As the owner of a web design and development agency, you need to wear many hats during the day. One of the things that you need to be really good at is writing web design proposals. A great web design proposal requires considerable thought and effort.
Unfortunately, most agency owners simply don’t have the time or the understanding of how to write a proper web design proposal. Web design proposals are generally quite tedious, and the process can get repetitive. Then, there’s the uncertainty; you don’t know whether your effort will be rewarded or not.
There’s little doubt however that a professional, well-written web design proposal can help you close deals. It’s a skill that every agency owner must master if they wish to succeed in a competitive landscape.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is a Web Design Proposal?
- 7 Key Sections to Add in a Web Design Proposal
- 4 Elements to Really Make Your Web Design Proposal Stand Out
What is a Web Design Proposal?
A web design proposal is a simple document sent by a web designer or agency owner to a prospective client. The web design proposal is broken down into several sections and serves as a roadmap that outlines the scope of the project, the deliverables, timeline, and other details.
Both the client and the web designer can refer to the document to ensure that they stick to the original agreement. It’s important to understand that web design proposals are not contracts. They are not legally binding, so changes can be made if both parties agree to them.
7 Key Sections to Add in a Web Design Proposal
High-converting web design proposals usually have a few common features. After carefully analyzing several web design proposals, we have identified several key sections that should be added to web design proposals to make them stand out.
The introduction is your chance to create a strong impression. Remember, the main aim of a web design proposal is to let clients know more about you and the value you bring to the table.
If you intricately go into excessive detail, your clients will never run through the entire proposal. The introduction of your web design proposal should include key details, such as:
- Name of the client
- Your name
- Title of the web design project
- Your contact details
- Company logo (if you have one)
- Submission date
Don’t start off by focusing on the problem right off the bat. Let the client know who you are, how much experience you have, and why you are a good fit for this job.
2. Highlighting the Problem
After you are through with introductions, the next step is to identify the problem faced by the client. Remember, you need to take a very analytical approach for this section. This is your chance to let the client know about what they are missing.
It could be a glaring issue in their overall UI or UX, or it could be an improvement over their current decision. The problem statement needs to be worded very carefully; it must be really specific to the business’ needs. Don’t write something generic and open-ended.
It’s about creating a rapport with the client and letting them know that you have put in an effort when creating this web design proposal. This is your chance of letting the client know that they’ll be in good hands if they choose to go with your proposal. You need to be as thorough and as specific as possible in this part.
Write in a way that it brings out your knowledge as well as explains to the client why you would be a good fit for the job.
3. Presenting the Solution
Once you have outlined the problems in the previous section, it’s time to provide the client with the right solution. Take your time to study the company’s stakeholders, the nature of their work, and the problems that they have been facing. Try to figure out why that is the case, and what you can do differently.
It’s imperative that you use business language and industry-specific jargon throughout your business proposal, but even more so in this section. If you are pitching a new design to the client for a landing page, try to add more value by letting them know how this design is an improvement over their previous ones.
Try to figure out what the client might be looking for from any previous conversations you’ve had, and then use that to present the solutions to the problems highlighted in the previous section.
4. Detailing the Project
Once you have offered the solution, it’s time to let the client know exactly how you are going to solve their problem. This is the section where you detail every part of the project. Most web design projects are generally divided into several phases, including wireframes, extensive discussions, graphical design pitches, writing code, and a lot more.
This section will serve two purposes:
- Let the client know exactly what you are going to do for them.
- Mitigate scope creep.
Scope creep is perhaps one of the biggest issues faced by digital agencies around the world. More often than not, clients might require you to do something extra, and not pay for it. That is one of the reasons why you need to be as meticulous as possible when writing every stage of the project.
Explain all the major processes, and let the client know about each and everything that you will do for them. Ideally, all the deliverables should be listed in chronological order. It’s best to cover each and everything during this part.
5. Tentative Timelines
Right after the previous section, you should add the tentative timelines and schedule for the work. This includes dates for when you can expect to receive important documents, approvals, prototypes, corrections, comments, and other forms of feedback.
This is also the section where you will expand on the deadlines for the work to be delivered. These are generally tentative, but they do give a clear idea to the client about when they can expect delivery.
More importantly, if you send a design for corrections and they do not respond, you will be in the clear. Make sure to set reasonable deadlines based on the resources you have in the house.
If you are going to outsource certain services, do mention that as well.
6. Setting Milestones and Pricing
This is arguably one of the most important parts of the entire web design proposal. Ideally, you’d want to know what the client’s budget is during your initial interview. This will make it easy for you to understand whether the client is worth all the trouble or not.
This is the section where you provide a detailed cost breakdown for the work. This should link to the fourth section, where you highlight all of the services that you’ll be providing. Against each service, you should write the cost value, so the client knows how much they will have to pay.
Try to be as accurate as possible, but don’t go overboard with too much detail. Also, don’t be unreasonable with the pricing. When offering the quote, make sure to stay competitive with the pricing.
It’s also important that you write the milestones when you expect the payment. Will you take the full amount in advance? Or, will you give the client the option to break down the fee into different payments? It’s best to write the dates when payments will become due.
7. Terms and Conditions
You will obviously want to avoid any misunderstandings with the client. If there are any terms and conditions that you’d like to set before the project gets underway, this is the section to add them in.
For instance, it would be wise to mention here that in case communication or feedback is delayed from the client, it will affect delivery dates for the subsequent milestones. Also, write about the rights to intellectual property, and any terms regarding the payments.
4 Elements to Really Make Your Web Design Proposal Stand Out
Once you have incorporated all of these sections in your web design proposal, it’s time to add the icing to the cake. Here are four elements that will make your web design proposal stand out from the rest.
1. Reliable Pricing
Pricing is a major concern for most people. In the post-COVID economy, businesses are looking to cut costs. When adding the prices for each service, make sure it’s accurate. If you have mentioned a really high amount for something, in particular, it’s best to write a brief explanation about it.
Reliable pricing will go a long way in helping you convert clients. Remember, most clients aren’t looking for the cheapest option; they want someone that’s dependable and offers value for their money.
2. Asking Questions
You will have to ask questions from the client when preparing the web design proposal. If you have a list of questions that might affect the quality of a particular service, write them down in the proposal. Let the client know whatever information you will need for specific services.
Make your questions as specific as possible, so that you have a clear idea about what the client wants. It’s best to ask relevant, specific questions related to the scope of the project. Here are a few that you might want to ask the client:
- What do you expect from your new website?
- Why do you require a new website design?
- What role does your website play in your overall digital marketing strategy?
- Do you expect to interact with the visitors on the site?
- What are the main competitors in your niche?
- Do you have any inspiration that you’d like to share?
All these questions will help you build a better web design proposal, so make sure to include them!
3. Evaluating Resources and Planning for the Project
When you start writing the web design proposal, you should have a clear idea in your head about the resources that you’ll have to allocate for each section. If you are outsourcing certain parts of the job, do consult with the outsourcing company so that there are no untimely delays. You need to determine whether:
- An outside expert or consultant needs to be brought on or not.
- Any plugins, software, or hardware needs to be purchased.
- Availability of team members
- How this project will affect work on other projects.
4. Aligning Expectations
Lastly, it’s important that you learn how to align the client’s expectations with yours. Good web design is only possible through a collaborative effort. Let the client know their role in the whole process, and where they will be asked to chip in. For several important decisions, you will have to refer to the client time and again.
You can’t expect to keep changing designs just because the client doesn’t “like it” or wants “something fancy.” You will want their input in the design process, so it’s important that you let them know about this as well.
Writing a high-converting web design proposal is difficult, but not impossible. It takes time and effort, but once you have a template in place, the process will eventually get easier. This way, you won’t have to start from scratch every time you have to send a proposal to a client.
Make sure your web design proposal has a clear overview of the problem and the solution. Include details about the work you’re going to provide the client with and make sure you set clear deadlines, milestones, and pricing. Also, have terms and conditions of your operations ready, as that will protect you if awkward moments come up.
With all this, we’re certain that your web design proposal will convert and get you plenty of new clients!
Related: And if you’re putting together your proposal based on a client site that really could use some work, this guide from our friends over at WPMU DEV covers the ways to go about this.