Introverted Freelancer’s Guide to Writing a Winning Proposal — Part 2
The Discovery Process
The Why of Discovery
The How of Discovery
- Review Client’s Intake Questionnaire
- Review Client’s Site
- Do a Google search both the client and the market space
- Review their current site and marketing materials
- Review their competitors’ sites
- Do a basic brand analysis
One week before the Discovery Meeting
- Based on your research and client input, set the Meeting Agenda
- Identify the decision makers and confirm they are attending the Discovery Session
- Set the time for the meeting:
- Send a meeting agenda to the participants
- Remind client contact that ALL identified stakeholders and the decision maker(s) must be in attendance, or the meeting will be rescheduled
How to manage a productive Discovery Session
- If key personnel are not in attendance, cancel the meeting — it will be waste of everyone’s time
- Avoid excessive small talk, start talking about their business as quickly as you naturally can
- Follow the agenda
- Have the meeting notes recorded or bring a dedicated scribe
- Your job is to ask questions and clarify the answers until everyone is in agreement as to what the site looks like, the content it should contain, and how the end-users will find and use the site
- Talk about the client’s goals and problems — get to the root of the issue the client needs to solve for the project to be successful
- Don’t focus on technological problem solving — the how we do it is not as important as carefully listening to what the client is saying
- Resist the natural temptation to try and solve their problem on the spot
Types of questions you might ask during Discovery Session
- Nice to have
- Great idea— but not just now
- Who is the client’s target audience?
- What problem do they want to solve?
- Has the client’s team defined site-user personas?
- What would be the specific site use patterns of those users?
- Look at site use patterns from all angles — the client’s staff, the current site visitors, and the client’s target customer
- “As a <role>, I want <goal/desire> so that <benefit>”
- “As a support rep, I want to search for our client’s by their first and last name to find and serve them faster.”
- What risks is the client most afraid of?
- From the client’s viewpoint — what is worst case scenario(s)?
At the end of a Discovery session you should have covered:
- Project goals
- Competitor analysis
- Positioning research
- Target audience
- Users stories
- Look and feel of site
- Basic content strategy
- high-level content audit
- Additional content strategy requirements
The Product of Your Discovery Session — The Creative Brief
- the analytical data collected
- a site map
- a prototyped web design
- proposed production plan to achieve your goals
How the Creative Brief guides your proposal and work throughout the project
A successful freelancer understands that there are only two reasons a business invest in a website project:
- Solve a problem
- Reach a business objective
Understanding the Job of a Proposal
- An Executive Summary of the Business (no more than two paragraphs)
- The business needs
- The target audience needs
- Propose your solution
- Project timeline
- Next steps
What assumptions trip a WordPress Consultant / Freelancer on the way to a successful, on-time deliverable?
- My client will provide high-quality videos in a timely fashion.
- My client will provide high-quality photos in a timely fashion.
- My client will provide carefully crafted descriptions for products as promised.
- My client will provide feedback on layout designs in a timely fashion.
Oh yes…and both my client and I wish for World Peace…
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