HighlyStructured.com is a blog website run by Mike D'Agostino about search engine positioning, online marketing, php/MySQL, tae kwon do, and various other topics.

Writing a Web Design Proposal - Know Your Customer

April 03, 2006

Being involved with "web design" for quite some time, I've written my fair-share of web design and marketing proposals. While I think a template sort of approach may work for any project, the language you use, the length of the proposal, and the amount of information you present all play heavily into how well the proposal is taken by the possible client.

For example, while working for a marketing company for about 5 years, I often wrote proposals for small businesses. These businesses were all over the map as far industries were concerned, but they were all small businesses and none of them had much time to spend on their website development, let alone going through a lengthy indepth proposal. So long as I stated the basic parameters of the site or marketing plan, and the bottom line dollar amount was in tune with what they were looking to spend, the proposal was taken fine. I knew I was making a mistake if I got too indepth with the description or itemized every single step of the project.

Every once in awhile however, we would come across a client that was a little more Internet-savvy, or had done a fair amount of research into their web design or marketing project. I could tell these types of people because they asked more questions, and had an overall better understanding of the Internet and Internet marketing than most of the other companies I worked with. In these cases it was imperative to create a more indepth proposal. Each step of the project required a detailed explanation, and every step needed to have a dollar amount assigned to it.

I mentioned using a "template approach" above so I thought I'd elaborate. As I said, while every project is different, it is more time-effective to have a proposal template that outlines every single service you may offer so that a custom proposal can easily be generated. Think of it like ordering dinner from a menu...list out all your services, the appropriate price amounts, and the amount of time it will take to complete each task. When you sit down to write out your final proposal, it becomes as easy as selecting each component and compiling them into a single document. If the proposal is for a smaller business that you don't think will have the time to read a really indepth proposal, or even really care about anything but the bottom line, you can easily eliminate the details for each step.

I've written 15 page proposals and have even sent out one paragraph proposals written into the body of an email and I believe that the success of being rewarded with a new project not only depends on your portfolio and expertise, but also how you approach the prospect with your proposal, which is in essence your first step in a potential business relationship.

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