In a nutshell, a proposal template is just a layout to help you structure your proposal writing in a suitable format. There are as many potential proposal templates as there are business types and all might come with different visual variations. They are needed because they make it far more likely that you win a project if you use one. Sending an email with text and pricing is ok but it won’t look professional so it’ll be hard to convince people to hire you. Let’s take a look at common proposal template types:
These are the cringeworthy ones but they are probably the first ones you think of when you hear the words proposal template. Think clunky Microsoft Word templates and hours fidgeting around with background images or working out how to change the indents! Ugh. That’s how most templates used to work and a huge amount of templates have been created this way. Printed, scanned and sent out through Outlook. Oh, how fun were the aughts! Luckily we have better ways to write proposals these days.
These kinds of templates might be used by your photographer friend who is a photoshop genius. They are design heavy and look amazing but not everyone can get good results or produce them quickly as they require a lot of specific knowledge in design. Sometimes these kinds of templates are produced with InDesign or even Canva but none of these tools were specifically designed for proposals. You can write proposals with them, for sure, and they are a hell of a lot better than Word, but we think there’s a smarter way to approach proposals.
Here we have templates which don’t sit on your desktop. Hurray! Not only that, they help streamline your workflow so that you can send proposals at scale without suffering an early death by copy-paste! Professional agencies and elite freelancers always use an online proposal tool with business-friendly features like digital signatures and proposal tracking. They do it because they know it saves a lot of time and above all it wins them more clients. What’s the point of sending proposals if you don’t want to win them, right?!
Here at Nusii we produce our own business proposal templates to give our clients the best chance of winning their new projects. Below are some examples of tried and trusted online proposals in 8 different sectors. Our clients regularly use these to bring in new business. All you have to do is add your branding, drop in your content and make it your own:
A proposal template for designers. Sell your web design services better by adopting this proposal template and start scaling web design projects. Our images are just placeholders, you’re the designer we know you have some awesome images to drop in there!Go to template
Your graphic design is only as good as the proposal you send. Use this template to bring in new graphic design clients that truly appreciate your art. Customize the template as you please!Go to template
An ideal proposal template for inbound marketing agencies. Content is king, they say. And our proposal template helps you prove it to bring in more content creation gigs. Drop in your own copy, adjust your pricing and fire off those proposals.Go to template
An SEO proposal template for marketing agencies or SEO professionals to use and adapt. We studied what works and what doesn’t and created a high-performing template which you can easily modify to suit your needs.Go to template
Use our video production proposal template to elevate your proposal game. Drop your portfolio clips right into the template or embed your best vimeo/youtube content. If it’s video you’re selling. It’s video you’ll want to show.Go to template
People think running socials is easy but a professional agency makes all the difference. Use our social media proposal template to show the value you can bring. Make your offer modular so they can accept Instagram only, TikTok & Pinterest or all of the above!Go to template
Consulting can be lucrative but it’s also highly competitive. Stand out from the rest with our bespoke consulting proposal template. Not sure how to upsell? Our template will show you how with built in add-ons..Go to template
Branding agencies fight fiercely over the right to brand and re-brand the best clients. Arm yourself with our branding proposal template and come prepared! One thing you’ll love is the tiered pricing to give you the best chance of winning.Go to template
Running a busy marketing agency? Or maybe just setting one up? Either way we’ve got you covered with our digital marketing proposal template. Designed for all kinds of digital marketing proposals, you can edit and customize it so it fits your project.Go to template
An event management proposal template for all kinds of physical events. Show off your knowledge and professionalism by customizing this proposal template. Ideal for agencies offering corporate event management, conference management, trade shows or any kind of event services.Go to template
Building a catering proposal is much easier when you have a format that allows options and add-ons. That’s why we have a catering proposal template made specially for you chefs & bakers. Ideal for wedding, corporate, special or concession catering. Or even food trucks!Go to template
Interior design is often not an easy sell. Putting a proposal into words that truly convey your work is a little tricky. Luckily, we create a proposal template specifically for interior designers which will save you a bucketload of time. You’re welcome!Go to template
A high converting cleaning proposal template. We took best practice from across the industry to create this clear and convincing template. You can use as it or adapt it to your needs.Go to template
Even if they start from a template, most people need to customize it. You want to accurately describe your own services, highlight your USPs and put your own pricing in. You’ll also write in your own tone of voice. So what’s the best way to do all of this? What should a final customised proposal template look like? Let’s break it down:
There are different ways to display this but your proposal should contain a cover image and title. This is a high impact visual introduction that will be the first thing your client sees so you want it to make a splash but also accurately reflect what’s coming next.
Try to choose a photo that at once inspires and positively highlights your services. If in doubt, go abstract. In this section you should be careful to check contrast and legibility. Pro tip: use a contrast checker to make sure you are being objective. You’ll only need to do this once as you’ll likely recycle the format for future proposals. With Nusii you can automatically insert content using our reusable content blocks.
For the copy you will need to be descriptive. Don’t build suspense or keep them guessing. Put a clear title that leaves no doubt about the content to follow. Remember the proposal could be forwarded to others who may not have been in the loop on previous communication with the client.
Too often agencies jump right into the objectives but it is useful to quickly outline what problems you are trying to solve. This is critical to communicate that you have understood the client’s pain points. It also reminds the client of the issues they are facing just before you present your solution which preps them to receive your proposal.
Don’t know what the paint points are? In this case this is not a proposal template issue, it is a communication problem. We always advise our clients to hold a client interview before preparing any kind of proposal. We actually have an in-depth guide on how to conduct a client interview, what to ask and, crucially, how to uncover their underlying pain points.
Once the short list of problems have been included in your template, you should immediately state your objectives. They should align well with the problem. For example,let’s say the reported problem is that the client receives a high volume of traffic but it doesn’t convert. Then you would frame your objectives in those terms. This might involve proposing to identify underlying causes, refining paid and organic strategies to hone in on valuable traffic or perhaps make CRO changes to increase visit to lead metrics. This is just an example, you’re the expert!
What we can recommend is that the objective should always be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound).
We’ve arrived at the core component of your proposed template. This is where you sell your solution or services. Try to avoid being overly salesy. Instead, explain clearly what you propose in a concise manner. Keep your sentences short and stay in the voice of the sector you are responding to. In other words, talk in their language and construct a logical argument as you walk them through your solution.
A logical argument is far more persuasive than a sales pitch trying to desperately point out how much better you are than the rest. Let your proposal do the work and let your client reach that conclusion themselves.
Feel free to include images or videos to illustrate this section. Nobody wants to wade through huge swathes of text. If you are using Nusii Proposal Software, you can just drag and drop your content wherever you need to. You can also import Vimeo or Youtube links as you go.
Not every proposal template includes a scope and we definitely don’t believe in making proposals any longer than they need to be. However, it is often useful to include a quick Scope section, particularly if you feel the client is likely to be demanding. Your scope will help to keep expectations in check and the project to run smoothly.
Make it clear what is and isn’t included. Detail any constraints that you have identified. These may be financial, time-based or task related. Or also outline any assumptions that you have made. Being on the same page as your client from the get go is essential and this section will avoid any misunderstandings.
Here you will generate excitement and create desire for your solution. Briefly outline the benefits that it will bring just before you introduce pricing. This means the client has a true grasp of where you will be by the time you’re finished with the project and what deliverables they will have in hand. Seeing the pricing options with that top of mind may make your entire proposal more attractive.
Be sure to make this match up with your stated objectives. The last thing you want is to state benefits which are unrelated to what you want to achieve. Throughout your proposal template you should aim for coherence. That’s why we recommend selecting the same font and color scheme throughout. With Nusii you can set and forget this and it will auto populate future proposal templates with no extra work on your part.
Typically the scariest part of the proposal for the client and the hardest to define for the agency. What to do about pricing? Well, we’ve studied our fair share of proposals and we are firm believers in optional pricing. We actually think this is the secret to winning more proposals.
What do we mean by optional pricing? We’re talking about offering a client 2 or 3 choices instead of a single price for your services. Typically these will be priced low, medium and high and will include different levels of service or deliverables. You’ll be familiar with this from apps and tools that offer tiered level subscriptions. They do that to allow you to pick the best fit for your budget and needs. The same holds true for proposals.
Optional pricing dramatically increases your chance of success by giving agency to your client and putting the power back in their hands.Don’t tell them what to do by forcing a solution on them and bragging that you are the best. Be professional and knowledgeable, show how you add value and now that they want to work with you offer them a choice of ways to do that. You’ll find your conversion rate increases! Oh, and if you use Nusii, we can prove that to you because we track conversion rates ;)
Ok, so we have our pricing and we're done. Wrong! We recommend you don’t finish on pricing. What we think is best is to give an indication of timelines. For example you can detail that it takes 6 weeks from sign off to deliver the first part of your proposal. This creates a sense of urgency to sign the proposal in order to move forward.
And how to move forward? The absolute best way is to empower the client to make a decision right there and then. Don’t make them print the proposal. Definitely don’t make them scan it! Instead, embrace digital signatures and let the client take action as soon as they make their decision. Clients absolutely love to e-sign so it’s a no brainer really. It’s why we built it into Nusii, the professional proposal software for agencies & consultants.
Software for this, software for that. We get it, there’s an app for everything these days and you only want to use essential ones. Here at Nusii we couldn’t agree more and we think ours falls into the “can’t do without” category. Actually, our clients from all over the world think the same but we’re not here to blow our own trumpet! We’re here to show you why a dedicated online proposal software can give you not only beautiful templates but a whole lot of time-saving, client-winning features. Let’s break it down:
If you run an agency or are a busy freelancer, your time is precious. The big corporations might have HR, Legal & Admin teams but when you don’t have whole departments for administration, you end up doing a lot of tasks that aren’t really your skill set.
Enter, Nusii. As you know we have some handy templates to accelerate the proposal creation process. That’s where most people start but you can also create your own and then use it again and again. In fact, you can have as many templates as you want. Once you know which one you’ll pick, we have intuitive drag and drop features in our proposal builder and reusable content meaning you don’t need to start from scratch each time you want to send a proposal. Just grab your pre-written content, images or videos and drop them straight into the proposal. You don’t even need to upload your videos, we accept Youtube and Vimeo links. Nice!
But that’s not all. Not only is your proposal writing faster, you also get them accepted and signed faster. Nusii’s digital signatures allow clients to view, accept and sign their proposal all in the same place. Cut out the back and forth and get your proposals signed off in less than half the time. No need for any lawyers either; the digital signature is binding. Thanks Nusii!
When a client receives proposals from different agencies, the first thing they see is the look and feel. Some proposals will look awkward, some will be off-brand and others might even have layout or margin issues. Not yours! Our proposal templates make sure that they work straight out of the box and look beautiful. Nusiiful, we like to say!
We know that branding is everything for agencies and, even more so, if you are actually selling branding services! That’s why we allow full customization of your proposals and make it really easy for you to upload your own logos, fonts and switch up the colours to those exact HEX codes you already made your own. The result is a polished proposal fit for any executive’s inbox.
Speaking of emails, we offer custom-domains so that your proposals do not arrive from an unexpected source. It will look like it came straight from your branded email and with the digital signatures we mentioned earlier, nobody will know it’s just one of many proposals you sent out. They’ll just assume you took a ton of time to produce a kick ass proposal and that’ll build confidence in what they think you might be capable of when the real work starts!
So you used our templates to send out a bunch of proposals and then you sent some more. What next? Well, ordinarily you would sit and wait. Cross your fingers (and toes!). Hope for the best. It’s making us nervous just thinking about those times we used to do that. Has so and so made his mind up already? Are they going to reply or did they even get the email? Should we follow up?
Nusii is going to save you from all that. How? Well, we let you track your proposal live. Yup. You can actually see when someone receives it and when they open it. Of course you’ll also get notified when they sign. No more nervous waiting, just keep your eye out for that notification bell.
And there’s more. As you send more proposals we show you what’s working and what’s not. Which templates are bringing in the clients? Which client type is signing off on the biggest deals? We’re not just to help you write good proposals but also to help you understand what specific factors are important for your unique business. We know information is power and our proposal reporting gives you all the insights you need to double down on high-performing tactics.
Your client roster doesn’t grow without winning proposals. That’s just a fact. And it’s our one and only mission to help you win those proposals more often than you used to (and more often than your competitors do). We’re not just a proposal template library, we’re the feature-packed proposal tool you’ll rely on to bring in new business.
As you can imagine we geek out on proposals and have A/B tested everything under the sun. We see clients sending out proposals all day, every day and sometimes at night too, ouch! Without being too braggy, we think we know a thing or two about proposals. And one thing we love to do is share our knowledge of proposals with our clients. We pride ourselves on helping you work out why your proposals are bringing fewer leads than you expected or how to make them bring in even more than you ever imagined.
Now you know why our templates come in just the right length and just the right layout to ensure you have the best chance of converting. It’s why we encourage personalization with our variables feature. It’s also why we have digital signatures. People love to e-sign and conversion rates improve. And why you don’t need to test whether optional pricing is better. It is. And it’s built right into our templates.
It’s also why we offer a free trial and money-back guarantee. We just know that once you start sending out Nusii proposals, it’ll just make no business sense to stop! That’s why we told you earlier we’re an app of the “can’t do without” type. Convinced already? Just click on the button below to sign up for your trial or ping us a question. We’re also super friendly on chat ;)