Web Design is a profession that requires you to exhaust your creativity day-in and day-out. You create web interfaces, make color schemes, match type faces, and what not. For you, this is something that you love doing, and you feel lucky thinking that you chose the right path. Until something pops that bubble. Something that we call business development.
Web design is not only an art form – it’s also a profession that, at the end of the day, will be required to feed you. One of the things that can help you run a good web design business is to know how to write a good proposal. And his is where I jump in.
By the dint of this article, I will be discussing how you can create that web design proposal that you loathe and make it stand out among the rest. Let’s take a look at a few things you should remember.
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Identify a problem and built on it
This is the first and most important part of writing a web design proposal that in order to offer a web design solution, you have to have a problem first.
Initially, you need to have a general idea as to why your client would want to acquire your services in the first place. You need to get in the middle of the client’s problem, and if needed, find out a problem that would get their attention.
However, you have to be careful, as to not expose anything that would jeopardize their business by revealing major problems in public. There are also times when a client knows something’s not right but has trouble identifying it.
These problems may come in the form of their existing design being unattractive or not so user-friendly, a requirement for landing pages for specific actions, or an employees-only website for HR purposes etc. So in your proposal, make sure you tell them what is wrong or missing in their online presence with a good amount of honesty.
Here’s an actual proposal (part of it) I sent to a client (who wished to remain anonymous). Note that this proposal helped me close the deal in just three days.
Pro Tip: Define the problem. Clearly state what you see is lacking with the company and do not go into vague statements like, "Well, you need a redesign. Let me give your site a refurbished look”, and write it in a way your business clients will understand.
How will your solution help them?
Now that your client knows they have a problem that needs solving, offer them something they would find hard to refuse – a good solution.
The pitch you just made earlier isn’t the end of your proposals. You don’t earn money as a web designer by telling your clients they have a problem. You earn by showing you can solve it. Tell them straight to the point that you can tend to what is lacking in their company, that you can meet their needs.
From here you can highlight the specifics of the project. What are the steps you will take? What will you include? Change? Or remove? How will you know that these elements require these actions? You will have to answer those questions.
You just don’t say, "uhhhh… I can change your landing page to this." No. You must be more specific.
You can state in your proposal that you will optimize landing pages through A/B testing. That you will remove a call-to-action button because you see it is not performing well. As businessmen love data because it makes it easier for them to make decisions, you can add some stats to make your point in the proposal.
Focus on the Return on Investment (ROI)
Now that you made the proposal hard to refuse. It’s time to make it almost impossible to refuse. If there is one thing businessmen (or your clients) love to hear, it’s R-O-freaking-I.
This part of the proposal will probably be the most difficult to craft since you are basically putting a price tag on your work. But now that you have identified what your client needs, and what you can provide, you now have to tell them how much is this going to cost them, and how much will they make out of the changes you will deploy.
I suggest that in this part, you identify the costs of the project first. In my opinion and experience, clients would like to see how much will something cost before anything else. They would want to weigh their budget expectations and projected income before they pull the trigger.
So if you say that you will do the redesign for $2000, your clients will think about it, and if that amount of money paid to you will allow them to reach their goals or gain more profit, then hiring you wouldn’t be so difficult.
In the example I gave above about a restaurant in the Middle East, we highlighted during the discussion that there are around 7 competitors in their area – something they already know.
But what they didn’t know is the amount of traffic those competitors are getting daily, and how many people are searching for the keywords related to their business. Once we highlighted those numbers and the potential numbers their would-be website will have, we already got them 100%. It’s all about how much they can earn from having a website!
Highlight their competitors
Believe it or not, your clients like competition. This is because they can use them as a benchmark for their strategies. This idea is popular among entrepreneurs and businessmen that you need to take advantage of this.
What you need to do is to list their competitors. Who are they directly competing for traffic? Are there indirect competitors too?
After doing this, you will have a good idea at how other businesses in the market do their thing design-wise. From there, you can use this data to persuade your clients that these changes or these additions are necessary because the other companies are doing it and are performing really well.
Here’s another example I sent to a lead who became a recurring client. My client owns a Japanese restaurant in the Philippines, in Angeles City specifically, and his restaurant’s name is nowhere to be found on Google.
This was the final nail (in a positive sense) which made him sign a deal with me.
Include a quick mockup of how their website will look like
Here’s what we usually do at nextvation.com. We send three mockups immediately to our prospects. This helps a lot since we are basically helping them visualize everything even before they respond to us. And often they do and ask for a meeting.
Lastly, you would need to show what you propose on doing. After identifying the problem, and describing in words what you plan on doing to solve the said problem, you need to show in a visual manner how you would want to do it.
Mockups are essential because it lets your prospects take a peek of what changes they will see in the future. And although nothing is set in stone, you will give them an idea of which they will have to approve (sadly) and how their final design would look like.
This is the part where you wow your clients-to-be with your awesome design prowess. So make sure that you not only show the final output but describe, and discuss why you chose what you included and removed in the design. This will help them understand why you made such decisions and that they are not only a result of gut feelings or randomness.
Are you ready to write a convincing proposal?
Now that you reached the end of this article, review everything that you have done so far because you will probably make a few revisions to your proposal. But at least now, you know what to put, what to discuss, and what to emphasize in writing your next web design proposal.