How to build effective marketing presentations

A guide to building effective marketing presentations

This article is based on the webinar delivered by speaker and president of Webinar Success, Ken Molay, which can be viewed here.

“No one in your company cares about you being effective in your marketing presentation,” says Ken Molay, president of Webinar Success. It’s a bold statement, but Molay explains that colleagues are generally only concerned about the content you deliver during your presentation or webinar, and care less about its effectiveness and overall results.

According to Molay, the best indicator of a presentation’s effectiveness is how many listeners are invited into your sales process off the back of what you have just told them. If they are stimulated to take further action to find out more about your product, by downloading a white paper or responding to a follow-up sales call, then you have been effective.

In addition, Molay stresses it is important not to get confused between marketing and sales outcomes. “Marketing is an introduction and a way to get people interested enough in a subject to want to find out more information,” he says. “Sales is the art of overcoming objections, of answering every question and making sure that they sign on the dotted line.”

There are a variety of reasons why marketing presentations and webinars are held, such as to launch a new product, to show expertise or to address user needs; but Molay believes there are five universal guidelines that can be applied to any marketing presentation that will ensure effectiveness. Together they help engage your audience and create sales interest.

1. Make the presentation about your audience

When planning a marketing presentation or webinar, marketers often focus on what they are trying to promote and the information they want to convey. But Molay says this type of thinking needs to be turned around 180 degrees by asking the question: “How can I make this presentation into something my audience wants?”

“Being interested in a topic is not the same as caring about the topic,” says Molay. “You have to do something to change the audience’s attitude from being interested in [the topic], to caring about it…there has to be some emotional impact.” Molay believes this can only be achieved by appealing to an interest that is universal to all humans: self-interest.

Appeal to selfish interests, he says, because we all care about ourselves. Use words such as ‘you’ and ‘your’ to encourage audiences to consider how your product can impact them personally in a positive way. Tie in an emotional response to how your product will improve life for them, e.g. L’Oréal’s product ads feature glamorous pop musicians and actresses voicing the slogan: “Because I’m worth it!” This provokes a response in women to consider how they value themselves. They are encouraged to treat themselves to a luxury beauty product that will leave them looking as beautiful as these stars.

2. Set and meet audience expectations

“There is a problem with a well presented, well prepared webinar,” says Molay. “The problem is the timeline that’s involved.” A well-prepared webinar needs at least a month to build registrations, send emails and design adverts, he argues. At the start of that time, the presenter will have created a description of the expected content and sent it to the audience. “But watch out for the presentation gap!” warns Molay. The time span between your marketing and creating your content could mean you forget to include what you promised your audience. Even if your content is very good, the audience will still be frustrated if their expectations aren’t met. “Make promises, fulfil promises,” he advises.

3. Give value quickly

We’ve all been in marketing presentations where we feel like our time is being wasted, says Molay. If the first thing an audience hears is a sales pitch or the presenter talking about themselves, those listeners are likely to disappear. This happens far more easily during webinars where the unseen audience can log out or start multitasking. Molay believes the best way to prevent losing audience interest is to deliver value right away.

The reason why presenters often neglect to do this is because they approach the presentation in a linear fashion, creating a ‘classic’ structure.

But the audience won’t have signed up to learn about your company, and hearing about your credibility is more important to you than it is to them. Molay adds that your audience is highly likely to know about the subject’s pain points before they attend your presentation.

Instead, do what a good newspaper journalist does and make sure the key deliverables go first using the ‘Inverted Pyramid’structure. This approach introduces the main points first, then the supporting information and finally the background and history.

Your audience came to hear something specific, says Molay, so give them what they came for. Don’t build up to a big surprise reveal at the end; give them value quickly.

4. Tell an engaging story

An effective way to capture your audience’s attention and make them emotionally attach to the information, is to tell them a story that binds your presentation together. A story “creates a scenario to make the audience care,” says Molay.

For example, you could shape your presentation into a storyline that positions your product as the hero, where it helps to resolves a conflict that affects your audience. “You need to make your pitch about helping the individual listener,” says Molay, “…not just the corporate entity you’re trying to sell to. How is using your product or service going to reflect on them personally?” There are other effective storytelling techniques that can be used in marketing presentations to make your audience care about the information you are showing them. These can also be applied to the individual points you present and to make data and graphs more interesting.

5. Use slides to support speech, not to replace it

“Slides are not a teleprompter script,” says Molay. Instead, they should be used to support what is being said rather than to duplicate it. Remember that our brains are unable to read words on-screen and listen to the presenter’s voice at the same time. The slides should be easy to comprehend in one glance and should support one concept at a time.

Use stock photography and other good visuals on your slides to make them engaging and interesting, says Molay. This is extremely important for a webinar where, compared to an in-person seminar, your slides will be the only visuals your audience sees. Rehearsing your presentation until you feel confident is also important for executing a strong delivery.

Moving from tips to tactics

Once you’re ready to apply these universal tips, Molay advises structuring your presentation in a way that’s going to maximise your effectiveness. He warns against using the structure that is common during business writing:

  1. Tell your audience what you are going to tell them
  2. Tell it to them
  3. Tell them what you told them

“That can be an effective way to write a paper,” says Molay. “The problem is it’s not effective in marketing presentations.” Instead, for a marketing presentation and webinar, Molay advises the following:

  1. Tell your audience the value they will receive from listening to your presentation, e.g. ‘you will learn how to become better at a, b and c.’
  2. Deliver the promised value. Meet expectations and match content to the promises made.
  3. Tell the audience what to do next. How can they use the information you’ve given them to gain more value?

At the end of your marketing presentation, make an explicit call to action. Wrap back to the value points you presented at the start and encourage your audience to enter the door you have just opened into the sale process.

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