How to Create a Pitch Deck that Sells

Ellen Gregory

If you’re seeking funding for a project, design, product or start-up, you already know the importance of knowing how to create a pitch deck for investors. For designers, the most common use and benefit of learning how to create a great pitch deck is to showcase your design. Whether your pitch deck is showcasing your product, sharing a business model, or providing a look into your monetization strategy, it needs to be outstanding and memorable. 

There are often two types of pitch decks, one which is information-heavy, and to be shared with people via email. The other, which is what we’ll be focusing on, is for face-to-face or online meetings with potential investors, customers, partners, and co-founders. Keeping reading for tips and tricks on how to create a great pitch deck. 

Most people assume a pitch deck is about raising money, but in reality, the goal of your pitch deck is to get to the next meeting. Most of the time, your pitch deck and pitch presentation is the first thing that an investor sees and how they learn about your design, product, or company. Investments are seldom made after a single meeting, so you need to hook them and make them want to ask for more after they’ve heard your pitch.

To get to the next step, the following format is designed to generate interest from potential investors, and create a stronger understanding of how to create a pitch deck for investors.

how to create a great pitch deck 
Whatever your pitch deck is showcasing, it needs to be outstanding and memorable. 


How to create a pitch deck for investors

1. Introduction

Start with a quick one-sentence overview that demonstrates, who, what, and why. Really drive home the value that you provide to your customers as concisely as possible. Grab their attention as quickly as possible, with as few words as possible. 

2. Team

Show the people behind the idea and each of their roles. Highlight why you and your team are the right people to build and grow this company. Briefly describe what sets you apart through experience, successes at other companies, and the key expertise that you each bring to the table.

If you don’t have a complete team yet, identify key positions that need to be filled and the importance of them.

3. Problem

Any and all successful companies, products, and designs are created to solve a specific need. You need to answer what problem you are trying to solve, and show that it really is a problem. 

Here you want to explain the problem you are solving and who will benefit. Consider highlighting current solutions in the market, but avoid spending too much time on the competitive landscape, as this will come later. The most effective way to show the problem is to tell a relatable story. People are driven by stories, so the more human and relateable the problem is, the more your investors will connect with the idea. 

 pitch decks that entice investors
The most effective way to pitch your problem to investors, is to tell a relatable story.

4. Solution

How are you planning to solve the problem? Describe your idea and how it addresses the problems that you outlined. One thing to keep in mind is the importance of your user, opposed to the product or design itself. When we understand the challenges that our users face, and how people feel, we can build products that effectively solve problems a specific group of people encounters. When describing your solution, put yourself in the user’s shoes, and practice user empathy, you can discover their users’ needs and effectively design better solutions for them.

Use visuals and stories as much as possible when describing your solution, as showing is often more effective than telling.

5. Marketing and sales strategy

So you have identified a problem, and how you’re going to solve it, but how are you going to get the customers’ attention? What will your sales process look like? Outline your marketing and sales plan including key tactics that will get your product in front of your potential customer base.

With so many options in today’s world, recruiting customers can be the biggest challenge to overcome. Prove to the investors that you how you have tactics to reach your target market and what sales channels you plan on using. If your marketing and sales process is different than your competitors, highlight that here.

6. Traction

Traction means having a measurable set of customers. Pre-sales or early adopters that are already using your product, demonstrate the viability and reduces the sense of risk. Any metrics, measures, and proof that validates your solution are extremely powerful.

This slide is also a great place to talk about your milestones and major goals. Talk about the ones you have you achieved so far, and the major next steps you plan on taking. A roadmap that outlines key milestones creates a sense of trust between you and the investors. 

7. Market and opportunity

Expand on who your ideal customer is and the relative size of your target market, and how do you position your company in the market? Data and metrics are a huge advantage here, as investors want to know how much is currently being spent in the market to get a sense of the total market size. Use storytelling to talk about the scope and scale of the problem you are solving.

It’s tempting to exaggerate your market base to prove the value of your design or company. However, investors are more interested in seeing a very specific and reachable market. The more specific you are, the more realistic your pitch will be.

how to create a pitch deck for investors
Investors are more interested in seeing a very specific and reachable market.

8. Competition

You may have briefly touched on your competition earlier, so now it’s time to dive into a bit deeper. What are the alternative solutions to the problem you are trying to solve? Even if you are opening up an entirely new market, your customer base is likely already using an alternative solution. 

How do you fit into the competitive landscape, what makes you different than the competitors and alternatives that are on the market today? Describe your key advantages or the unique x-factor that others don’t. Above all, you need to demonstrate how your x-factor will influence customers to choose you instead of your competition. 

9. Business model

In order to invest in something, investors need to know how you’re planning to generate more money. Consider creating a schedule of your expected revenues.

It’s also beneficial to discuss your competitive landscape and how your pricing fits into the larger market. Define your place, are you offering a premium service or product, a budget alternative, or somewhere in the middle?

10. Investing

Finally, it’s time to talk about the money. This is the main reason you’re seeking to understand how to create a pitch deck that sells, right? It’s still true that the goal of your pitch deck shouldn’t just be about money, but potential investors need to know how much money you are looking for.

More importantly, they want to know why you need that specific amount of money, and how it’ll be used. Investors are interested in how their investment is going to help you achieve the goals you’ve outlined in the pitch deck.

how to create a pitch deck that sells
Investors want to know the specific amount of money required, and how it’ll be used.


Do’s for how to create a great pitch deck

There are three key things you want to keep in mind when you’re learning how to create a pitch deck for investors:

  • Clear and simple
  • Compelling
  • Easy to act on

The following do’s for how to create a great pitch deck will help ensure you can hit all three of these key components.

Tell a story 

If you really want to know how to create a great pitch deck, it all starts with telling a story to emotionally engage and hook your audience. As humans, we are naturally drawn to stories. So tell an exciting story that your investors will connect with. 

Express one idea per slide

Don’t get ahead of yourself or confuse your audience by presenting too many ideas all at once. Keep your entire audience on the same page by limiting one idea or important talking point to one slide. 

Storytelling and pitch decks that sell
Using storytelling to connect with your investors.


Make a memorable first impressive

First impressions are extremely powerful. For the best results, it’s important to make a memorable impact within the first 2-3 minutes. 

Share the recognition with other team members 

Make sure you give recognition to the other team members involved by focusing on significant and relevant accomplishments for each person in a team. 

Consistency

Nothing is more jarring, unprofessional or distracting to a viewer than sudden changes in font, size, color or capitalization format across your slides. Make sure your pitch deck has a clean and consistent look throughout the slides. 

Metrics and measurables 

Numbers speak volumes, and are by far the most effective way to demonstrate value. So make sure you have a strong understanding of your metrics and measurables, and clearly share them with the investors. 

Enhance your pitch deck with metrics and measurables
Numbers speak volumes, and are the most effective way to demonstrate the value of a project or start-up.


Create a visually interesting presentation 

The crux to really nailing how to create a pitch deck for investors is all about great visuals. Great visuals will evoke a stronger emotional reaction and are far more engaging than bland, text-heavy slides. As a designer, you know the power of visuals and this is precisely how to create a pitch deck that sells. Having more visuals will help keep the investors focused.

Consider the length

In order to keep the investors’ attention, consider the length of the pitch deck and their attention span. The numbers on the average pitch decks vary. Some sources state that pitch decks are rarely more than 19 slides. Other sources state that the average pitch deck is 38 slides. The thing to focus on is that the average attention span or cranial capacity of an investor is about 10 slides. Keep this mind when considering how to create a pitch deck that sells. 

Arrive prepared

As with any type of presentation, preparation is key! Not only do you want to prepare your slides, and your pitch to ensure that it’s captivating and smooth, you always to come prepared with answers to the kinds of questions you anticipate they’ll ask. This will help ease your own nerves, and ensure you sound more confident, knowledgable, and trustworthy.

Preparation is the key to how to create a pitch deck for investors
Prepare answers to the kinds of questions you anticipate investors will ask.


Don’ts for how to create a great pitch deck

Now that you’ve got a basic idea for how to create a great pitch deck, it’s important to note a few don’ts. Avoid the following pitfalls that can be the difference between an exceptional pitch deck, and a mediocre pitch deck. 

Don’t read directly or word for word from a script

Connecting with your audience is key when it comes to understanding how to create a great pitch deck and a memorable presentation. When you read from a script, you lose out on that connection and direct eye contact. That connection is a key component in successfully learning how to create a pitch deck that sells. Rather than creating a word by word script, create bullet points to keep you on track, ensure you don’t miss any major points, and eliminates the likelihood of reading word by word. Using bullet points or talking points to help guide you, you’ll sound more animated, natural, and confident.

Avoid too much text or small font

When using text on your slide, you want to remember two main things: limit the amount of text on the screen, and use a font large enough to be seen by all audience members. If you have too much text on your slide, you will likely lose your audience as they won’t be able to listen to you if they’re busy reading your slide. Focus on visuals instead to inspire and engage your audience emotionally. For the text that does appear on your slide, consider a font anywhere between 32- to 44-point for titles and no smaller than 28-point for the text or bulleted items.

Overuse bullet points

You might be tempted to use a ton of bullet points as a way of limiting the amount of text on each slide. The point of your pitch deck isn’t to stuff absolutely every bit of information into the slides, so don’t fall into the trap of littering your pitch deck with tons of bullet points. This is just as distracting and ineffective as too much text. Limit your bullet points to essential and key points. The rest can be expressed through the spoken component of the presentation. 

how to use CloudApp to create pitch decks
Set your pitch deck content to expire after your preferred amount of time. 


How to use CloudApp to create pitch decks

The final step in how to create a great pitch deck guide is the actual creation of it. Gone are the days that it would take hours to put a stellar pitch deck together. 

Knowing how to create a pitch deck for investors will make a massive impact on getting people’s attention. Your investors are busy and might want to check their phones during meetings, so avoid losing their attention with a captivating presentation. With CloudApp, you use our free tools to design a powerful presentation, even if you don’t possess professional-level design skills.

If you want your pitch deck to be accessible to your investors, CloudApp offers a super-sly expiring content feature. This provides you with the option to share your info, such as pitch decks, with select people. Simply set your pitch deck content to expire after your preferred amount of time. 

Take your pitch deck to the next level without spending a cent. Sign up for a free CloudApp account to record, share, and design a captivating pitch deck. We’ve made it easy to record what’s essential, answer questions, and annotate the big takeaways to make the most of the visual medium. 


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