A lasting first impression
Designing stand-out business proposals is one of Angle’s specialities. We are regularly asked by our clients to design all sorts of proposals, from simple Microsoft Word templates to more complex one-off documents. Our clients understand that getting it right has big advantages – they look professional and consistent, key messages are easy to find and their businesses and brands are represented to their full potential. All of which puts them in a much stronger position and increases their chances of success.
Most proposals act as an introduction for your business to a particular client, so it’s critical that you get it right to make a lasting first impression. It is often the first step in the process of impressing a new client with your clear communication, your expertise, reliability, results and team.
Here are some examples designed by Angle:
Avoid being generic
Whatever you call a proposal – a tender submission, an expression of interest or new business proposal, it is an important marketing tool. Surprisingly, we’ve seen many examples that are too complex and filled with generic content. Successful proposals are anything but generic.
We believe that these are the characteristics of a good proposal:
1. It uses design to sell
Business proposals used to be plain black and white documents but there is no excuse for sending out dull, boring proposals these days. Design is much more than just making something look good. Design helps you structure your content and create interest. Design helps you present your text and imagery in the most appropriate way. Design helps you to stand out from competitors. Design can lead the reader to a logical conclusion or call to action. Design can communicate literally and at a subconscious level.
2. It applies a less-is-more approach
That doesn’t mean you have to produce a very short proposal or a minimal proposal. It means only putting in the essentials. Being concise and clear wins every time when compared to over-detailed documents.
3. It is focused
A good proposal is focused on exactly what the reader needs to know and it doesn’t over-complicate matters. A proposal should be focused on grabbing attention first and being interesting enough to make the reader want your services and take action. And the call to action should be clear and at a logical point.
4. It has good production values
Some proposals require digital submissions only but for the ones that involve a printed submission, there are a multitude of production techniques that can be used to add value. High quality digital printing means that one-off documents are not longer expensive to produce. Digital presses can use a huge variety of card and paper stocks as well, so the possibilities are endless – even if the submission required a standard A4 document.
5. It includes results
No one is likely to ‘buy’ from you if you don’t show the benefits of working with you. You may want to show off your product or service in action. Better still, show the results that others have achieved through using your product of service. Genuine testimonials might help your case but hard facts (e.g sales or productivity increases) or other results always add credibility. In a recent proposal that Angle put together to present to our own prospective clients (yes, even we have to do them), we included some compelling results we had generated for a past client (shown as percentages) that spoke volumes.
6. It is well written
It doesn’t matter how beautifully presented your proposal is if the writing is poor. Ideally get a professional writer to at least edit or craft your written content. If that’s not an option, at least make sure you get the basics right – spelling, grammar, punctuation, structure and flow.
There’s a lot to think about when putting a great proposal together and often there are tight time constraints as well. Angle can help with design, writing, image creation, layout, production or manage the entire process for you from start to finish.