What Is A Value Ladder (And Why Your Business Should Plan One This Week)

The other day I met a friend for lunch. We talked about a lot of things– life, family, church– but soon our conversation segued to his company.

He’s owned his business for years, and checked all the boxes an entrepreneur would check. He wrote a business plan, identified KPIs that keeps his company on track, focused on growth activities and investing in his human capital.

But the one thing he couldn’t figure out is how to get more leads into his business.

Now, that’s my specialty (lead generation), but I thought I’d ask him a few qualifying questions before pitching him my services.

“How do you currently get leads?” I asked. He told me that he’s got a marketing team that’s running Facebook and Adwords, and that their ads are pulling in 15–20 news leads per month. “What’s the Cost Per Acquisition on those ads?” CPA calculates the cost of the ad to acquire one new customer. He told me the number, and it made sense.

His marketing team’s ads were bringing in a healthy number of leads each month, and converting well.

“I wouldn’t change a thing about your lead generation strategy,” I told him.

He looked surprised. “You wouldn’t? It’s expensive, and I’m just not seeing the ROI.”

I grabbed a napkin and a pen, and started to sketch out what looked like a staircase.

“What’s that?” he asked.

“It’s called a Value Ladder. This is a way you can map out how you plan to serve your customers as they grow with you.”

Here’s the deal– it’s a lot easier (and cheaper) to retain your customers than it is to acquire new ones.

Don’t get me wrong, customer acquisition should be high on the priority list for any business owner, but it’s equally important how you serve those customers with products and services that can enhance their lives and solve their problems as they grow with you.

That’s why you should spend time mapping out your business’ Value Ladder.

How Do I Create A Value Ladder For My Business?

Let’s use a dentist as an example.

If I was mapping out a Value Ladder for a dental practice, I would explain that patients ascend the ladder as they grow with the practice.

For example, a dentist may want to plan a marketing campaign that provides a huge amount of value for a minimal price to get people scheduling appointments and walking through the door.

This is what I call an “irresistible offer”. It’s an offer that someone will stop whatever they are currently doing at the moment to consider and act on.

For a dentist, this may be a free or discounted teeth whitening, cleaning or x-rays. For a chiropractor, an irresistible offer could be a great deal on an adjustment, consultation and massage. A restaurant could offer a 2-for-1 deal on dinner. A gym or personal trainer could run a contest for a 1-year membership.

The goal with this irresistible offer is to get leads calling and coming in your door.

Back to our dentist example– the lead schedules their free teeth whitening. When the dentist meets with her, he discovers a cavity. That free teeth whitening lead turned into a paying customer.

If the dentist acquires 10 leads this month at $3 to $5 per lead through a Facebook ad campaign, and 8 out of those 10 leads come in for a free teeth whitening package, maybe 4 out of the 8 leads have cavities. Then 1 or 2 out of the 4 cavity patients require more major dental procedures like a crown or root canal, or possibly cosmetic work like veneers.

Suddenly, the $3 to $5 cost per lead Facebook campaign turned into thousands of dollars in patient revenue for the dental practice.

So let’s summarize the Value Ladder, and how you can map one out for your business.

1. Bring potential customers in through a low-resistance, low-cost offer.

2. Ascend the customers through a series of higher-value and higher-cost products or services.

3. Nurture your customers through email or Facebook Messenger bot follow-up by walking them through common problems and how your business provides solutions to those problems.

Remember, the goal with a Value Ladder is to grow customer relationships through value. Every step the customer ascends in your Value Ladder provides a higher priced and higher value product or service that solves their major pain point at that particular moment in time.

About The Author

Andrew James is the founder of the Birthday Marketing Machine, a lead generation system for restaurants. You can connect with him on Facebook or AndrewJames.co.