How to write the perfect, high converting proposal for a marketing funnel project

Imagine if writing complex $25,000+ Marketing funnel project proposals, was as quick and easy as filling in a mad libs style “fill in the blank” template. Can you think how fast and easy that would be to send out your proposals?

In this blog post, we’re going to explore and learn how to write a high converting, easy to write and compelling proposal for your marketing funnel projects.

You’ll be able to write a marketing funnel proposal quickly and easily, even if the project seems very complicated.

Just to preface this post, you can download our marketing funnel proposal template below if you want to follow along.

All the money

Marketing funnel proposals can be responsible up to 100% of your total sales. If you are a marketing funnel service agency, you’ll probably write proposals for all of your large projects. If you only deliver larger marketing funnel projects to customers, you’ll be writing a lot of proposals.

Marketing funnel proposals have the ability to cement customers into buying, and is often the last thing they read before sending a deposit. It’s critical that you send over a marketing funnel proposal swiftly after your discovery and deep dive sessions.

Using the right marketing funnel template, structure and language will result in more customers signing up, faster deposits and easier projects.

With templates or structuring your marketing funnel proposals, you compound the results that the project and proposal will give you. First, the fact that you are using the template and structure means you’ll write marketing funnel proposals much more quickly. This gives you time back to focus on other important revenue generating tasks.

Secondly, by increasing your conversion rates using the proposal, you’ll generate more cash flow for your business, the timescale between payments will be shorter (again, increasing cash flow) and your customers will be far happier with the process and service.

It’s often said that we are happy with a meal before we’ve even been served. A marketing proposal is very similar to plating up and presentation of the food. Many customers have in fact already decided whether they will buy, at the proposal stage.

It’s important to remember this point. Most customers have already decided whether they will won’t buy your services from you, by the time you give them a marketing funnel proposal. The proposal is designed to cement their expectations, settle any objections and close the deal for them. A proposal is the equivalent of a receipt after buying a product.

Inside their mind they have already made the decision whether to commit to the purchase or not. Assuming your budget isn’t wildly over what they have or are expecting. A proposal should be seen as a formality on your part. If you go into writing a proposal thinking “I know they are already going to buy, this is just going to present the solution in an appealing way”, you’re already more likely to make the sale.

I can’t find any customers

Often when I talk to funnel builders and marketing funnel agencies, they tell me that they want to find more customers. Interestingly, when we look at the number of leads and discovery calls that they are having, including enquiries and qualification calls, we find that generating leads really isn’t their problem.

If you are finding that your marketing funnel business is suffering from a lack of cash flow and income. It may well be your proposal and closing process.

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve consulted funnel agencies about their proposal process, only to find that they don’t have a proposal process at all. It’s really quite worrying when we look at the statistics, of how many funnel projects never get off the ground, because the agency never gets around to writing up the proposal.

Marketing funnel proposals could be the biggest leak in your own sales funnel.

We are often so keen to generate traffic to our website, enquiries and discovery calls. But when we need to offer a proposal, for some reason we enter a “writer’s block”. Which of course you read this blog, I don’t believe exists.

When I first started creating digital marketing, website and funnel solutions. I HATED writing marketing funnel proposals. I hated writing proposals because I never knew what to put in them.

They would take me days to write, I would treat them like an essay, and ultimately I still would miss out the vital parts that help people convert and close.

I would put off writing proposals for days or even weeks before finally sending something over. By which time the information wasn’t fresh in my head (and therefore the proposal was inaccurate) and the prospect had either forgotten about me or signed up to somebody else.

Hot to trot

One of the most important aspects of writing a proposal is understanding you must capitalise on the hot point of the customer. When they ask you for a proposal, or you suggest to send a proposal, they are in a state of interest. Their mind is heated and they are ready to buy.

It’s not that dissimilar to meeting someone at a bar or party, getting their number from them and waiting weeks before texting them to go out for a drink together. They might have lost interest, completely forgotten who you are or even found someone else to go out with.

The problem that most marketing funnel builders face when writing a proposal is a) not using a structure or template to create a proposal quickly and b) worrying about sending the proposal and being rejected.

I completely understand people’s hesitance to send a proposal when it means that you could be turned down. No one likes to be rejected, but it is the only way you’re going to increase your conversion rate and learn from your proposal mistakes.

I bet you don’t even know your true conversion rate from proposal to close? And I don’t mean a rough guess or estimate, I mean really have a look at how many proposals you sent out and how many proposals have closed. The conversion rate is probably higher than you realise. But interestingly, the conversion rate between lead/enquiry and sending a proposal is probably a lot lower.

Try to measure your conversions between initial enquiries and discovery calls, all the way through to closes and sales. You might find that every 10 enquiries will get you 9 meetings, but only 2 proposals get sent out. This shows you where your weak link is in your final sales and closing process.

It takes days to write a proposal – especially a good one

The old way of you building and writing a proposal might include opening up your notepad and going over your notes and trying to work out how much to charge for the service.

Your think about all the components, services and pieces that you want to include in your marketing service and your think about what you believe to be a fair charge for the project.

It doesn’t necessarily rely on a process, but more your intuition and initial discovery around the customer. Do you include a cover letter or not? Do you include timescales, a legal contract and to use presentation software like betterproposals.io?

The reason this doesn’t work is because it keeps adding variables to your closing process. It’s like trying to start up the car when you don’t know what each pedal does every single time you drive it.

Think how difficult that would be and how much guesswork you’d have to make. You know that there are only a few possible combinations but you’d have to start from scratch every single time you wanted to go for a drive.

Marketing proposals work in a very similar fashion. There is absolutely a process to writing a marketing funnel proposal that is a) easier and faster for you to write and b) increases the likelihood of someone converting and closing a sale after reading it.

Years ago, customer we had in Australia asked us for a proposal for a content marketing/marketing funnel style project. It would include a lot of blog posts, lead magnets, opt in forms, follow-up emails and sales pages. The customer also happened to be somewhat of a mentor to me and gave me a massive hint before sending over the proposal.

“Mike, obviously you wouldn’t be able to present this in person, think about presenting this proposal to me before sending it over.”

That’s all he said to me. It was a real eye-opener. Of course I wouldn’t want to just send over a proposal! I’d want to present the proposal to the customer and answer any questions that they had on the call.

Most customers will skip straight to the pricing page before going through the rest of the document and then start again. Our analytics show that most customers read the cover page 1st then the pricing then go back to the start. I didn’t want that stop what I want is for customers to make sure that I understood their problem and committed to the cause and then I can justify and explain the pricing.

 

Proposals means price increases

You have an enormous opportunity to rapidly increase the number of projects that you close on, by using a standardised process and template of your marketing funnel proposals. Using this very simple process you could increase your revenue, shorten the timescale between payments and increase the number of customers you work with.

I’ve even seen final builders increase their prices due to the perceived value and professionalism, just of their proposal.

I wrote about the opportunities facing funnel builders, when they write proposals on the betterproposals.io blog. Proposals need to be treated like a shopping list of the goals, results and wants that your customer has.

It doesn’t need to be any more complex than repeating back to them what you have heard them say. The opportunity for funnel builders is by 1) complicating and simplifying the marketing process (which can be very complex) for customers.

And 2) focusing on the benefits and results that the customer wants, we can repeat back to them the exact language and desires that they have, which increases our likelihood of them converting with us.

As the speed which new players can enter the market and dominate a position, your sales and closing process will make or break you. Over time, it’ll become easier and easier to find marketing funnel builders and services that have a slick and professional process. It’ll become the norm, expected by customers.

Look at how Uber and Deliveroo have changed what people’s expectations of “service and speed” mean. Even a few months back we saw home delivery and transportation as something that was convenient, if not without it’s flaws. Now, a complete change in process and INCREASING the speed at which people get things delivered and done, is what wins out.

Funnel builders that don’t adopt a smarter and faster marketing funnel proposal process, will be left behind by those businesses that are able to deliver marketing funnel proposals quicker than their competitors.

But what about all the sexy proposal software?

On top of all that, there are numerous proposal software platforms and services available. I’ve already mentioned betterproposals.io, as they’re pretty much the go to solution that we use in our agency.

As businesses and consumers, we’re always being told that another platform will make our lives easier. It’ll make things faster and our lives will be infinitely better.

Of course that isn’t always the case. A process and template will ALWAYS win over the software or platform. Processes only accelerate what you’ve already got. They just increase results – any results – whether they’re good or bad.

For example, let’s say that you write every proposal from scratch. It takes days to write them and you have no standardisation for your proposal writing. If you invest in a software platform to build your proposals, but you still don’t have a template, it’ll just make things WORSE.

Now, technically speaking, betterproposals.io (I swear this post isn’t sponsored by them), DOES have a marketing funnel proposal template in their library. Why? Because I put one in there.

So, if you WERE to use betterproposals.io, there would be a marketing funnel proposal template in there. Plus, you get to use betterproposals. Which is brilliant.

So how DO you write a killer, high converting proposal for marketing funnel projects? We’re going to cover that now.

Writing a marketing funnel proposal

We’re going to build a marketing funnel proposal, in real time using the method below. First we going to start with a cover letter, introducing why we are the right people for the project. It’s then a process of following a format that takes them through what they’ve told you and begins to reveal to them what you’re going to help them with.

We tell them what you’re going to get them and make a promise to them and their business while they are reading. We explained to them where they are now and the consequences if they don’t change. This demonstrates we’ve been listening to them.

Next we look at the current resources and results that they are getting for their business. Followed up by their goals and where they want to be.

Then will insert a case study (don’t worry if you haven’t got one just yet) before writing up the solution that would work for their business.

We talk about the investment, timescale and project requirements that not only position you as a professional and someone who’s done this before. But also make sure that you are not set up for failure.

When writing my first marketing funnel proposal, I used Troy Dean’s website proposal worksheet from WP Elevation. The mere fact that I could create a proposal using the template opened my mind.

Later I took some training with Oren Klaff of Pitch Anything. Oren explained to me on the training call that proposals are misinterpreted. NOT because the product is an interesting or the customer isn’t interested. But because they tell the story in the wrong way.

So many people start with an about us section or introduce the product. When in fact what we have to do is break down the customers defence inside their brain by explaining to them hot points that they already know and understand.

The easiest way to make yourself look clairvoyant is to repeat back to them the language and words of the problem that they body told you. Proposals really aren’t hard. Customers are telling you exactly what they want to buy when you listen to what their problems are and what their goals are, the solution becomes very apparent and our job is to repeat back to them what they’ve told us through the lens of a marketer. So with that let’s get started on our marketing funnel proposal template.

Cover letter

Jason Swenk Taught me the importance of a cover letter. They used to be very in vogue during the times when people were writing resumes and CVs. However they’ve fallen out of fashion lately.

This is a real shame as a cover letter lets you introduce the proposal and set out the expectations within the document. The cover letter is the only place where I will become a bit more personal and talk about how excited I am to work on the project. However, of course I still use a template (available here).

In the cover letter use a formal letter format with both your address and the customer’s address stop include the date, title of the proposal, their business name and both your name and their name.

Talk about ultimately what you plan to do in the project. For example, in this proposal we could talk about how we are going to get Jim’s florist 10,000 visitors a month.

Your cover letter is the first read page of your proposal and is the first thing they go back to after reading the investment. Make sure that it sets up the tone, professionalism and process for the rest of the marketing funnel proposal.

Tell them what you’re going to get them

The very first thing inside the proposal is we will tell the reader what we are going to get them. If they need traffic, will tell them we going to get traffic. If they need leads or sales will tell them you get those.

We make a direct promise to the reader (anyone who has read Pitch Anything will recognise this first opening statement as “set the frame”), and that this promise will be fulfilled if they read through the rest of the document.

What we are saying is that we can get them exactly what they need if they read the rest of the proposal. The rest of the proposal of course is outlining how we’re going to get it for them, assuming they sign up with us.

What this does is clarify in the reader’s mind, exactly the benefit and result that they are going to get after reading this document.

Where they are now and the consequences

It’s important then to wind their brain back and begin to address some of their initial defence mechanisms. Customers will assume you’re instantly going to tell them exactly how you can get the result you have just promised.

This typically puts them into a state of defence, because they going to have to expend energy learning something new or, learning where they’ve been going wrong in their business. No one wants to hear a bad job (even if they are publicly open about it and have approached you).

We repeat back to them the situation that they’re currently on at the moment. We’ll tell them the what type of business they are and who they serve. We’ll also talk about the problems and roadblocks that their business is facing. Typically the sentence runs something like this.

Jim’s Florist doesn’t have a content marketing plan. They have a website but they don’t have any sales. While the shop generates revenue their online presence generate many sales.

What this does is allow the reader to identify with themselves and understand the situation that therein. Remember, we are only going to repeat back to them what they’ve told us about their business. With discovery or deep dive method such as Go Wide, Go Deep, there should be no reason why you haven’t uncovered the root causes to their problems.

What we want to talk about and uncover in this section, is, are there problems and things preventing them from being “happy”.

We’ll also talk about the consequences of not addressing those actions. This both re-frames the situation as something that needs to be dealt with AND demonstrates your knowledge is able to see into the future, so to speak.

Chances are some of these consequences they already know about, they might have even taught to about them. For example if Jim from Jim’s Florist is looking to sell his business, low revenue and sales online is going to make it harder for him to sell. Therefore the consequence of him not increasing his revenue is that he won’t be able to sell his business and retire.

Talk about where they are now and the roadblocks they’re facing. An end to the page you notes types of consequences they’ll be saying if they don’t address their actions.

Remember you can download our marketing funnel proposal template here.

Current resources and results

The reader is now well assimilated with your style of writing and the format of the proposal. They can clearly recognise that it’s about their business and despite using a template, they fully believe that this is a custom tailored solution to their problem and business.

This is where we want to talk about the current resources that they have, and the current results that they are getting. Where as we started with the problems and roadblocks and consequences, we now look at where they are.

If you imagine a 100m sprint, where we are now is the equivalent of the start line. Later in the proposal will talk about the goals which is the finish line. The roadblocks and the problems are the hurdles and other runners who are our competition.

What we are doing is laying out a story and helping the reader visualise the process and the journey that they can go on.

Similar to a hero’s story type format, the reader has to believe that the story is directly related to them. They have to relate the situation inside the proposal to their own business. This is why it’s so important to use their own language, their own goals and talk about their business so much before we talk about the solution.

We’ll talk about the current levels of traffic that they get. The number of leads they have. The number of subscribers, email subscribers, YouTube subscribers, Facebook followers, customers, average sales per year, revenue, profit et cetera.

We’ll talk about every metric within their business that is directly applicable to this project. By repeating back to them the metrics and results that there currently getting, were opening the door to them visualising how they can expand and improve those metrics.

We’ll then summarise with a sentence along the lines of “if Jim’ Florist increase the number of email subscribers in their database, their revenue could increase by up to 100%.”

Where we want to be

This is where we begin to explain to the reader and help them visualise their future business. Using again the language and goals that they’ve told us, we will explain to them goals and where they want to be within their business.

We’ll talk about metrics, tangible deliverables such as a content marketing strategy. But will also talk about the future of their life and business. We’ll talk about emotions such as “Jim now feels confident that his online business is generating sales”.

Focusing on areas such as their average day, how they feel and their status are incredibly important to the goalsetting side of the proposal.

If a customer can imagine a better life for themselves, and visualise you helping them reach that better life they are more likely to buy from you.

All too often at this stage in the proposal many marketing funnel businesses will just talk about what they could then have. Now obviously measurable results such as revenue leads and traffic are extremely important. In fact many businesses even try to shy away from those kind of goals. Instead they’ll put down goals such as “has a marketing funnel” or “has a blog”.

Those goals are weak and don’t hold water. Mixing your goals with tangible results such as revenue and leads AND how they feel and their status in the world and the future of their business will set you up for a sale.

Talk about where they want to be, using the language that they’ve given you and explain the goals to them in terms of results directly applicable to their own life.

The case study

This is where we throw a real curve ball. Initially anyone reading this who either has never written a case study before, or doesn’t have any previous customers will be eager to skip this section ignore it completely.

You might even be sitting there in a cold sweat thinking “do I need to have a case study in order to close more sales?”

The short answer is that the case study will absolutely improve your chance of conversion and closing. Why? Because again we’re telling a story to the customer, where they can immediately relates to a problem that someone else has faced.

If I can use a similar customer or a similar project, to something that my current reader and customer is facing, then they’re more likely to connect with it.

Case studies are like any other part of this proposal. They follow a template in the process and needn’t be complicated or long.

Our case studies are a page long at most. We also have a habit of reusing old proposals and rewriting them into case studies.

We’ll shorten the goals and summaries and problems sections into easier formats.

We’ll talk about where the customer was, the types of result that they wanted and the types of roadblocks they faced.

We’ll then explain very briefly at a high level 3 to 5 bullet points on what we delivered to them and how we helped.

If you’d like to use one of our case studies, you can view an example here (no optin required).

We’ll then finish the case study by explaining what they now have higher sales, more traffic and more leads. With some of our customers were even able to give revenue specifics particularly if it’s through a sales funnel. Other times will use percentage increases depending on our relationship with the customer and whether they’re happy with us publishing their case study.

To date we have never had a customer turn down our request to write a case study about them.

Write the solution

Here’s the part that everyone thinks they’ll get right, but in fact is the most misunderstood part of the entire proposal.

How many times have you written up a proposal, where it’s essentially a line item list of things that you’re going to do for the customer?

It could be that every proposal you’ve ever written, has at some point had a solution set where you talk about building a five page structure for a website, setting up an email CRM system developing an advertising strategy.

Now while not strictly wrong, the way we frame the solution is important. What customers really want is benefits and results.

This is why our solution section on a proposal needs to focus with a benefit first, then explaining how we get that benefit.

For example, “sending out sales emails on automation to generate revenue on automation” or “Online audience and visibility exposure, increasing the number of people who know customer exists.”

Where we put the line items of deliverables is in fact under the investment section of the proposal.

Writing the solution needs to literally be just that – “the solution”. It needs to show them the cure to their ailment. Think about a broken leg. If a doctor was to tell you “okay we’re going to heal your broken leg so that you can walk again, run again, be out of pain and reduce the risk of infection”, would you care about the procedure?

This is more important at the time, than understanding how they’re going to set the bone, wrap it in plaster and keep that on for six weeks. Now while the deliverables are important, the solution in fact needs to be framed purely as benefits and results. When you’re in pain, you want to know about the solution not the method.

Think about their goals and where they want to be and make sure to talk about solutions and goals and results that will help them get to where they want to be.

The deliverable section comes later during the investment and timescale sections of the proposal.

The investment

This is the first page that people flip to after reading the initial cover letter.

Your investments is where you can take your benefit based solution, bullet point the deliverables under that solution and then give the price.

It really is no more complicated than that. This is the itemised list of everything that they will be getting throughout the process. They can now see the individual benefits and results to the solution and are beginning to cement the deliverables to the benefits.

The risk of just giving deliverables and line items with a price earlier on, without the framing of benefits, is that people going to “commodity mode”.

We are even pretty vague about the deliverables, because frankly the customer doesn’t need to know every single individual detail. We might say will set up a CRM and autoresponder system. But I won’t tell them which one it is, the individual levels they’ll be on all the exact process go through setting up the connections and APIs

What they tend to do is think about quotes well if an autoresponder system takes $750 to set up, why aren’t we doing it?”

It’s important to me that the reader has all of the deliverables and investments, framed around a benefit.

Timescale

Will then put in a timescale, pretty much copying the investment portion and summarising the deliverables even further. Inside the timescale will talk more about project checkpoints and milestones.

For example rather than individually listing out when each project will be done. I’ll talk about prototype, design, development and testing stages. I’ll talk a little bit about each stage entails and give a rough estimate of the timeframe.

Timescales are incredibly important because they show the reader how serious you are about delivering this project. Businesses that know what they are doing have timescales. Why does this look so professional? Because it’s clear that you’ve got resources that you have to manage in order to deliver this project. You’re not just sat around waiting for customers to give you work.

We also put a note in our timescale section that deadlines work both ways. If a customer misses a deadline that’s on them and there may be consequences or penalties should they continue to hold up our project delivery.

Requirements

We also insert a small section about the project requirements. For example will make it clearThat we don’t manage traffic costs. That’s up to them. Or, we require a 50% deposit before working on the project.

Project requirements are constantly growing list. It will essentially be the qualification process that you will go through to prevent difficult customers. You can never completely eliminate difficult projects, and you can certainly never eliminate difficult customers. But you can manage and mitigate the problems that are brought up by their expectations.

Some of our requirements are:

  • 50% deposit upfront before any work starts
  • Mutual agreement signed and returned before any work starts
  • We don’t manage traffic costs, these will be a direct line item for you. If you need a traffic management plan, let us know.
  • We’ll need access to your CRM system, you’ll need to pay per month for our preferred CRM system
  • We don’t support hosting that isn’t on our preferred platform.

This is also a part that will constantly be evolving. You’ll grow your requirements section over time, as you find more and more requirements for your projects.

Remember, if you want to use our marketing funnel proposal template, you can download it below.

FAQ

FAQ or frequently asked questions are the most common OBJECTIONS that customers have when reading your proposal. By this stage of the proposal, the reader will have decided whether they’re going to commit. However, because they’re human beings, they NEED to ask questions and challenge what they see.

Think about the most common reasons someone might not buy. What are the common objections and questions that someone would have, before committing?

  • How long before I start seeing traffic?
  • Why do you not guarantee results?
  • What happens if I don’t like your designs?

There are always questions you can add over time, this is another section that will grow over time.

Think about the questions you’ll be asked, and write up the questions that you’re asked and write out the answer. For example:

Why do I need to pay for traffic if I’m paying you?

We’ll help manage time, costs, traffic, pages and content. But the traffic source investment needs to be paid too. Advertising needs a budget on top of the material that’s sent out.

FAQs allow you to preempt your customer’s objections and show them that this isn’t your first rodeo. If you want a load more examples’s of FAQs in a proposal, download our marketing funnel proposal template below.

Next steps

This is the most important part of the entire process. Imagine walking up to someone at a bar, they catch your eye and you take the plunge and start a conversation with them.

Then, as things are going really well, there’s a little flirting and some arm touching…you walk away and just leave. What?!

That’s what SO MANY PEOPLE DO when they create a marketing funnel proposal. It’s unbearable to watch. Many funnel businesses completely forget to ASK for the business with a next steps. They assume that all their customers and prospects will magically know what to do next.

Pro tip: your customers aren’t psychic. They JUST want you to tell them exactly what to do next. Need a deposit and a signature? Tell them.

Hell, whip out the card machine and take a deposit there and then.

Write out in plain, explicit detail what the prospect needs to do next in order to make this happen. Remember, you’re a doctor offering to heal a broken leg. YOU are the expert, they’re looking to you for guidance.

Our next steps say we need a signature on our contract and proposal and a 50% deposit. It’s short and it’s easy to follow.

I write my next steps, assuming that by this point, the customer want’s to buy. It’s more a formality, telling them what needs to happen next in order to solve their problem.

They’re looking for a cure for their pain, they don’t want to mess around. They want to start now!

Legal part

Finally, we have a few pages of legal copy. We started with the Stuff And Nonsense Contract Killer from Malarky, which has been adapted over the years.

The only thing I’d say, is make sure you get a lawyer or solicitor to look over the contract. Your insurer could even do it for you. Our watertight contract is what saved us from almost being sued.

We don’t have a lot of legal terms, it’s easy to read and anyone could understand it. All it really does, is lay out any expectations and make’s sure that both sides know what they’re agreeing too.

I’ve learnt from experience that having a customer unhappy before signing a contract, is a lot better than a customer unhappy after signing a contract.

Remember, if you want the template for our marketing funnel proposal you can download it here.

Is a proposal template for everyone

“But this sounds like a lot of work Mike. Most of my solutions are bespoke to each customer.”

I totally understand why you’d think this. And lots of funnel builders have told me the same thing. But what we’ve found is that while the SOLUTION might be custom and bespoke, the delivery of the proposal isn’t.

That’s why I love using the template. It lets me fill in the blanks using the prospects own language and wants. All I have to do is replace the blanks with their wants and goals. Love it.

Marketing funnel proposal template

So there we go! An entire marketing funnel proposal built in front of you! If you’re serious about writing a marketing funnel proposal that converts, make sure to download our funnel template for free.

It’s got everything we talked about above, including prompts and fill in the blanks, so you can start using it today!

Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.