Download our Digital Agency Proposal Template (and Bonus)

What's in This Template?

  • Proposal content that showcases the unique value you can offer to agency clients
  • A key section that appeals to your client's self-interest by directly connecting services you recommend into benefits
  • The five part persuasive structure that winning proposals need to include
  • And more!

Digital Agency Proposal Template: Land Better Clients (Step by Step)

Thriving in business online is complicated.

Having a compelling website is just the first step. You also need the right marketing strategies to cut through the noise and grab the attention of your target audience. Not to mention the technical expertise for a beautiful, user-friendly website and experience.

As a full service digital agency, you have the capabilities to help prospective clients meet any or all of these challenges. You're an expert in picking just the right strategies for the job – and making them work together as a single solution.

Yet competition for your services has never been greater. With an increasing number of agencies vying for the top clients, the best way to get clients to notice you is a killer proposal.

What is a proposal? What should you say, and how should you say it in a way that makes you memorable?

All of those questions – and many more – are answered just below.

What is a Digital Agency Proposal?

Plenty of digital agencies see proposals as tedious chores. No one enjoys writing them, but they don't have any other choice because all the best clients expect to see them before deciding whom to hire.

But that isn't the only way to look at them!

Done well, proposals are persuasive sales tools. They help you stand out from the dozens (or hundreds) of other agencies competing for the top projects. And they give clients compelling reasons to choose you instead of anyone else.

Great proposals consist of two major parts:

  1. Logistical information. Which services you will provide (website design/development, marketing, SEO, social media management, etc.), how much everything will cost, timeline and key milestones, and a list of deliverables.
  1. Persuasive elements. How those services will provide tangible benefits to the client. Specific strategies, experience, and qualifications that make your agency the best choice to meet their digital goals. This is a key part of your sales process.

A lot of digital agencies focus heavily on logistics. That makes sense; they're a key piece of the puzzle.

But overlooking persuasive elements limits your ability to make a meaningful impression on clients. Your proposal looks like countless others in their inboxes. It's easy to view your unique value as a commodity potential customers can easily replace.

Common Sections (and Structure) of Persuasive Digital Agency Proposals

What makes one digital agency proposal more effective than another?

Bottom line: it's your ability to frame the challenge and solution from the client's point of view, and to do so in a structure designed to get (and keep) their attention.

Every project is different. As a full service digital agency, you'll often be interested in projects that require only one or two of the services you could potentially offer. Others are broader in scope, requiring a more comprehensive approach. And of course there's everything that lies somewhere in between!

While the scope and duration of your projects will change drastically, the proposals that win the most bids tend to follow the same structure. Think about how every movie has a beginning, middle, and end.

Sticking to a proven structure (while tweaking the details to fit the project) will help you know what to say, as well as the order to say it, to hold a client's interest.

Here are the most common elements found in smaller-scale projects where the agency provides only a few services from its suite of offerings:

  • [Service type] challenge. Identify the client's business need that led them to seek your service. Simply replace “service type” with the specific need (marketing, website, etc.)
  • [Service type] solution. Paint a picture of what the client's business will look like once their digital problem is solved. Replace “service type” with the specific solution (marketing, website design, PPC ads, etc.)
  • Investment. Present how much each step costs to achieve the digital solution.
  • Next steps. Ask the readers to act, and give them a simple way to accept your proposal.

If the project calls for a more comprehensive solution, make sure to include the elements listed below. These tend to last longer and have more moving pieces than projects with just a few services. So it makes sense to provide clients with more details about the timeframe and specific deliverables.

  • Project challenge or Executive summary. Identify the client's business need that led them to seek help expanding their presence and digital marketing. This is the perfect opportunity for a quick overview of their goals and current perception by customers in the marketplace.
  • Project deliverables. Focus on the specific mixture of marketing, creative, and technical services you will use to meet the client’s challenge – and the tangible benefits (increased website traffic, better engagement, more conversions and ROI, etc.) those services will provide.
  • Scope of Work. Create a line-item summary of the different deliverables you mentioned in the previous section. The idea isn’t to overwhelm the client with details. It’s to create a brief reference point they can return to and understand exactly what they’re getting. You could display this by month, quarter, or a combination of both.
  • Process and strategy. Set out the specific strategies you will use to deliver the digital solution. Break down services (web design and development, content marketing, PPC ads, social media, etc.) and describe what is involved and how they will work together to help the client.
  • Proposed schedule. Use a table to help clients visualize how the project will move forward and which deliverables to expect when.
  • Investment
  • About us. Keeping client benefits first in mind, describe what about your agency (expertise, experience, track record, etc.) makes you uniquely qualified to help.
  • Case studies. Showcase how you've helped other clients convey a consistent (and compelling) digital presence, increase ROI, and generate traffic and leads.
  • Next steps
  • Terms and conditions

Questions to Ask Before Writing Your Digital Agency Proposal

The most successful agency proposals begin before any actual writing. Even a brief meeting or phone call with potential clients beforehand will save you a lot of time and clarify the most important issues.

Here are some questions to ask that will help you. Once you have the answers, it's easier to incorporate them into your proposals and make them more compelling (so you can land new business).

  • How quickly do you expect to see results? (Set expectations, be honest and don't oversell; hiring a digital agency is usually a long-term play)
  • How well do you think your digital strategies are working together right now? Where do things break down or “silo?” Is it your website, content marketing, social media, etc.?
  • What are the FAQs by new/existing customers? (These are often good jumping-off points to develop a digital strategy)
  • What does your customer's typical path to purchase look like?
  • What is your ideal level of involvement? Turnkey solution, supporting your internal team, or one-off consultation/strategy?
  • Which analytics and/or webmaster tools are you using right now, and is there an easy way to access them?
  • Which key marketing metrics are your top priority right now? How do you define success?
  • Which resources do you have available to work with our new agency?
  • Which steps have you taken to understand and/or segment your audience until this point? Do you have survey data? Have you created use cases or customer personas?

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Your Proposals

Why do digital agency proposals fail?

The culprit usually isn't a lack of effort. It's a failure to convey the full extent of your value.

These mistakes tend to break down into common patterns. Once you understand what they are, it's easier to avoid them and land the best clients.

Here are three of the most dangerous mistakes found in digital agency proposals:

Failing to Show How Your Strategies Integrate into a Unified Solution

Creative. Technical. Marketing. As a full service digital agency, you do it all and do it well. Most importantly, you understand how to make a mixture of these elements work together to grow your clients' businesses.

One of the most common mistakes is to overwhelm readers with all the cool services you'll deploy – without ever “connecting the dots” and showing them how they work together.

Think about it from the client's view. If they read a proposal that mentions SEO, website design and PPC ads, they might start to wonder why you chose them. Out of everything you can do for them, why those services in particular?

Things get even more complicated if they see a long list of deliverables… without any context to make them fit together. Their eyes start to glaze over. They feel overwhelmed.

A barrage of services and deliverables encourages clients to see you as a commodity, not a problem-solver. Your expertise and skills get diluted into interchangeable elements. Which encourages them to focus on the cost and shop around instead of the value you deliver.

Here's how this might play out:

“We will expand your digital presence with a brand new website, content marketing, and targeting specific keywords for PPC advertising.”

See where this goes wrong? We're making the assumption that the client understands why you chose all of those services. Even though they might not have a clue how all the pieces fit together.

A more persuasive proposal does this for them. It might look something like this:

“Our PPC strategy will help XYZ Company target a highly-qualified audience: people whose search engine activity shows they are searching for the business solution that XYZ provides. A new, user-friendly website will encourage visitors to explore your brand and identify themselves as leads by downloading valuable content, which we will create in our marketing initiatives.”

This is a winner because it explains why you chose the services and how they'll integrate to achieve their business solution.

Understanding which strategies to use, how much to emphasize each one, and dialing up the perfect mix for your client's unique need is invaluable. That's why it's so important to give them a broader perspective.

Overlooking Optimization and Long-Term Results

This mistake cuts to the heart of why most clients hire digital agencies.

Are short-term wins important?

Of course. But the vast majority of clients are looking for sustainable solutions that generate more traffic, leads and customers over the long haul.

Your proposal is the perfect opportunity to assure them that's exactly what you can deliver.

As a digital agency, you have access to an incredible amount of data. You can use analytics to track user behavior and refine your strategies. You're well aware of the power of continuous optimization and incremental boosts to ROI.

Why not connect with potential clients on that topic in your proposal?

Here's an example where the agency focuses too heavily on the immediate issues while neglecting long-term growth:

“We anticipate that our SEO strategy will increase XYZ Company's organic traffic by at least 25 percent within six months.”

Now, here's how you could make your services even more compelling:

“We anticipate that our SEO strategy will increase XYZ Company's organic traffic by at least 25 percent within six months. Our team adheres to link-building best practices to ensure these increase in search engine rankings are sustainable. We will also track performance for every keyword we target to identify new opportunities and make adjustments to maintain XYZ's advantage over search competitors.”

This second example is more persuasive because it leaves room for growth. It describes how the initial results you'll generate help guide even better results moving forward. As understanding of the client's audience increases, so does ROI.

People might say they want a turnkey solution, but really want something that will work and keep working in the future. Clients are understandably wary of strategies that sound like they'll work for the short term (like SEO), then stop working six months from now. Reassure them that your solution takes all that into account.

A Lack of Tracking, Reporting, and Transparency

Full service digital agencies are powerful. With the right strategy and mixture of services, they can completely transform your clients' businesses.

However, this tremendous power comes at a cost. Hiring a full service agency is typically a long-term investment. The price tag can be significant.

To get clients' minds off the expense and focused on the value, you can use your proposal to reassure them they're making the right investment.

It's tempting to pad your language with vague, feel-good promises like “more engagement” and “emergence as a thought leader in your industry.” But the better we can avoid those and stick to quantifiable metrics, the easier it becomes for clients to justify their investment.

Which metrics will you track and report to your clients?

Clients are probably going into this process with a few key targets in mind. A quick phone call before you start writing your proposal will help you clarify what's most important to them.

With an understanding of those key metrics, use your proposal to discuss how your services will translate into reaching those goals. It's also a great idea to explain how this information will be reported over the long term.

The easiest way to illustrate this contrast is with a few examples. Here's some language that could be a lot better:

“Our comprehensive solution will help increase engagement among XYZ Company's customers and establish the dealership as a thought leader in the greater Los Angeles automotive industry.”

Doesn't exactly knock you off your feet, does it? Terms like “engagement” and “thought leader” sound nice, but there's no mention of quantifiable results. And we're assuming the client understands all that industry jargon.

Here's how you could do this better:

“Our comprehensive solution will increase XYZ Company's online leads by an estimated 25 percent. We anticipate that foot traffic in XYZ's Los Angeles area dealerships will increase by at least 15 percent within six months.”

This is more persuasive because we avoid generalities, and the specific metrics mentioned are immediately valuable to clients.

Transparency is the best policy here. Describe how you'll share meaningful results month after month, and clients feel reassured that they're making the right investment.

Preview: Digital Agency Proposal Template

Digital Agency Proposal Template Cover Image

General Instructions: Follow the italicized instructions for each section below to create your own persuasive full service digital marketing proposal. Do your best to limit your proposal to 4-5 pages, as this should be all you need to identify the client’s problem, propose your services as the solution to that problem, and help the client understand all the ways your services will benefit them.

Clients are looking to hire full service digital agencies because they don’t want to spend any time or effort worrying about online marketing themselves; they want a comprehensive “hands off” solution. The most compelling proposals will emphasize valuable timesaving and frustration-saving benefits. But they’ll also give hard numbers – i.e., we’ll increase the amount of leads you’re generating each month by X% -- so clients know they’re making a smart investment. Finally, including a regular reporting aspect is a good way to assure clients they’ll be able to keep track of what you’re doing and hold you accountable.

{client_name}’s Goals and Objectives

Instructions: Use the first paragraph to identify the problem or frustration that led the prospective client to offer the digital marketing project in the first place. Then use 3-4 bullet points to break down different services you’ll provide to help the client overcome that problem or frustration. Begin each bullet point with an “action word.” Finally, use the paragraph after the bullet points to talk about the negative consequences that will happen if the client doesn’t fix the problem.

Goals and Objectives

{client_name} can’t afford to lose ground to its competitors as it expands its marketing efforts, especially operating in today's competitive market. The right digital agency will help {client_name}:

  • Create a compelling business website that drives traffic and customers
  • Connect with users across multiple online traffic channels and deliver them to {client_name}’s website
  • Systematically build meaningful relationships with visitors and turn them into customers
  • Use data to better understand {client_name}’s target customers and optimize its marketing strategies over time

If {client_name} doesn't invest in developing an irresistible online presence, it will miss the opportunity to reach an enormous group of new customers. This could result in a loss of market share and hurt {client_name}’s brand.

Meeting {client_name}’s Digital Marketing Needs

Instructions: Use 3-4 bulleted sections to describe positive results your digital marketing services will create for the client. Focus on results you think the client will value and justify paying for your services on an ongoing basis. Spend a few lines after each result you list to 1) describe why the result is helpful to the client’s business; and 2) break down the actions you’ll take to create that result for the client.

{my_company}’s full service digital marketing solution will deliver the following results for {client_name}:

  • Launch an eye-catching website that attracts traffic, leads, and customers – You have a vision; it’s our job to turn it into a reality. We’ll sit down with your team, listen to your ideas, and turn them into a beautiful business website. You’ll get to watch as our designers create your website, asking questions and offering feedback along the way. We won’t stop until your website expresses your personality just the way you want it to.
  • Implement a strategy to generate leads and turn them into customers – Getting traffic to your website is great, but it isn’t valuable unless a good portion of it turns into leads and customers. That’s why our team will develop a marketing strategy to reach visitors across multiple traffic channels. Executing this strategy will allow our team to drive more visitors to your website, nurture relationships, and turn browsers into buyers.
  • Develop a cohesive, compelling online presence – Digital marketing offers access to many different traffic channels. By presenting a consistent, compelling image of your brand via your website content, advertising, and social media, we’ll help you make the most of every traffic channel and reach more customers.
  • Optimized ongoing marketing efforts through data and customer feedback – A lot of digital agencies offer “set it and forget it” solutions, but we don’t operate that way. We rely on our expertise and the information at hand to develop a digital marketing strategy and put it into action, but we don’t stop there. We’ll execute ongoing marketing initiatives, relying on analytics and customer feedback to make campaigns even more profitable over time.

Recommended Services

Instructions: Use this section to talk about the specific combination of services you believe will solve the client’s problem. Under each recommendation, talk about: 1) what actions you will take to execute it; and 2) how those actions will benefit the client. Don’t be afraid to recommend additional services if you believe the services will help the client fix their problem.

Recommended Services

To meet {client_name}’s needs, as outlined above, we recommend the following services as part of this project:

Design of a Beautiful, Customer-Generating Website

{my_company} will meet with {client_name}'s team to hear its ideas about how best to connect with customers through a website. Then {my_company}’s designers will design a website that matches {client_name}’s vision and showcase its business in the most appealing way possible. {client_name}’s website will be responsive and mobile-friendly, allowing easy access for visitors using PCs, tablets, or mobile devices.

Creation of Web Content to Reach New Visitors and Turn Them into Leads

{my_company} will use its SEO expertise to generate a list of relevant keywords and create content to target them. This will help {client_name} expand its online presence and reach new visitors via organic search engine traffic. {my_company} will create one article for {client_name}’s blog and one video (to be hosted on platforms like Vimeo and Youtube) per week to continue these efforts. {my_company} will continue to research and target additional keywords and optimize {client_name}’s website to stay abreast of search engine best practices.

Social Media Profile Creation and Management to Bond with Potential Customers

{my_company} will create Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles for {client_name}, as well as provide ongoing management. {my_company} will update these with content designed to build profitable relationships with {client_name}’s target customers. {my_company} will operate all social media platforms in a voice that reflects {client_name}’s unique brand.

Ongoing Marketing Initiatives to Raise {client_name}’s Profile Online

{my_company}’s team will engage in ongoing marketing initiatives to grow {client_name}’s presence online. {my_company}’s creative and tech experts will work together, creating ongoing social media initiatives and SEO-optimized content to generate leads and customers. {my_company} will monitor analytics and solicit customer feedback, and adjust its strategies to exploit any opportunities. {my_company} will also will deliver a monthly performance report to {client_name} detailing its efforts and key performance metrics.

Instructions: Estimate the price for your service package and come up with a label for it that describes a clear benefit to the client. Breaking down your service package into 3 or 4 elements will help the client understand what will happen when, as well as make your solution appear valuable. But keep the breakdown at a high level and don’t break down your price; it’s crucial your price is easy to understand.
Compelling Digital Presence Solution
  • Comprehensive digital marketing strategy meeting – We’ll sit down with you to get a clear idea of your vision, offer our input, and develop a digital marketing strategy to help you reach your business goals
  • Website design – Our designers will turn your vision into a beautiful business website. You’ll be able to watch the progress and offer real-time feedback to ensure the end product matches your expectations. Then we will launch your website, taking it live with a foundation of content (specifics to be decided at the initial strategy meeting) created by our creative team.
  • Implementation of SEO and social media marketing strategies – Once your business website goes live, our team will put our marketing plan into action. We’ll manage your social media profiles on an ongoing basis, connecting with potential customers and drawing them to your website. We’ll also create two pieces of SEO-optimized content per week for you: an article for your company blog and a video to be distributed across various video platforms. These initiatives will establish a compelling digital presence and draw visitors to your website.
  • Optimization and reporting – We’ll continue our marketing efforts and assess performance along the way. By focusing on analytics and soliciting customer feedback, we’ll get insight into how to make our marketing even more profitable. We’ll deliver a report to you on a monthly basis detailing our initiatives, ROI, and plans to make our strategies even more effective.

Why Choose {my_company}?

Instructions: Use this section to talk about the special value you can add to the client’s business that no other digital agency can. In the first paragraph, describe what the client will save or get (the ability to reach a huge set of new potential customers, a system that generates leads and customers without them worrying about it, and more time to focus on other parts of their business are all good options) if they hire you. Break down your company’s most compelling assets into bullet points and emphasize why those assets are important for the client’s business.

{client_name} only has a limited budget to devote to marketing, and it doesn’t have time to develop a compelling online presence. That’s why you want a company like {my_company} to help you reach new customers from every corner online. Our expertise, resources, and deep commitment to our craft make us the ideal choice to meet {client_name}’s digital marketing needs. We’ll bring the following strengths to our work for {client_name}:

  • {my_company} uses a unique blend of digital and traditional research to uncover opportunities and help you understand your customers – Developing a marketing strategy and putting it into action are just the first steps. Our team acts, generates actionable data, and leverages those insights to make our marketing efforts more profitable. We use a combination of analytics and old-fashioned customer feedback to spot untapped opportunities and connect with customers on a deeper level.
  • {my_company} has creative and tech specialists who work together to bring our strategy to life – Our team consists of a combination of creative and tech experts. They work together seamlessly, combining their expertise to help you understand your customers through data and connect with them through unforgettable creative. This holistic approach helps you get the most marketing bang for your buck.
  • {my_company}’s approach focuses on building lasting relationships – We don’t believe in gimmicks or short-term solutions. Our team excels at building meaningful relationships that translate into leads and customers regardless of changes in technology. This lays a foundation of long-term profitability and success – even in an unpredictable online environment.

Statement of Work

Instructions: Use this chart to break down your digital marketing services into chronological phases. Describe what each phase entails in the “activities” section and give an estimated completion date for each phase. Many of the services you recommend will be on an ongoing basis, so they won’t have a defined completion date.

Should {client_name} choose {my_company} to execute this solution as proposed, our timeline for this project is as follows:

Phase Activities Completion
Comprehensive Digital Marketing Strategy Meeting Meeting with {client_name} to understand its vision and business objectives; development of a customized marketing plan to turn {client_name}’s vision into a profitable, lead-generating website. 09/30/XX
Website Design and Launch Design of {client_name}’s business website; ongoing progress assessment and feedback from {client_name}; launch of website with content created by {my_company}’s creative team. 10/31/XX
Ongoing Creation of SEO-Optimized Content Creation of one (1) article for {client_name}’s company blog and one (1) video for distribution via Youtube and Vimeo per week; ongoing keyword research and targeting in accordance with SEO best practices. N/A
Ongoing Management of {client_name}’s Social Media Profiles Creation of {client_name}’s Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles; ongoing management of profiles by {my_company} to build relationships with potential customers and drive them to {client_name}’s website. N/A
Regular Reporting Monthly reporting delivered by {my_company} to {client_name} detailing the month’s marketing initiatives, key performance metrics, and plans to optimize strategies going forward. N/A

Next Steps

Instructions: This is your “call to action” section. Make a limited offer that expires on a certain date, which motivates the client to act. Use bullet points to specify exactly what the client has to do to accept your offer. Finally, tell the client what will happen immediately after they accept the offer to set expectations.

To take advantage of this proposal and proceed with the project as outlined, {client_name}’s next steps must be to:

  • Accept the proposal as-is
  • Discuss desired changes with {my_company}
  • Finalize and sign the contract
  • Submit an initial payment of 50 percent of total project fee

Next StepsOnce completed, {my_company} will contact {client_name} to schedule a project launch meeting to make introductions and gather information before beginning the work.

We’re happy to make changes to project scope on {client_name}’s request at any time, but may be subject to additional billing.

Terms and Conditions

Instructions: This section protects you from potential legal liability. Use it to talk about who owns your work product, whether you’ll be able to use portions of it on your website as examples, and how legal proceedings will go down if something goes wrong. Have an attorney look it over to give you guidance on how to apply it to your specific business.

Once project fee is paid in full to {my_company}, any elements of text, graphics, photos, contents, trademarks, or other artwork furnished to {client_name} for inclusion in website are owned by {client_name}.

{my_company} assumes {client_name} has permission from the rightful owner to use any code, scripts, data, and reports are provided by {client_name} for inclusion in its materials, and will hold harmless, protect, and defend {my_company} from any claim or suit arising from the use of such work.

{my_company} retains the right to display graphics and other web content elements as examples of their work in their portfolio and as content features in other projects.

This agreement becomes effective only when signed by agents of {client_name} and {my_company}. Regardless of the place of signing of this agreement, {client_name} agrees that for purposes of venue, this contract was entered into in [STATE] and any dispute will be litigated or arbitrated in [STATE].

The agreement contained in this contract constitutes the sole agreement between {client_name} and the {my_company} regarding all items included in this agreement.