I've recently shared the 3 traits that every strong consulting offer should possess. But even more important than looking at individual offerings is how you design your offering mix - the different products and services you can offer to your audience.
If all of your services are low-ticket, you end leaving money on the table from satisfied clients that are willing to invest more in exchange for more value. If all your engagements are big and relatively expensive, it will be tougher to build trust and acquire new clients who haven't worked with you before.
The most effective way to consciously design a strong offering mix is to create a value ladder.
A value ladder is a lineup of offers that increase in price, intimacy, and value. They meet clients where they are on their buying journey and are an effective way for you to build trust and maximize your client lifetime value.
An example for a UX consultancy would be:
- "40 UX Best Practices" Ebook (Free)
- 60-Minute Strategy Call ($200)
- Single Feature Optimization ($900)
- Custom UX Audit ($1800, and $3500 with hands-on work)
- Bespoke Services
- Monthly Creative Direction For Tech Teams ($8,000/month)
Here are the main reasons why value ladders work:
- It mirrors your clients' buying journey. Trust-building takes time - clients first become aware of you, then consider hiring your services, until they finally decide to hire them. All things equal, the level of trust must be higher the bigger the commitment (price and time invested) is. Having inexpensive offerings (a free blog, podcast, book) allow people to get to know you and accelerate that process. Several of my best clients came to me due to the free content I publish daily here.
- It increases your customer lifetime value and reduces acquisition costs. These are clear financial benefits. Once someone makes a purchase from you, no matter how small, they’re much much more likely to hire additional services. The cost of acquiring a new customer is higher than retaining an existing one. Again, a considerable share of the companies who hire my low-priced Marketing Strategy Audit signed up for premium advisory services or hire my agency for implementation work. They were all interested in hiring me but needed some reassurance on the value of my delivery.
- It saves you time. Time is your biggest asset, therefore you need to protect it. Bespoke solutions and one-on-one coaching or training can't be packaged or productized, and need to be priced accordingly. Info products have zero marginal cost of production, and low-priced offerings can be standardized and streamlined. By designing an effective mix, you will be reducing utilization and increasing your hourly rate.
Ready to rethink your offering mix? Take some time to decide 5 new value offerings your consultancy can create now or in the future.
- Free Offer: Blog posts, a free e-book, educational videos, a podcast, a webinar.
- Productized / Intro Offer: Strategy or consultation call, paid online course.
- Entry-Point Offer: Written strategic assessment (audit, roadmap, teardown), a done-for-you playbook or strategy, an online workshop.
- Premium Offer: Your core services with bigger project scopes.
- Retainer Work: Done-for-you implementation or maintenance work, individual mentoring or coaching, advisory services.
Note that similar offerings can be included in different parts of the ladder. For example, "coaching" may be an entry offer if it's remote and in-group, and a premium offer if it includes periodic in-person meetings, shadowing, and technical assessments. It's all coaching, but with a different value for clients.