Proposal Email: Tips & Best Practices for Sending Proposals over Email

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.

That said, 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.

Research the business to better inform your proposal. Use the company website, LinkedIn, and even a Google search to find out more about the company. Not only will this give you a better chance of reaching the most relevant person to your proposal, but it will allow you to demonstrate your knowledge of their values, their mission, and their pain points. By indicating your sensitivity to their issues, you’ll stand a better chance of getting yourself hired.

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.

However, it’s important that you get the time of day right, bearing in mind both time zones and the usual structure of a working day.

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.

In Summary

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.


Start spending less time in your inbox

Add to Gmail It's free!