Does your fund really need a pitch deck?

In short, yes. A pitch deck is essential. Considering that 29 percent of small businesses fail because they run out of cash, and 14 percent fail because of poor marketing, a good pitch deck is key for raising capital and convincing business partners to work with you. Even huge companies like Facebook and Google started with a pitch deck.

Why bother with a pitch deck?

Think of your pitch deck as your business card that presents the essential information about your company to investors. Your pitch deck should be a short presentation of your business plan that outlines all the key elements of your business, including your business model, your team, and the purpose of your company.

Some startups prefer to pitch their business case over the phone. Although this might sound like a great way to share your ideas without giving confidential information to a stranger, big-time investors won’t take you seriously without a detailed pitch deck. Most investors don’t like lengthy phone calls. They want a quick explanation of your company that helps them decide whether it’s a good fit for their investment portfolio. They’d rather flip quickly through a deck and ask questions later, if they find the business idea interesting.

Put your best pitch forward

Now that you know a pitch deck is a necessary tool for raising capital for your fund or startup, follow through with a well-designed, structured deck. Relevant information should be laid out in a way that’s easy to understand, and a professional layout helps you stand out from other startups. If you want to raise money, spending time producing a great pitch deck is well worth the effort.

Keep in mind what information is most important to investors – the business case, market opportunity, and return on investment for them. Unfortunately, many startups pull their content together at the last minute, resulting in crowded slides and missed KPIs. If an investor or business angel needs to spend too much time finding the important information, your deck will probably get tossed.

Don’t let your deck end up in the waste bin! Not only is a professional pitch deck is a great asset for investor meetings, creating a deck forces the founder to systematically analyze every part of their startup’s business model. By combing through your ideas step-by-step, you can identify loopholes and defects before bringing the business to market, setting you and your company up for success. For more specifics on what should be included in your pitch deck, check out 5 Keys to a Great Pitch Deck.

Geraci Media is uniquely positioned to help fund managers succeed with a well-designed, compliant pitch deck. Check out our past work here, and reach out to us here to get started.

When to Use a Press Release (and when not to)

Reporters’ inboxes are flooded with press releases. As the market has become more saturated with low-quality releases, the high-quality news has gotten lost in the crowd. While press releases are still a viable marketing tactic, they have taken a backseat to some other digital tactics that are more measurable, targeted and cost effective. By coupling press releases with these new tactics, marketers can breathe new life into this old standby.

When a marketer creates a public relations strategy, the first order of business is often to publish press releases. However, the game is changing, and marketers should know when press releases benefit their strategy, and when they don’t. The following points will help you determine when a press release is the best course of action.

The Benefits of Press Releases

Other publications will pick it up

The purpose of a press release is to get as many eyeballs on your news as possible. Many companies achieve this by posting a press release to the wire, where it will be sent out to thousands of publications, and ultimately posted elsewhere online.

But how do you get attention this way? You can start by releasing quality content. For example, releases with data get picked up more. But you also need to time it right. Press releases are more likely to be viewed by both the media and consumers over the weekend and at the beginning and end of the week. For more views, avoid distributing during that humpday slump.

 Link building

One of the biggest benefits of public relations is the link building that comes with media coverage. Even though the press release itself doesn’t help with search engine optimization (SEO), the resulting editorial coverage does. Be sure your release includes key words that you want to rank for, so that when journalists see your release, they will use those words as well.

There is tremendous synergy between SEO and PR. The press garnered by press releases is a huge win for SEO managers everywhere. As a bonus, coverage often also comes with inbound links back to your website. All of this means you can’t depend on your release to do all the work. It is simply a way to communicate your story to the rest of the world, but you can use took slike keywords and helpful links to your advantage.

 They’re an important resource for journalists

A press release is an opportunity to deliver all of the information you want journalists to know in one package. Even external documents like earnings presentations and research documents, can be made available in a press release. This makes it easier for journalists to quickly find accurate information about your company.

An alternative to sending a release on the wire is to send your release directly to a journalist over email. This makes writing about your company easy for journalists and establishes a strong relationship that will help guarantee future coverage.

The Drawbacks of Press Releases

A release on its own will not improve your SEO

As stated above, press releases only help your SEO if there is additional content published as a result of your release distribution. Popular belief is that press releases help your SEO, but a recent article by a Google expert says otherwise.

This is because press releases are only syndicated for a certain amount of time before they are taken down. Even if they are packed with keywords and your company’s name, their temporary status does not lead to any progress in SEO rankings. Your PR strategy shouldn’t depend entirely on releases for SEO success.

 Press releases don’t reach consumers

Although they might get the attention of journalists, press releases alone are not an effective consumer communication strategy. Many consumers don’t know what press releases are, and they prefer to get their information in a way that is easy to understand and feels natural, like news articles. When thousands of stories are posted every hour, readers want to be able to understand them quickly.

What this means for marketers is that in addition to posting releases, you should make sure the content is somewhere else in a better format, like a blog post, so that your audience can access it. Rather than promoting your release through social channels and marketing emails, you can promote your blog post to achieve the same goals.

The effectiveness of press release is difficult to measure

Marketers measure success through data. However, unlike other marketing strategy components, press releases are extremely difficult to measure, making it hard to prove their success. Do not rely on press releases to prove that public relations efforts are necessary. Press can be measured in some ways, like how many news outlets post your release or referral traffic from the release, but it’s hard to track how many customers or prospects are generated as the result of a press release.

Press releases are expensive

Posting just one press release over the news wire can cost over a thousand dollars. Often, they are not picked up by journalists and are just reposted on other websites. Wire press release distributions have become outdated as public relations efforts rely increasingly on building relationships with the media rather than sending out hundreds of emails to journalists you don’t know.

Instead of spending money posting releases on the wire, spend time building connections with journalists, learning what stories they’re looking for and what topics they write about. Building these relationships with the media will continue to pay off.

If you have any questions about whether or not a press release is right for you, contact Geraci Media here.

What Not to Do When Building a Pitch Deck

What Not to Do When Building a Pitch Deck

A pitch deck is a slideshow or presentation – created on PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, or a similar software – that presents your company, goods, and services to an audience. Creating an effective pitch deck that keeps investors engaged and helps you achieve your business goals takes time and effort.

Anyone can throw together some slides in a matter of hours, but consider this: for every 100 pitches an investor hears, he or she will fund only 10 of them, which means most pitches get lost in the crowd. We’ve told you how to design a perfect pitch deck; now, here are 10 things to avoid to ensure that your pitch deck is at the top of investors’ minds.

1. Overcomplicate the presentation

Chances are, your investor does not know the ins and outs of your business’s industry. Avoid using technical jargon that will confuse your audience. Stick to simple words, animations, and transitions to convey complicated ideas. Create your presentation so that even someone with little knowledge of your industry and company could understand it.

It is important to note, however, that there is a chance your audience may be knowledgeable about your industry. Preliminary research is paramount to this point, as oversimplifying your presentation may appear as though you are talking down to your audience.

2. Use old-fashioned design

You don’t need to be a professional designer, but you also don’t want to present plain white slides. Your deck should convey how forward-thinking and modern your ideas are. Take advantage of the templates that PowerPoint and other presentation-building tools offer, and be sure to add custom touches, like your company’s logo and simple graphics. If you want to go above and beyond, hire an agency who can make your pitch deck in a more advanced software, such as Adobe Photoshop or InDesign.

3. Get off to a slow start

Even if your business idea is incredible, if you can’t capture your audience and keep them engaged, your deck will get lost in the crowd. A strong, memorable introduction will keep investors wanting to know more about your company and how they can benefit from their investment in you. After all, they’re trusting you with their money; hook them at the beginning to ensure they stay with you through the end of your presentation.

4. Give a lengthy pitch

Show respect for investors’ time by finishing your presentation well before your meeting time is up. You don’t want to make your audience antsy about missing their next appointment, and you’ll leave time for any follow-up questions. You can shorten your presentation time by shortening or altogether omitting your startup’s history or founders. Keep them wanting more – share details later.

5. Fudge the numbers

It can be tempting to bluff data in your pitch deck, but it’s important to resist this temptation. This is a very poor business practice that misleads investors and wastes everyone’s time. Getting caught exaggerating in your pitch can ruin your reputation and lead to lawsuits down the road. Before you even pursue funding from angel investors and venture capitalists, gather concrete data that supports your business case. They’ll come knocking at your door!

6. Leave out your mission

Many startups fail because investors can see that their ideas are great, but their founders lack a compelling vision. When pitching to investors, your goal is to convince them that they’re going to make it big by investing in you, and there’s no better way to do that than selling them on your mission. If you don’t get much traction at first, don’t be discouraged. Rethink your vision and make sure it’s grounded in reality.

7. Forget to mention your story

Everyone loves a good story, especially one with a happy ending. For investors, that happy ending is when their investment pays off! Make your business story relatable and weave it throughout your deck for a compelling presentation. However, be careful not to overdo it – make sure your story relates to your overall business model.

8. Involve disclosures and NDAs

You know your ideas are worth a lot, which is why you’re protective of them. Many people think that the best way to avoid having their ideas stolen is by asking investors to sign an NDA before pitch presentations. The hard truth is that investors have probably heard a variation your idea before. Legitimate investors who receive pitches all the time will rarely sign an NDA. For best practice, have an attorney who specializes in your space review your pitch deck to make sure it’s legally compliant.

Remember that investors aren’t your competition. They’re not going to invest in multiple competing businesses. So while you may be intimidated by the fact that they have the money and resources to build a better product than you, resist the urge to ask for an NDA.

9. Forget about your exit strategy

This one might be counterintuitive. Venture capitalists don’t want their money sitting in the bank. They want it to be used to create a high return on investment. One of the best ways to get their attention is to show them how high their ROI will be in a few years. When you present a good exit strategy, you’re showing investors that you’ve done your homework, you’re credible, and their money is in good hands.

10. Leave off your value proposition

At the end of your deck, your audience should be able to answer the following questions: Why are you better than your competitors? What makes you special? Why should they invest in your company?

Your value proposition should be relevant to your business’s market, present a clear solution to a problem, have tangible and specific benefits, and differentiate from your competition. Focus on your product’s benefits, not its features, and use your value proposition to craft your story.

As you’ve read, there’s a lot that goes into building a successful pitch deck. If you want to earn investors’ funding and respect, focus on your story, stick to the facts, and explain your value. If you are looking for a marketing team to help build your pitch deck, Geraci Media is your expert in the private lending space.

Schedule a call with Ruby today to discuss how Geraci Media can make you an outstanding pitch deck.