Top 5 tips on putting together a digital advertising proposal

Since my “advice for startups on how to make money from online advertising” post was such a hit, I thought I’d write a follow-up blog to provide moreimage with words like strategy and success advice for small ad networks or digital media startups who are selling integrated advertising solutions. This time, I’ve provided some tips and best practices for putting together an integrated digital advertising proposal.

Let’s say that a potential advertising customer comes to you with what is known as an “RFP or request for proposal” for a reasonably sized budget – how do you respond? Here are my top 5 tips for structuring the proposal:

1. Gather more information & ensure that you understand your client’s objectives
Try and schedule a quick call with them to fill in the blanks to any questions that you still may have about the advertiser’s needs. Sometimes, the proposal will be due the next day, so it is not possible. However, you will occasionally have time to put together a detailed proposal and pitch. Also, find out if you can go to their offices and present it – or at least run them through it over the phone if they don’t have a lot of time.

Re-stating your client’s objectives at the beginning of the proposal is a great way to confirm that you understand what they need and sets the tone for the rest of the presentation.

2. Identify core consumer and industry trends that speak to the advertiser’s target audience
Even if you are a small business, there are tons of free resources that you can use to provide insights about your client’s customers and target market, and identify how your product is able to attract that audience.

3. Show how your product meets the client’s objectives and satisfies the consumer/market trends
Again, it’s important to provide context as to how your website or network fits with the target audience (i.e. audience composition on your website)  and just how many of them you are able to attract (i.e. reach, pageviews and time spent on your site) vs. the competition. Then, you need to develop a strategy on where your customer’s ads or messaging is going to appear on your website (providing screenshots with a description of any integrated opportunities is helpful for media planners and buyers to sell it through to their customers).

4. Create a suggested media plan
Try and schedule a quick call with them to fill in the blanks to any questions that you still may have about the advertiser’s needs. Sometimes, the proposal will be due the next day, so it is not possible. However, you will occasionally have time to put together a fully-integrated media plan.

5. Close with a cost-breakdown and suggested pricing
It’s important to provide an excel spreadsheet or a Powerpoint chart with your presentation that outlines the live run dates, ad units and placement, total number of available impressions and your CPM (cost per thousand impressions) for the entire campaign. Make sure to tally up the total cost and include any bonus impressions or discounts that you are willing to offer as an incentive.

These are just some of my high level suggestions on putting together a winning proposal. Obviously, a lot is riding on your creativity in the advertising solution that you are offering, your technology, ad serving capabilities, customer service, client relationship and more. Please share your questions on what else you’d like to know about this topic.

Image source: iStockPhoto.com

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