The project proposal is the foundation of every webdesigner-client relationship. But, for designers, these project proposals tend to take a lot of time and effort.
So that we webdesigners don’t waste time on proposals that may not be accepted, we need to have a process that lowers our risk and increases the chances of being approved.
Here’s a 4-step suggestion on how to do just that:
First, Check for Interest
The problem with most web design proposals is that they are premature. Sometimes, designers haven’t established enough rapport with a potential client, and yet they send in their long proposals. This can be intimidating for potential clients, especially if they aren’t as tech-savvy as you are.
If it’s your first time to get in touch with a particular client, start with a soft pitch first before sending in a full-blown proposal. This will help you determine if it’s worth the time and effort to make a more detailed pitch.
Here’s an example, if done via email:
Hello Mr. Smith,
My friend John Doe works in your sales department. He mentioned that you’re currently thinking about revamping your website. [Explain how you know the business/person and why you're pitching.]
I’m a professional web designer, and I specialize in making high-converting websites. I can help you make the changes needed to make your website perform better. You can view my portfolio at http://www.example.com. [Make a short introduction of your expertise and why it's beneficial to them.]
Would you be interested in meeting with me to discuss some ideas on how your website can be better? [A yes or no question, which leads up to a deeper conversation about the project.]
Of course, if the potential client is the one approaching you, you already know that they are interested and can proceed with the next phase.
Find Out Your Client’s Needs
When you have the attention and interest of the potential client, it is time to conduct needs analysis. This helps you get to know their pain points and what their needs are. Here are some critical questions you can ask:
- What are your top goals within the next 6 months?
- What are your barriers to achieving these goals?
- What business metrics do you measure? Which of these is the most important?
- Who are your competitors?
- What motivates or ought to motivate your customers to choose your company over the competition?
- Who is your ideal customer? Please describe them in detail.
By asking these thorough questions, you are already identifying the key points to tackle in your proposal. When you take the time to find out a client’s needs and then address these in your proposal, you have a stronger chance of persuading prospective clients that they need your expertise.
Start With Something Small
The results of your Needs Analysis becomes the basis for a bigger pitch. It’s time to send a proposal on a specific project.
However, it’s best to make this initial proposal something that would be of little risk to both you and the client, and that would require only a small commitment as well. For instance, you could start by making a pitch to design something small first, like the homepage or a sales page.
Why do this?
- First, web design can be expensive and is a large financial and time commitment for both designers and clients.
- Second, if your client isn’t web savvy, they tend to second guess the cost, time, and expertise it takes to design a website.
- Finally, a small project is like a test to see if you and the client are a good fit for each other.
Even if it’s just a small project, bit opens up the door for a bigger project without all the headache that comes with diving into the big project from the start. Once you are done with this small project, get feedback from your client, be open to comments, and learn more about how you can best work or communicate with them.
The Final Step: Making the Bigger Proposal
Having just completed a minor but successful design project is strong persuasion. NOW is the time for sending that proposal for a bigger project. Ask if they would be interested in improving the other areas of their site as well. If you did a good job on the trial project and the clients are satisfied, there would be no reason for them to refuse you.
Proving yourself first on a minor project that is easier to land and quicker to do is a good strategy for gaining approval when you push for that bigger project.
It’s All About the Relationship
Landing a successful proposal for your web design business is all about trying to build a relationship with your potential clients. Make initial contact. Learn all about a client and his needs. Then start small, prove yourself, and push to let the small project grow into something bigger.