5 Do’s & Don’ts to Convert More of Your Marketing Proposals

By Jason Swenk on October 15, 2015

It’s a competitive landscape for agencies today. When you have the opportunity to write a marketing proposal you want to knock it out of the park. Over the 12 years I owned and ran my digital marketing agency we developed a process for presenting proposals that converted 80% into opportunities. Yes, 80%! That sure helps the ad agency new business 🙂

Here Are My Top 5 Tips to Increase the Close Rate on Your New Client Proposals

  1. DO present the marketing proposal in person. Be clear that it’s your policy to present proposals in a face-to-face meeting or online, and be willing to walk away if they won’t agree to one off the bat. DON’T settle for anything less than the opportunity to walk through it together. If they aren’t willing to meet with you and talk about the points of the proposal they’re probably just shopping around – you’ll be spinning your wheels. Get them to commit to a meeting before you commit your resources on the proposal.

  2. DON’T include the About Us section upfront. Most digital and marketing agencies like to lead off with information about their agency, client list, awards, experience, etc. Until the client believes that you understand their business, needs and challenges they don’t care who you are or what you’ve done. DO make the conversation more about them in the beginning and wait to show off your qualifications later in the proposal.

  3. DO include a Cover Letter. This is a highly neglected but uber important piece to a great proposal. I don’t mean a clever cover page (although those are nice, too), I mean an actual cover letter with some bullet points that set the expectation for the contents of the proposal. Briefly explain the problem or challenge that you are going to solve as well as a nugget or two about your business. DON’T be too wordy – keep it short and to the point.

  4. DON’T include pricing in the Deliverables section of the proposal. Sure, pricing is important but the Deliverable section should be used to describe exactly what is and is not included in each service. Be clear on your processes and methodology. Be detailed in explaining how many versions of pages, rounds of revisions, etc. Organize this section into service categories like creative, digital, social… But no pricing. DO create a Project Summary page with line items for each category and itemized costs for each.

  5. DO include an Executive Summary in the early part of the proposal. Give a summary of the situational circumstances surrounding the proposal. State two obvious facts about the client’s business that they know to be true. Then state what they want from this project and why they want it. What’s the big benefit? You need to understand their 3I’s in order to write this section: What Issue are they having? What is the Impact this issue is having on their business? What is the level of Importance, or what is the consequence if they don’t address the issue? Lastly, write about where they’re going and what needs to be done in order to get them there. DON’T just summarize the proposal itself.  

If you want to put this advice into action right away try using the EXACT PROPOSAL TEMPLATE that won my Digital Agency clients like LegalZoom, Hitachi and AT&T click here.

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What’s the Next Steps after a Good Marketing Proposal?

When you have a good marketing proposal template in place, this will improve your processes and potential bring in bigger clients which will bring your agency to the next level in growth and authority.

By looking at the bigger picture of your agency, you can focus on areas you haven’t explored yet as well as struggles you need to focus on to improve your business and then check out how I have all you need to get through these obstacles.

I have a bank of advice to share with you from my own experiences. This can be how to increase conversions on your website, ways to implement Facebook in your marketing strategy, why building authority to improve your agency is important and the best way to pitch to big brand clients.

If growth is your focus, I’ve discussed the different phases of growth within your agency and the three questions you need to ask yourself to sell your services to more customers.

You can learn more about my career and experiences as well as lots of tips, tricks and insights by reading my blogs that cover a wide variety of topics.

Check out more from my Ask Swenk series and more of my videos on my Youtube channel. There you will find advice from myself and other agency experts.


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