How to Create a Winning Website Design Proposal
How many hours did you spend on your web design proposals this week? This month? Last year?
If you're like most web design agencies (or freelancers), it's tough to keep track of where you're investing your time. But if you want to hit your targets and increase your success rate, getting new clients is essential for the growth of your web or graphic design business.
Fortunately, interactive digital web design proposals make your job easier. They let you quickly create professional, branded documents that impress your clients, help close the deal, and streamline your sales processes.
In this article, we take a deep dive into what is a web design proposal, how to build an interactive and engaging one, and how to choose the right format for your web design business.
The importance of a well-crafted web design proposal
Your web design proposal can make or break your success as a web design pro. It's the document you use to showcase your skills, explain what you can do for the client, and estimate the project cost. It's your chance to make a great first impression and set yourself apart from other web design service providers.
How to build a world-class web design proposal
Building a world-class web design proposal doesn't have to feel like a chore. Instead, you can use it as an opportunity to show off your design skills and set yourself apart from other web designers. Have some fun!
When creating your proposals, keep these things in mind to build something that is best in class.
Use rich media to make your proposals more engaging
Rich media is a great way to make your web design proposals stand out. Use high-quality visuals, such as mock-ups or detailed screenshots of websites and apps you have designed, to showcase your design capabilities and prove that you understand the client's needs.
When using rich media in your web design proposal, be sure to:
Include interactive elements
Simple interactive elements, such as hover effects and transitions, help you demonstrate your design prowess and make your sales proposal a lot more engaging. You can even show how your proposed designs will look on mobile devices.
Prioritize image quality
Remember: you're a web designer, so potential customers will, inevitably, judge your book by its "cover" (in this case, your web design proposal.) Make sure all images and screenshots are high-quality and representative of the kind of work you do.
Space out your media
Spacing out your rich media elements helps you give the reader a better understanding of how everything fits together. Not enough white space can make things look cluttered, and too much can make things look disjointed.
Focus on the client
No one likes to hear someone brag about their past achievements. It feels unnatural and off-putting, particularly when you're trying to sell something. Instead, focus on solving the client's problems and delivering a great product. Although your sales proposal will outline what you can do for your customer, remember that it's all about them, in the end.
- Your customer's pain points (show you have listened and that you understand them)
- Present proposed solutions to ease your client's problems
- Help the customer visualize themselves successful with the help of your services
Showcase previous web design projects
Showing clients your past work helps them understand your style, how you've helped other businesses in the same position, and how they can benefit from your skill and expertise. When selecting the projects you’re going to highlight, you want to:
Select examples that are most relevant to your client
No need to show every single project you've ever done. Focus on the ones that are most relevant to the client’s needs, their industry, and the type of web design that works best for them.
Categorize your portfolio
You want to make it easy for your prospect to navigate your past work -- so categorize your portfolio according to different niches and specific approaches, so your potential client can easily filter through your portfolio and find the projects that appeal to them.
Include relevant statistics
Don't underestimate relevant statistics about your previous web design projects. Carefully chosen data can help you showcase the positive impact of your work and demonstrate the value you bring to the table. For instance, you could include the average project timeline, any page speed improvements, search engine optimization improvements, conversion rates from CTAs in the design, or a customer happiness score (from your previous clients).
Boast (a little)
You should be proud of your achievements and want to share them with potential clients. Be sure to highlight your wins, the best parts about your projects, your creative approach, and your timeliness in delivering according to the client's needs.
Include social proof
Showing your prospects what previous customers think of your work can help make it easier for them to say yes. Testimonials, reviews, customer stories, and even links to more in-depth use cases can all help you build trust with your potential clients, especially when they include the previous client’s name and their company name!
Grab our Website Design Proposal Template
Get to 'yes' faster by captivating your buyer with web-based sales assetsTry for free
Make sure your proposal's structure is straightforward
Keeping your project proposal simple and easy to understand will help you present a clear and concise overview. This is important because your prospects are likely very busy people – so the simpler you make it for them to digest the information, the likelier they are to convert.
When structuring your web design proposal, you might want to include the following elements depending on your prospective client’s needs:
Executive Summary (Project Scope Overview)
This part of your sales proposal should be brief and to the point. While the person you’ll be working with might be reading this section, it should also serve as a good summary for any senior leaders or team members on the client side who won’t be as involved with the project but care about it and how it gets done.
It should include a brief overview of your web design company, the services you’re offering, what the client can expect from working with you, and why they should choose you.
A problem statement is your opportunity to build rapport and empathize with your future clients. Show you understand their problem in-depth -- and moreover, that you're more than ready to address it.
Be concise and comprehensive here. You need to help your customer understand that you get them, but you don't want to make this section overly complicated (even if the problem is).
This is the moment to shine. Tell them what you can provide, how your website design or re-design will address their needs, and what they can expect when working with you. Be careful not to overpromise here and risk underwhelming your client later in the process.
Use this section to explain how you’ll execute on your vision and proposed solution. What is the design process you will follow, and what can your prospect expect from you?
Include all of the deliverables you will provide and specify the format they will be provided in. You can also include any assumptions you have and outline anything you will need from the client to execute the project. This could include access to the current website’s back-end, copy, or other assets like images, style guides, or fonts.
Remember to include information on your thought process: how did you end up with this proposed outline, and why does it benefit the customer? Always aim to help your prospective clients imagine themselves as successful (with your services as part of the story that gets them there).
Timeframe and schedule
An estimated project timeline and schedule will help the customer understand how long it will take to complete the project. You should include details about project milestones, realistic due dates, feedback cycles, and how many revisions are included at each stage (as well as how long they take.) You might include a proposed kick-off date or guidance on how long it will take to schedule a kick-off once the contract is signed.
Include a detailed cost breakdown, including any additional expenses that may arise during the development process, and explain why each element costs what it does. Don’t forget to include any consultancy, wireframing, or graphic design costs you usually charge. Be honest and transparent -- it will help you justify your pricing and build trust with the customer.
Terms and conditions
Outline any terms and conditions that might apply to the project, including payment terms and invoice due dates. You should also outline what happens if a client makes a request during the design process that is out of scope. Having everything well documented early in the process can help prevent scope creep.
While certain language around terms and conditions might keep your legal team happy, it can cause misunderstanding. This can be avoided by adding some more simply worded explanations or meeting with your potential client to walk through all of the terms before they sign their contract.
Case studies and testimonials
Add case studies, testimonials, or screenshots from any review sites you have profiles on. This is a way to show prospective clients the impact your work has had on others like them.
Contact details & acceptance deadline
Last but not least, talk about the next steps. Include a deadline for accepting the proposal (or a date when the pricing offered expires), and remember to add your contact details (email and phone number) at the end.
Your web design proposal will likely move through the chain of decision-makers. So, you want to make sure everyone has access to contact information and that it won't get lost in the shuffle of emails and meetings.
Make it easy for prospects to move forward with your proposal. Include a clear call to action and the ability to sign off on an agreement seamlessly. If you’ve created your proposal using Qwilr, your prospective client should be able to accept your proposal with the push of a button!
When writing the content of your proposal, use clear, concise language
Although you may be tempted to use jargon when describing your web design project's different elements, it's best to keep your language simple and to the point. You don't want to confuse your customers or make them feel like you speak two different languages.
The person you're negotiating with may understand what you're communicating. But, others in the chain of command needed to approve your proposal won't have the time to navigate overly complex web design terms.
Choose a proposal format
Web design proposals come in many different formats. Some are better than others, but ultimately, you decide what works best for you and your specific approach to business. In a nutshell, there are three main types of proposal formats to consider:
PDF sales proposal
Of all the formats, PDFs are the oldest form of digital sales proposals. For a long time, they were among the most popular sales tools. They are easy to read and share, anyone can create them (even if you don't have a special tool), and anyone can open them, especially since most modern web browsers will have an embedded PDF reader.
No one wants to scroll through endless PDFs. At the very most, people skim and scan through the details outlined in PDF sales proposals. At the very least, they open, look at the price, and then forward the proposal to their managers to get approval.
Even if you do get approval, it's often hard to track -- and there is no way of knowing if the actual proposal was read or if the customer even had any questions. Furthermore, agreeing to a PDF proposal can be energy-consuming for customers, which can delay closing the deal.
Web page proposal
Regarding user-friendliness, a web page proposal is a step up from a PDF. It can include interactive elements and rich media, and it can be easily accessed from any device. Furthermore, with the right tools, you can easily edit your proposal, track it, and know when, where, and how it was accessed.
The main downside to web page proposals is that building them can be difficult and time-consuming, even with a drag-and-drop page builder. It can also be difficult to make them look really professional, and may require light development skills. Last but not least, web page proposals are often a bit cumbersome to maintain and update, depending on your tool of choice.
Online proposal tools like Qwilr make it extremely easy to create digital proposals that look like web pages. If you are pressed for time, you can utilize our free website design proposal templates . These templates were created to be easily adjusted to fit the brand and product of your organization, providing a clear structure to act as a guideline so that you can jump right in.
You can customize our website proposal template and link Qwilr to your CRM with integrations like HubSpot or Salesforce, automatically creating proposals using client information already stored in your customer database.
Making the proposal creation process more efficient process allows you to send out more proposals, landing you more work. Or you could use all that free time to work on other priorities for your business!
Grab our Website Design Proposal Template
Get to 'yes' faster by captivating your buyer with web-based sales assetsTry for free
Alternatively, create your own website design proposal template using our free AI Proposal Generator. It's free to try.
The main issue with old-school PDF digital web design proposals is that they are stiff and lack the collaborative element.
On the other hand, interactive, presentation-like web design proposals offer the best of both worlds: they're visually stunning and engaging, allowing you to showcase both your presentation and design skills. These can be produced using an online proposal builder or good old-fashioned PowerPoint or Google Slides.
This type of proposal comes with come with a long list of benefits, especially when produced digitally.
Fast to Create
If you’ve ever written a website proposal, you know exactly how tedious it can be -- and you didn't get into web design, so you can spend your time doing sales proposals, right?
Presentation proposals are easy to turn into templates – which also means you can cut your proposal design time considerably. This way, you can focus on the strategic side of pitching clients rather than moving images and text around.
Whether you’re using slides or creating your proposal digitally, this type of proposal can be viewed on many devices. Digital proposals are web-based documents that can automatically adjust to and view on various devices; computers, tablets, or phones.
In comparison, PDFs aren’t responsive to different devices, resulting in a terrible experience for the prospect — they’ll have to zoom in and swipe left and right like a mad person just to read the document. If you use slides, these can also easily be viewed using a mobile app.
And let’s face it: we’re becoming more of a mobile-driven world, which presents the need to create proposals that can be viewed on multiple devices - especially mobile.
Interactive and Engaging Content
Have you ever tried to embed video or other interactive content into a regular old PDF proposal? How about pricing that dynamically updates when a client selects a package? Chances are, you haven’t because it’s too difficult to do.
You can do all of the above and more, including features such as embedding calendars to set up meetings with an online proposal. This creates an interactive experience that engages the prospect, ultimately translating into higher close rates.
Sign and Pay Online
If you’ve ever used Microsoft Word or sent your proposals as PDFs, you would know that teams waste a ton of time sending around documents for review and approvals before the deal is even secured.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that online proposals get accepted much faster than traditional proposals, which means less time wasted waiting and chasing clients for a response. Prospective clients can accept and sign online proposals with a few clicks.
Web Based Proposals Are Editable
Typos happen. Clients ask for changes. In these situations, it can be time-consuming to update and re-send a PDF, but with an online proposal builder like Qwilr, these changes can be made easily in real time.
Another reason this is great? No worrying about version control or that you and your prospective client are looking at two different documents. Having a client approve the wrong proposal version can be time-consuming and frustrating. Online proposals eliminate the risk of having that happen.
How long should a website design proposal be?
The length of a website design proposal depends on the actual project’s complexity. For instance, designing five pages or doing a slight redesign is much easier than creating an entirely new website.
Generally, you want to keep your proposal to no more than one or two pages per section. Stick to short sentences and ensure you don't use more than three-four sentences per paragraph to make your sales proposal easier to read and skim.
What should a website design proposal include?
A website design proposal should always include a project overview, proposed timeline, workflow, and cost estimate.
You should also include any other details that are relevant to the project, such as target audience, website goals and objectives, content strategy, design specifications, hosting information, social media integrations, and any additional third-party integrations and plugins your customer may need (digital marketing tools, SEO, CRMs, Analytics, and so on).
It's also a good idea to include a due date for accepting the proposal and your contact information so your client can easily contact you with any questions.
Get a free 14-day trial
Increase deal velocity with beautiful web-based sales assets and analyticsTry for free
Digital sales proposals just got a lot better! Gone are the days of bland PDFs shared via email (and forgotten in inboxes.) Interactive proposals enable you to create a better experience for potential customers.
What’s more, digital sales proposals take the guesswork out of your proposal process. For instance, Qwilr’s analytics feature enables you to track how buyers engage and when they take action (all while ensuring their data stays secure).
With a tool like Qwilr, creating an appealing, interactive digital web design proposal has never been easier. All you have to do is grab a free web design proposal template, adjust it to fit your brand, tone of voice, and project, and then share it with your customers. Ready to get started? Sign up for a free trial.
- All articles
- Sales management
- Sales techniques
- Sales enablement
- Sales tech
- Customer success