How to write a marketing proposal in 9 steps (with tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 8 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

To take on a project, it's important for marketing professionals to show their clients how they can help them meet their goals. Writing an effective marketing proposal helps clarify this information and can be important for gaining new clients. Understanding how to write a proposal can help you illustrate your ideas more effectively to clients and ultimately attract more business. In this article, we explain how to write a marketing proposal in nine steps and provide some additional tips to help simplify the process.

What is a marketing proposal?

A marketing proposal is a document that outlines an upcoming marketing project. Marketing specialists often use these documents to explain their ideas to a client and help them gain new customers. It includes information such as:

  • proposed marketing strategies

  • timelines and deadlines

  • cost estimations

  • case studies

An effective proposal is clear and easy to understand and shows genuine insight into the challenges and obstacles that the client might face. Clients use the marketing proposal to understand what the marketing specialists are offering and how they plan to implement their ideas. This can help clients to decide on a marketing agency to work with or help them finalise project plans. After reading the proposal, clients might suggest changes before giving final approval. After approval, marketing teams can use the proposal to form the basis for their work.

Related: How to write a proposal with a successful structure

How to write a marketing proposal

If you want to know how to write a marketing proposal that makes an impact on potential clients, following these steps can help. These steps aim to provide a structure you can follow for each proposal you produce, with the goal of persuading clients to work with you instead of a competitor:

Related: Marketing executive: Roles, responsibilities and skills

1. Do your research

Researching your client is an important first step. This helps you tailor the proposal exactly to your client's needs, making it more likely to persuade them to choose your marketing services. It's helpful to thoroughly research your client's business, industry and competitors. This can help you identify potential challenges they might face and consider how your marketing strategies can overcome them.

2. Create a problem statement

Marketing proposals include a problem statement. This statement sets out the client's challenges and indicates to them that you understand their needs. It describes the deeper problems that the client faces and how these challenges impact their business.

3. Propose a solution and strategy

After identifying the client's root problem, you can propose a solution and strategies to mitigate the issue. This is where you recommend specific services to address the issue and achieve the outcome the client wants. It's helpful to link each strategy to a specific benefit for the client. This makes it clear what the client can gain from working with you.

4. Include a fee summary

A fee summary is where you set out pricing information. This is critical because it helps the client to decide how to proceed. It's helpful to display this section clearly in a grid that shows specific services and their costs. Explaining your pricing structure helps the client understand why you're including a certain fee. For long-term projects, you can connect payments to specific milestones.

5. Plan a timeline with deadlines

It's important that clients understand how long a project is going to take, so make sure you clearly set out a timeline with some proposed deadlines. For long-term projects, splitting the timeline into smaller phases can make plans clearer. Providing a timeline gives clients an idea of what to expect. It also means they can compare the project's actual progress with previous expectations once it's live. To make this possible, it can be useful to define metrics to measure progress.

6. Include case studies and team information

Including case studies and team information can make your marketing proposal more persuasive. Case studies on past projects demonstrate how you've helped other clients and show that your services have made a difference to their business. Including information about your team members and each person's role shows how the project comes together. Introducing your team also helps to build trust and confidence.

Related: Marketing department roles and their responsibilities

7. Add a cover page

Marketing proposals look more professional if you add a cover page and a table of contents. Including a table of contents also makes it easier for the client to navigate through the document. The table of contents is normally the first page after the cover page and lists all the sections in the proposal.

8. Write an executive summary

An executive summary usually comes at the beginning of the document. It outlines how your marketing work links with the client's needs and how you can support them to achieve their goals. The executive summary can also introduce the different sections of the proposal. It's helpful to add a call to action at the end to encourage the client to keep reading the proposal before working with you.

9. Include an agreement section

At the end of the document, you can include an agreement section. This outlines what the client can expect from you, what you expect from them, the project's deliverables and the code of conduct for the partnership. You can include spaces for both you and the client to sign the agreement.

Key elements to include in a marketing proposal

There are some points that usually appear in every marketing proposal. The information you include in a proposal might vary depending on the nature of the project and who the client is, but some details are always helpful to include. This information helps make the proposal thorough, professional, persuasive and easy to read. Aspects that normally feature in the document are:

  • A cover page: This highlights the project's title and description, your name and details and the client's name and details.

  • A contents page: A contents page aims to make the document easier to understand and navigate.

  • An executive summary: The executive summary introduces the document's contents and your overall plan.

  • A problem and solution: This shows that you understand the client's needs and how to address them.

  • An investment section: This section details the project's expected time frames and costs.

  • Case studies and team introductions: Use this section to prove your past successes and build confidence.

  • An agreement section: A dedicated agreement section clarifies the terms of the partnership between yourself and the client.

Tips for a marketing campaign proposal

Creating an effective marketing proposal can be a significant amount of work, but there are some tips you can follow to help ensure yours is effective. Following these suggestions can help you get the client's attention and persuade them that your services are beneficial. Try these tips to make your marketing proposals more successful:

Get the client's attention early

An in-demand client might receive numerous proposals at once, so getting their attention early is important. Your executive summary is a good opportunity to make an impact and show why your services are the most appropriate for their needs. It's helpful to make sure your proposal gets straight to the main point and clearly shows how your services can help. Once you've attracted the client's attention, make sure the rest of the proposal is similarly clear and direct. A lot of additional detail can be distracting, so focus on the most important points.

Focus on the client throughout

Make sure your proposal focuses on the client throughout. Discussing your own skills and experience is important to demonstrate how you can help, but the proposal also shows that you understand the client's needs. If you show that you understand the client's circumstances, it shows that you're equipped to support them and can give them greater confidence in your skills.

Structure your proposal carefully

Structuring your proposal carefully helps you to communicate clearly with the client. Putting the proposal together in a methodical way helps the client to understand it. It also ensures that the proposal includes all the details required. Understanding the right way to structure the proposal can also help you include the relevant content in an orderly way.

Always proofread your proposal

It's vital to proofread your proposal before sending it to the client. You might find it helpful to ask a colleague to review the document. This ensures that all the information you include is correct and there are no spelling and grammar errors. Errors in the proposal are likely to make the client question the value of your services, so close attention to detail is important.

Use a template

If you're struggling to write a marketing proposal, you could consider using a template. You can find marketing proposal templates online that can help you include all the relevant information and structure it appropriately. You could also create your own template to use for future campaign proposals. Another benefit of using a template is that it makes all of your organisation's marketing proposals uniform and consistent.

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