If you want to win over marketing clients and show them how you can help them grow their brand, you need a powerful marketing proposal.
A winning marketing proposal shares relevant, compelling, and persuasive information with clients, so they see the value in working with you
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. It seals the deal on the relationship by outlining your experience and explaining how you can help the client reach their goals.
A great proposal also lays the groundwork for your working relationship. It explains your role as a marketing provider and gives the client an inside look at how you will work together, what you will provide, how long it will take, and what it will cost.
This might sound like a lot of information to compile into one document, so we’ve put together this guide and simple marketing proposal template to help you through the process.
Use this guide and marketing proposal PDF to avoid common mistakes and learn how to create a winning marketing proposal that resonates with clients and generates more business for your agency.
Top Marketing Proposal Mistakes
Before we go into how to put together a winning marketing proposal, let’s start by looking at the biggest mistakes that agencies and freelancers frequently make in their proposals. Knowing what not to do can stop you from filling in the marketing proposal PDF with information that will make your pitch less effective and persuasive to clients.
Putting the focus on your company instead of the client
One of the most common mistakes agencies make in their marketing proposal is making it too much about them. While it’s true that the proposal should introduce your agency, what makes you unique, and examples of how you have created results in the past, your brand shouldn’t be the core of the proposal. The proposal should primarily be about the client.
A potential client looks at a marketing proposal to see how it can help them. They are reading it with their own goals and aspirations in mind. So make your marketing proposal speak to them, and always tie information back to how it helps the client.
Failing to tell a story
A winning marketing proposal captures and holds a client’s attention throughout the entire document
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. Often, marketers are unable to draw in clients in this way because the proposal doesn’t tell a story. Instead of having a logical flow, it is a mashup of information that lacks context.
Instead of piecing together parts of your marketing plan, present your marketing proposal as a story. Give it a beginning, middle, and end.
- Start with a brief introduction
- Present the client’s problems
- Present proposed solutions to those problems
- Explain the details of how to deliver the solutions
These four steps walk clients through the proposal as though it is a story telling them where they are, where they want to be, and how they can get there.
Using too much industry jargon
Another way to quickly lose the attention of clients reading a marketing proposal is by using confusing jargon that makes sense to you and others in the marketing industry but not to business owners and managers.
Avoid using industry jargon, acronyms, and abbreviations that clients won’t understand. Explain information in layman’s terms and simple language. If you do need to include industry terms, add brief definitions to help clients understand the content and context.
Failing to educate the client about the value of marketing
A lack of understanding may be the difference between a client signing on with you or choosing to walk away. If your marketing proposal doesn’t educate the client on what you do, and also why you do it, you could risk losing the opportunity
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Include information in your marketing proposal that explains why certain marketing strategies are needed, what results they produce, and how they are achieved. It’s easier for clients to see the value in marketing if they understand the steps that go into each task and the reasons the tactics work.
Failing to incorporate industry research
Another place where many marketers miss an opportunity to educate their clients is on their industry as a whole. Clients often don’t understand what they need to do to create an impact in their market segment because they don’t fully understand the competitiveness in their industry
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. So you must include industry research to help them see what their competitive landscape looks like.
As you create a marketing proposal, use top sites for market research to find stats and details about your client’s industry and competitors. Include this information to help clients understand the marketing strategies their competitors are using and what they will need to do to catch up, keep up, or surpass them.
Failing to include project benchmarks
The purpose of a marketing proposal is to help clients visualize how the relationship will work and what they will get from the partnership. They can’t do that if there aren’t clear signs and benchmarks that show when goals will be reached and how progress will be measured.
Add benchmarks that show how you will measure progress, quantify goals, and set due dates. Outline the top key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will use to set goals and measure progress, and include timeframes that give clients an idea about when they will receive deliverables and see results. This information helps to set expectations early on and give clients results they can visualize and internalize.
Adding too much information
While a good marketing proposal informs a client, it shouldn’t overwhelm them. Too much or too detailed information can lose a client and cause them to skip over sections of your proposal.
Once you finish your marketing proposal, go back through it again and cut out anything that doesn’t absolutely need to be included. This process can help you remove excess information that can confuse the client rather than inform them.
Failing to assign roles
A client should walk away from a marketing proposal with a clear idea about what they will get from their marketing provider and how the working relationship will be executed. It’s difficult to get that clarity if roles are not clearly defined in the proposal.
A winning marketing proposal outlines who is responsible for what tasks. So in your proposal, describe what tasks need to be done and who is responsible. When you lay out your marketing strategy, explain if you will be involved as a:
- Consultant who creates the strategy
- Project manager who manages the strategy and deliverables
- Provider who creates the deliverables
Laying out details and setting expectations early on makes the working relationship much smoother once a prospect comes on as a client.
Pro Tip: Lay the foundation for a positive and productive working relationship between you and your clients with this client onboarding checklist.
What to Include in Your Marketing Proposal
Now that you know what you shouldn’t do when creating a marketing proposal, let’s break down what you should do.
Download this sample digital marketing proposal for clients, and use these marketing proposal ideas to learn how to add information that shows clients your value, educates them on what they need to succeed, and persuades them to partner with you.
Start your marketing proposal with a simple cover sheet that includes your client’s name and logo, the date, and your brand logo. You can choose to keep this page simple or use it as an opportunity to showcase your agency’s specialties. For example, if you are a leading design or branding marketing agency, use the cover page as an opportunity to showcase your design skills.
Before you dive into the details, begin your marketing proposal with a brief executive summary that outlines what the client will find in the rest of the content. Also, use this as an opportunity to include a confidentiality notice if you don’t want the proposal to be used by anyone other than the client.
A prospective client is looking to hire a marketing agency because they have goals they want to achieve. Use this section as an opportunity to reiterate the list of goals the client has shared with you and outline what the client is hoping to accomplish. Examples of goals may include:
- Build brand awareness
- Increase sales
- Expand into a new market segment
- Increase profit
- Target new customers
- Develop brand affinity and loyalty
- Grow a digital presence
- Launch new products or services
- Grow share of voice
Challenges and Strategic Positioning
Once you outline the client’s goals, dive into what challenges may be preventing the client from achieving those goals. The challenges may be related to their current situation or what hurdles your agency will have to overcome during your engagement.
In this section, also offer a look at the client’s position in the industry. Include a competitor analysis that shows the client’s goals next to competitor data to show how much work will need to be done to reach those goals.
Pro Tip: Use this competitive analysis template to fully understand your client’s position in the industry, their competitors, and their target audience.
Start developing a marketing strategy. Begin to explain what you will do to reach the client’s goals and overcome their challenges. Create an outline that shows the client how each piece of your strategy relates to their challenges and goals. Use a variety of marketing plan tools to create a winning strategy for your client.
Deliverables and Timelines
The marketing approach section introduces the tactics you will use, and then this section goes into more detail. Break down your strategy, explain what goes into each tactic, and list the deliverables that are tied to each of your marketing approaches.
Show the client how you will measure the success of your marketing objectives. Include a list of KPIs and marketing metrics that are connected to the marketing approach and deliverables you outlined. Success metrics that show marketing ROI may relate to:
- Sales revenue
- Cost per lead
- Customer value
- Lead ratio
- On-site form conversions
- Customer acquisition costs
- Page views
- Website visits
- Number of social shares
- Number of social followers
- Inbound links
- Domain authority
- Appearance in search rankings
Success metrics will vary for each client and will be determined by the tactics you use and the goals the client wants to achieve.
Summary Scope of Work
At this point in your marketing proposal, you have given the client a lot to read and think about. Help them review what they just consumed by providing a brief and digestible summary scope of work. Include each deliverable along with pricing to give them something comprehensive yet scannable to refer back to.
Once you show the client what they need and how you can help them get it, it’s time to talk about your agency a bit more. Introduce your agency, what makes you special, and how you can uniquely help the client reach the goals outlined in the proposal.
If you have relevant case studies related to the scope of work outlined in the proposal, share them with the client. Now that they know what work you will do for them, show them how you’ve done it for other clients and been able to achieve desirable results. Include data and KPIs that clearly show the value of the work you’ve done.
Start Creating Winning Marketing Proposals With This Template
If you want to grow your agency and bring on new clients, it’s not enough to just offer powerful, strategic marketing services. You also have to be able to convey the power of your marketing services to clients to get them to choose you over your competitors.
One way to do that is by creating a winning marketing proposal.
Download our simple marketing proposal template, and use the tips in this post to create proposals that show off your brand’s skills and effectively explain how you can help clients achieve their marketing goals, reach more customers, and grow their brand.
And to access competitive analysis and SEO tools that will help you customize each proposal, sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced plan.