How to write an advertising proposal

Updated February 21, 2017

Advertising proposals are written by advertising consultants, freelancers or agencies for clients or prospective clients. They lay out an advertising campaign plan, including audience, strategies and cost of the campaign. The advertising proposal gives clients an outline of what to expect from the advertising campaign and details the scope of the work. Clients might accept the advertising proposal or respond with questions or comments about things to change. Take the time to write a detailed and professional advertising proposal to win your client's business.

Design a cover page for the advertising proposal. Include the title of the document and on the next line put your name or your business name. Include your business logo and date. At the bottom, include your contact information.

Create a title page. This is the first page in the proposal, after the cover page. The title page should include client information, your information and high level project information, such as the project name with a brief description and date range.

Discuss the client's needs in the first section. Describe the goals of the advertising campaign and other needs you have discussed with the client, such as increase traffic to the website to generate more sales. Include the client's budget, if known, and indicate any budget limitations at a high level.

Describe the key recommendations in the second section. Keep the summary brief and at a high level. For example, indicate the different types of advertising you are recommending, with maybe a one- or two-sentence description. Save the details for later sections.

Write about the target market in the third section. Describe the type or types of people or business your client is trying to attract through the advertising campaign. Include statistics about effective marketing strategies for the particular target market, including buying and spending habits, age range, interests or any other relevant behavioural information.

Write a section that describes in detail each advertising strategy you are proposing. For example, you can have sections called "Online Marketing," "Email Marketing," "Search Engine Optimization," "Billboards," Print Advertising," "TV Commercials," Radio Advertising," "Social Media Advertising" and so on, depending on what strategies you are proposing. Describe the details of each section, including date ranges for different aspects of the campaign, and how each campaign relates to the behaviour of your target market. Include the expected cost for each strategy. If you have scripts or designs for an advertisement, include those as well.

Describe you or your firm in the last section. Include previous achievements, clients you have worked with and the cost you are charging for the advertising project. Include your contact information again.

Proofread the document for spelling or grammatical errors.

Add a Table of Contents to the beginning of the document that lists each section and page number where the section is located in the document.


Use graphics, charts and other visual elements to help illustrate the data and content in your proposal. Visual elements also help break up the monotony of text in your document.


Ask the client to sign a non-disclosure agreement, especially if your proposal contains specific scripts or advertisement examples. That way, the client is legally prohibited from using any of your ideas unless you are hired.

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About the Author

Chris Newton has worked as a professional writer since 2001. He spent two years writing software specifications then spent three years as a technical writer for Microsoft before turning to copywriting for software and e-commerce companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado.