What to Include in a SEO Proposal that Wins Clients
Want to win more new clients? Put some extra effort into your SEO proposals!
A SEO proposal is essentially your sales pitch – it’s your chance to convince a new client that your agency is the perfect fit for them. There’s a bit of an art to writing a great proposal, but once you learn to do it, you’ll have an easier time landing work for your agency. Here’s how to put together a highly effective proposal.
Everything You Should Include in Your SEO Proposal
This list provides a general breakdown of the information your SEO proposal should contain. Use it as more of a starting point than a set of hard-and-fast rules. As you customize your proposals, you may want to rearrange things or break some sections down into sub-sections; do what makes the most sense for each particular proposal.
1. Executive summary
Kick off your proposal with an executive summary that distills all the important information from the later sections. If your client doesn’t have time to pore over the entire document, they should be able to get a good understanding of your proposal from the executive summary alone. Limit your summary to several paragraphs.
2. Information about your agency
Your SEO proposal is a good place to formally introduce yourself and your agency. While you’ve already had some contact with this potential client, your proposal will probably be read by people you haven’t met yet, so give them some background information on yourself and your team. Good points to bring up include how long your agency has been in business, what (if anything) you specialize in, and any accolades you’ve won. Don’t go overboard here – you want to build some trust with the client up front, but not steal the spotlight.
3. Review of the client’s problems and goals
Now it’s time to get down to business. In this section, outline the reasons the client is thinking about hiring you. If you’ve gathered enough preliminary information from the client, writing this section shouldn’t be too hard. The goal of this section is to show the client that you understand their pain points and their goals.
4. Site audit
In this section, you’ll bring in your own tools and expertise to expand on the client’s pain points. Basically, you want to show them that they’re right to want to hire you, while impressing them with your ability to diagnose their specific problems.
Using a site audit tool, include a summary of the technical SEO issues you find. Don’t assume that the client already knows about obvious problems – many people don’t know much about SEO themselves, so the client may not have any idea why their site isn’t performing like they want it to. Depending on what kinds of services you’re pitching, you may also want to perform general audits of their social media accounts or analytics accounts to really drive home the value that you will be able to add.
Use images like charts and graphs to back up your claims. Images catch the reader’s eye, break up blocks of text, and often convey technical ideas more efficiently than words do.
Here’s an example of a SEO site audit that you can easily download to a pdf to include in your SEO Proposal. Generate your own with a our free trial.
5. Current Keyword Rankings
Keyword rankings are at the heart of SEO. Tracking this metric will let you and your client see where they can improve and what kind of progress they’ve made at a glance. You can easily find out where the client’s site is ranking for key terms right now by using your own keyword rank tracking tool or a plugin like Fat Rank.
Fat Rank lets you check a website’s rankings right in your browser.
Write up a summary that explains how you think the client could improve their rankings. In addition, check keyword rankings for some of the client’s competitors, and include this information so your client will have a few points of comparison.
6. Your solutions to the client’s problems
You’ve shown the client that you understand what they need, and you’ve found some problems they may not have known they had. Here’s the part where your agency comes in. For each problem that you identified, give a step-by-step explanation of how your agency can fix it. Aim for transparency – use plain English that a non-technically-inclined person could understand, and give lots of details. The better the client understands your ideas, the more likely they’ll be to hire you.
7. Your working process
Let the client know what they can expect from you if you work together. Tell them what kind of schedules your team uses, which methods you follow, and which tools you use to measure progress. Introduce them to the team members who will be working on their project, and highlight any special qualifications or experience those team members have. The more up-front you are about your agency’s working process, the more the client will trust you to get things done in a timely, reliable way.
SEO takes time, but many people don’t know that. Include a timeline in your proposal so the client knows when they can expect to see results. Break each of your proposed solutions down into specific, measurable milestones. That way, the client will be able to keep tabs on your progress, even if it takes a while for traffic and other metrics to improve.
Once you’ve made your case for how you can help the client, it’s time to talk about money. The best way to go about this is to give the client several pricing options to choose from. This reduces sticker shock by giving the client a sense of control over the buying process.
First, introduce your standard package, which covers all the services you’ve talked about in your proposal. Then give the client two other options to choose from: a pared-down, less expensive package, and a deluxe package that involves a few extra services. Make sure to include a detailed breakdown of exactly what you’re charging for.
10. Terms and conditions
In any new working arrangement, it’s best if everyone knows what to expect up front. Include a terms and conditions section in your proposal that covers all the details the client needs to know before working with you. Lay out your ground rules and expectations, including when and how payments will be made, when work is due, how work will be delivered, and any responsibilities the client has during your partnership. Don’t be afraid to get in-depth – it’s better to include too many details than to have a conflict later over something you didn’t spell out.
11. Case studies or testimonials
Close out your proposal with some examples of what your agency has done for other businesses. If you’ve worked with large or well-known companies, see if you can use them as examples. The name recognition factor will build trust with new clients. Include as many details as you can in your case studies (with the permission of the client involved, of course). Don’t just say you helped a client; prove it with numbers, statistics, and graphs. If you have testimonials from happy clients, you can also include them in this section.
12. Call to action
Don’t forget the call to action at the end of your proposal! Including one can make a big difference in how many clients actually follow up with you. Encourage the client to contact you right away so you can get started.
General Tips for Writing a SEO Proposal
First and foremost, personalize all your SEO proposals. It’s okay to use a template for the overall structure of the proposal, but the content in each section of the proposal should be personalized for every client. It’s usually obvious when a proposal has been copy-and-pasted, and while that approach might save you some time, it won’t impress customers. Remember, your potential clients are probably considering other agencies besides your own, and tailoring your proposals is a powerful way to stand out from the competition.
Appearances matter, so pay close attention to your formatting. If your proposal looks cheap, clients will get a negative impression of your agency, regardless of how well-written the proposal itself is. Aim for an organized, elegant layout, and incorporate plenty of white space on each page – this will help you avoid the “wall of text” effect.
Your client probably isn’t an SEO expert, so make your writing as clear and easy to follow as possible. Use a professional but down-to-earth tone, and avoid using too much technical language where you can avoid it. If you get stuck, think about how you would explain something to the client in person.
There are some great tools available for creating, sending, and signing SEO proposals. Proposify is one tool that offers a customizable template, making it easy to build personalized proposals for a wide variety of clients. Docusign is another tool that lets you send and sign documents digitally.
Proposify helps you streamline proposal creation with customizable templates.
Docusign gives you and your clients an easy way to send and sign paperwork.
Mastering the art of writing a killer SEO proposal is well worth the time and effort it takes. You’ll land more clients when all your proposals are personal, detailed, and well-thought-out. If you want to start improving your SEO proposals today, the key things to focus on include addressing each client’s pain points, making a strong case for why you can make the client’s life easier, and building trust so the client feels more comfortable committing to a working partnership.
Written by Joe Kindness
Joe is the CEO of AgencyAnalytics, but often spends his day programming, designing or executing marketing tasks. And like most Canadians, he can be found playing or watching hockey!