10 Hacks To Build A Great PowerPoint Presentation

Surprisingly Easy PowerPoint HacksDo you have Slideshare envy? Where so many of the presentations clearly are designed by graphic artists and the presentations are beautiful?

In the business world, of course, we don’t have the luxury of building a deck that is completely graphic. Our presentations have to deliver everything from our business vision to product pricing without the benefit of a designer to build our decks.

Not having a designer is no excuse for a terrible presentation

Not having a designer is no excuse for a terrible presentationYour presentations are a reflection of you and your company. Want to instantly lose credibility? Share a presentation that is dense with words, in different fonts and full of misspellings. No matter how good you are on your feet, you’ll leave your audience with a poor impression.

A lot of people tell me tell me that PowerPoint sucks. I think they are shooting the messenger but maybe they are right because – unfortunately – PowerPoint doesn’t write the presentation for us.

One sales vp told me that that she’d rather have her buyer looking at her products instead of a slide. Her point is well taken but a well-crafted PowerPoint presentation can frame the conversation, document the meeting and set-up key questions. Not surprisingly, the more presentations we built together, the more she wanted to use PowerPoint because of how the buyers were responding.

What makes a GREAT PowerPoint presentation?

  1. Presentation Success With These PowerPoint HacksKeep it short – a good rule of thumb is 1 slide for every 2 minutes of presentation time
  2. Give your slides (and message) a personality that runs through the entire presentation
  3. Tell a story, don’t just dump data
  4. Connect with the pain point of your audience and share your solution on how you will solve it
  5. Use photos to help bring your message to life or embed video to help communicate more robustly
  6. Use short bullets to convey the idea – don’t write a book or a script to read
  7. Don’t be afraid of color or a larger font to make a key point
  8. Don’t get cute –animation sounds and slide transitions are very distracting. Keep the focus on you and your message
  9. Don’t use busy backgrounds and design templates
  10. Be ruthless and consistent. Every slide should make a critical point and all the slides should present information in the same way

PowerPoint Hacks For Better PresentationA word of advice: practice with your presentation beforehand. You’ll feel more confident, know when and how to address each slide and it will help you consider the order of your slides more carefully. No one can follow a presenter who’s flipping slides forward and backwards to try and show something addressed later in the presentation.

It’s going too far to say a great presentation makes the sale but it uses the same components – a compelling story backed with strong proof points and powerful visuals – that you and the sales team use to build your business.

Good Selling!

Build Your Content Marketing Using Rubbermaid’s 7-Step Strategy

Content Marketing Like RubbermaidBuilding materials are not bought as often as shampoo or other FMCG products. Especially big-ticket items like roofing, siding and windows.

As a result, there’s little brand preference and sense by consumers that a lot of research needs to be done to learn about choices and options before the first dime is spent. Most of that research is done on the internet.

Google even wrote a book about it, calling this online decision-making moment the Zero Moment of Truth — or simply ZMOT.   (Follow this link to download both the ZMOT eBook and handbook from Google.)

You can use content marketing to give consumers a rich education in your product category and build brand preference despite a lack of familiarity with the project.

Use content marketing to stand out and gain preference by helping consumers become educated and knowledgeable about your category

UI-01-060514-175.jpgEven companies as sophisticated at marketing as Rubbermaid can be guilty of wanting to give a lot of product details at the expense of project insights.

But with complex projects – like designing, buying and installing a new closet system – consumers wanted a lot more information about what would be involved to build out a closet that matched their needs or dreams.

A few years ago, Rubbermaid did not have a presence on the web for its closet or garage product lines beyond showing the individual products available. Research showed, however, that consumers found organizing closets to be overwhelming and they had identified the web as a key resource for finding information about closets systems and how-to project advice to gain the confidence to select and purchase.

7 simple steps to building a ZMOT strategy like Rubbermaid did

zmotYou can build an online strategy educates consumers and builds project confidence in seven steps.

  1. Create a micro-site for each key product segment. That will allow you to highlight the features & benefits of your product systems, show project photos and answer common questions.
  2. Develop an online product selection configurator or design tool for each product segment to make product selection and design simple. Make sure it provides a SKU specific shopping list for consumers to take with them to the store.
  3. Maximize “findability” with SEO and key words search terms through search engines and utilize elements, especially video, that could be used on YouTube and other sites to generate additional traffic.
  4. Create a “where to buy” function to allow customers to find the closest retailer or installing dealer.
  5. Build content rich pages for all of your online key online retailers. Repurpose all the content you have generated for yourself for their websites.
  6. Create a blog and prominently feature your core product lines in it.
    Use partnerships and guest blogs from industry pros or key trade organizations to build added credibility.
  7. Finally, promote your blog and rich content extensively on social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

Content marketing is a key way of building your brand preference by helping consumers become educated and knowledgeable about your category

OnlineShoppingFeatureImgKeyboardUsing a content marketing strategy will not only draw more consumers to your website, but you will be arming them with project information instead of product specs simply by utilizing the web as your call to action in ads, PR and merchandising.

The end result will be consumers spent more time with your brand, more confidence in the project and, most importantly, more product sales through online and in-store retailers.

Good Selling!

Photo credit: Patrick Gensel/Flick

Active Search Results (ASR) is an independent Internet Search Engine using a proprietary page ranking technology with Millions of popular Web sites indexed.

Are You Giving the CEO and CFO a Reason to Invest In Marketing?

SSS LogosIf you’re fluent in marketing speak, then there’s a good chance the CEO and the CFO have no idea what you’re saying when you are discussing how you’re going to drive your business with marketing.  Worse, it may sound like fluff if you can’t talk to them in concrete terms they understand.  The last thing you want to be seen as is the team with the biggest discretionary spend in the organization.  Because when times get tight, those budgets will be the first to get slashed.

Sound like a CEO with simple message: Drive more sales

One thing that CEO’s do better than almost anyone in the organization is take complex ideas and simplify them into something that can be communicated – and repeated – consistently in the organization.  So let’s take a page from their playbook…by taking complex ideas like integrated marketing communication strategies and reducing it to a concept that can be understood by everyone from the CEO down.

Better yet, you can shift the conversations around your integrated marketing communication plans from sounding fluffy to a powerful tool that sounds a lot more like it can deliver the results the company needs…literally more sales.

Keeping it simple with Steer, Stop and Sell

Drawing from the KISS model (Keep It Simple, Stupid), you can express your integrated marketing plan as nothing more complicated than:

  • Steer
  • Stop
  • Sell

Obviously the CEO and CFO want to know how you’re going to deliver against these ideas.  Now at least you have their attention.  There’s no need to discuss addressable markets or what your awareness or trial plans are first…now they are an outgrowth of how you are going to Steer, Stop and Sell to retailers and shoppers.

The power of Steer, Stop and Sell

Each of these words can become part of a sentence to further explain what you mean.  For example:

  • We Steer consumers to our category and brand
  • We Stop them at the shelf (or on the web) and reinforce why we are the brand of choice
  • We Sell more shoppers by moving them from consideration to purchase

Make the connection

Here’s a brief snapshot of how the components of Steer, Stop and Sell can work together to build a clear and simple way of showing the power of your marketing.  After each step is an example to show how it comes to life as part of your marketing plan.


  • Driving more consumers to the category, brand and key retailers
  • Raising awareness, consideration, and preference for our brand
  • Using the web, social media and national promotions to engage interested consumers and drive traffic to retail

Steer graph


  • Improving consumer education and understanding of our products
  • Reinforcing why our brand is the only choice for shoppers
  • Informing and directing interested consumers to seek our products on the web and at retail

Stop graph


  • Driving sales by converting consumers from prospects to buyers
  • Making our products more noticeable and compelling through effective packaging and in-store merchandising
  • Delivering on our brand promise, quality and value

Sell graph

Show the power of your Steer, Stop and Sell path

Steer-Stop-Sell graphSteer, Stop and Sell lets you make the connection for the CEO and CFO in a way that they can relate to – by demonstrating how your marketing is going to work to drive sales.  In bringing your programs to life and creating deliberate links showing how the components of your spend are working together, your CEO and CFO can move from being baffled to being your advocate.