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Let me guess, you’re writing a marketing proposal right now?
Marketing plans alone can be brutal — much less pitching them to potential clients or top company brass. Often, they take tons of time, brain power, and busy work. And the worst is when the salt of losing the project gets rubbed in.
If you’re writing a marketing proposal right now, you’re in luck. This post is the fastest way to craft your strategy, communicate it, and then get to yes on your project.
You get an awesome marketing proposal template. It’s flexible, so it works for both internal and client-facing work. And also, a detailed guide on how to approach each section.
Proposals are tricky and pesky things like formatting take precious time. This template gets that — and more — out of the way.
Before CoSchedule, I spent years writing proposals working at digital agencies and consultancies…
…and I wish I’d had this template to speed the process along.
So, here’s my gift to you 🎁
Before you jump in, grab your free marketing proposal template:
Your marketing proposal will vary based on what you need it for.
A proposal for internal company stakeholders may look different than one for landing a new client.
Either way, as with all amazing content, it begins and ends with your specific audience in mind.
This means it will hyper-focus on your client’s or stakeholder’s needs. After all, the project is about accomplishing their goals. This means a winning proposal shouldn’t be a press release for your expertise.
(Though there is a place for case studies, which we’ll get to!)
This template is flexible and will work for both people pitching internal stakeholders as well as those working with clients.
First, if you’re using this marketing proposal template to pitch a project to internal stakeholders, remember they’re fielding as many last-minute fire drills as you are. They are pressed for time. And everyone wants their attention.
Executives like Warren Buffett read as much as 500 pages per day. So make your proposal count.
Keep it focused, brief, and valuable.
Second, if you’re using this template to land new clients, they’re just as busy — and magnetically drawn to the dollars and cents. That’s why it’s key that your proposal agitates the pain of the problem, then highlights the solution throughout.
So, here are your guidelines for using this template:
Now, let’s get to work.
First, the front matter section includes a cover, table of contents, and opening statement.
Your cover page has placeholders for everything.
The text highlighted in red means it comes from your company or project information. And the blue highlights mean it’s from your client’s or stakeholder’s info.
At the bottom of this page, you’ll find a suggested place for one of the most powerful pieces of content: the customer testimonial.
In fact, per Nielsen research, 92% of people trust recommendations from people they know, and 70% even from those they don’t!
So, there are two strategies here:
Next is the tried-and-true contents page.
If you’re using this template in Microsoft Word, you can easily insert a table of contents by selecting Insert from the top menu. Then, select Index and Tables.
From there, choose Table of Contents, then style accordingly. This will automatically grab the headers from each section.
The first section of content after the front matter is your opening statement. This is often called an “Executive Summary.” But I hate that.
I think Proposify puts it best:
The executive summary is arguably the most valuable component of any proposal, but most people are confused about its purpose. It’s actually not about summarizing at all; it’s about selling.
So, let’s ditch the jargon-filled summary and get to doing what marketers do best: connecting, persuading, and selling.
The templated statement includes six persuasive elements:
You can massage the template language however you’d like.
Just keep in mind the Opening Statement’s purpose: to connect your prospect’s pain with your ability to solve it.
Next up, we have the heavy lifting.
The solution section includes three major sub-sections:
A napkin sketch is an ultra-simplified version of a model, idea, or strategy. And a lean canvas is one-page business plan that includes the key points of how the key elements will get done.
The investment section is what *almost* everyone wants to look at first.
We want this answer: “How much will it cost me?”
Here, you’ll answer that question in two ways:
In the marketing proposal template, you’ll find a grid format for outlining costs.
You certainly don’t have to present the figures this way. But if your cost structure is relatively simple, it’s an way to do it.
The Service line placeholders are individual line items. This could be hard costs for anything from software to hardware to consulting services.
You’ll want to include:
Finally, notice the sub-heading for Payment Terms. While these will likely be listed in your product or service agreement section at the end, it’s helpful to include them here, as well.
You’ll want to include answers to questions like:
After the monetary investment comes the timeline.
Your project timeline will vary based on your process and deliverable schedule. But the Project Milestones and Projected Timelines make it simple to give a 10,000 foot overview of the entire project.
For the milestones, I recommend organizing them in project phases, and include:
The last point is monumentally important…
…especially if there is a committee involved.
By adding in key approval milestones, you set the tone for timely decisions and show what’s at stake if decisions are delayed.
After all, no one wants a project grinding to a halt, right? Well, if approvals are slow, progress will be as well.
Next, accompanying the milestones is a corresponding visual timeline. It pretty much acts as a Gantt chart. While it’s not strictly necessary, it is a nice way to show the overlap of phases.
This is extremely helpful workload planning and project coordination.
Now it’s time to introduce the project team.
This section is simple:
✅ Do: include a professional headshot for each person.
✅ Do: include their name and title.
✅ Do: include a snappy bio of about 50 words or less.
✅ Do: include the background most relevant to the project.
✅ Do: include only those people working on the project.
❌ Don’t: include everyone in your company or department.
Next comes the case study.
This section is all about providing proof and credibility that you can knock the project out of the park.
Top Rank Blog defines a case study like this:
An analysis of a project, campaign or company that identifies a situation, recommended solutions, implementation actions and identification of those factors that contributed to failure or success.
It’s best to keep this section tightly focused. Add only related projects.
For example, if you’re proposing a social media marketing campaign, a website project case study isn’t super helpful.
For this section, you’ll find the case study organized in three simple stages:
Now, this format may be overly simplistic for ultra-complex projects. Here is a slide share that outlines two types of case studies: factual and fictional.
They help you provide intense detail, real outcomes, and more deeply describe your methodologies.
Now, check out these case studies below for some inspiration. You’ll find they follow the three step — problem, solution, results — framework waiting for you in the marketing proposal template.
Welcome to the nuts-and-bolts of the business world. This section is where your contract terms, fine print, and signatures live. And is most pertinent to those offering client products or services.
Now, in the spirit of full disclosure…
I did think about law school for 34 seconds at one point, but I did not execute, and therefore, am not a lawyer.
In lieu of legal counsel and contract advice, however, I can offer you some best practices and point to a couple of resources you may find helpful.
Use this section as a form of clear communication. It outlines the expectations on both parties.
Here are ten things a quality agreement section will communicate:
And of course, who can forget the ink!
This is the fun part, where both parties sign on the line.
This may seem self-explanatory, but it’s critical that your contracts move beyond a verbal agreement.
While hearing something like… “Sure, this looks great. Let’s move ahead…” from a client is awesome, it isn’t reality until the agreement is signed.
If you like real paper, pens, or fax machines, print away 🖨
You’ve guided yourself through the often murky waters of marketing proposals. Armed with this marketing proposal template, you’re set to…
⏰ save hours of time…
💊 avoid whole bottles of aspirin (for the headaches)…
💸 make (or save) more money…
😎 look like a marketing genius…
📈 and focus on actually getting results rather than writing proposals!
Now, if you’re working on proposals — or any other projects — with anyone else, chances are you need one place to get everything organized.
I’m talking total visibility and seamless collaboration… One source of truth for every task, approval, and campaign.
That is CoSchedule!
If you want to save 20 hours or more per week…
Now, go get that yes! And if you have questions or comments, make sure to leave a message below. We love to talk shop.
Plan content and automate publishing to save tons of time now.
Start your 14-day trial to get organized with CoSchedule today.