How to Write a Marketing Request for Proposal: Writing a Marketing RFP

Sam is a Google Analytics certified Internet Marketing Analyst at WebFX. She specializes in content marketing, SEO, and video marketing and creation, and also dabbles in social media marketing as well as graphic design. Sam has researched and written on over 150 topics for WebFX in the past 3 years. In her free time, she loves photography, being outdoors, fishing, and going on road trips. Somehow, she always ends up writing at the end of the day, though!

If you’re a business owner, you likely know the impact of a great marketing campaign. However, if you’ve been handling your marketing endeavors on your own, you may have decided that it’s time to hire a digital marketing agency to help spruce up your marketing initiatives.

Let’s start by saying you’ve made a great choice! Hiring a marketing agency can help you achieve amazing results that you couldn’t achieve on your own.

However, how do you know what digital marketing company will be the best fit for your needs? One way is by sending a marketing request for proposal (RFP).

But what is a marketing RFP? How do you write a marketing RFP?

We’ll answer all your questions and more on this page! We’ll teach you how to write a marketing request for proposal that gets you the answers you need to choose the best possible marketing agency and even provide you with a marketing RFP template!

Keep reading to learn more, or download our FREE marketing RFP template!

What is a marketing RFP?

You’re not alone if you’re asking, “What is a marketing RFP?”

In short, a marketing RFP is a tool that companies use to help them determine the best marketing agency for their needs by comparing proposals that they receive from each.

When you create an RFP, it includes information about your business and your marketing needs — outlining specific information like the scope of your project, budget, and more.

The goal of sending a marketing agency an RFP is to receive a quote for the services you require so that you can compare several different agencies against different criteria.

For example, when you get a response to your marketing RFP, you’ll learn the capabilities of a marketing agency, how much you can plan to pay for their services, how they report on your campaigns, and more.

In the end, after submitting marketing RFPs to several agencies, you’ll narrow down the top contenders, and eventually decide on a winner.

How to write a marketing request for proposal

Now that you know exactly what we mean by “marketing RFP,” let’s talk about how to write a marketing request for proposal that gets you the answers you need to choose the best marketing agency.

Have a goal or specific goals in mind

Before you can begin to write a marketing request for proposal, you must have a goal in mind. Without one, your RFP for marketing services will have no direction and you could come off unclear and unsure.

Think about your current marketing campaign (if you have one) and where you want it to go. How do you want your current campaign to evolve and change?

If you don’t currently have a marketing campaign, you should still have a goal in mind. Whether it’s growing your following on social media or showing up higher in search engines, your goal should be top of mind when writing your RFP for marketing services.

Make a list of what you want in an agency

There are sure to be specific characteristics that you want in a marketing agency, and you should take note of these from the start.

For example, you may be interested in working with an agency that works with clients in your specific niche industry, or an agency that offers an ultra-specific service. You might want to work with an agency that’s within close range so that you can have lunch meetings or an agency that has five-star reviews on Google.

No matter what the perfect agency is to you, be sure to take note of exactly what you want before you start to write your marketing request for proposal.

Do your research

Before you write an effective RFP for marketing services, you must have basic knowledge of what digital marketing agencies offer.

Do your research so that you know exactly what most marketing agencies offer in terms of services so that you’re not caught off guard when they don’t offer what you’re looking for.

You’ll also want to research baseline prices for the marketing services you’re interested in using. Since you’ll provide a marketing budget on your RFP, you’ll want to have a well-rounded, realistic idea of how much you can expect to pay for the services you want.

Shortlist agencies of interest

Before you start writing your RFPs for marketing services, you should have a good idea of where you want to send them.

After doing your research, make a shortlist of agencies that you’re interested in working with for your marketing campaign. Only list agencies that you’re serious about — that way, you’ll have less consideration to do later.

After creating your shortlist, you’re ready to create your RFP for marketing services.

Follow our marketing RFP template

If you want to learn how to write a marketing RFP from the ground up, consider using our RFP template! It will help ensure that you don’t leave anything out and that you get all the information you’re looking for from marketing companies.

Your FREE marketing RFP template + what to include in a marketing RFP

You’ll get the most benefits from your marketing RFP if you use an RFP template.

You can get a digital download of our marketing RFP, or you can read on to learn what to include in a marketing request for proposal!

1. Statement of purpose

If you want a marketing agency to take you seriously, you’ll have to present them with a statement of purpose.

This statement tells agencies why you’re interested in a proposal and can include things like:

  • Why you need a proposal
  • When you plan to choose an agency
  • The current status of your marketing campaign
  • Your point of contact

Your statement of purpose can be short and sweet — just to let an agency know why you need a proposal.

2. Company information

For a marketing agency to properly quote you, it’s important to provide as much company information as possible.

You should give essential company information including:

  • When you were founded
  • Your target audience
  • The products and services you sell
  • Experience you’ve had with other agencies
  • Short- and long-term goals you have in mind

This information will give marketing agencies an inside look at who you are and what you want to become, which can help them give you a more accurate proposal.

3. The work that you’re looking for from a marketing company

Now is when you get into the meat and potatoes of your RFP for marketing services.

In this section, provide agencies with an overview of the work that you’re looking for from them. It can include things like:

  • Basic marketing services you’re interested in
  • What you want an agency to accomplish weekly, monthly, and yearly

Be as honest as you can when talking about your expectations. If you downplay the results you want, you’re bound to be disappointed.

4. Reporting expectations

How often do you expect an agency to report back to you? Are you looking for weekly reports, bi-weekly reports, or monthly reports?

Here are some things you can talk about in this section:

  • How agencies should contact you and your team
  • What communication methods you prefer
  • What kinds of reporting you require for each marketing strategy
  • How often you expect to receive reports

When you’re honest about your reporting expectations, you’ll be more likely to be matched with an agency that can fulfill your needs.

5. Budget

Your budget plays an extremely important role in your marketing RFP template since it can be something that makes or breaks your interest in an agency.

If they’re over budget, you likely won’t work with them, and if your budget is too low for what an agency offers, they won’t take you on as a client.

Include information like:

  • Your total marketing budget
  • Budgets for specific channels
  • Your terms of payment
  • How you’ll approach contract renewals and expansions

Be honest when it comes to your budget to save both you and the agency time and effort.

6. Terms of contract

Outlining exactly how you want your contract to go is an important piece of information for agencies and will let them know that you know exactly what you want.

Include information like:

  • Your tentative start-service date
  • Your tentative end-service date (if you plan to)
  • If you require a non-disclosure agreement
  • Qualifications for termination of service

7. Questions for the agency

Do you have any specific questions that will make or break how you feel about an agency? Now is your time to ask them!

Consider asking questions like:

  • What is your experience?
  • Have you worked with a company in my industry?
  • How long will a campaign take to drive results?

You’ll talk on the phone with an agency before starting your campaign, but this is a great opportunity to get questions answered upfront.

8. How you’ll decide

Make it clear how you will choose an agency. This information lets agencies know that you’re decisive and that you have a plan for your selection.

You can let an agency in on information like:

  • Factors that have the biggest influence on your decision
  • Factors that are non-negotiable when you’re choosing an agency
  • Factors that will hurt an agency’s chances

9. Timeframe for reviewing proposals

Let agencies know when they can plan to hear back from you, along with a general timeline for your vetting process.

You should provide information like:

  • Your deadline for proposals
  • How long you’ll take to review proposals
  • When you plan to decide

10. Points of contact

You should inform agencies about points of contact (POCs) at your business, and request POCs from them.

This information will keep all lines of communication open and effective throughout the process. You can provide information like:

  • POC at your business
  • Department of each POC

And you can ask for information like:

  • Who you should contact with questions
  • Who would be handling your campaign
  • How many points of contact you’d have throughout your campaign

11. Reply requirements

You’ll then want to let agencies know how they should reply to you.

You should include information like:

  • What format you’d prefer your response (PDF, email, etc)
  • How an agency should format their response

This information eliminates the guesswork for agencies and could potentially speed up the reply process.

We hope our marketing RFP template helps you select the best!

At WebFX, we know how important it is to select the right digital marketing agency, which is why we’ve provided you with our free marketing RFP template to help!

We hope our RFP for marketing services template helps you find the digital agency of your dreams!

Don’t forget, WebFX is a full-service digital marketing agency that’s always here for you!