In today’s world, where the competition is high, it becomes essential that you get your web design proposal right. Let’s explore the steps needed to present an effective proposal.
Proposals present the opportunity of expressing your design skills, experience, and your process to the client. At the same time, they are instrumental in bringing excellent clarity in terms of deliverables and timelines.
They help in managing the expectations of the client. As a web design agency, drafting a well-designed proposal goes a long way in winning over the client’s trust and getting the web design project you are interested in.
Best 11 Steps for Creating an Effective Web Design Proposal
Let’s get started and see how you can use a well-crafted proposal to win over potential clients.
1. Analyze Your Competition
It can be your first proposal or last proposal; the research behind it remains the same. Hundreds like you would be doing the same work in the same field and would be performing better than you. This is the time when you can look for inspiration from others and include it in your proposal.
It is necessary to conduct thorough research and find out exactly what your competitors are providing in the market or what practices are prevalent in the market, to convert the prospective leads into actual paying clients.
First of all, you need to do some homework before you start the competitor’s research part. You will need to make a list of all things you are already aware of and what all things are lacking in your current proposal. You need to list your strengths and weaknesses clearly to save time and effort. This will help you focus on your weaknesses as well as sharpen your strengths. If you do not do this pre-ground level work before starting on your research, then you would be clueless as to what to focus on and what should be your priority in the entire process.
One more aim behind the research should be to understand the tonality of other people’s proposals and work and develop your tonality at the end of the process.
Also, you should decide the timeline for making this proposal and distribute the timeline into these 11 main steps. This research part should take the maximum of your time and effort, i.e., you can allot 30% time and effort to this part, to simplify the process and make it effective. In case you skip this step, you will miss out on the current web design proposal styles and must-include list, which would give you a tough time later.
2. Highlight The Problems
This is where we all lack. This step is often skipped in real-time, and all we jump on to is letting the client know more about your expertise, instead of understanding what he or she is trying to say. You may have solved a huge problem for your last client, but the present client won’t like to hear about it, while he is explaining to you his problems.
When you approach a lead, your first duty is to practice patience and enhance your listening skills. Listen to every word carefully while the lead is explaining his side of perspective about the website and make handwritten or digital notes. This will prepare you for asking the right questions at the time of pitching. This will clear your doubts and would allow you to work on the solutions quickly.
In case, the client is not aware of his problems and is entirely dependent on you for this work, then it is like a bonus bonanza for you to showcase your skills and take over. Invest time in analyzing the problem in the current system and provide a detailed version of the same to the client in a well-designed format. Here, your presentation skills would matter.
Try to brainstorm as many problems as possible through different perspectives and if needed, take the help of your seniors and peers to understand them better. If this goes well, the pitch will work in your favor.
3. Focus On Possible Solutions
This section would depend on the first two steps. If the first two steps are done correctly, you would know how exactly to go for the solutions. The solution part is what the client is looking for. It is advisable to jot down a rough draft of the possible solutions while listing down the problem statement. It will lower your efforts and save a huge slot of your time.
Try to keep the solution as crisp as possible to avoid drifting from the primary concern. Also, please use a business tone even if you are working as a freelancer. It would add a professional touch to your work and would give you space for charging your desired rates.
4. Create a Backup Plan B
Having a plan B always helps in case, plan A turns out to be a failure. The chances are less if the first three steps are followed correctly, but it is better to have a prudent plan.
You can create a small list of alternative solutions to the first draft in opposition to the idea – if plan A doesn’t work. It will create a great first impression on your client and would develop trust in his or her mind; as to you are prepared even for the worst situations. This will work as an add-on to the proposal.
5. Clearly Present the Quote
This is where the undivided attention of your client is. Money is something that makes everyone uncomfortable when it comes to the concluding stage. It is necessary to state the fee structure very clearly, as to what you would like to charge in return for your services. It is advisable to customize your prices for each lead as per their needs, in order to avoid price fluctuation issues.
For instance, you cannot charge $100 if the client wants entire website tracking for one year instead of your standard offer of 6 months or you cannot charge $200 if the client wants tracking plus SEO services along with website construction. Also, the prices should be customized based on the client’s turnover and image in the market.
If the client has a budget of $2000 and you end up charging him $700, then it would be a loss for you. Instead, you can charge from high net-worth clients and settle for new start-up clients to create a balance in your income.
6. List Your Previous Work
Your previous work works as your bio-data for the new client. It gives them an idea regarding your typography, design, and presentation preferences. It would also provide them with an idea as to what information needs to provide in the first meeting, by looking at your work.
Your previous work portfolio is the first point of contact with the client for deciding upon your work. It would give them a clear idea of how and why you work the way you work, and what makes you stand out from others.
Testimonials are the rewards for your excellent work. It is the appreciation you receive from clients after you deliver them their desired projects. The comments and appreciation of happy clients would work as a base for your next lead. It gives them an idea regarding your work ethic and builds a strong level of trust at the beginning itself, giving you an edge over others.
In case, the previous client turns out to be a friend or relative of the lead; it will be the cherry on the cake. It would make the conversion easy as they would be able to review your work based on their previous fellow experiences. It is advisable to mention 5 to 6 testimonials if possible, but in case you are a beginner, you can go ahead with the reviews of your friends, family, and university.
8. Mention Your References
It is an add-on to the package. It is not a necessary step, but if followed, it can give you some benefit of trust in a later stage. It is advisable to provide a reference for your professor or previous employee in case you are a beginner.
However, if it is your 4th or 5th project, then it would be good to provide the reference of your best client. It would not only give surety about your professional work but would also provide a surety about your behavior and lifestyle, which is very necessary for developing a long-term relationship with the client.
9. Create A Draft Copy Of Their Website
This is a new feature that you can add to your proposal. Many professionals do not practice it right now due to fear of stealing their work from the lead and getting it done through others in the same field with fewer prices.
However, the times have changed, and no one would be able to copy or work in the same way you do. It is a good practice to showcase your work freely and take advice from others before you deliver your end product. Here, you are required to create a rough draft of the work which you are going to provide as a finished product. It would give a clear idea to the lead as to what he or she is looking for and if you would be able to do justice to the project.
This will give you a chance to your lead to pinpoint your mistakes, and you can rectify them once it is finalized. By providing this, you have almost converted your lead by around 70%, and the rest 30% would be done if your pricing pitch goes well. It will also work as strong support for your high pricing structure.
10. List The Entire Process & Timeline
This step is critical for an experienced designer as well as a beginner. It is necessary to list the entire process as to what all activities would be covered while working on the live project. It is also advisable to mention the timeline for each activity as it will give a clear idea to the client and can plan out other related activities accordingly.
For instance, you can mention the name of your work – Website creation and mention a timeline beside it like seven days or say 70 hours. This will give you as well as your client space regarding the working process and can negotiate in case they need it earlier than the mentioned timelines, giving you an idea for prioritizing your work.
One important thing to remember is to always keep 5 to 6 hours of spare time while mentioning your timeline, as sometimes some work would not go as per your imagination and would end up taking more of your time. If the suggested timeline already includes those spare hours, then it would help you deliver the project on time and would not disappoint the client.
11. Provide an Early Bird Discount
After everything is done and finalized, it is time to work on offers. It is well and good if the client agrees on the mentioned prices, but if you are not sure of the same, it is advisable to provide some discounts and offers to attract the lead and convert it into a client as fast as possible.
You can fix a timeline for a decision by providing an early bird discount. This can prove to be a good attraction for the clients and also give you relaxation from taking back-to-back updates in real time.
Steps for Creating an Effective Web Design Proposal – Summary
We are telling you to walk the extra mile at every stage to make you stand out from your competitors. A little more effort would always make a bit more noise while succeeding. If you follow the first five steps, then it would be a good proposal, but if you go for all 11 steps, it will turn out to be an excellent lead-converting web design proposal that could possibly even get you a hundred percent conversion ratio.