Use this client proposal template to book your next copywriting client.
You sent out cold emails to a few prospective copywriting clients and one of them responded. After you jump up and down with excitement, what do you do next?
Newbie freelance copywriters tend to overthink the new client proposal process. Creating a killer offer that compels clients to work with you is simpler than it sounds.
Here are the exact steps I take to create client proposals and work with dream clients.
How to Gather Information for Your Client Proposal
When you and a new client are deciding to work together, you’re both looking to know more about each other. This discovery phase plays a key role in developing a new client relationship.
Your goal is to understand their needs and create a plan that gets them closer to their goals.
I recommend scheduling a discovery call before creating your client proposal. You may already have ideas for how to help them, but you want to make sure you address the needs that are most important to them. Your proposal is more effective when it’s tailored to your client’s priorities.
These are 5 info-gathering questions to use in your discovery call:
- Tell me about your business goals. What would it look like to reach the next level in your business?
- What’s standing in your way of reaching your next level of success?
- How are you currently getting new leads and clients?
- Tell me about your current marketing tactics. How do you create and build relationships with your clients?
- What is your budget?
I tell my new students to steer away from talking about rates on the discovery call.
This is only my recommendation for newbies who are often unsure and uncomfortable talking about pricing on the fly. I want to reassure you that it’s totally ok to do this initially. The client could be more likely to have objections to your pricing if they hear the cost without context.
Your proposal is a chance to outline the value of each deliverable within your offer.1
This doesn’t mean you should be afraid to talk about money completely. Ask the client if they have a budget so you don’t recommend a cost that’s too out of reach in your client proposal. But keep in mind, you can come in over budget… so long as you demonstrate value.
Propose some initial ideas on the discovery call. Then let them know you’ll brainstorm and come back with a fleshed-out proposal. This gives you space and time to think.
Pro Tip: Ask your client if they’re comfortable with you recording the discovery call. This helps you stay engaged instead of having to frantically take notes!
6-Step Client Proposal Template
After the information-gathering stage, it’s time to get writing! You can use accounting management software like FreshBooks to create proposals. It’s also totally appropriate to keep it simple by creating a proposal in Google Docs or an email.
These are the 6 sections to include in your client proposals:
- Introduction. Start off with a few specific details from your discovery call. Touch on some of the pain points or experiences they described and recap how you can help solve them. Demonstrating you heard them on the call shows you care.
List out the main objectives that your marketing recommendations work towards, and refer to these objectives later in the final recommendations.
- Copy Recommendations. Recommend copy that directly addresses their problems and objectives. Explain the benefits of each piece of copy, and how they all fit together.
You can give 2-3 different options. The first is the best-case scenario that helps them reach their goals as quickly as possible – even if it’s slightly out of budget.
When they see the value and how your recommendations helps them grow, they may be willing to stretch their budget a bit. But I always include an option within their budget to show I listened to them.
- Deliverables Pricing. List out each of the deliverables you’ve recommended into a line-item list with pricing. Keep in mind that your initial recommendation may focus on a one-time project. In that case, include the deliverables you recommend to help them grow after the initial project.
Here’s an example:
- Phase 1: Initial batch of work. This may include foundational pieces. Ex: an overhaul of website copy.
- Phase 2: Ongoing work. Communicate which consistent content can help them after the first batch is done. Ex: monthly SEO blogs to drive consistent traffic and sales or emails to drive sales.
I tend to offer clients bundle pricing as an incentive to book the full package. But don’t refer to this as a “discount,” which makes it seem like you’re willing to go down in pricing. Since you believe in the value of your work, you stick to your rates!
- Process. Set expectations upfront by outlining your processes in the client proposal. This section should communicate what the client can expect when working with you.
Some processes to include are…
- Turnaround Time. When they can expect to receive the work. Be sure to outline the date they need to return the deposit to secure the deadline.
- Communication Policy. How quickly you respond, and how best to reach you. I make it clear that I respond to emails within 24 hours. This sets the expectation that I get back to clients as soon as I can, which is not always immediately.
- Payment Policy. Outline your payment process to avoid payment holdups later on. Include how much is due upfront, and how many days they have to pay an invoice.
Having these processes clearly outlined in your client proposal saves you potential headaches later on. If a client has an objection about a process in the future, you can refer them to the proposal.
- Wrap-Up. End your client proposal with a reminder of the value the content you’re recommending brings to their business. Recap that this plan will help them reach their goals. Then help them envision what reaching those goals will feel like.
Show that you’re open to collaboration by asking for conversation and feedback. I like to share that I’m known for making my clients feel over-the-moon happy with their content. So I’m eager to know what would get them to that level of excitement.
- Bonus. End with a few bonus thoughts and ideas that add extra value to their client proposal.
A proposal with these detailed sections shows that you’re more than a copywriter. You’re a marketing strategist that cares about their overarching business goals. Demonstrating you’re thinking about the big picture sets you apart from other freelancers.
Crush the Client Acquisition Process
Running a successful copywriting business requires so much more than writing. You need a steady stream of clients to have a thriving business. So client prospecting and business logistics are equally as important as effective writing.
Most copywriting courses only teach copywriting techniques – but not the applicable tools for managing your business. Write Your Way to Freedom is unlike any other course because it expertly shows you how to do both.
In Write Your Way to Freedom you learn exactly how to get new clients and manage business processes – like client acquisition, discovery calls, proposals and invoicing, and more.
To learn more, sign up for my free Masterclass: How to Build a Lucrative Freelance Copywriting Career.
Up-level your copywriting skills and build a copywriting client base you’re proud of.
Looking for a Client Proposal Example? Watch This.
Watch my Youtube video for a step-by-step client proposal example. Be sure to subscribe for more tips on freelance business management, mindset, and copywriting.