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5 Reasons to finally retire the PDF event proposal – and how to send offers instead

Published on
November 12, 2021
5 Reasons to finally retire the PDF event proposal – and how to send offers instead
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When PDFs first emerged in 1993, they were a game changer. It was the first format both Mac and Windows could read easily.

Unfortunately, the initial excitement waned quickly as users discovered the PDF’s limitations. Even nearly 20 years ago, people had already begun complaining.

Why? In short, PDFs are often cumbersome and offer a poor user experience.

That’s a big issue, especially if you’re using this file type for your sales materials or event proposals. It’s likely putting a damper on your client journey in the earliest stages.

Not convinced? Read on for five ways PDFs are probably harming your conversion rate and find out how to send proposals instead.

Access difficulty reduces open rates

To view a PDF, you must download it. Yes, you can open it in a browser. But it still has to be downloaded first. Technically, this is a simple process. However, it adds an extra step not every client will take. Especially on a mobile device the need to download creates a massive barrier.

Perhaps your prospect is on the go and doesn’t have Wi-Fi. In that situation, they may have to use their data which could incur charges for them. If that’s the case, you probably won’t blame them for waiting to review your file until they reach a place with internet. Unfortunately, by then they may have forgotten about your proposal because it slipped too far down in their inbox.

If they do decide to download it, there could be one more challenge. Finding and accessing a PDF in the phone’s document folder can take more time and effort than some people want to invest. Again, your proposal is at risk of being ‘saved for later’ which might as well be code for ‘being forgotten.’

As you can imagine, lower download and opening rates reduce your overall conversions. And even the best offer won’t bring business if your guests never read it.

Lacking mobile optimization ruins on-page experience

In our mobile-first age, there’s a high chance that people will access your proposal on a mobile device (e.g. a tablet or smartphone). PDFs are not optimized for this format because they’re actually meant for documents destined for print.

This makes PDFs hard to read and go through on smaller screens. The print often looks too small unless readers zoom in. When they do, they have to pan around the page to see all the content. You’ve probably experienced this unpleasant and frustrating scenario yourself. Unsurprisingly, this makes it harder for your proposal to compete with those which are mobile-optimized and offer readers extra convenience.

Absence of engagement data leaves you in the dark

PDF proposals are the digital equivalent of a printed document. They’re static and offer no feedback about how your potential guests interact with them.

For example, you don’t see:

  • The number of downloads or openings
  • Who the PDF has been shared with (apart from the original recipient)
  • How long clients spend in the document
  • Which pages they view

Engagement data is crucial to continuously improve your proposals and increase your conversion rates. Without these insights, you don’t know what part of the offer people are most or least interested in, or if they even go through it.

Static files create extra work

As we’ve established, PDF proposals are static documents. That means your clients can’t make any changes themselves (e.g. add more attendees or pick add-on services). Instead, they have to call or email you with change requests. Then the extra work of editing and resending the proposal is on you. The whole process of downloading, reviewing and sharing feedback also restarts for your guests. Once you’ve agreed on an offer, there’s still more work. Now your clients have to print, sign, scan, upload and return the proposal file to you.

There are a lot of inconvenient and time-consuming manual steps on both sides which is especially challenging if you’re short-staffed. All the while, there’s the risk of miscommunication and delays which can lead to unhappy guests or even lost business.

Unengaging format bores readers

PDFs are limited in their formatting and design since they can include only text, images and some design elements. The result is mostly simple content that’s not very engaging for your guests and leaves business opportunities on the table. That’s the opposite of what you want your event proposal to do!

Today, people expect interactive, engaging and visually appealing content, even in the B2B domain. That means using a combination of text, images and video in a bite-sized format that’s easy to scan and process. Let’s look at how you can do that without creating heaps of extra work for your team.

The post-PDF way to send your event proposals

The easiest way to create, send and manage high-converting offers is via a modern proposal platform built for this purpose. That will ensure you cater to modern guest expectations and streamline your workflow. Once you’ve got this set up, your offers will stand out and you’ll have guests signing faster than ever.

But how do you know which proposal platform will offer the best results?

Keep an eye out for these key attributes to narrow down your options:

  • Web-based proposals which your guests can access from any browser
  • Easy, trackable sharing
  • Responsive design that works on all devices
  • Multimedia capability that supports text, images and videos
  • Interactive and editable interface that allows clients to update requirements
  • The option to offer add-on services for a more customized event
  • User insights to see how guests interact with your proposal
  • E-signing option for quick, paperless approval

It’s easy to see how all this creates a much more pleasant and straightforward guest experience, right? Higher opening rates, a better impression on your clients and improved conversion rates are the logical consequence.

Proposales checks all the boxes above and even a few more. If you want to find out what they are and how they can help you send high-converting offers in minutes (yes, minutes!), then request a free, no-strings-attached demo now.

It’s time to start sending the proposals of the future!