Why the cover slide is so important in pitch decks? This is a question few people ask themselves which is a missed out opportunity.
If you see the importance, and impact it can have for good or bad, what should be on it, and how do you make the most of it?
Typically the cover slide sets up the expectations. Think about the cover slide as a trailer of a movie. Before you watch the movie you take a peek at the trailer. Same thing with a cover slide. It helps the investor to understand what they are about to review.
The Science Of First Impressions
What you do up to getting your cover slide in front of potential investors for your startup is certainly vital too. You’ve got to make a good enough impression and be able to create enough urgency and interest to get them to even open up or click the link to your startup’s pitch deck. That includes your first outreach, your subject line, you email or DM body, and even your social profile and email address.
Most investors are going to be looking at many, many decks before they even short list any of those. Even those that get a meeting will mostly hear “no.” We are talking about hundreds of noes for each yes and check they write.
For active investors that is a whole lot of pitch decks they need to look at. In order for them to be efficient with their time, and get down to making the deals they want to, which are going to help their own metrics and profits, they have to be very selective with their time. Even decks they like may just get 2-3 minutes of their time. That means they are likely to toss and delete a lot of pitches just based on the cover slide. Make sure yours isn’t one of them.
According to the Institute for Organization Management of the US Chamber of Commerce, 55% of a first impression is visual. Next most important is the way and tone that something is said, at 38%. So, even when pitching in person, the visuals and tone is much more important than what you are saying.
When you are looking into why the cover slide is so important in pitch decks, keep in mind that according to Forbes contributor Serenity Gibbons and The Association For Psychological Science, first impressions are formed far faster than you think. Just a 10th of a second to determine traits like trustworthiness, and just 50 milliseconds to form an opinion based on a website. That may not even be long enough to fully read a tagline or the rest of the content on your cover slide.
So, when it comes to cover slides it is wise to think about the details, and psychology, and to really keep it clean and focused, so that investors pick up on the impression you really want to convey.
Keep in mind that in fundraising storytelling is everything. In this regard for a winning pitch deck to help you here, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
What Should Be On Your Pitch Deck Cover Slide?
What does your company name say about this opportunity? What is the first impression it will give during an investor meeting?
This is your opportunity to sum up your business in a single sentence. This may be the best lever you have to get them to open and start swiping through the rest of your deck, or drop it in the trash folder.
The font, colors and imagery all instantly convey volumes about your startup. It is worth thinking it through from the investors’ perspective. What is going to give them the first impression that you are going to become their next hit startup, based upon what they’ve seen before in the market and their own portfolios?
Your name, business address, phone number, email address and Linkedin handle also say a lot. How can you optimism these factors for a superior first impression?
This should be a picture showing your product or service in action that is self-explanatory. Possible the most important thing when addressing why the cover slide is so important in pitch decks.
The Cover Slide & Capability
The uncomfortable truth is that ideas are cheap. They are infinite. The difference in a startup that can make it and is fundable, is that they have a strong, capable team. In milliseconds your cover slide demonstrates an enormous amount about your capability. Here are just some of those ways.
Nailing The Marketing Pitch
Make no mistake that your fundraising pitch is one of the greatest marketing tests of your business. It also directly shows how capable you are at marketing your business, brand, and product to consumers and partners.
Presentation is important. So, is proving through this that you also have a great handle on the market, your target customers and the marketing you will do for acquiring customers. This shows up in your research, marketing plan, traction, marketing ROI and unit economics, as well as your fundraising ask and what you say you will do with the money.
If you haven’t hired a CMO or marketing and sales talent yet, then this is a good time to at least bring in someone freelance to nail it for your pitch deck and presentation.
While there is certainly a lot of poor and misinformation out there online, it really doesn’t require a big investment to find out what really works when it comes to pitch decks and to find a proven template.
Showing up with a strong cover slide that checks the boxes shows that you are coachable, are able to seek great advice and listen. That is one of the most essential traits of entrepreneurs that have what it takes to make it, and investors want to work with.
Think about it. If you are too stubborn to do this for creating your pitch deck and presenting to them, how are they supposed to believe you’ll show up in the right way when it comes to everything else.
In the video below I also cover the pitch deck outline.
The Cover Vs. Closing Slide
The closing slide is your chance to leave a strong impression. Use it to thank them and close with those strong elements from your cover so that they can follow through, take action and contact you.
Hopefully this post provided you with some perspective as you are looking into why the cover slide is so important in pitch decks.
You may find interesting as well our free library of business templates. There you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.