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The Only Marketing Proposal Guide You Need for 2024 (with marketing proposal templates)

Nov 8, 2020
(updated: Jan 17, 2024)
Max 5 min read

Writing a marketing proposal can feel like a daunting task. What do you say? Where do you start?

Welcome to our marketing proposal hub! On this page and the related pages, you can find all the information you need to put together a solid marketing proposal and win more clients.

Here's what you'll find in our guide:

  • Marketing Proposal Basics
  • Guide to Writing a Marketing Proposal
  • Guide to Writing a Better Marketing Proposal
  • Explanation of the Types of Marketing Proposals
  • Why and How to Use a Marketing Proposal Template
  • Free Marketing Proposal Templates

There is a lot of information to cover. To help you, we've included links to other pages you can look at for more in-depth information about specific areas relating to proposals.

If you just want to get started now, check out our Proposal Templates hub page for the right document for you.

With that out of the way, let's get started.

What is a marketing proposal?

Before we show you a marketing proposal example, let's talk about what it is and why it's important. A marketing proposal is a document you can send to a potential client to show your value, offer a proposed solution to their business needs, and convince them to engage your marketing services. A good marketing proposal will accomplish all three for your business. And it's the key to helping you maintain a steady flow of new clients.

At its core, a proposal is simply an explanation of what your prospect needs, how you can help them, and how much it will cost. Most marketing proposals also include a timeline of the work being planned.

Your opportunity to show your value to a potential client

The first thing a marketing proposal should do for you is show a potential client your value. Your bid should convince them of how high their return on investment will be for engaging you or your marketing agency.

Value isn't the same as cost. You do not need to join the 'race to the bottom' to be the cheapest freelancer around. Instead, focus on showcasing what makes you valuable. This could be specific marketing campaign experience in their industry, a strong portfolio of superb results, or your ability to create a customized marketing strategy for each client.

Whatever your advantage is, use it to show potential clients what makes you the most valuable choice.

A business proposal to win new marketing clients

As the name implies, a proposal is a business document intended to form the basis of a new job with a client. So, your marketing proposal is also a business proposal. You use it to say, "I'll provide these services if you pay me this much money."

This is important because a proposition should have these elements:

  • Clear explanation of the exchange of goods/services for payment
  • Terms and conditions for sales and payments

These form the basis of the contract that comes after the client accepts your bid.

The first chance to show your marketing expertise to potential clients

Your marketing proposal should show your potential client that you have the skills necessary to deliver what they need. Your language, presentation, and portfolio can all work together to show clients, even subtly, that you are the professional they need.

Here are a few ways to demonstrate your value and expertise:

  • Every marketing campaign uses images and copy to attract customers. Your proposal should show off your skills with a beautiful presentation, organization, and strong copywriting.
  • New clients will read into how you explain your strategic marketing plan to them. Inexperienced marketers can reveal themselves through their unclear or poor explanations.
  • Include a portfolio section in your marketing proposal to add social proof to your claims of skill and quality.

A good marketing proposal will help you establish a foundation of trust with potential clients. You can use this opportunity to position yourself as an expert, or an authoritative figure, and show clients why they should trust you.

Helps you stand out from competitors

A winning proposal is one that highlights what is unique about your business from other competitors. What is your unique selling proposition (USP)? Your USP is made up of your past experiences and upbringing that gives you a unique understanding of things. Every person has a USP, so think about your past experiences and how they have shaped you. These experiences will shape your marketing proposal and help potential clients gain a better understanding of who you are.

Showcases your products and services clearly

Lastly, you can treat your marketing proposal similar to a marketing plan for your business because, in a way, it is. You're marketing your services to other businesses while showing how your services can make a positive impact on their overall strategic marketing plan. Therefore, you should treat a marketing proposal with the same care that any business treats their marketing.

Now that we've covered the basics of what a marketing proposal is, let's talk about how to make one.

How to write a marketing proposal for your next marketing project?

We've split this section into two parts. Here, in the first part, we'll cover some tips to help you write any proposal. Afterwards, we'll mention the four major elements that you should include when you write a marketing proposal.

Let's begin by showing you key points to include in your next proposal.

Your marketing services always start with understanding new clients

Every marketing expert knows you must understand your client, their services, and their target audience. Your proposal should try to show your client how much you understand their business.

There are a few ways to help your client see you understand their business needs:

  • Include relevant research, such as statistics, references, or article references, in your proposal. Advising your client about industry benchmarks helps set clear expectations and shows you understand current trends in their industry.
  • Try to create an accurate 'problem statement.' This is where you state the problem you will help the client solve. If you nail this, then you have built a significant bridge to your prospect.
  • You may be able to infer the size of the client's marketing budget from their business size and model. If this is the case, then try to set the budget for your marketing plan to fit their resources.

Don't know how to talk to your leads about their budget? We've written a whole article about it. Check out How to Ask Your Client About Their Budget Before Creating a Proposal.

Match your marketing strategy to exactly what the new client needs

All your initial conversations and research should help you understand what the client needs. After they gain experience, many marketers gain a kind of intuition about what is going to work for their business.

Your proposals should define the problem faced by the company and how your strategy will remedy this problem.

One simple way to do this is to match each problem point to a strategy objective. By keeping your problem points balanced with your strategic objectives, you will create a pleasing symmetry in your proposal.

Afraid your proposal will be rejected? Read our article Avoiding Project Failure: The Art of Writing Proposals.

Invest time and money into a brilliant marketing proposal template

After you write a few proposals, you will discover every winning proposal has common elements. Key information, such as your portfolio, terms and conditions, and the tools you use for measuring success will probably be the same from one project to the next.

A marketing proposal template will save time because you can recycle key information from one project into the proposal for the next project.

We'll discuss proposal templates in more detail in a few paragraphs. For now, our key point is that you should view your templates as investments. Each one has the potential to bring you more money and many clients.

Winning marketing proposals contain these key elements

What goes into a great marketing proposal? Let's discuss the specific details about the minimum sections you should include in your document.

Here they are:

  • Executive summary
  • Solution
  • Portfolio
  • Payment terms

These are the minimum sections you should include. Of course, you may want to add other sections. You can also broaden these areas. We'll give you some tips on how to make the most out of every section of your proposal.

Before the other sections, every proposal needs a cover page. Your cover page is your opportunity to make a strong first impression on your clients. It should be an introduction of both you and your services.

Most importantly, the primary function of your cover page is to entice the client to read the rest of the proposal.

An executive summary that shows you understand the client's business

After your cover page, you should include a summary of the proposal. This summary should not be longer than a single page. If your proposal is really long, especially in the case of an unsolicited proposal, then a brief, effective executive summary is even more important.

Don't be tempted to write a long executive summary because you have a long proposal. No matter how many pages long your proposal is, your summary should be short.

Not sure how to write it? Check out How to Write An Executive Summary for Your Proposal.

A proposed solution that meets the client's needs

The next area of your proposal is where you actually lay out what you will do for your clients. You will want to list the project objectives and your strategy for meeting them.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you create the solution section:

  • Make sure you clearly answer the problem statement.
  • Focus on creating value here and not just listing the services your company provides.
  • Include information about your team members and their skills, if appropriate.

Many proposals will also work to include some kind of scope of work in this section. However, your proposal will be followed by a legally binding contract. The contract is the best place for a scope of work section or anything else that limits your services.

In your proposal, focus on what you will do for your clients, not what you will not do.

The best marketing proposals contain a portfolio of work

Following your solution section, you should include a portfolio of work. Show off the success of your marketing firm - or just yourself for really independent contractors.

Your portfolio can be hosted on your website. However, you should also include highlights of your previous job success in your proposal. These successes provide proof of your skills, experience, and creativity.

Of course, some of your clients may have confidentiality requirements. Be sure you can advertise your work after you complete a project.

Hint: Retain the right to advertise your work with a company in your contracts.

Include payment terms to build trust and transparency

Everyone wants to know how much it will cost. So, your proposal must include the amount it will cost as well as the terms of payment. Sending proposals without this information will make it seem as if you have something to hide.

Instead, focus on placing the payment information in your proposal carefully. Here are some tips to try out:

  • Do not add your costs until you have illustrated your value. So, keep the payment section for after the portfolio. You want your potential clients thinking, "I want to hire this professional to get these results for my company."
  • Be sure you allow for all the costs of the project. It may be tempting to be the lowest team on the market, but this could end badly if you cannot afford to complete the projects.
  • It may help if you have a process for developing qualified leads. There is little sense in sending proposals to businesses that cannot afford to hire you or are too big for you to manage correctly.

These are the key elements you need to include if you want to create the best marketing proposals. Now, let's discuss some of the different types of marketing services and how this might affect your proposals.

Different types of marketing proposals

You may not need a completely different idea for your proposals because you offer specialized services. However, you will want to focus on what makes your offering more valuable to a company that is considering hiring you.

In this section, we will discuss four common types of marketing services and how they can create more effective proposals.

Digital marketing proposals

Digital marketing is one of the broadest forms of marketing, and your proposal should reflect the wide variety of work you can do. Many digital marketing firms offer services that include Google Ads, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, organic SEO, and more. If this is your offering, then your proposal can showcase your ability to deliver results in every area.

To make an effective proposal, try to highlight consistent results across every service you offer. Show off how you have driven more traffic to customer websites, created more sales and conversions, and increased brand visibility.

For more information, read The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing Proposals.

Content marketing proposals

Content marketing specializes in creating more traffic for customers through organic SEO tactics. Good content marketers can demonstrate previous success by showing results achieved with specific articles, web pages, and keywords.

A common approach to the portfolio section of a content marketing proposal is to use professional tools to show results. Ahrefs, SEMRush, Majestic, and Google's Search Console and Analytics all provide valuable information for showing your past success.

To help you write better proposals, check out Writing a Content Marketing Proposal: The Freelancer's Guide.

Social media marketing proposals

Social media provides many more opportunities for companies and marketers. However, it also presents more challenges because every platform uses different techniques, formats, and reporting. This makes creating effective marketing campaigns more difficult and showing success less clear.

To cut through all of the differences, your proposal should highlight value to businesses. Develop your own metrics that clearly reveal how your services have added value and profit to the companies you served. Specific written or video testimonials from previous clients will also help to show how much you help companies with their social media outreach.

SEO (search engine optimization) proposals

SEO proposals have become crucial tools for showcasing the best solution to prospective clients who want to improve their website’s visibility on search engines. These proposals need to lay out a clear marketing campaign strategy that utilizes SEO best practices. It's also essential to include how success will be measured, including an explanation of key performance indicators (KPIs) and any other metrics that will be used. By communicating these aspects effectively, SEO proposals can show potential clients that you’re prepared to handle the complexities of SEO and ready to deliver results that boost their online presence.

Proposals for social media management

In today's world, social media is everywhere, making it challenging to create a strong and effective strategy. Your proposal needs to show that you're skilled at handling different social media platforms. Explain the value you bring by presenting a detailed plan that covers the various techniques, formats, and reporting systems unique to each platform. Also, include a clear timeline with key milestones to show how you'll execute your strategy. To strengthen your proposal, use testimonials from past clients, whether written or in video format, to highlight the real benefits and profits your social media services have provided.

Marketing research proposals

The first key difference with marketing research proposals is they do not usually include any specific marketing efforts. Instead, they focus on the research needed to do effective marketing.

Common services include:

The key to an effective marketing research proposal is giving clients actionable data points. No one is interested in accumulating irrelevant data. So, use your previous work to show how your efforts resulted in better choices for your clients.

We've written a guide for you. Learn more by reading Writing a Great Marketing Research Proposal: Outline to Completion.

Why and how to use marketing proposal templates

One way to make writing proposals better is to use a marketing proposal template. Templates save time and help you build better documents.

Writing marketing proposals takes less time with a template

Here is a common scenario for freelancers:

You speak with a prospect, they seem to like your work, and then the call ends with a request for a quote. Now you have to write a whole document for their project.

Instead of facing a large task and wondering where to begin, you could begin with a marketing proposal template. This would make the job much smaller.

Imagine how impressed your lead will be when you send them a clear, beautifully organized document only a short time after finishing the call. They will already be inclined to hire you because of your efficiency and organization.

Using a proposal template builds consistency for your marketing agency

If you work with a team or use other freelancers to work on larger projects, you can use a marketing proposal template to deliver consistent documents every time. Doing this will help eliminate any weak points in your bidding process.

Also, once you invest time and money into creating a great template, it makes sense to use it every time. This will give you the best chance of winning jobs by putting your best documents and ideas forward for every job.

How to use a proposal template successfully

Using a template is easy, but there are a few ways to make it go better. Here are a few pro tips for better results with a template:

  • Always customize the template for each client. Use [CLIENT_NAME] in places so you can use "Find and Replace" to make changes to your documents quickly.
  • Use a cover letter for every item you send. This is an easy way to customize your offer for each customer.
  • Track your efforts so you can know which bids were successful. Ask customers who hire you to give you feedback on your bids. Incorporate their feedback into your next template.

For more insights, check out 5 Common Reasons Why Your Proposal Isn't Working and How to Fix It.

Can AI write my marketing proposal?

While writing a marketing proposal can be time-consuming, the good news is that there are lots of AI tools available to help you write one quickly. By using AI writing tools in your marketing proposal, you can make the process smoother and create a persuasive document backed by data. These tools help you understand and express your clients' main challenges and connect your solutions with their goals, showing the value you offer. With AI's help, you can craft a proposal that speaks to your prospects and convinces them that you're the right choice to meet their marketing needs and goals.

Try a free marketing proposal template to impress clients

We've created many ways to help you. On our main proposal page, we have many related templates you can use if you need documents for other proposals.

If you are ready to get started now, choose the best free marketing proposal template from the choices below.

Digital marketing proposal template example

This digital marketing proposal was used for a smaller short-term project that closed with a law office. It included keyword optimization, content strategy, and local SEO recommendations. 

We'd recommend using this template for similar projects, or add in additional line items for additional scope.

Content marketing proposal template

This content marketing proposal is another that is created within a word document. Its goal is accomplishing increasing non-branded organic traffic to your client's website. 

The scope of work breaks out different areas a consultant can help with.

Influencer & content marketing strategy proposal template

This final proposal template is much more in-depth, including a lot more detail than the other examples. It goes into specifics of the scope of work and required more buy-in and details. This contract was much larger and there was higher risk involved on the client-side and so much more thought and energy went into breaking out how it would work.

Apply this to your own processes as a great starting out point for influencer or content marketing as well as system integration.

Social media marketing proposal template

Brand ambassador proposal template

Within each marketing proposal template you'll find similar components - whether it's focusing on content strategy, SEO, influencer marketing, or more general digital marketing strategy. 

  • Goals & objectives
  • Scope of work
  • Timeline
  • Budget

While a free marketing proposal template is great to send clients in a pinch, we can take your proposals to the next level with our proposal builder. It gives you more control over how you want your proposals to look so you can tailor them to your potential client's needs. Indy helps you send proposalscreate contracts, and track hours, all in one place.

Wrapping up

Writing proposals help you avoid those client "dry spells." And though it can feel daunting at first, it doesn't need to be! It start with the executive summary. Then you describe the client's problem, your proposed solution, any experience you have, and the payment terms. Having a winning proposal is key to securing a marketing project, so be sure to research your client's business. The deeper you research, the better you can create a strategic marketing plan that grabs their attention.

To make this process easier, Indy has ready-made proposal templates that can help you wow clients in record time. Just sign up to Indy, click the template you need, create a proposal in minutes, and it's ready to send. With Indy, creating a proposal is as simple as that!

Get started today!

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