Aug 19. • 8 min read
If you run a social media marketing agency, the bulk of your time goes on finding new business. And while creating a great social media marketing plan may be a piece of cake for you, winning clients is a completely different story.
When you find a potential client, they will buy into your idea and ask for you to send in a business proposal. If the mere words “business proposal” make you turn away your head in disgust – we have great news. Writing business proposals doesn’t have to be a chore.
Here’s a great way to create and send social media marketing business proposals that have high chances of getting signed.
It all starts before the actual proposal
If you have two agencies competing for a job with one company, the one who does the better job is not the one that’s going to win it. The social media marketing agency that wins the job is one that has more information about the client.
Before you even begin writing your business proposal, make sure to sit down and talk with the client about their needs. A lot of times, you will find the client needs something completely different from what they think they need. They may think they need more followers, but in reality, they just need a regular social media schedule and someone to delegate their social media work to because the CMO is strapped for time.
Make sure to have at least one kick-off meeting with the client before sitting down to write the proposal. Besides learning their actual needs, you’ll also get a chance to listen to them. Note down their expressions, the kind of language they use, and save this information for later. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – the more you know, the better.
Don’t write each proposal from scratch
The reason why business proposals get a bad rap is that they’re time-consuming and you never really know if the time invested will pay off. The client could read the first page and simply say no, and you may have spent hours preparing the proposal details.
To prevent this from happening (at least partially), you should create a proposal template. That way, you can save time because you have all the best proposal elements in one place, and you can simply edit out the main details and send the proposal. You can immediately cut down the time spent on proposals from several hours to half an hour.
Creating your social media proposal template shouldn’t be too difficult, but it will take you a few hours. Simply take your absolute best proposal and cut out its best elements to create a skeleton for your future proposals.
You can create a Word document for this purpose or simply use proposal management software to make the job even easier. Here are some of the many benefits of using software to write and manage your proposals:
- large database of pre-made templates,
- no worries about design,
- filling out templates is quicker,
- proposals can be signed directly from the document,
- these proposals are web-based and mobile ready.
Without going into too much detail on why proposal software is absolutely amazing compared to writing these bad boys in Word, you can take our word for it (pun intended) and give it a try yourself.
The first step – writing an amazing introduction
People nowadays generally have short attention spans. For this reason, your clients will spend most of their time reading the introduction of your proposal and will probably tune out later. You need to “hook” the client into reading this section, which shouldn’t be too difficult.
First, use their own language to talk back to them. Use your notes from your discovery sessions and meetings and use the expressions the client used when describing their problems. They will understand you better and they will be more likely to say yes later on.
Second, don’t be too technical. Your client may not know a lot about social media management, and expressions such as return on ad spend probably don’t mean anything to them. Explain your ideas as simple as possible. In the end, your aim with the introduction is to show that you understand the client’s situation and that you have a way to solve it.
Write a detailed specification
After you have their interest, it’s time to blow them away with the details. In this section, present a detailed account of what you plan to accomplish for the client and how you’re going to do it. Once again, keep in mind your conversations before you began writing the proposal.
Adapt your language and the amount of expertise based on the client’s knowledge. If you make it too complex, you may show yourself as the expert but you risk losing the client if they get confused.
It’s handy to mention the processes and the tools you will be using, style of communication with their audience, as well as the KPIs you’re going to focus on. The client may want to know what kind of scheduling tool you will be using, how frequently you will post on their behalf and what you will use to determine your success. Whether it’s the number of impressions or likes or some other metric – it’s up to you to determine and for the client to see in this part of the proposal. Furthermore, emphasize the communication goals and the milestones of your social media management efforts.
Include proof of past work
What guarantee does the client have that you can get the job done? The best way to show off what you can do is to give an example. If you’ve led a social media strategy for a similar client before, this is the section to brag about it. Think of it as a miniature case study.
Display what you’ve accomplished by showing a social media strategy you’ve created, some campaigns you’ve run and top it off with some results you were able to achieve. Note that you may not be able to show all of these details because of NDAs protecting your previous clients, but do your best to show a case as similar to the client’s as possible.
Okay, so you’ve shown that you can get the job done. Now what? The client will want to know when they can have a finished social media strategy and when you can get started. In this section, show an exact timeline – when you can get started and when certain tasks will be done and generally, what the client can expect in terms of time and deadlines.
This is the second most important step of your social media proposal and many clients will simply jump here, straight from the introduction. Needless to say, it deserves more attention and time than the rest.
The first thing to do is reconsider your offer. Even though traditional marketing logic says that upsells are a good thing, research at Better Proposals has shown otherwise. If you choose to offer packages, you actually decrease your chances of getting the proposal signed.
As it turns out, the most successful proposals have just one offer. The more choices you give, the higher the chances of the client getting discouraged to sign. Keep it stupid simple with one offer, and make sure it’s really good.
The second tip we have is to be careful about the name of the section. With social media, many (especially those that haven’t invested in social before), tend to be careful about spending their hard-earned money on these services. Therefore, think about naming this section “ROI”, “return on investment” or “investment”. It’s a small change, but it can make a significant difference in how your proposal is perceived.
The next steps
You’ve probably sent out proposals before and most likely, you’ve omitted this key section. This is where you explain in detail what the client needs to do next to get the ball rolling. It can be something as simple as:
1. Sign the proposal
2. Pay a fixed sum through the proposal
3. Schedule a kick-off call or meeting
4. Your agency starts with the work you agreed on
Many people leave out these details and clients read the proposal, wondering what they have to do next.
This is a bit controversial, but this section can definitely increase your chances of getting a proposal signed. What if you guaranteed your client to get them a certain number of impressions or followers by a certain date, or some other metric they want to achieve? It can be pretty risky, but it’s a great way to reassure the client that you really stand behind your work. If you fail to meet the conditions of your guarantee, you can offer the client a free month of your services or anything else that puts your skin in the game.
The terms and conditions
Before wrapping up your proposal, you can take one more step and really show clients that you mean business. Think of this as standard terms and conditions clause which you attach to each proposal. You can create it as a part of your proposal template and keep it the same across proposals to save time.
Think of this section as a safety net, for both you and your client. If anything goes wrong, you can refer to this section and not worry about suffering any consequences in the long run.
Writing, sending and managing social media proposals doesn’t have to be rocket science. In fact, if you prepare a good proposal template and talk with your clients before attempting to write anything, you immensely increase your chances of having your proposal signed, every time. What are your experiences with social media proposals? Do let us know in the comments!
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