10 Tips for Writing a Kickass Advertising Proposal

penning an advertising proposal1. Brevity Brotha!
Keep it short and sweet.  Any successful professional has a lot going on.  You’ve heard it before… time is money.  If your advertising proposal isn’t short, you run the risk of it being ignored, skimmed or sent to the back of the bunch for review later.  The best idea is to create simple bullet points highlighting benefits and keep the entire advertising proposal to a couple pages.

2. Layout is key!
If your advertising proposal is in paragraph form, it will suffer the same fate as the long proposal.  Make sure you have enough room in the actual document for the reviewer’s eyes to ‘breath’.  $50-$100 for a designer to layout your proposal will be money well spent.  Aim for crisp, clean, organized, and professional.

3. Looks shouldn’t be deceiving…
Make pricing clear.  Don’t count on the reviewer to know what you charge.  Also, don’t make it difficult to find pricing.  Hiding pricing exudes little confidence and may make you look like either A) like you’re trying to hide pricing because what you’re offering is under-valued or B) like you’re unsure of what you’re asking for.  Regardless, you always want to exude confidence in your product, and confidence in the value of the advertising you’re offering.

4. Show em’ what they’re gettin.
Pair pricing with traffic.  It sounds like a simple concept, but it’s often overlooked.  You wouldn’t go to the grocery and expect them to ask you for $100 for ‘stuff’, you’d want to see the groceries first!  In the same way, you have to show someone what they’re going to get in your advertising proposal before you can expect them to want to buy it.  Make sure you ALWAYS have pricing directly next to any critical metrics such as traffic.  If you show them the value, they’ll show you the money… well usually.

5. Who?!
Always include demographics.  Some people are ONLY interested in demographics.  In other cases, if you have a special demographic, you might peek someone’s interest in what you’re offering just because you called out the specialized population.  Including demographics shows that you know what you’re offering.

6. Don’t be a dummy!
Remember to proof read your advertising proposal.  Not much to say here.  You have a spell checker… use it.  If you’re not the best speller (my pops once told me if I won the spelling bee it was probably a mistake), it’s another good reason to take your proposal to a designer to ‘finish’.  Mistakes in grammar and spelling are the quickest ways to the trash folder.

7. What is it anyway?
Show where placements will appear.  Take a screenshot, scan, picture, whatever you need to do to show exactly where the advertisement will appear.  If you can’t do any of those three things (or something else equally visual), don’t even bother.  You have to show it to sell it.

8. ABC – Always be Closing (Boiler room reference anyone?)
Include contact information.  You never know where a person will be reading your advertising proposal.  Maybe on their phone, maybe printed out, maybe at a computer.  Even though any prospect will likely already have your information from your email, make sure to include the contact information on the advertising proposal as well.  You can never be too accessible.

9. Keep your hands to yourself!
Don’t mention others, just focus on yourself.  If you’ve done business with other people, let that be your ace in the hole.  Get testimonials from those people, include one or two (with their permission) in your advertising proposal, or wait for a follow-up conversation to bring out the reviews.  Whoever you’re speaking with wants to know what you will do for them, not necessarily what you’ve done for someone else.

10. Don’t get too excited!
Things take time, be patient.  It’s possible that you won’t hear back, or it will take a little while to get a response.  Just remember to be persistent, but not annoying.  Sending an email every day after the proposal is sent seems desperate.  Instead, wait for a week, and send an email asking if they received your proposal.  Wait another week and make a phone-call.  If it’s time sensitive, make a phone-call a few days after the proposal is sent.

Here’s what other people say:
How to Write an Advertising Proposal
How to Write a Killer Proposal

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