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5 hacks to elevate your next pitch

Mailchimp partners share their top tips for building a solid pitch deck

A pitch deck is more than a way to bring in new business. It’s also a way of sharing your vision: Who you are, what you value, what you do, and how you do it.

A good deck shows a potential client that you can deliver the goods if they decide to work with you. A truly great one leaves them excited to get started ASAP.

With the help of some Mailchimp partners, we’ve assembled a few tips that can help you put your best foot forward for your next pitch presentation.

Let’s dive in.

Lead with your values, not just your skills

Pitching is an art, and like any art form, having a few tricks up your sleeve can help elevate your creation from interesting to impactful, and impactful to truly inspirational.

With every pitch, you’re trying to win a particular project or scope of work, so it makes sense to focus your presentation on the services and expertise you bring to the table. Just don’t forget to sell yourself, too: Show your prospective client not just what you do, but how you do it, and with what philosophy and core values.

Your values could simply be reflected in the way you price your services, or in the way you manage your projects. But it could be something more lofty, like your commitment to social issues or giving back to your community. Your commitment to charity or pro bono initiatives can not only help define your values, but boost your bottom line, too.

In our 2022 Mailchimp & Co Benchmark Report, responding agency owners who said they participated in social and environmental initiatives reported higher earnings and rates of growth than those who didn’t. Clement Muteto, Mailchimp partner and founder of Mut-Con says it’s a key part of his pitch. “We absolutely talk about our values,” says Clement. “They’re front and center. It’s a huge part of winning projects. Clients like working with brands they can connect to.”

“We absolutely talk about our values. Clients like working with brands they can connect to.” 

Clement Muteto
Mailchimp partner and founder of Mut-Con

Establish expectations

Try including a timeline in your pitch—even if it’s just a rough estimate—and establish what will be done, and when. Be clear about what’s needed from the client to accomplish it, and why. Open communication from the outset can help prevent misunderstandings and bottlenecks, setting you and the prospective client up for success.

In addition to a timeline, Porsha Thomas, Mailchimp partner and founder of GOWRKGRLS, typically includes details about how her business operates in her pitch decks: Things like the apps she uses, her office hours, and ideal meeting times.

Starting out with a clear idea of how things will get done can help avoid confusion down the road. “I love having this info in one place so that it can easily be referenced by our team and our clients,” says Porsha.

As you share these details about your process with prospects, be sure to communicate why it’s beneficial not just to you, but to them. After all, a clear timeline is beneficial to everyone involved, not just you. “We use this to our advantage by making a point of making the client aware of how our timing is to their benefit,” says Clement.

Look the part

Just like gorgeous plating and garnishes can help elevate a dining experience, a well-designed presentation deck can help whet your clients’ appetite for working with you.

While strong visuals alone may not win you new business, they can help set your pitch apart from the others, and demonstrate that you pay attention to every detail. “Including on-brand visuals in your deck helps people take you seriously,” says Porsha. “Good branding,” she adds, “is everything.”

Here are a few options to explore:

  • Porsha’s go-to is Stocksy, an artist-run cooperative with a high-quality collection of stock photography.
  • Like Stocksy, Pixabay— a favorite of Clement—has plenty of excellent stock photography on offer, with a collection numbering in the millions.
  • Tonl focuses on stock photography that features culturally diverse people, places, and traditions.
  • Canva offers thousands of attractive deck templates for marketers who may not have an in-house design team.

“Including on-brand visuals in your decks helps people take you seriously. Good branding is everything.” 

Porsha Thomas
Mailchimp partner and founder of GOWRKGRLS

Offer options

Whatever your business, you probably offer multiple services or skills, and your pricing should reflect that. In our last Benchmark Report, responding freelancers who said they offer prospective clients 3 pricing tiers said they picked up 20% more new business on average compared to respondents who reported offering a single option.

This means that regardless of the business you’re pitching, you might benefit from offering different price points or fee structures for different service levels.

Porsha, for example, gives her clients different price points for consulting (where she helps her clients solve the problem) and coaching (where she teaches them to solve it themselves).

Similarly, Nicolai Froehlich, Mailchimp pro partner, and owner of Happiness Marketing creates flexible, transparent pricing models appropriate to the type of work. As part of his pricing breakdown, he lets his clients know exactly what he’ll be providing at every step of their journey together. “I offer prices for 1-time and ongoing services, and a total for the full package with a monthly breakdown, too.”

This level of pricing transparency does more than help make projects run smoother: It can help build mutual trust, too.

Stay on schedule

It’s unlikely your pitch is the only thing on your prospective client’s calendar that day, so make sure to be respectful of their time. Keeping your pitch clear and concise can be a difficult balance to achieve: Too little information, and you’ll leave them wanting more. Too much, and they may get restless.

How do you find the sweet spot? To keep her presentations concise, Porsha employs the eyeball test: If a slide looks copy-heavy or the design is off, she changes it until she feels everything looks right, noting that the copy should be skimmable. Similarly, Nicolai recommends keeping pitch deck copy short, adding that the ideas presented should be actionable, not abstract.

Clement agrees, but warns not to make things too short. “We minimize bullets as much as possible,” says Clement, “but we prioritize making sense.” Plus, he adds, “Short, stubby sentences can end up feeling sale-sy.”

When in doubt, try limiting your slides to no more than 6 bullet points per slide, and no more than 6 words per point. This tip can help distill each part of your pitch down to what’s essential, which can help you and your prospective clients focus on your presentation.

Broadcast the benefits

If you’re a Mailchimp expert, you’ve already tapped into Mailchimp as a powerful tool to help small businesses achieve their goals and build their business. Don’t forget to share some of your expert knowledge during your pitch to help excite your potential client about what you can do together.

For example, you can show them the benefits of email automation, how our platform supports seamless integrations with other industry-leading platforms that can ensure smooth onboarding, and how Mailchimp’s content optimizer can improve your messaging with data-driven suggestions, plus lots more. Share how Mailchimp has helped you deliver for clients just like them—and how you can do the same for their business.

Putting it all together

While there’s a lot more to winning new business than a smart, visually-appealing deck, it’s still one of your best tools that can help you make a great first impression with prospective clients. We hope these tips will help inspire you to make your next pitch your best one yet.

Sign up for Mailchimp & Co and get access to our pitch deck toolkit and other exclusive resources that can help your business grow, so that you can learn how to deliver your best work and win over your next prospective client.

Sign up for Mailchimp & Co and get access to our pitch deck toolkit and other exclusive resources that can help your business grow, so that you can learn how to deliver your best work and win over your next prospective client.

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