The Best Website Proposal Template and Other Tools for Designers
By Rob Williams
Are you sick of wasting time writing proposals that don’t close? Without a system for creating proposals, website design RFPs and other contract design opportunities are hard to land. But the hardest part of all is creating an effective proposal. As a result, we’ve teamed up with Jonathan Stark to create a proven website proposal template you can use on your next big pitch.
We think it’s the best website proposal template available based on our research (downloading every template we could get our hands on). Here was our criteria:
- Ease of use: how well does template eliminate writers block.
- Speed: how quickly are you able to generate new proposals with it (ideally in under an hour).
- Pricing: how well does it protect you against leaving money on the table.
- Effectiveness: how high of a close rate will it generate?
The Best Website Proposal Starter Template for Designers
Jonathan’s website proposal template was far and away the most effective template we found in our review. As such, in coordination with Jonathan, we’re offering a direct download to it just for Folyo members:
Jonathan Stark’s 5 Page Website Proposal Template Price: Free download A simple 5-Page Website Proposal Template that's designed to help you write proposals in a fraction of the time, increase your close rate, and stop leaving money on the table. Tested and closed over seven-figures using this template.
Remember: Using this website proposal template alone won’t win you project. Below we’ve outlined additional steps and resources we recommend using to make it your own. First, let’s start with generating new proposals quickly.
The Best Proposal Software for Designers
One of the biggest ways to optimize the proposal writing process is to make generating them effortless. As a result, we recommend putting our template into Bidsketch, an app specifically designed to make customizing proposal templates 50% faster.
Bidsketch Price: $29/month Bidsketch is the only proposal software we’ve used extensively because it does everything you need. It creates proposals, stores templates, and allows you to require a signature. What makes Bidsketch particularly great for RFPs is that the
The Best Software for Tracking Your Proposals
Following up on proposals is one of the biggest levers you can pull to increase your close rate. Some Folyo members, like Joey Kirk who is featured in the audio case study below, even report this being the #1 factor to landing six-figure contracts.
But very few people remember to do it and as a result, we think baking in your follow up with software is a must. Pipedrive is our recommendation here because it is designed around a proposal workflow. Here’s a recent video we made showing how we use Pipedrive here at Folyo:
The Best Books on Writing Great Proposals
Beyond software, a sound sales approach will have a huge effect on your proposal’s success. So below are a few book recommendations that will help you optimize your proposal process even further.
Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro
Mike’s now famous “Fuck You, Pay Me” presentation is maybe his most well-known resource, but Design is a Job is one of the all-time best books on running a design business. He walks through: proposal tips, working with contracts, presenting your work, and a ton more.
Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro Price: $32.44 When I started working at a design agency, the founder of the company gifted me this book. It tells you everything you need to know about running a design business business in one handy package. Strongly recommended: 10/10.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
During the proposal process you will ideally communicate with your clients in a variety of ways, not just over email. This is a great book on an overall approach to building a relationship in any setting, regardless of the medium you happen to find yourself in.
How to Win Friends and Influence People Price: $11.98 One of my all-time favorite books. "Everyone claims to have read it, so few actually implement what's inside." – Amy Hoy. It's one of the biggest influences on my business and life in general. Must read 10/10.
Influence by Robert Cialdini
This is quickly becoming a marketing classic because it’s hyper effective at generating results. I recommend you go through each chapter individually and implement each idea into different areas of your process. By the end, I guarantee it will generate huge results for you.
Influence by Robert Cialdini Price: $15.65 I used this book to rewrite one sales sequence and increased conversions by 100%. I generated $30k in one month as a result, and have been recommending this book ever since. Big wins: 9.7/10
The Best Website for Finding RFPs and Contracts worth Pitching
Finding website RFPs and other contract opportunities worth pitching is near and dear to our hearts. We’ve been finding hundreds of awesome RFPs for our customers every year for the past 5+ years. That’s why we designed the best place to get every RFP on the internet in one place for one low monthly cost.
How to Enhance and Make This Website Proposal Template System Your Own
Okay, so we’ve covered a lot of ground. Next I want to share a few more tips on how to truly customize this system for your business so that even if one of your competitors uses it, there will be no two proposals alike.
Customize the Website Proposal Template for Your Business
We analyzed over 500 RFPs, and listed out the most commonly requested elements. Create these once, put them in Bidsketch, and have them ready to add to your template to save a ton of time.
- Create Your Own Cover letter
Introduce yourself in a friendly and concise way. Add something unique to the project you’re applying to.
- Write Your Own Bio
Share with clients who’s behind the proposal. Have a bio ready to go that tells them why you’re awesome.
- Answer the Question: Why You?
Tell your clients why they should hire you in particular and what makes you different than anyone else.
- Include Contact Info
Make it clear what the best way to contact you is. Ideally, include this info on every page (especially first and last).
- Mention Team members
Define roles for members on your team. Let the client know who else will be working on their project.
- Propose a Solution
What are you proposing? What’s the benefit? It’s surprising how often you can re-use “custom” solutions.
- Clearly Define Your Price
How much is it going to cost? Create a few packages you can offer for any budget range.
- Ask Questions
Most RFPs have a Q+A process baked in. Always have a couple of questions ready to go for any project.
How to Automate and Optimize Your Proposal Process Further
Remember to Pick Up the Phone
If an RFP starts dictating button colors, pick up the phone. It’s a cry for help and your opportunity to create mutual understanding. Speaking directly to a designer may be what they need, much more than getting 325 replies to a badly-formed RFP. Remember, not all organizations who send out formal documents have to.
Offer a Roadmapping Session and Create a Productized Offer
This is one of the best ways to save time in a design practice. By specializing on one problem area and refining your expertise, you create irresistible proposals by default. Need help getting started? Marie Poulin and I recently chatted about how she’s completely changed her business using roadmapping.
Always include options in your proposal
No matter what the budget is or how the scope is laid out, giving potential clients options in your proposal will double or triple the chances you’ve hit the spot for them.
Ask a question with your proposal
Keep in mind, there’s people behind the scenes. Remember to use the Q+A system built into the process. Asking a question can help build a relationship. A good starter: “I know you have a spot in the RFP for questions, but I wanted to quickly check-in and ask if you already have a firm in mind to handle the project?”
Time to get lucky!
There’s always going to be some luck involved. However, you can also create the opportunity for luck to strike by putting yourself in the right position. Most RFP issuers I’ve interviewed receive less than 30 proposals. That means by just being average, you have a 1/30 chance. Be consistent. Follow up. Send 50-100 RFPs this year and suddenly, you’ll get a lot more lucky.
Folyo members get the best RFPs on the web delivered to them. They get a head start on this entire entire process and get $10k+ graphic, web, and UI/UX design projects sent to them daily. You should sign up for a free trial today!
About Rob Williams...
I run Folyo which helps freelance designers find the work they were meant to do. I also host Freelance a podcast about how to be more effective at independent work featuring remote companies like Disney, Basecamp, YNAB, ConvertKit and more.