A marketing-optimized proposal wraps a curated set of business capabilities and accomplishments around your bid. It sells. Shape your proposal into a stronger marketing tool with a few simple tips.
- Speak (or in this case, write) in your potential client’s “language.” You probably know – and use – common industry terms, but many companies favor specific acronyms or create unique bits of work-related jargon. Research, then weave some client-specific terms into your proposal when appropriate. I call this mirrored approach “textual kinesics,” body language techniques applied to the written word. When we’re having a conversation with someone, we may mimic their gestures and hand positions, because humans are wired to unconsciously team up with each other in some social situations. Mirroring done well, whether in words or gestures, may signal friendliness, mutual understanding and good faith. The Request for Proposal (RFP) is only one source for business-related words your potential client likes to use. If you or your copywriter examine a larger set of samples, from websites to brochures and other marketing collateral, you may spot other favored terms.
- Add the “why.” After you’ve explained your company’s communication system or chain-of-command, for example, state in one clean sentence why your method or structure yields the best results. Statements like these may or may not make sense in every section of the proposal. Look for opportunities to underscore a surprising characteristic, such as a lean, flattened chain-of-command in a big company, or to highlight strengths you suspect a competitor does not share.
- Look at your own marketing materials, and pull one or two additional tags or characteristics into the proposal if appropriate. Are you the company “who knows how to…” or a business that never uses subcontractors in an industry where brokering talent is common?
- Consider selecting a content editor, also known as a developmental editor, or a copywriter to create original marketing statements for the proposal or to harvest them from your existing materials. If a copywriter builds new slogans or tag lines, you may find additional uses for those creations, such as social media.
Candace Schilling, publicist, offers PR Communication and Training to spiritual teachers and faith-based communities. For more inspiration as well as tips about marketing and strategic communication, check out her articles or find Candace on LinkedIn.