Bonus material: Get access to the exact marketing plan Noah Kagan used to launch Mint — and copy it for your business launch.
A $10,000+ project with a dream client — sounds fantastic, doesn’t it?
What if I told you that you can pull this off just by using a marketing proposal?
In this guide, I’ll share the exact marketing proposal template that got me a retainer project with a client I’d never thought of working with in my first year of business.
That’s the persuasive power of marketing proposals — they highlight your unique expertise, establish trust, and show why you’re the best person to do the job.
Depending on who you’re sending it to, your proposal can be anywhere from five to 15 pages. (For example, a junior executive might require more content to make their case to their supervisor. In comparison, a senior executive who’s already familiar with your work might need only a simple six-pager.)
There’s a lot to unpack here. Here’s what we’re going to cover in this guide:
- What Should You Include in a Marketing Proposal Template?
- Why is a Marketing Proposal Important?
- 3 Best Practices When Creating a Marketing Proposal
- Use This Marketing Proposal Template
Ready to win more sales? Let’s begin.
What Should You Include in a Marketing Proposal Template?
Here’s the content marketing proposal that converted my lead to a prospective client. Of course, you don’t need to follow it word-for-word, but hopefully, this mini teardown gives you new ideas to create your winning proposal.
Some background info: This client is in the unified communications space. The Head of Marketing reached out to me via email for a long-term content collaboration and connected me with their Content & PR Executive. A week after completing their paid writing test, the latter requested a marketing proposal for consideration.
This guide uses the words “prospective client” and “lead” interchangeably.
In the marketing proposal, the cover page functions as a welcome mat.
It sets the tone for your proposed action plan on solving your lead’s problems. Include the following details to start on the right foot:
- Lead’s company and logo
- Proposal title (e.g. Proposal for [Lead’s company], Proposal and plan for [Lead’s company], Scope of work prepared for [Lead’s company])
- Your name and logo (Tip: Use a smaller font and size. Personally, I prefer to skip the logo as I want to turn the spotlight on the lead.)
Next up is your introduction page. This is where you want to recap the specific triggers (i.e. reasons) that made the lead reach out to you for help.
It’s easy to find these triggers. Go through the emails you’ve exchanged or the calls you’ve had with your lead. Take note of the words or phrases that stand out to you, paying special attention to the following:
- Problems: What’s happening in your lead’s life that made them reach out to you? For example, they’re getting high traffic to their blog posts but with zero conversions.
- Goals: What marketing goal(s) is your lead looking for? Maybe it’s 1,500 free trial sign-ups from Google Ads, or 500 leads from their blog posts.
You may have noticed my marketing proposal is missing my lead’s problems. Instead, it shares generic goals and project opportunities. That’s because my lead only shared the big-picture goals in our emails and during our calls.
I recommend you dig deeper (don’t be shy!). Ask for your lead’s problems and desired outcomes (e.g. “What would make you feel like you got a good return on your investment?).
Then, include them in your marketing proposal. Details like these make your proposal even more powerful.
3. Why Me?
It’s likely your lead is comparing your business with competitors. To rise above the sea of sameness, embrace the power of differentiation.
Create a “Why Me?” page to show them why you’re the best choice. Share the following differentiators to seal the deal:
- Unique selling proposition (USP): What’s your special sauce that no competitors can compete with? For example, you run an agency that measures success by leads generated, whereas your competitors are only accountable for work output. Highlight it!
- Social proof: Include testimonials and case studies featuring clients from similar industries. If you’ve written articles for prestigious publications, add them in too. Pro Tip: Make sure the social proof highlights your USP. Don’t have one? You should, at the very least, include a value proposition (i.e. the benefit leads get from working with you).
In my experience, the deliverables page is one of the two most important sections of your marketing proposal (I’ll get to the other in a minute), as it shows what leads are getting if when they work with you.
That said, show a breakdown of what your marketing services include. Use bullet points to break up long paragraphs. They’ll provide your lead with easy reference to important information.
Tip: Use the word “investment” instead of “expenses” to show that they can win with the work you do.
Here’s another important section of the marketing proposal. Right after your deliverables page, include a timeline so leads will know not only what they’re getting but also when.
This is especially important if you’re working on a complex project like a website re-write or an omnichannel digital marketing campaign.
The best clients look beyond a freelancer or agency’s experience and rates. They also look for processes to see if they’re working with an amateur or pro. So don’t skip this!
6. Call To Action (CTA)
Include a high-level testimonial to reinforce why prospective clients can’t go wrong working with you and place it near the CTA. This testimonial acts as a final conversion booster. It instills confidence in leads that you’re the best person to do the job.
Make your CTA as clear as possible.
“Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started right away.” is clearer than “Let’s work together!”
The former indicates the specific action you want leads to take, whereas the latter introduces friction and makes leads wonder what’s next.
Tip: Merge your marketing proposal with a contract or legal agreement. Show terms and conditions (e.g. payment terms 50% deposit) and allow leads to sign it digitally.
Quoters also offers customizable templates from different industries, so you can easily create a beautiful proposal within minutes. You can even keep track of which proposal version your potential client has at all times.
Why is the Marketing Proposal Important?
At the beginning of this guide, we talked about how the marketing proposal builds trust and positions your business as the best solution.
There’s a lot more to the marketing proposal than meets the eye. Here are three more reasons why it should be a part of the sales process in your business.
Right from the get-go, you’re setting clear expectations by showing the lead your process.
When leads know what and who is involved in a project, you build a smooth process with little to zero hiccups. That means more time for more critical projects instead of the frustrating back-and-forth emails.
Your target audience — whether it’s a prospect or lead — needs to experience your work’s value before agreeing to work with you. The marketing proposal highlights what makes you unique and helps prospective clients understand how your expertise gets them the results they need.
It doesn’t matter what kind of marketing solutions you sell.
Whether you run a freelance SEO business or social media marketing agency, the marketing proposal makes an effective medium to position yourself as an authoritative figure.
Get Approval From Top Management
If you’re working with a prospective client who runs a startup or a solo business, it’s unlikely they’ll request a marketing proposal.
But it’s another story if you’re working with a more prominent company. The project manager may need a proposal to get buy-in from their supervisors. (That’s precisely what happened to me even when I’ve passed my client’s test.)
A well-designed proposal helps make the case as it provides compelling information on your expertise and track record.
3 Best Practices When Creating a Marketing Proposal
We’ve discussed why you should make the marketing proposal a part of your sales process and the essential elements you should include to create a winning proposal.
Let’s continue with the best practices. By the time you complete this section, you’ll know what to do when creating a proposal from start to end.
72% of business buyers expect vendors to personalize according to their needs.
This means that you need to personalize your marketing proposal based on the interactions you’ve had with your prospective clients.
How do you do that? Here are two ways to get started right away:
- Describe the pains and desires using your lead’s exact words. You can find this information easily in your emails or recorded phone calls.
- Use your lead’s brand colors.
You don’t even need to email your lead for the color codes. Simply go to their website and right-click “Inspect”. In the element panel, scroll down till you see “color” or “background color”.
Copy the color code and paste it in the custom text color field in Google Docs (or color wheel if you’re using a design proposal software).
Here’s how it looks like on Canva:
Strategically Place Your Social Proof
The placement of your testimonials and case studies matters.
Place a testimonial on a page full of text, and it gets buried. Add a case study on the cover page, and it diverts attention from your proposal.
You need to place your social proof for engagement and conversions strategically.
I recommend adding your testimonials and case studies at the beginning and end of your marketing proposal. This way, you create anticipation and end off on an exciting note.
You can also include them near “friction points” (e.g. rates on deliverables page) to overcome sales objections.
Tip: Include a high-level screenshot instead of a generic stock photo to boost credibility. Here’s what I did in my proposal. I placed a screenshot of the results I delivered and paired it with a case study.
Cross-Sell Complementary Services
There’s a way to cross-sell without feeling sleazy.
The goal here is to focus on complementary services. (Think SEO research with content writing and Facebook Ads with copywriting.)
Adding these complementary services in your proposal gives your leads context: They become more aware of how these add-ons provide related benefits and how they fit in your overall marketing plan.
I promoted my content marketing service add-ons on the deliverables and timeline pages, and my leads were sold.
Initially, my client wanted my help with writing content. After receiving the proposal, they decided to invest in my marketing strategy services as well.
Use This Marketing Proposal Template
And now onto the good stuff! You’re now ready to create your marketing proposal template. In a Google Doc, create these six sections:
Note: You probably don’t need to do this in proposal software tools like Quoters, as they provide customizable templates.
1. COVER [Proposal title e.g. Scope of work] for [Lead’s name], [Lead’s company]
by [Your name], [Your company or title]
2. INTRODUCTION / OBJECTIVE / PROJECT OPPORTUNITY
[Briefly summarizes the lead’s marketing needs, goals, and project opportunities. Break long paragraphs in bullet points if needed.]
For example: [Lead’s company] is experiencing high traffic and zero conversions for their blog. Our goal here is to create value-driven blog posts and ebooks that attract high-quality leads and ultimately convert them into customers, etc.
3. WHY ME? / WHY WORK WITH ME?
[Mention your USP]
For example: You’ll work with a content marketing agency that takes accountability for leads generated, not work output.
[Include your published works, relevant testimonials, and case studies. Bonus: Make sure this social proof highlights your USP or value prop.]
[Break down what each marketing service include in bullet points along with the investment required]
4x blog posts a month
What each blog post includes:
SEO keyword integration
[Create a visual or written timeline of what your client is getting and when]
For example: We begin on [Date]. We’ll start with an introductory call with the project stakeholders (sales team, CEO, marketers, and customer support teams) to research customers’ pain points. I will then perform keyword research and send it to you by [Date]. You will receive the proposed topics and content briefs by [Date], etc.
[Include an action-driven CTA]
For example: Email me at email@example.com to get started right away.
[Place a testimonial as a conversion booster]
[Terms and conditions]
For example: Before any work begins, both [Lead’s name] and [Your name] must agree in writing to the scope of the project. A 50% deposit of the project fee must also be received. [Your name] will provide a legal agreement or contract when [Lead’s name] agrees to move forward with the project.
Create Your First Marketing Proposal Template Today
Don’t let your marketing efforts go to waste!
Include the marketing proposal to convert leads to clients.
It shows prospective clients your unique skills and why you’re the best person to deliver the goods. And if you’ve already signed the contract, send a proposal anyway — it validates their buying decision and boosts their trust.
Sure, it’s going to take extra time and effort on your part, but that only applies to your first marketing proposal. After you create it, you can immediately turn it into a template and customize it according to your leads’ needs for future projects.
Want to go from a consultation with a lead to sending them a marketing proposal in minutes? Get the lifetime access to Quoters for only $49.