Gail Sech

How to Write an RFP for a Web Design Project

We've been on the side of responding to RFPs. We thought we'd take an opportunity to offer some help to those who may be feeling their way through the process of creating an RFP that helps discover the right digital agency for your project.

We've been on the side of responding to RFPs. We thought we'd take an opportunity to offer some help to those who may be feeling their way through the process of creating an RFP that helps discover the right digital agency for your project.

At the top of every company’s marketing agenda is a branded, engaging website that ranks well and produces high quality leads. In this age of pandas, we all know that websites can no longer afford to be static brochures of information. 

But finding the right website design agency can be a difficult and often overwhelming process.

Many marketers turn to a formal Request for Proposal process to find the right web design agency for the job.

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When done well, the RFP should attract and invite talented agencies to the table while helping to uncover each agency’s strengths and weaknesses. The problem is, most RFP’s are poorly written and end up being a drawn out process that results in frustration. I’ve been there, and odds are you have been too.

A well-structured, thorough, well-written RFP will cut through the frustration and help you discover the agency that will help you meet your goals. To write a targeted and efficient RFP, you need to spend some up front time thinking through three key factors.

One: Determine and define clearly what isn’t working.

Know beyond a shadow of a doubt why you are asking for help. It is surprising how many companies will ask for something without any knowledge of what they should be asking for. Have internal discussions and run your metrics to ensure that you are identifying your pain points. If you’re disappointed, own your disappointment. Tell us why you aren’t happy with the current creative work, how you’re having problems with social integration, why you hate the site map, or how you are suffering with outdated technology.

Two: Determine and define the mission of the project.

Think through exactly what role the website will play for your company or brand. Is the site responsible for e-commerce, or should it be for lead generation? Don’t just talk about wanting a “better” website, define what “better” looks like.

Three: Determine and define the sticking points.

The more direct and thorough you are regarding your project’s perimeters and non-negotiables, the more actionable responses you will receive. What are the things that are off-limits? Do you have a hard budget? Do you require an agency that understands a specific CMS? Do you have internal resources that you wish to leverage for the project?

By spending an intentional amount of time thinking through these critical issues, you’ll be able to write a thoughtful and targeted RFP. A thoughtful and targeted RFP will bring quality, talented, and skilled agencies in the door.

Once you’ve thought through the preliminary questions, you’re ready to start drafting the RFP.

Writing the actual proposal can be a headache. How do you organize all the information in a way that makes sense and compels the best responses from interested agencies? How do you make sure that you are communicating exactly what needs to be communicated?

We've been on the side of responding to RFPs. We thought we'd take an opportunity to offer some help to those who may be feeling their way through the process of creating an RFP that helps discover the right digital agency for your project.

Download our FREE RFP Template for a handy guide to writing a killer RFP for a website design project.

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Gail Sech

About Gail Sech

A marketing expert who has worked in digital as it evolved from static content to personalized experience, Gail is passionate about helping businesses grow and prosper using modern digital tools. She offers a consultative approach and personalized strategies to a wide range of clients from small entrepreneurial businesses to Fortune 500 entities and from local community organizations to global non-profits.