What is a Value Ladder? Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide

What is a Value Ladder? Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide

Recently heard the term “value ladder” and trying to wrap your head around it?


The concept of a value ladder has been a critical part of our growth and success here at ClickFunnels — we regularly create value ladders to generate leads, sell more products, drive people down our marketing funnel, and increase average order value.

If you’re an entrepreneur or marketer, then you should understand what the value ladder is, why it’s important, and how to create one.

That’s exactly what we’re talking about in this guide.

First thing’s first.

What is a Value Ladder?

In entrepreneurship and marketing, a value ladder is a systematic outline of a businesses’ products, services, and offers — which ascend up the ladder in both value and cost.

Let me show you what I mean.

What is a Value Ladder? The Value Ladder graphic.

On each step of the value ladder (maybe we should call it the “Value Staircase”?) is one of your offers — and those offers increase in value and cost as someone ascends from left to right.

At the top — with the big dollar sign — we’ve got your most valuable and highest-cost offer. This is the pinnacle of where you’re trying to take your customers.

At ClickFunnels, for instance, our top-shelf offer would be our Inner Circle, which is limited to only 100 people at a time, provides massive one-on-one value, and is very expensive.

On the bottom — the arrows and dollars signs going left to right — we’ve got your continuity program. This is the monthly or yearly subscription plan that your business offers to create recurring revenue.

For us at ClickFunnels, that’d be our software that helps entrepreneurs create high-converting sales funnels.

 To give you an example, here’s what one of our early value ladders looked like at ClickFunnels, starting with a free quiz and ending with our inner circle…

What is a Value Ladder? The Dotcom Secrets Value Ladder graphic.

And to take things offline, here’s what a value ladder might look like for a dentist…

What is a Value Ladder? Value Ladder For a Dentist graphic.

You can probably already see the benefits of creating a value ladder for your business.

The reason for creating a value ladder is to get clear about what your business offers, gain an understanding of the journey your business takes its customers on, and create different level offerings for different income brackets within your target market.

We’ll talk more about the benefits of value ladders here shortly.

Before we do, we need to make an important distinction between micro value ladders and macro value ladders.

Learn More About The Value Ladder Inside Russell Brunson’s book, DotCom Secrets (Get Your Free Copy Now!)

Micro & Macro Value Ladders

When people talk about their value ladders, there are two different types they might be talking about — their macro value ladder or their micro value ladder.

Here’s the difference.

Macro Value Ladder — This is your high-level value ladder for the ecosystem of products/services that your business offers. At ClickFunnels, for example, our macro value ladder could look like this…

Micro & Macro Value Ladders, value ladder breakdown.

Micro Value Ladder — This, on the other hand, is your offer-specific value ladder, also called your sales funnel. It’s your value ladder within a value ladder — we could, for example, have a value ladder just for our One Funnel Away Challenge or just for our Two Comma Club X Coaching program. Below, you can see our micro value ladder for our DotCom Secrets book launch…

Micro & Macro Value Ladders. The Dotcom Secrets Value Ladder graphic.

Another way to look at a micro value ladder is as a sales funnel, which consists of multiple offers — upsells, downsells, and order bumps…

Two Step Tripwire Funnel diagram.

To move forward, it’s important to understand the distinction between macro and micro sales funnel — hopefully, you’ve now got a good idea for the difference.

5 Stages of a Value Ladder

Every value ladder is different.

But most value ladders have a very similar format to them — specifically, bait, frontend, middle, backend, and the peak.

5 Stages of a Value Ladder, The Value Ladder graphic.

Before we move on, here’s a bit more detail about each step…

  • Bait — This is how you draw people into your ecosystem. It’s a free high-value offer so you can build immediate trust with new prospects.
  • Front End —This is where you ask the prospect to become a customer… but still, this should be a very compelling and heavily discounted offer. A free book + shipping offer works great, or a buy-one-get-one-free discount.
  • Middle — By this point, you’ve provided a lot of free value to the customer. Now it’s time for them to take a bit more of a leap. This should be the main thing you sell to your customers, whether it’s a subscription, a product, or a service.
  • Back End — Now we’re moving into the zone where only some of your customers will be able to go, the ones who excel and are highly committed to your products and services. This should be more expensive and more valuable.
  • The Peak — Finally we’ve reached the point where you want to take all of your customers (if it were possible), the place where you’re able to offer the most value for the highest price. This is your premier offer.

We’ll look at three real-world examples of value ladders below and you’ll be able to see how this process works out in actual businesses. But first, let’s address an important question.

Why Does Your Business Need a Value Ladder? 

You know what a value ladder is.

You also understand the difference between micro and macro value ladders — but does your business really need a value ladder?

Let me answer that question with a few more questions.

Is it important for you to understand your customer’s journey?

Do you want to grow with your customers?

Do you want to sell your products/services to various different income brackets inside of your target market?

That is the benefit of a value ladder.

Let’s cover each part in a bit more detail.

Understanding the Customer Journey

What if at a glance you could know exactly where a specific customer sits on your value ladder — what products they’ve purchased, what products they haven’t purchased, and where they should go next?

By simplifying what’s often complex (a company’s suite of products), that’s what a value ladder allows you to do.

Imagine that I’ve got a sales call scheduled with a customer — a quick glance at our value ladder and their purchase history tells me what they’ve bought and where they should go next.

Growing With Your Customers

As you provide value to your customers, they’re going to grow.

Eventually, they’ll outgrow your front-end products (which is a good thing) and they’ll want to come back and purchase more valuable (and expensive) products.

Imagine that I want to lose 50 pounds — so I purchase a weekly meal plan to help me drop my weight. After four months, I’ve made a lot of progress! And I’m ready for more.

Now I’m looking for a beginner’s exercise routine. Fortunately, the same person I purchased from before has exactly what I’m looking for, and since I already trust them, I buy it.

Again, I outgrow the beginner’s exercise routine — I’m ready for something more advanced. Guess what? The company also has an advanced exercise program!

I purchase it and crush my goals once again.

You get the point.

As your customers grow, you want to grow with them, offering them more advanced, valuable, and pertinent products/services that solve their problems.

A value ladder allows you to do that.

Selling to Multiple Income-Brackets

Every target market has people at the front and people at the back.

Some people are just getting started on their journey and can only afford your front-end offer… Others have access to more cash and are ready to purchase your most expensive product or service.

A value ladder allows you to sell to many different income brackets within your target market — which results in more sales and more revenue.

Now that you understand the benefits of creating a value ladder… a quick clarification… 

Clarification — Your Business Doesn’t Need a Complete Value Ladder

At this point, most people get excited and start trying to outline what their value ladder should look like.

Then, once they’ve outlined it, they think, Okay… this is what I’ve got to build before launching my business.

And they spend a year or more building all of the mission-critical offers for their super detailed value ladder.


To get your business off the ground, you don’t need to create every product or service for your ideal value ladder… you just need to start with one offer.

In fact, we recommend you focus on just one piece of your value ladder until you hit $1 million in revenue… then you can add on another step, scale it, then another, scale it, rinse and repeat.

If you’re just getting started, focus on one part of your entire value ladder and create a micro value ladder (see earlier section) for that section — as your business grows, you’ll be able to stack offers onto your value ladder.

5 Steps to Create a Compelling Value Ladder

Next up — how do you create a compelling value ladder for your business?

If you’re running a business that’s been operating for a while, this process will help you identify and organize all of your offers in a linear way that makes sense.

If you’re thinking of launching a new business, this process will help you determine your long-term value ladder goals as well as the best place to get started.

Let’s dive in!

1. Know Your Target Market

Before you can create a meaningful value ladder, you have to understand your target market with crystal-clear clarity.


Because if you don’t understand your target market, how do you know what to offer them along their journey to growth and success?

And if you don’t know what to offer them, how will you create a value ladder?

This is ground zero.

Can you answer these questions about your target market?

  • How old are they?
  • How much money do they make per year?
  • What is the biggest thing that they stress over?
  • What do they get excited about?
  • Who do they follow on Facebook or Instagram?
  • What magazines do they read?

The better you understand your dream customers, the easier it’ll be to create compelling offers for your value ladder.

Customer Avatar Form.

Here’s a great video that’ll walk you through the process of creating a customer avatar for your business.

2. Outline Your Offers

Once you understand your target market, now start outlining the offers you want to put along your value ladder.

You don’t have to put them in the correct order yet — just make a list of possible offers.

If you already own a business, this could be a list of the things you already offer along with the things you want to offer in the future — if you’re launching a new business, then this is just a brainstorming session.

Here’s an example of what this might look like if I were a coach for freelancers…

  • Free eBook
  • Course on Finding Clients
  • One-On-One Coaching
  • Course on How to Be a Better Writer
  • How to Increase Your Rates

One way to approach this is to just make a list of all the problems that your target market is facing — then imagine offers that would help them solve those problems.

Finally, once you’ve made a list, organize those into steps along your value ladder based on price and value provided. Here’s what mine might look like…

  • Tier 1 – Free eBook — How to Start a Freelance Writing Business
  • Tier 2 – Course On Finding Clients ($57)
  • Tier 3 – Course On Increasing Your Rates ($199)
  • Tier 4 – One-On-One Coaching ($2,000)

If you have a continuity program, make sure to factor that in as well. Then move on to the next step.

3. Choose a Starting Place

There are two different paths you could take at this point.

If you own a business with offers already in place, then your job after you’ve outlined your value ladder is to decide on the next thing you’re going to work on.

That might just be scaling your highest offer — we recommend hitting $1 million before adding to your macro value ladder — or it might be adding a new offer to your value ladder.

If you’re launching a new business, then you’ve just got to choose a starting place.

The best place to start is usually somewhere in the middle or on the front-end — something like a $20 – $90 course or eBook for example. That will generate some revenue to keep you motivated but it’s not so expensive that it’ll be difficult to sell.

So choose a starting place and then build a sales funnel — that’s the next step.

4. Build a Sales Funnel

Now we’re going to zoom in on that point of focus.

Earlier we talked about how a micro value ladder is really just a sales funnel — and that’s the next step.

Take the offer you want to start with and create a sales funnel.

Here are three high-converting sales funnels to choose from…

Tripwire Funnel — This funnel is perfect if you want to sell front-end products to cold traffic (via Facebook ads). It attracts people with free bait, gets their payment and shipping information, and then upsells them with an extremely attractive one-time offer.

Build a Sales Funnel. Two Step Tripwire Funnel diagram.

Webinar Funnel — Webinar funnels are extremely effective if you’re trying to sell a slightly more expensive product, service, or course. This will give you the time to build trust, educate your target market, and sell them on whatever you’re offering.

Build a Sales Funnel. Webinar Funnel diagram.

Application Funnel — This funnel is perfect if you want to pre-qualify people for a coaching, consulting, or freelancing service. It requires people to give you a bit of information before they get on a call with you.

Build a Sales Funnel. Application Funnel diagram.

Choose one of the above sales funnels and start building.

How are you going to build your first sales funnel?

Our templates and software make it super easy — here’s a 14-day free trial.

5. Scale

You’ve outlined your offers, created your value ladder, and chosen a starting place. You’ve even created a sales funnel to drive people to the offer you created.

Now what?

Now we recommend focussing only on that one offer until it hits $1 million.

Maybe that sounds like a lot, but if it’s a good offer, then it’s entirely possible to hit $1 million before moving onto other parts of your value ladder.

And it’s better to try and build one thing than it is to try and build many things at once. 

Focus on scaling your offer. Once you’ve hit $1 million, add another step to your value ladder and keep growing!

That’s it. That’s the process.

3 Real-World Value Ladder Examples

We’ve done a lot of explaining.

But you might still be wondering… what does a value ladder look like in the real world?

That’s where we turn to next. We’re going to examine three real-world examples of value ladders from our own business, Natalie Hodson, and Ryan Dossey.

1. ClickFunnels

We offer a large suite of products and services to our customers here at ClickFunnels. For this value ladder example, we’ll just consider a portion of those.

First up, how do we generate leads? What’s our front-end bait?

Well, we’ve got a lot of different types of bait for different types of people within our target market. But here’s one that we use a lot: our two-week free trial.

Real-World Value Ladder Examples, ClickFunnels.

What’s great about this front-end offer is that it’s free and it naturally leads people into our continuity product — so two birds with one stone…

  • Tier 1 – Free Trial
  • Continuity Product – Software Membership

Now imagine that someone signs up for our free trial and they feel sorta lost — that’s where the Secrets Trilogy comes into play… this is a low-cost but high-value offer.

Real-World Value Ladder Examples, ClickFunnels low-cost but high-value offer example.

If they read our books, they’ll probably feel confident enough to try some stuff out on their own by the time they’re paying for their ClickFunnels membership.

But in case things don’t work out perfectly, next we’ve got our One Funnel Away Challenge, which walks people through building a successful sales funnel one step at a time.

Okay. Quick recap.

  • Tier 1 – Free Trial
  • Continuity Product – Software Membership
  • Tier 2 – Secrets Trilogy (Free Books + Shipping Offer)
  • Tier 3 – One Funnel Away Challenge – $100

At this point, the person has learned a lot about sales funnels and they probably are getting pretty good at building them. But there are still ways for us to serve them as they grow into big-boy funnel hackers.

That’s why we have our huge conference (Funnel Hacking Live), our advanced coaching program (Two Comma Club Coaching), our Inner Circle, and we’re soon launching the top tier: Category King Council.

When all is said and done…

  • Tier 1 – Free Trial
  • Continuity Product – Software Membership
  • Tier 2 – Secrets Trilogy (Free Books + Shipping Offer)
  • Tier 3 – One Funnel Away Challenge – $100
  • Tier 4 – Funnel Hacking Live
  • Tier 5 – Two Comma Club Coaching
  • Tier 6 – Inner Circle
  • Tier 7 – Category King Council

Obviously, our dream is to ascend each of our customers up that value ladder as high as possible, charging more money and providing more value along the way.

But it’s natural that fewer people will buy more expensive products — that’s just business.

And if that value ladder looks overwhelming, keep in mind that it wasn’t built overnight. It’s taken nearly a decade to craft that value ladder and the offers within it.

2. Natalie Hodson

Natalie Hodson coaches women on healthy living and entrepreneurship with her courses and ebooks.

Real-World Value Ladder Examples, Natalie Hodson example

And at the front of her value ladder (the easiest way to find a company’s “bait” is to look at their Facebook ads) is a free web class where she talks about how to start an online business…

It’s also worth noting that she’s got all of these freebies on her website that works wonderfully as bait at the front of her value ladder.

Real-World Value Ladder Examples, Natalie Hodson value ladder bait example.

Once someone is inside her ecosystem, she’s got quite a few different front-end products she can offer them — including this pregnancy trainer course.

Real-World Value Ladder Examples, Natalie Hodson frontend offer example.

She’s got a ton of these front-end and middle products on her value ladder. Then at her peak, she’s got Peak Business Academy, which teaches people how to build an online business for $2,000.

Real-World Value Ladder Examples, Natalie Hodson frontend products example.

All in all, here’s a glimpse of her value ladder.

  • Tier 1 – Free Web Class
  • Tier 2 – Courses & eBooks
  • Tier 3 – Peak Business Academy

Pretty simple, right?

But that doesn’t mean it’s not effective — in fact, it’s very effective!

3. Ryan Dossey

For our final example, let’s take a look at Ryan Dossey, a coach in the real estate investing niche.

Real-World Value Ladder Examples, Ryan Dossey coaching example.

At the front-end of Ryan’s value ladder is his Create Cash Flow eBook (which is the main CTA of his homepage).

Real-World Value Ladder Examples, Ryan Dossey coaching example.

This is free and provides a lot of value to his target market.

Next, if we visit his store, it’s quite apparent how he’d like customers to ascend up his value ladder.

He’s got a course on how to hire virtual assistants ($49), List Pulling Mastery ($199) for teaching real estate investors which lists to target with their mailers, and a one-on-one consultation call ($1,000).

Here’s the gist…

  • Tier 1 – Create Cash Flow eBook
  • Tier 2 – How to Hire Virtual Assistants Course ($49)
  • Tier 3 – List Pulling Mastery Course ($199)
  • Tier 4 – One-On-One Consultation ($1,000)

Again, pretty simple.

But effective.

These examples should give you a better idea of what your value ladder might look like!

Final Thoughts on Value Ladders

Now you know what a value ladder is, how it works, and how to build one of your own.

What’s left?


Outline your own value ladder to gain a better understanding of your business, your dream customers, and how you can provide value for them while charging what you deserve.

And if you’re ready to do a deeper dive on the value ladder, click the link below to get a free copy of Russell’s book, DotCom Secrets…

Learn More About The Value Ladder Inside Russell Brunson’s Book, DotCom Secrets (Get Your Free Copy Now!)

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