Sending out a proposal over email is tricky business – whether you’re reaching out cold or following up on a recent meeting. Chances are, the person you’re trying to reach will have a busy inbox, so it’s up to you to make your message stand out.
It’s important to follow the correct email format when writing a business proposal email. The templates below should give you a rough idea on how to format it correctly.
Business Proposal Email Format
You can start creating business proposal emails quickly and easily if you follow a simple 5-step format:
1. Subject Line
Your business proposal email subject line needs to accomplish a few different things. First of all, it should be attention-grabbing. You’ve only got a few seconds so every word you use here matters.
Secondly, you need to make your subject line relevant and get right to the point. This shows professionalism and a respect for your recipient’s time.
Lastly, use the recipient’s name whenever possible. This makes your email have a more personalized feel.
Some example subject lines to use are:
- “[Name] – My proposal regarding the new launch”
- “Hey [Name] – Please look this over”
- “[Company Name] Proposal”
Once you have gotten your recipient to open your email by making it catchy, personal, and relevant, you need to work out the greeting you’re going to write.
There are several schools of thought regarding what a greeting should look like. Some feel that you should go with a personal and informal greeting. Others would claim that you should keep it ultra formal.
The reality is that a great greeting depends on the market or person you are addressing, and your relationship to them. Obviously saying “Hey Buddy” wouldn’t be very appropriate if you’re cold emailing a C-level executive that you’ve never met.
That being said, here are a few greetings ranging from least formal to most formal that you can use to start off your email:
- “Hey [first name]!”
- “Good afternoon [first name]”
- “Dear [Mr. / Mrs. Last Name]
3. Opening Line and Body
Think of the opening line as an extension of your subject line. Go into more depth about the purpose of this email. In other words, tell your recipient what to expect in the words to follow.
For the purposes of a proposal, you also want to include some kind of “hook” — this is some kind of useful information or promise of value within your proposal.
As an example, you might have a very dense body paragraph with the information outlining your proposal. However, this might look intimidating to read at first glance.
So you can give them a brief overview first, like “We’ve found a way to save your company 30% on your office supplies over the next year.”
Then, you can simply fill them in on the details of the proposal throughout the body as you normally would.
You can think of the business proposal email ending as the inverse of the opening and greeting. It will be a lot less detailed and a lot more general than the body.
Use the ending as a chance to wrap up the email by providing a brief summary of what your proposal is. In addition, you’ll want to end with a call-to-action. This way, you tell your recipient what the next step is in the process and take leadership.
Here’s an example ending utilizing the concepts above:
“In summary John, by working with ABC Office Supplies, we can save your law firm 30% on your office expenses annually. Please let me know if you’d like to move forward on this agreement or if you have any other questions. Talk soon.”
The final part of your proposal is your signature. This may sound like simply signing off with your name, but it’s a little more involved than that depending on your goals.
Sure, you can simply sign off with a “Regards, [Your Name]” type of signature. This is short and sweet.
However, consider adding some more pizzazz to your signature with potential social media links, product or sales page links, and additional contact information. These can be helpful if you are trying to expand your footprint and the ways in which your recipient can reach back out.
8 Business Proposal Email Templates to Use in 2023
Want to send out business proposal emails in even less time? Utilize these customizable templates below and save hours of hard work:
1. Proposal email to offer services
Subject line: Need help with [service?]
Just noticed that you are [potential customer avatar] and I thought we might be able to help you. We help companies just like yours [solve their problem]. I would be happy to discuss the possibilities more in detail.
Just reply to this email and we can set up a good time to chat.
Why it works
Instead of beating around the bush, this email simply tells the potential client exactly why you’re contacting them — to potentially work together.
2.Proposal email sample to an existing client
Subject line: Congratulations
Through the last 2 years of being our client, we’ve helped you increase your sales by 45% and increase your productivity at the same time, saving countless hours of time and payroll.
We just wanted to say congratulations and focus on improving your business in every way possible, and investing in a service that allows you to enjoy these results!
That being said, our team has come up with a few ways that we think we can improve your sales process even further. If correctly implemented, it could boost your bottom line by another several percentage points this year.
When would you have a quick 15 minutes to connect on this and dive into some more detail?
Why it works
From the first moment in the subject line, by saying congratulations, you are setting a positive tone. You want to remind them of all the good things you’ve done together, and the benefits of continuing to work together.
3. Project proposal email
Subject line: Hope this finds you well…
Hey [supervisor’s name],
Just taking a few moments in between finishing up today’s reporting and preparing for the meeting with [client] tomorrow on their ongoing needs.
Through the past several months I’ve been proud about crushing my projections and I want to thank you for all of your support.
Frankly, I see a bright long term future here and am excited to work every day on our mission. With that being said, I have an idea for a new project that I would love to spearhead.
This project could potentially reduce client turnover and specifically help our largest client [client’s name] get even better results in a short amount of time.
As you know, I’m interested in continuing to work hard and earn promotions to eventually be in management, so I would appreciate your feedback on the potential of this new project.
Why it works
You are putting the project in terms of the benefit to your boss / recipient. Obviously, you benefit too but always remember who you’re talking to.
4. Business proposal email sample
Subject line: Your campaign was stunning
Hey [potential business partner],
Your marketing team must be on fire! Your recent round of campaigns were really engaging and I felt it really reflected the high impact you’re having on your market. Well done.
You know, here at [your company] we’ve always found that aligning with other people and organizations with similar values and reputations was a good way to synergize results and resources.
Our company has a long track record of helping our partners grow in new ways. I wanted to see if there was any mutual interest in working together to see if there are any cross promotion / integration opportunities between our two verticals.
You can reach me here at this email or at [number] any time to discuss further.
Why it works
It always helps to have a high amount of respect for potential business partners. Flattery goes a long way in opening doors.
5. Proposal email to your boss/ manager
Subject line: Can we talk?
Hi [boss’s name],
I was wondering if you had a few minutes this week to chat. I really love being here, and I see a great future on the horizon in my role as a [role].
However, recently, I’ve incurred some additional expenses and am hoping to find a way to increase my income.
Namely, I’m curious as to what additional tasks I can do or value I can add to potentially increase the income I earn here at [company] first and foremost. That would be my preference before looking externally.
Look forward to connecting soon. Thanks,
Why it works
When you know your worth, it’s important to still be careful with how you approach your boss. They have things to deal with as well, such as budgeting or restrictions on what they can compensate you — so get clarity first and always use some grace.
6. Quirky proposal email
Subject line: Fill in the blank?
I have something on my plate here and I just need you to fill in the blank. We found a way to supercharge your business revenue by 3x this year alone.
I need you to fill in the blank with your signature. Please find the proposal attached.
Why it works
This email stands out a little bit. It’s a little bit cheeky. Someone may think that you have a lot of confidence in your product or service to speak this way.
7. Proposal email to unresponsive client
Subject line: Maybe this is no longer a priority?
Just following up because over the last few months your communication has fallen off. If this is something you’re no longer interested in, that’s totally fine.
If not, could you please take a look at the attached proposal and let me know if it’ll work for you?
Why it works
You have nothing to lose if a client has become unresponsive. In today’s day and age, they could have potentially not seen your email, but also very likely is that they are just too busy. By calling this out and acknowledging it, you bring this issue back to the top of their mind.
8. The social proof proposal email
Subject line: Three other successful clients couldn’t be wrong
Three of our most successful clients couldn’t be wrong, could they? After all, we’ve helped them grow their business by an average of 30% month after month. If you’re interested in how we can do this for you as well, I have a proposal for you.
It’ll only take around 15 minutes to dive into it. What do you say we set up a call soon?
Why it works
Social proof is one of the most powerful ways to get a message across. Many people take third-party cues, such as how many other clients have chosen your service, instead of simply looking at the facts or statistics.
Proposal Email Top Tips to Follow
There are a few tips and tricks that will help you get your proposal in front of the right person and convince your target that you have what they’re looking for.
1. Research and Target Your Recipient
Before you even begin to write – let alone send – your proposal email, it’s important to know who you’re addressing it to. This will ensure you nail the style and tone of the proposal, but it will also allow you to personalize your email and reach the most appropriate person.
If you’re sending your proposal email out cold, then locating your target’s email address might be tricky, if not impossible. If you cannot find the exact address, then at least know the name of the recipient so that you can refer to them in the subject line and email body.
2. Nail Your Subject Line
The value of your subject line cannot be underestimated when sending out an email proposal. It’s the first thing your recipient will see in their inbox and is your first (and sometimes only) chance at a good impression. According to Optimonster, 47% of email recipients will open an email entirely on the basis of the contents of the subject line.
The key to the subject line is to be clear about what’s in the email. This may seem like an obvious point, but people often make the mistake of disguising the real purpose of their email with an ambiguous subject line as if to “trick” the recipient into opening it.
Another top tip: if you can, personalize your subject line. If you do, you might expect a 26% better chance of your email being opened.
3. To Attach or Not to Attach
When you’re sending your proposal via email, you have the choice to include the proposal as an attached document or to include it in the body of the email.
While adding as an attachment could affect its deliverability, it’s also important not to send out lengthy email messages to unsuspecting recipients. In fact, HubSpot argues that emails should be no longer than 200 words.
The main thing to ask yourself is whether your proposal is a quick 2-3 sentence affair (and can therefore fit into your email body), or whether it requires a lengthy in-depth document (to be sent as an attachment). The key is to be clear – in the subject line if possible – that your proposal is included as an attachment to your email.
4. Stick to the Point
It’s important that both the proposal itself, as well as the email copy, remain relevant and helpful and not ramble on for paragraphs on end.
Make sure to provide all the information your recipient may need, whether that be all ways of contacting you, costs, timelines, and summary of your proposal. Your email proposal needs to do all the hard work so that your recipient can see exactly what they should expect from you if they were to go ahead and hire you.
5. Sell Your Offering
Your proposal email really is your chance to showcase why you are the right person to hire, so seize the opportunity! Whether you’re a freelancer looking for work, or a company reaching out for a new contract, it’s down to your proposal to explain exactly what you’re offering and what makes you better than anyone else to deliver it.
If you’re sending out your proposal to more than one recipient, make sure you tailor this part so that your skills, expertise, and experience are relevant to each company’s specific needs.
6. Get the Timing Right
There’s no doubt that moving quickly is the key to clinching a new gig. But exactly how quickly is up to some interpretation.
It’s generally held as best practice to send your proposal email within 24 hours of being in touch with your target recipient. It demonstrates that you are keen and organized, but you’re also fresh in their minds.
If you want your email to get opened right away, then try and hold off from sending it at 2am. Likewise, avoid the 9am-11am rush hour. Ideally, you want to be sending your email in the middle of the day, when your recipient is most likely to be sitting at their computer.
Right Inbox’s send Later feature can help you to set your own time delay so that, if you’re eager to compose your message and get it out the door, you can rest easy knowing that it’s been scheduled to arrive when it’s most likely to get it seen.
7. Follow Up
One of the worst mistakes you can make once you’ve sent your super-charged proposal email is to neglect to follow up. You don’t need to harass your recipient, but a courtesy message a few days after your initial email will demonstrate that you are serious about your proposal and, hopefully, worth a punt.
Emailing a proposal to a new client, boss, or partner doesn’t need to be as difficult as it seems. If you’ve done some sound target research then your knowledge of their working challenges will shine through.
Keeping your proposal and email succinct, sending it at the right time, and following up are all things that will give your proposal an extra chance of getting in front of the right eyes, and getting you hired for the job.
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David Campbell is the editor of the Right Inbox blog. He is passionate about email productivity and getting more done in less time.