Everything you need before you write freelance proposals that land business.

The Best Way to Write Freelance Proposals

Posted on May 19th, 2017 by Chris

Everything you need to think about when you’re creating freelance copywriting proposals

As a freelance copywriter, investing your time in writing a proposal for a prospect is something that should not be taken lightly.

Avoid beginning a proposal with a lack of information or content from a client. It is always your responsibility to ensure that you have what you need. Need advice on what to ask potential clients? Check out the top 5 questions to ask.

This list will help you ensure you have the crucial details you need to write the strongest proposal, thus guaranteeing a job that’s worth your while.  

1. The Goals and the Proposal: What are the overall goals of this project? What specific objectives do you need to achieve? How will you measure the success of this project? What is your master plan? What would you like to see in the proposal? These are essential questions to ask, because they help make sure you and the prospect are on the same page.

2. The Market and Other Vendors: What or who is the market for this project? Is there research available on the market? Have you approached a market like this before? How many others are bidding on this project? Do you have someone in mind for the project already? Can you say who or what size firm?

3. The Content and Contact: Where will the source content come from? Is it ready? Will research be necessary? If so, who will do the research? Who will be the main point of contact? Will they be involved from the beginning or jump in later? Is the point of contact responsible?

4. The Timeframe: What is your timeline? Is there a hard deadline? How quickly does your team provide feedback between drafts? What factors may hinder the project?

5. The Decision-Making Process: Who is the main decision-maker on this project? Is it one person or a committee? How will you select your vendor and what is the most important factor in your selection? Be aware of price, location, style, references and past experience in your industry.

6. The Budget: What budget have you allocated for this project? What is your overall marketing budget for the year? Working for a low-budget project may not be the right choice for an experienced copywriter.  

The four types of freelance proposals you need to know

With all this information in mind, it’s time to decide what type of proposal to prepare. Don’t sell yourself short by using a simple proposal for a substantial project. It’s vital to make sure that your proposal matches the scope and boundaries of your potential job. These four distinct types of proposals will help outline and define what is best suited for you.

1. One-page agreement: Essentially a confirmation letter detailing the cost estimate. Best used for small projects and/or on-going projects. Create a professional yet simple template which you can edit as you see fit.

Time to write: 15 minutes or less

2. Small proposal (1-3 pages): Use a similar structure to your one-page agreement, but add more details of what you will be doing. Outline the basic elements of the project, and add more information for your prospect.

Time to write: One hour or less

3. Medium proposal (4-10 pages): Use this for a medium to large project, particularly for a prospect you don’t know or perhaps a client who could recommend you to others. At this level, your client may have higher expectations, and your copy will need to be more persuasive. Always include a title page and cover letter.

Time to write: No more than 4 hours

4. Long proposal (10 – 20+ pages): Long proposals are important marketing tools when working with major projects. As a general rule, the higher your fee, the longer your proposal will need to be to demonstrate your potential. Show your client your value. Your long proposal will show that you’ve thought through the project and are confident about your abilities. Position yourself as an expert on the task, and include relevant examples to bolsters yourself. Don’t attempt a long proposal unless you are at least 50% sure you will get it.

Time to write: 1 – 2 days

When you’re creating a proposal as a freelancer, you need to make sure you write the strongest possible document. It needs to cover enough ground that you’re the obvious choice, and answer all the questions the client might have about what you can do for them. Proposal drafting is the time to put everything you’ve learned about the project in one document and show them that you’re the best person to help them solve their problems.