to structure your ladder.

Your value ladder should generally move up in price, but that’s only one aspect to consider. It’s even more important to think in terms of your customer’s journey. 

  • What can you offer them after the freebie or tripwire offer? 
  • How can you provide more value that builds on the products your customer has already used?
  • Once you’ve helped your customer solve their current problem, what’s the next-level challenge you can offer a solution for?

Remember, it’s a value ladder. Every rung should offer your customer more value, corresponding to the higher cost.

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4 | Develop Offers for Each Step of the Ladder

Once you’ve identified the main challenge your customers have at each step of their journey, you can tailor the offers in your value ladder accordingly. 

Look at the bagel company in our example:

  • Lead magnet: free bagel sample at the supermarket stand
  • Tripwire:  coupon for a discounted package of bagels 
  • High-value offer: larger package of bagels with multiple flavors

How can you develop a similar ladder in your business? If you’re a business coach, your ladder could look like this:

  • Lead magnet: Freebie mini-course 
  • Tripwire: One-time discount on an ebook or webinar
  • Low-value offer: Entry-level DIY course
  • Medium-value offer: DIY course + access to quarterly webinars
  • High-value offer: 1:1 coaching services

Each offer builds on the previous one and gives the customer a more tailored solution. There’s a clear increase in value that aligns with the higher price of each offer.

Related post: How to Create a Case Study for Your Coaching or 1:1 Services

5 | Show Customers the Value of the Next Offer

At every step, make sure your offer solves the problem your target audience has at that level and shows them what they’ll need next. Help them identify that next-level challenge — and how you can solve it!

The bagel company got you to try a free sample and then get a discounted package of bagels with a coupon. You liked them so much that you started buying a package every week at the store. 

Then what happened? The company changed its packaging to showcase the family-size multi-flavor package. Bagel, Inc. showed you the value of the next offer — a chance to enjoy multiple bagel flavors at a lower per-unit cost.

You have to do the same for your clients. Make sure they understand how it’s beneficial to move to the next level. Effective upselling is all about showing your customer why it’s worth it for them to spend more.

Related post: How to Build a High-Converting Sales Funnel

Final Thoughts

A value ladder is good for your business and your clients. The key is to design a path that makes sense — you need to lead your customer up the ladder one rung at a time. 

Don’t just expect them to go from accepting a freebie to investing in your highest-price offer. Think about how you can offer them more value at each tier — and make that value clear in your messaging.

If the first rung on your offer ladder is a free (or freemium) offer, the next rung is often a tripwire offer. A tripwire is basically a low-priced offer that’s available only once — and it’s what we’re covering in the latest Beautiful Biz Lounge marketing guide!

This month’s Beautiful Biz Lounge marketing guide is all about tripwire funnels. With the right marketing strategy, you can use a one-time low-cost offer (the tripwire) to start moving free/freemium clients up the value ladder. This step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know to build a tripwire funnel:

  • How a tripwire funnel works
  • Evaluating whether it’s the right model for your business
  • Creating an amazing tripwire offer
  • Pricing the offer for max profit
  • How to implement the tripwire funnel within your website

A tripwire funnel can be a great way to get new customers into your value ladder — and building one is easy with this comprehensive guide.

If you want the tripwire funnel marketing guide — and other valuable perks — join Beautiful Biz Lounge! Members get monthly Canva templates and stock photos along with quarterly training courses from guest experts. Plus, when you join, you’ll get access to all previous marketing guides and training materials!

Beautiful Biz Lounge membership with over thousands Canva templates, stock photos, and marketing guides.

Get the best value with an annual membership! You’ll get 5 months free and enjoy exclusive perks, like customizable email templates!

If you’re ready to create an effective tripwire funnel to bring customers into your offer ladder, join Beautiful Biz Lounge today!