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Articulate the client’s goals

More than anything, writing a great proposal means making the client confident in your understanding of their business and how you’re going to improve it. They might be talking to many potential freelancers. When they get your proposal, you want them to get genuinely excited by the business impact you’re going to make. ‍

Not all proposals need to be as rigorous as the one we’re building in this playbook. From this process, you’ll come away with a proposal that displays how much you can move the needle. For future proposals, you might add, edit or remove some sections. In fact, you should tailor it to the scope of the project and what the client needs! 

In this playbook, we’re going to:‍

  • Identify the business context you’re working in 

  • Showcase your awesome resume and client list 

  • Lay out your proposed strategy

  • Detail the nitty gritty deliverables, timelines, and more

  • Touch on case studies and some more optional sections

  • Bring it all together

Let’s dive in!

First, identify the business context

To make a proposal truly great, you want the client to feel like you understand their business as well as they do. At the end of the day, they are trying to drive business results, and are hiring you to do that. This is why we start with identifying the business context of the project you are working on.

This starts with identifying your client’s obstacles and problems. The thing that they badly need help with. What is the problem they need solved? You should glean this from any discovery calls, email exchanges, or other touch points in the process. Acknowledging these problems makes it clear that you’re paying attention. You’ll stand out from the other proposals which feel generic and copy and pasted from their previous client. ‍

At the beginning of the proposal, you will describe their problem in a few sentences or bullet points. Throughout the playbook, we’ll show examples of each section from a proposal that closed an $80,000 project. For privacy reasons, the company and project details have been removed.

Example of setting the business context

The Business Problem

After making acquisitions in the 3d and immersive spaces, [COMPANY] is integrating them into the main brand. To generate awareness and organic traffic to these products, [COMPANY] should establish its web presence as an industry leader.

In order to do this, [COMPANY] should pursue an SEO strategy that:

  • Consolidates multiple domains and content portfolios into one

  • Targets high value, relevant, keywords

  • Produces high-quality content, optimized for SEO, that will rank

  • Ensures web technical presence is SEO-friendly

To set the June product launch up for success, [COMPANY] needs a comprehensive SEO content strategy and a clear, actionable roadmap to get from where they are today to a leadership position in the space.‍

Now, it’s your turn

Do you see how that freelancer incorporated the business needs, how they can help, and closed it with a summary of what they will help with? Now you will do the same.

  1. Choose a client you want to make a proposal for. This can be a client that is already in your pipeline or a dream client you want to work with down the line. 

  2. Take a few minutes to write down their problems and business goals. You can get information about this from your previous conversations, emails, and even public information that the company has released.

  3. Work off the template in your workbook and write out the recent context, high level business goal, your strategic principles, and how the business needs connect to your services.

Here’s a template to work off of:

  • Recent context: what is happening in their business?

  • High level client business goal: what is the relevant top-level company goal?

  • Strategic principles: what are the operational, brand, technical, or other important considerations?

  • Business need: the project the business needs to achieve their goals

Take a few minutes to fill in the template in your workbook.


  • It is essential to show you understand your client’s business and obstacles.

  • Gather these insights from your sales process and other content.

  • Kick off your proposal by showing you know what is up.

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