Starting a marketing agency isn’t hard, but turning that business into a successful company is really difficult.
As an agency owner, there are a lot of moving parts — marketing, automation, invoices, accounting, hiring, building relationships, getting results — and all at the same time, you’re trying to sane.
It’s a vicious cycle, getting significant results will lead to new businesses that lead to better outcomes. In fact, according to Adobe, 76% of people think online marketing has been impacted more in the past two years than it did over the previous 50 years.
However, Wordstream says the most significant challenge digital marketing agencies face is still acquiring new clients.
And it totally makes sense…
Building an agency requires growing your own company and other companies at the same time. This is not an easy thing to do.
Consequently, I believe that charming clients with a beautifully designed, efficient, strategic, and planned marketing proposal is one of the essential elements of success. In this article, I’ll walk you through exactly how we have templatized this process at Plananble.io, the company I co-founded.
How to write a marketing proposal you’re proud of
A suitable marketing proposal template is always handy and should be easily customizable for any potential client. Therefore, a robust structure must be made and followed.
Using a model, you’ll be able to follow a set structure but still be able to customize it at any time with specific ideas, recommendations, and suggestions for each unique client. By performing a quick review of a company’s industry, brand, or other unique information, you can provide a more compelling marketing proposal before you engage with your client.
Overall, it’s essential to put yourself in the shoes of the client.
Let’s get to it and see what a marketing proposal looks like and how can you replicate this structure for your own agency.
Answer the question, ‘why you?’
The first slide of a successful presentation starts with a practical & inspirational statement. Define why your agency is the best partner to handle a client’s business.
Start with a friendly note and impress the possible client. Provide an opening statement to connect your work with their unique needs.
Then, answer these three questions briefly:
- What do you specialize in? Niche, industry, or vertical
- What makes you special? Team, workflow, tools, experience, & awards
- What’s your best work? Clients and highlights
Be specific, but not too specific.
You’ll have lots of room to clarify your offering further when you can bring arguments and examples. This is the point to showcase your company as the ideal partner and solution (in brevity).
Finding your prospective client’s problems
It’s time to get serious now — address the potential problems your client may face. As a marketing agency, there are many areas you can look into offering service around, including design improvements, brand management, conversion rate optimization, SEM, SEO, and so much more.
What are the problems that your prospective client may be facing? And which ones are uniquely positioned to help with?
Here are some of the most common marketing problems & challenges:
- Driving traffic to their website
- Low conversion on a website
- Attracting the right audience
- Turning website visitors into buyers
- Managing the website
- Creating content
- Training your marketing team
- Finding partners
- Customers not understanding the product or solution
- Having insufficient resources
- Delivering high-quality content… consistently
- Difficulty measuring marketing results
- Dormant leads
- Low social media engagement
- High bounce rates
- Decreasing profits
Keep this list (and other issues you may be uniquely skilled with) in your marketing proposal template and select only the relevant ones for each client.
Marketing is a fast-growing industry — things are changing extremely quickly and businesses need to adapt to new challenges more rapidly than ever.
However, today, there are many solutions, technologies, apps, tools, experts, professionals, and resources out there that will help you develop quickly and overcome the issues above.
As a marketer myself, I’m a solution-oriented, and I’m looking for any methods that can fix business issues. Typically, inbound marketing is the most comment solution for a company.
Therefore, there’s a simple methodology to follow. Here’s what I recommend to other agencies pitching business:
- Identify the challenge
- Present your solution to the client
- Establish goals
- Present a roadmap & timeline
- Measure & track results
- Report progress — weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly.
After discussing the problems your potential client is facing — it’s vital to come up with a few solutions & goals.
Also, you’ll need to include a specific list of marketing collateral you’re uniquely positioned to help create. Here’s a list of stages you can help create this collateral around:
- Brand Awareness: To establish a presence and increase your reach on social
- Traffic: To drive traffic to your website or blog
- Lead Generation: To collect key information from your prospects
- Revenue: To increase signups or sales
- Engagement: To connect and engage with your audience
- Community Building: To gather advocates of your brand
- Customer Service: To help and serve your customers
- Public Relations: To disseminate news and build relations & thought leadership
- Social Listening & Research: To listen to your customers and understand your market
- Hiring: To recruit top talent
Again, it’s important to remember that solutions have to be selected according to the problems a customer is facing.
You can’t throw up solutions if your clients don’t need them. After signing off with the answer, you’ll need to set up some KPIs according to each goal.
Set KPIs around items such as organic traffic, backlinks, social media, email conversions, leads generated, or blog articles created.
Also, when presenting the solution, show your client the channels you’ll distribute the content. There are many popular channels at your disposal, such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram. Alternatively, your solutions might involve some informal channels such as events or creative channels.
Set a realistic timeline
When it comes to a timeline, assess your current business — as well as their current needs, your efforts, and the capacity to come up with a realistic timeline for their solution.
It will look more professional to come up with a detailed schedule depending on their answer, but also keep your solution broad enough to serve as a marketing proposal template.
Your timeline needs to have the following parameters, including:
- Timeframe: The schedule presented can be shown in weeks, months, and quarters
- Goals: Marketing goals showing the strategic importance
- Initiatives: What are the high-level marketing efforts you’re working on?
- Activities: What are the key marketing activities you’ll perform?
- Status: Color-coded indicators about the current state (green, yellow, red)
Add your marketing activities according to a clear roadmap timeline, such as the example below:
An example of a customer roadmap you could maintain for your agency
Overall, here are the major events we tie to our roadmap at Planable:
- Completing the customer questionnaire — This stage helps better identify needs and their company goals.
- Onboarding — Present the tools, processes, and workflow needed to ramp up.
- Review documents — Set up agreements, sign off on formalities.
- Create a mindmap — Put together a diagram to better outline the solutions you’re proposing.
- Send over a mood board — This is a collage consisting of images, text, and samples of objects in a composition. It will convey a general idea or feel about the marketing direction, likes, dislikes, and overall feel.
- Distribute marketing plan sketch — Outlining the main ideas based on the information discussed above.
- Make a final marketing plan — Present the ultimate marketing plan to the client.
Also, it’s not only about the timeline and progress — it’s also about consistency.
Consistency is a personal habit that you need to develop by writing content, managing social media posts, analyzing ideas, implementing strategies, continuously learning from the industry leaders, and sticking to it.
Don’t stop learning from marketing only, look around. Read books on personal development, start meditating, workout, take a walk…
Any minor activity that can help you become a better person by building the right habits to help you bring more consistency to yourself and your brand.
Find the right team & people
There are many benefits to working with an agency, and talent is one of them. Agencies don’t need any training — they can come up with a new vision, they are efficient with their time, and they have access to resources you often don’t.
When it comes to presenting your marketing proposal to the client — it’s the ideal chance to show off the dream team they will be working with.
When presenting the team, your client will be working with making sure to do the following:
- Include a professional headshot for each person on the team
- Include their name & title
- Add a snappy bio (if relevant)
Don’t include everyone in your company or department — just feature relevant team members.
Also, be sure to add all the other relevant internal & external collaborators you’re working with — such as video teams, copywriters, and others.
Whether they’re part of your agency or not, add them in the presentation as well if they will be involved in the client’s processes.
An agency doesn’t succeed in isolation. If you’re working with any influencers, make sure to share these insights. Your clients will love it. It shows expertise, credibility, and past success.
Use the right technology & tools
As Xenia Muntean, CEO of Planable says,
“Unfortunately, our marketing industry does not use adequate tools. It seems as we’re more fans of the one-size-fits-all type of technology. We’re used to treating the subject with a “that will do” kind of attitude. While that may have been enough in the past, times have changed. Technology now defines how we work together and what our risks and results will be.”
We’re using emails, chats, phone calls for content production; Google Sheets, Docs, and Slides for asset creation; emails for feedback; and other dozen tools for publishing. These kinds of long and tedious workflows are first and foremost huge liabilities.
Businesses take a risk with each piece of content that goes live as a result of such a workflow. Coordination in content marketing can’t be achieved with these types of processes, and stable workflows need the support of dedicated tools.
According to our industry report, one in three marketers considers too much multitasking as the most significant waste of their time.
Simply start using the platforms that support your needs and then improve your current processes. While presenting these solutions to your client, outline the primary communication, publishing, content, production, and analytics platforms you’re using.
Here’s my personal list that I use to run Planable:
- Planable for content management creation
- InVision App for prototyping
- Figma for assets review & collaboration
- Frame for creating video content
- ConvertKit or (any of these email marketing tools) to grow your blog and business
- Slack for the transparent environment
- Front App to simply collaborate on email support
- Zoom.us to connect with anyone, anywhere
- Airtable for spreadsheets on steroids
- Monday for task management
- Dropbox for assets management
- Notion for wikis & libraries
- Visme for graphic design
And then finish your presentation on an inspiring note!
Think about the most powerful your agency had in the past few months or years. Also, what experience recommends you? It’s an ideal chance to add some testimonials, client names, and logos.
You need to have a repeatable process for scaling operations as an agency.
Set up an automation workflow and the right policies to do that. It will make your whole system more scalable. You can automate meetings with Zoom and calls with Calendly. Then, have an assistant prepare marketing proposals. All of this will make it so you can focus on the most critical part — growing the agency and bringing in money.
Vlad founded two non-profits at the age of 16, then dropped out of college, moved to another country with two 2 his friends, built Planable at 19 y.o and became an honoree Forbes 30 Under 30 at 22 y.o. He’s been featured as a guest writer & marketer by multiple publications including Social Media Examiner, Entrepreneur, WeRSM, and many others.