Your Step-by-Step Process for Creating a Value Ladder

Honesty hour: 

Did you intentionally assemble your offer suite? 

You know, the collection of products, services, events, courses, or workshops that you’ve developed over time as an entrepreneur. 


…are you like most creative entrepreneurs who are just making it up as they go?

While each of your offers may be strong on their own, I wonder…

  • Do they support your ideal client at each and every stage of their journey?

  • Is there a gap in your offers? Is that gap something that needs to be bridged to get your customers to stick around? Is that gap preventing them from being as successful as possible?

  • Do you provide different levels of support for diverse needs?

  • Do your offers lean on one another? If so, HOW do they build on each other?

  • Do you have different price points to ensure your offers are accessible to your audience?

I know, it’s a lot to think about.

But, if you’re NOT considering these kinds of questions when it comes to your offer suite, you could be leaving money on the table and missing out on key opportunities to connect with and serve your ideal audience.

The solution?

Create a value ladder for your creative business. 

If you’re scratching your head wondering what in the world I’m talking about, first of all you’re not alone and second of all you’ll want to keep reading!

In this blog, I’ll teach you what a value ladder is (so you can cut through the business jargon like butter) and why you need one. Lastly, I’ll walk you through the 5 simple steps you can follow to build an effective value ladder of your own.

What is a Value Ladder?

A value ladder is a range of services, products, and offers that spans the customer journey. The goal is to nurture your audience through each phase of their experience.

Typically, offers will start small and gradually increase in scope, price, and overall value. 

By pulling your ideal audience in early through valuable, low, or no-cost resources (think freebies or entry level opportunities to work with you), you can build trust and introduce them to your brand.

For example if you are a Graphic Designer, your value ladder might look something like this:

→ Your value ladder could start with an introductory offer such as a free social media template. 

→ This would feed into a paid, low-ticket marketing template that’s a bit more robust than the freebie.

→ Next, your audience might be funneled into a mid-range brand design package including a custom logo, tagline, and brand colors. 

→ Finally, this would lead them to your primary offer of a full, done-for-you website design package. This might include an ongoing marketing retainer with both web and advertising support as well as collateral each month. As a premium offer, this would be at your highest price point, and you may only have the capacity to take on a few at a time. 

While every business has different offers and unique needs to fulfill, value ladders will follow a similar pattern no matter the industry! Typically, this pattern includes the intro offer, the low-ticket offer, the mid-range offer, and the high-support primary offer. 

So now that you know what a value ladder is, let’s dig into what’s in it for you, your business, and your clients!

Why Your Creative Business Needs a Value Ladder

When done well, a value ladder will serve everyone involved! Here are three of the most noteworthy reasons you need a value ladder in your creative business A.S.A.P.!

Baked-in Value

Make marketing a breeze! A strategic value ladder ensures that each of your offers are related to one another and build upon the last. When you are clear on what you’re offering, why it’s helpful, and how it will specifically help your ideal audience, your messaging is simplified and as a result way more impactful! This makes it easy for you to demonstrate the value of your offer to support the next hurdle or challenge your audience will most likely encounter on their way towards their goal or desire. If you struggle with your brand messaging, you’ll find building out a value ladder to be an incredibly helpful tool that takes the guesswork out of what to say and how. 

Offer Inspiration

Ever feel stuck when it comes to your offers, services, or products? Do you find yourself trying to push a specific service or product over and over again, to the point it feels stale? Sometimes it can be hard to innovate or provide something new to your audience, and many of us fall into the same old routines– just going through the motions. However, if you pay attention to your customer journey and regularly assess your value ladder, you’ll find opportunities jumping out at you left and right! Never again wonder what your clients need or how you can help. Your value ladder will spark your creativity and ensure fresh ideas keep flowing!


A well-executed value ladder can increase your referrals! Because your clients are growing with you, they’re on track to achieve optimal results. And the longer they stick with you, the more likely they are to recommend you!

5 Steps To Create An Effective Value Ladder

So, now it’s natural for you to wonder,

“HOW do I create an impactful value ladder for MY creative business?”

To have an effective value ladder, you’ll need a few essential ingredients: 

  • a well-defined ICA
  • solid offers
  • clear messaging
  • and the right systems and operations to support your creative business

When combined, each of these individual elements will become amplified. As you get to know your ICA on a deeper level, your offers become more solid, and your messaging becomes more obvious once your value ladder is put into place. Each piece leans on the other, bolstering one another over time.

Let’s dive into each of these elements so that you can begin to strategically and successfully build out your own value ladder!

#1 A Defined ICA

First things first:

It’s essential that you understand and deeply know your ideal audience. This is why “ICA” work is so important. ICA stands for Ideal Client Avatar. In this business-focused activity, your goal is to develop a persona to represent the most “perfect” buyer for your business or offer. 

When developing your ICA these are the basic questions you will want to consider:

  • What qualities, characteristics, or demographics does your ICA have?

  • What motivates your ideal client?

  • What does their journey look like (i.e. challenges, goals, hopes, solutions they’ve tried in the past, etc.)

  • What specific transformation do you provide that your ICA seeks?

  • Where is your ICA on their journey right now and what kind of support can you anticipate they might need from you next?

Each of these questions will help you get closer to an intimate understanding of your ICA so you can speak to them directly in your messaging. Plus this information will help you continuously craft offers that intentionally support your clients’ needs instead of blindly trying to guess what they need and how they need it!

Over time, your offers will begin to support this ICA at multiple points along their customer journey so that you can serve them in a way that is approachable, affordable, and accessible to them at each specific stage. 

COO Tip: Want to learn more about what an ICA is, why this work is so impactful in business, and how to define yours? Be sure to explore this 3-part ICA blog series: The Key To Unlocking The Potential of Your Business: Your Ideal Client Avatar, 5 Simple Steps To Get Clear on Your ICA, and Creative Ways To Bring Your ICA To Life.

# 2 Solid Offers

You need to nail your offers. 

Too often, I see creative entrepreneurs aimlessly throwing offers, services, and even products out into the world hoping something sticks. 

Wishful thinking isn’t enough.

Plus, the more noise you put out there, the harder it is for potential clients to sift through and find what they really need from you (even if you DO have an offer that is perfect for them).

Your offers need to be crafted with intention and purpose if they’re ever going to lead to consistent sales. 

I always recommend starting with one solid offer. 

This initial offer should be something that lights you up and fills an obvious need in your industry or niche. It needs to be profitable and sustainable if it’s ever going to be scalable in the future.

Then, you can follow your ICA’s customer journey to build from there as you scale your offers up or down. This will allow you to create aligned offers that support the steps before and the many steps after that initial offer. 

However, if and when you’re ready to scale, I caution my clients to only introduce one new offer at a time. Doing too much too soon can easily muddy the waters!

Not only do your offers need to be locked in, but you also need to make sure your pricing and capacity add up in order to actually fill your offers and turn a profit

Figuring out what to charge for your offers can be a daunting task for many creative entrepreneurs. 

When it comes to pricing, market research can help you understand what others are charging for similar services and what is realistic for your ICA to afford. This ensures you don’t price your ICA out (or undercharge for your offer either). 

Lastly, you need to know your capacity. 

Sure, if you sold 10 offers at $500 each, you could meet your financial goals for the month. But do you actually have the TIME to create those 10 products or tend to clients investing in those services? If you don’t, no matter how hard you work or how well you market your offer, you’ll never be able to meet your financial goals, and may even end up missing the mark when it comes to delivering a high-quality client-experience

COO Tip: If you need to get a grip on your capacity, start with a Time Audit so you can understand where your time is going and make a plan to reclaim it. Click here to download my FREE Time Audit Tool and start this simple but effective 7-day process.

#3 Clear Messaging

Sure, once you know who your ideal audience is and what offer you want to sell to them, it may seem easy to start targeting them in your marketing efforts. However, targeting your ICA without the right messaging will fall flat 9 times out of 10!


Because it doesn’t matter if you only know WHO you’re talking to in your IG posts, Facebook ads, or email newsletter

You also need to know HOW to talk to them. Clear messaging is all about getting on their level, being relatable, and speaking their “language.”

Your messaging will rely on these key questions:

  • How does your ICA speak about their challenges and goals related to your offer (use common language, experiences, or even pop culture references here!)?

  • How can you clearly differentiate your offer from competitors in your space?

  • How can you define what your offer will help your ICA achieve so that people can easily self-identify where they should be on your value ladder as they both enter your universe and move through it? Remember, not everyone will enter at the bottom or the very beginning. You will often catch your audience members mid-journey!

Take time to brainstorm or even journal on these questions. You’ll likely surprise yourself with how much valuable, practical information you unearth along the way that you can immediately pull into how you message your offers.

#4 A Well Planned & Executed Client Experience

We’ve already touched on client experience a bit because it’s pervasive and impacts EVERY aspect of your business, your offers, and how you engage with your audience. 

Now, it’s time to get laser focused on how you will curate YOUR client experience to uniquely support your clients as they move along your value ladder. 

While lots of business coaches will teach their students about value ladders, I believe they often omit an important piece of the puzzle.

I noticed early on how well value ladders couple with a well designed customer experience.

Your value ladder should be created with your customer experience in mind. And you can craft your customer experience in such a way that you lead your customers seamlessly though your value ladder.

As you craft your own client experience, reflect on these questions related specifically to your value ladder:

  • As your clients get further up your value ladder, how does your client experience reflect the added investment (i.e. more high-touch 1:1 support, customization, done for you services vs. done with you or DIY etc.) 

  • Should they receive the same or different levels of service at each stage of your value ladder (no right or wrong answer here, you get to decide!)?

  •  How does each touchpoint of your client experience move clients on to the next phase? 

  • When they complete one offer, how does your client experience move them to the next level on the value ladder? 

  • Are there areas where people fall off your value ladder or stall out? Can your client experience proactively address those issues in a way that aligns and feels authentic, while nurturing and moving them along?

When paired together, your client experience and value ladder serve as a partnership. They go hand in hand to make your work lighter and the decision making process a no-brainer for your ideal client!

#5 Supportive Systems & Operations

Last but certainly not least, you need the right supports in place to pull all of this together!

The best laid plans can easily fall apart if they aren’t implemented in a way that is practical and sustainable!

And you KNOW this outsourced COO is a big fan of systems and ops!

Now that your value ladder is in place or the foundational pieces have been established you need a way to manage the flow of incoming, current, and returning clients.

In my opinion, the best thing you can do to support your value ladder (and so many other aspects of your business) is to invest in software like a CRM. 

CRM stands for Client Relationship Management System. Simply put, it’s a software system that allows you to manage all of your business relationships as well as the interactions you have with prospective, current, and past clients

I swear by CRMs because they can streamline your business and help you:

  • Track leads and conversions for your sales system

  • Automate communications so you never miss an important opportunity to touch base with your clients

  • Seamlessly manage proposals, contracts, and invoices

Ultimately, all of these pieces weave together into a cohesive client experience that puts your clients at ease and allows you to show up confidently and professionally!

Not sure where to start as you research the right CRM for you?

I’ve got you covered!

While there are lots of options out there, my go-tos are Honeybook and Dubsado because they’ve proven to be the most effective for me and my clients!

Use these links to get 20% off your Honeybook subscription, or 20% off your Dubsado subscription with the code “ERIN20”

Quick Disclosure: Some of these links happen to be affiliate links, which means when you click the link and make a purchase, it won’t cost you more, but I may receive a commission for sharing this with you. I promise I only ever share what I use and love, so I’d be sharing these with you anyway!

COO Tip: You can learn all about the benefits of a CRM here as well as different options you may consider for your creative business.  

Map Out Your Value Ladder 

Knowledge is power. But without action, learning all the business tips and tricks in the world won’t help your creative business thrive!

Let’s put this info into action!

When you’re ready, carve out some CEO time to walk through each of the 5 steps, one by one. Remember, once you‘re clear on your ICA,  start with one offer at a time, and gradually build. 

It’s not a race. 

Going through this process methodically and the “right” way, will ensure you’re able to develop a long-lasting value ladder that grows with your business and your audience. 

Did you find this blog helpful?

If so, it would mean the world to me if you’d share this link with your community or a business bestie!


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