A marketing proposal is a sales document that consultants, freelancers, and others use to sell their services to clients. A marketing proposal template includes pricing, an overview of methods, and an analysis of the client’s problem and other elements. Creating a marketing proposal is often essential to successfully selling high ticket services to clients.
There’s just one problem with marketing proposals: they are labor-intensive! They don’t help to close the deal. With this guide, you’re about to solve both problems. You’ll receive a marketing proposal template to create these documents in less time. In addition, you’ll discover when it makes sense to create a marketing proposal.
- Are you ready to create a marketing proposal?
- Key elements of a marketing proposal
- Types of marketing proposal
- Step-by-step guide to write a marketing proposal template
- How to use a marketing proposal template
- Sample marketing proposal
- Easy payments make proposals more effective
1. Are you ready to create a marketing proposal?
Inexperienced consultants often waste a lot of their time creating marketing proposals for clients. You can minimize this wasted effort by slowing down and asking a few questions first.
- Do you understand the client’s situation and problem in detail?
- Did the client request a marketing proposal?
- Have you had a preliminary discussion with the client about project fees?
- Have your discussions with the client included the decision-maker?
The last question needs some further clarification. When you sell projects to companies, it is common to interact with multiple people. For example, you might have an initial discussion with a marketing manager, get data from a marketing analyst and talk to a sales representative.
However, the ultimate decision-maker at the company – the person who can sign the contract and approve payment to you – might be somebody else like the chief marketing officer. Suppose you prepare a proposal without speaking to the ultimate decision-maker. There is a good chance your proposal will fail because you have not gathered information from the person who can ultimately approve the proposal.
Unfortunately, directly asking somebody if they are the decision-maker usually doesn’t work because people don’t like to recognize the limitations of their authority. Instead, take an indirect approach and ask questions like “Who was involved in approving the last website design project of a similar project?” Pay attention to each name (and their job role) when you get the answer. Do not prepare the marketing proposal until you have spoken with all key stakeholders.
2. Key elements of a marketing proposal
In general, a marketing proposal includes the following elements. Your specific proposal may be longer or shorter based on the project. A straightforward project with a small budget (i.e., under $1,000) may only need a simple proposal. On the other hand, a $100,000 proposal that involves significant deadlines and risks would merit a more complex proposal. The following example assumes you are a consultant offering online marketing services.
The introduction describes the general approach you plan to help the client. For example, if you plan to focus on lead generation marketing to help the company’s sales team, state that broad goal upfront.
2.2. Situation Appraisal
The situation appraisal is your opportunity to show the client that you have listened carefully to them. Briefly describe what the client has already done and how you will build upon that foundation.
2.3. Marketing Goals and Target Market
In this section, you describe specific goals for the project. For example, you might aim to increase the client’s leads by 10% compared to what they achieved last year. The goals you outline here should be reasonable given the client’s current situation and resources. It is better to underpromise and overdeliver rather than the other way around.
In addition, describe the target market you plan to focus on. Once again, this is an opportunity to prove to the client that you understand their business. For example, if you are helping a dentist to get more patients, you might focus their service on affluent adults interested in cosmetic dentistry. This target market might be further described: professionals earning over $100,000 per year who live within 10 miles of the dental practice.
In this part of the marketing proposal, explain your proposed solution to the client’s situation. Describe the specific marketing methods and channels you will use. For example, you may propose to use Facebook ads, search engine optimization (SEO), and Instagram. In addition to listing the marketing channels, you may want to describe your planned approach to the marketing campaigns.
The proposal should also outline the project schedule. You may not have a highly detailed description of each step at this stage. However, you should give your client the confidence you have given thought to plan the project, gather information from the client, and lead the project to completion.
This part of the proposal is your opportunity to provide your credentials and experience. Describe them here if you have won awards, published articles in notable outlets, and other accomplishments. In addition, you may want to share quotes from past satisfied clients.
The pricing section of the marketing proposal is where you price your services to the client. It is a recommended best practice to give two or three options. For instance, you might offer an entry-level package with a lower price and a higher-priced package with a more comprehensive package.
It is also wise to set your plans about invoices and payments in the pricing section. For example, the total project fee might be $15,000 with payment spread across three $5,000 invoices. Spreading payments across several invoices is smart because it improves your cash flow.
3. Types of marketing proposal
There are a few types of marketing proposals you can use. The type of proposal you choose should align with your client’s goals and your abilities.
3.1. Diversification Proposal
Diversification is a strategy to add more markets, different types of customers, or marketing methods. For example, a company might have historically focused on using trade shows and conferences to generate leads. In that case, your diversification strategy may focus on adding two digital marketing channels, LinkedIn Ads and Facebook Ads.
3.2. New Product Proposal
In this case, your proposal takes on a new challenge – launching a new product. Launching a new product carries significant potential and concerns. With a new product launch proposal, you may want to spend more time and effort on market research.
3.3. New Company Proposal
Helping a new company, like a startup, to find product-market fit in the market is an exciting challenge for a consultant. In this scenario, there is a significant risk and many unknowns. As a result, finding customers may take significant trial and error.
3.4. Loyalty Program Proposal
In some companies, attracting new customers is not the primary goal. Instead, the company may need to develop a strategy to encourage past customers to become repeat buyers. A loyalty program is a proven way to encourage repeat business. Your proposed loyalty program might be simple (i.e., buy 10, get 1 free) or more complex (i.e., an airline-style frequent flyer program).
4. Step-by-step guide to write a marketing proposal template
Creating a marketing proposal template for your business is easy when you follow these steps.
Step 1: Review your most successful past marketing proposals
Your past successes will offer an excellent foundation for creating a template. In particular, identify the proposal headings or sections you have used several times. If you have never created a proposal before, use the section headings covered in the “key elements of a marketing proposal” instead.
Step 2: Identify “boilerplate” content for your marketing proposal
There are probably a few standard elements that you will reuse in each proposal. For example, you might have a proprietary marketing process (i.e., “Influencer Marketing Accelerator”) that you use on most projects. You can probably also reuse the payments and invoice procedure in most of your proposals.
Step 3: Add questions and prompts to the template
Do you your future self and give yourself a list of questions and prompts to fill in each section. For example, you might have a business rule that all projects must be worth $10,000. In that case, you might create a reminder in the pricing section to remind yourself of this rule. Speaking of pricing, you might want to add standard language stating that you use PeachPay for invoices and payments.
Step 4: Get a second opinion on your marketing proposal template
Once you have completed a draft of the marketing proposal, seek feedback on it from another consultant. Everybody has blind spots, so getting an outside perspective can help you fill in some holes in your template.
5. How to use a marketing proposal template
Now that you have created a marketing proposal template, it is time to integrate it into your business. Use the following tips to make the most of your marketing proposal template.
Set up “fill in the blank” sections on the template
Use labels like “[BLANK]” to indicate where you may need to add new information.
Prepare a list of questions to ask prospects to make the proposal easier.
Update your client onboarding process to better align with your marketing proposal template. You don’t want to prepare a proposal unless you’re confident that the client is highly interested.
Identify marketing proposal content you can reuse
Your professional bio, case studies, and related information can likely be reused across marketing proposals. To make this section of your template even more robust, make regular efforts to obtain testimonial quotes and case studies from clients.
Create a marketing proposal template workflow
There is a small risk of error when you use templates in your work. For example, your potential client might doubt your attention to detail if you leave a “BLANK” phrasing in place or fail to customize the template content.
To reduce the chance of error, set up a proofreading process. After you finish your proposal, take a break for 30-60 minutes and review the document carefully.
6. Sample marketing proposal
The following marketing proposal template will give you a head start in creating templates for your business. For simplicity, let’s assume you are preparing for a Shopify-based fashion eCommerce company.
Search Engine Optimization Sample Proposal
Describe how the company’s website and SEO strategy at a high level. When possible, compliment the client on areas where they are achieving SEO success. For example, “Your business has successfully attracted backlinks from over a dozen top fashion influencers, which helps drive high-quality traffic to your website.”
Using tools like Ahrefs and Semrush, analyze the company’s current SEO situation. For example, assess how the company is performing in keyword rankings, backlinks, and time on site. In addition, review how many leads and sales the company obtains from SEO (i.e., email newsletter signups and contact form submissions).
Marketing Goals and Target Market
The marketing goal might be simple: achieve page 1 rankings for at least 50 critically important keywords by the end of the year. The target market could be urban women in their 20s in the US.
Your SEO solution will probably include multiple services like optimizing existing pages, improving the website’s architecture for SEO performance, and publishing new content.
The proposal describes a different focus area for each month. In month one, you may focus on analytics and market research. In month two, you shift your focus to improving technical SEO. The remaining months will cover the rest of your planned services.
This section highlights two of your past e-commerce clients who achieved significant growth from your services. Highlight the number of leads generated, revenue and organic traffic growth you have achieved in past cases.
The pricing section describes the project’s total price (i.e., $10,000) and describes the invoice procedure. Payments will be spread across two payments: an initial $5,000 to start the project and the second payment of $5000 after 60 days.
7. Easy Payments Make Proposals More Effective
Your clients should never have to struggle to pay you. Asking clients to send a wire transfer or check doesn’t make sense. Instead, use PeachPay! Your clients can pay you in a matter of minutes. To get paid even faster, you can include PeachPay payment links right in your marketing proposal template. Click here to sign up for PeachPay today!