Paid Search

SEM RFP Template With Sample Questions

Whether your business is new to the world of search engine marketing, or you’ve been leveraging SEM for years to drive new business to your company, an SEM RFP is one of the most effective ways for businesses to learn about the options available to them as they partner with an paid search firm.

But many businesses fail to understand the true value of an RFP, and the document they submit to SEM specialists isn’t informative or specific enough for them to effectively use it to choose the best firm for their project.

Today, we’re going to cover the essentials your RFP should have, and share an SEM RFP template that will make it much easier for you to communicate with potential SEM partners.

Download Now: Free SEM RFP Template

If you are vetting Paid Search agencies and need an SEM RFP template that can be customized to your needs, simply enter your email and we will instantly send you the template.

What is an RFP, and Why is it Important?

An RFP or request for a proposal is a solicitation from one business to another for services. Essentially, an RFP is a way for your business to say, “this is who we are, and this is the project we have for a company like yours.”

An RFP will include information about your business, information about the project at hand, and a series of questions related to your project you want to be answered before you solicit a bid for your project from them. The project-related questions in an RFP are designed to help you narrow the field to the most qualified submittals before asking for a formal bid.

RFP submittals are helpful for a few reasons. An RFP allows your business to thin out applicants to the most qualified for the project, so you won’t have to sift through proposals that aren’t a strong fit. RFPs also establish a baseline understanding between your business and the companies you’re vetting for the project regarding your goals, expectations, and budget.

Drafting an Effective RFP

Many businesses make the mistake of asking surface-level questions that aren’t industry-specific enough. Any RFP your business sends should be unique to the services or products you’re soliciting. Doing so will provide important context about your brand and your expectations, making it much easier for you to select the best fit possible for the project.

SEM RFP Template

The guide below will provide you with a solid basis to structure your RFP. Some of these fields might not be relevant to you, and there may be additional information or questions you wish to add. Make any necessary changes, so your RFP is as specific to your business and project as possible.

Section I: Overview

The overview section should be backed with relevant information about your business, what you do, and the project you’re looking to have completed. The businesses you’re soliciting proposals from likely know little to nothing about your company. This section is an opportunity to provide them with the relevant information they’ll need to submit a thorough and cost-effective proposal.

Here’s an idea of some of the key elements to convey in this section:

  • Your company name, what you do and who your customers are
  • Your digital marketing objectives
  • What you’re looking for from a digital marketing agency
  • The project’s website
  • The scope or timeline of the project
  • Information about any of your digital properties i.e., social media channels, websites, blogs
  • Point(s) of contact for the project

Section II: Project Goals

This section should speak to the specific goals you’re looking to accomplish with this project and the more general goals of your business that may be affected by the project.

Provide a list of outcomes you’re hoping to achieve, and give examples of the key initiatives that you’d like to see improved through your digital marketing efforts.

A few examples of business goals an PPC Management Services can help you achieve include:

  • Increase Google Ads conversions
  • Maximize PPC budget
  • Increase ecommerce conversions
  • Improve content marketing strategy
  • Gain market share in a particular region
  • Improve customer service interactions
  • Streamline operations
  • Increase visibility

Section III: An Examination of Current Practices

Businesses submitting proposals for your project can do so more accurately if they understand your current digital marketing processes.

Start by providing some context as to what your business believes in regarding digital marketing and the strategies you’re currently employing. Provide as much insight as you can into what you’re doing, what’s working and what isn’t working, and what you’re interested in trying or changing. Provide information on your pain points from a digital marketing perspective in as much detail as possible.

Section IV: Your Target Demographic

Provide prospective partners with some insight into what your customer looks like. Try and offer as much demographic information about your target customer as you can. If you’ve created customer mapping journeys or customer personas, this is an ideal time to share them.

Section V: Competitive Analysis

Agencies will have an easier time examining your strengths and weaknesses by seeing how you stack up to your closest competitors. Provide basic information about your top competitors, and your thoughts about what you think they’re doing particularly well.

Section VI: Scope of the Project

In this section, you’ll detail the objectives you’ll need an agency to accomplish to satisfy your needs. Your objectives may be specific to SEM and SEO, or digital marketing in general. Provide all of the details for your project, and explain the specific services you’ll need.

Providing potential partners with a bulleted list of deliverables and expectations for project success will help establish your expectations while also weeding out applicants who won’t be a good fit given what you expect of them.

Next, provide information about the timeline for project completion, and a general budgetary range you have for the project.

Section VII: Timeline

Provide your prospects with detailed information about how the selection process will proceed. List all of the important dates for the various stages of the project, so applicants understand the project’s deadlines.

Include the following dates in your timeline:

  • Notification of intent to bid
  • Question and answer period
  • Proposal due date
  • Notification of finalists
  • Final presentations
  • Project award date
  • Project start date

Section VIII: Master Services Agreement

If your company uses an MSA when conducting business, include a copy of it here. You may need to negotiate with potential partners who have their own MSA requests to submit with their proposal.

Section IX: Response Requirements

In this section, indicate any criteria that you require for a proposal to be considered. Let vendors know how many copies of the proposal you need and whom they should be addressed.

Section X: Vendor Questions

The final section is perhaps the most important of the RFP process. In this section, you’ll provide a list of prospective search marketing partners’ questions to answer as part of their proposal. Include as many or as few questions as you like, and keep the questions as specific to your business and industry as possible.

Your questions should provide ample opportunity for applicants to explain the methodology, practices, and marketing services that they can apply to your project in addition to any case studies that show examples of their work.

Download Now: Free SEM RFP Template

If you are vetting Paid Search agencies and need an SEM RFP template that can be customized to your needs, simply enter your email and we will instantly send you the template.

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