Live or automated, your presentation slides (or “deck,” if you must) is the heart of your webinar.
It’s the roadmap for your whole presentation. It keeps you grounded, on track, and moving steadily towards the goal (that’d be sales conversions). Nailing the slides is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your webinar engages the audience.
So let’s nail it.
According to my stats page on WebinarNinja, I’ve given over 500 webinars (and that’s not including pre-WebinarNinja webinars). So creating these presentations has become second nature. But that second nature was developed over hundreds of attempts, mostly godawful ones at first.
Eventually, though, I figured out a formula that works.
Now that I have it down to something like a science, let’s explore the structure, key elements, and flow of a slide presentation that keeps the audience enraptured — all the way up to the part where they click on that offer.
Creating Webinar Presentation Slideshow Flow
Before I got into the SaaS game, I was a teacher. One thing I took away from that was a hard-earned understanding of how to package and present information in a way that leads to a desired outcome. Structure is everything, and that requires a little pre-planning.
Before you even open PowerPoint or Keynote, outline your entire presentation from start to finish. Create a Google or Word doc, or just get one of those slices of deceased tree people used to write on before the future started. Then, map it out.
For a good template, here’s the slideshow structure I recommend. It’s designed for maximum engagement, retention of information, and likelihood of follow-through on your CTA or offer:
The Webinar Title Slide
It’s First Impression time. The opening slide should have the following elements:
- The webinar title, duh. For tips on nailing that part, see this post. The title should be the most prominent thing, but not just because it’s the title slide. The title is your promise, the reason attendees came, the solution to their pain point. Make it clear you intend to follow through on your promise, and you pre-engage the audience.
- Your company name and logo (see the “Branding Your Slides” section below for more on that).
- Your company URL.
The Webinar “Table of Contents,” so to speak
This is where you lay out exactly what attendees can expect. In bullet points, list the learning outcomes of the webinar — this is how you expand and get specific on the “promise” of the webinar title.
Also include a bullet about the “offer” portion, assuming you intend to make one. I always, always recommend being up front about the fact that in addition to teaching, you’ll also be selling.
This. Is. Crucial.
Ambushing attendees with an offer does not create trust. Instead, assure them that you are there to give them something first, and that 90% of the webinar will be about fulfilling the title promise, not opening wallets.
You will earn the right to make your pitch by delivering on the value your attendees came for.
Also mention Q&A time, which should be towards the end of the webinar. Assure attendees that the webinar won’t just be a lecture; it will be a conversation (this applies only to live webinars, naturally. For automated webinars, make it clear how attendees can submit questions for you to address later.)
Your “About” Slide
This is where many hosts run into trouble. It can be very tempting to blather on about oneself, listing your accomplishments and “sharing your journey.” Not that you shouldn’t do those things; stating your qualifications is key to your credibility, and journey-sharing is crucial to making a personal connection.
But too much of either will quickly turn people off.
Keep this part short and sweet, and remember that most of your attendees are patiently waiting for you to deliver on the promise. They don’t give a squirrel’s tail how proud you are of yourself, or where you spent your vacation. There’s a fine line between being relatable and being off-topic.
In as few words as possible, convey what matters to attendees: the reasons your advice is worth taking.
The Meat: Creating Webinar Instructional Slides
These are the meat of the presentation, the goods. Now, we often think “more is better,” and therefore more information is more valuable. But we have to remember one thing: attendees can only use the amount of information that they can process and retain.
That means stripping it down.
As I discuss in this post, your webinar should be very narrowly focused in the first place. Think How to Build 10 Pounds of Lean Muscle in 6 Months, not How to Get In Shape. But beyond that, your instructional slides should be limited to what an average person can actually keep in their brain long enough to act on.
I recommend the “5 & 3” system: five steps or main lessons, with 3 sub-steps or tips for each. You can even structure your slides that way; 5 slides on 5 steps, with 3 specifics on each slide.
If you’re worried that 5 x 3 sounds like it’s not “enough,” remember this: your attendees don’t want information. They want a result. The fewer steps it takes to get there, the more confident they’ll be in your advice, because it’s more actionable. That’s sales-driving trust.
Don't Forget the Testimonials
Say it with me: social proof. You can be compelling. Your instructions can be understandable and actionable. You can have experience and accolades. But nothing convinces people to buy like user reviews.
It’s the 21st century. Consumers don’t trust salespeople. They don’t even trust “influencers” and “thought leaders” that much. We trust fellow consumers, above all. That’s why Amazon is so effective: every product page is an easily-perusable wealth of reviews from people like you (and...y’know...other people, too).
In other words, don’t expect your audience to take your word for it. Give them someone else’s.
A testimonial page should include 3 things:
- A short quote that makes your product/service sound effective and wonderful.
- The name of the person whose quote it is (and a pic, if possible).
- The person’s company, or some other “consumer credential” that establishes the quotee as credible.
So for example:
“Pet Style Coach helped me take my labradoodle’s holiday sweater game to the next level, and 4 of my 6 guinea pigs can pull off black tie. Now I have TOO many offers from pet food companies.”
You’ll want to spread the testimonial slides out, placing them in different parts of the webinar where they’re most relevant. That will depend on your business and the testimonials you have. I like to “sandwich” my testimonials slides around the slide that includes my offer for maximum effect.
Bring it home: The Offer Slide
And here it is. The part where all your webinaring (literally) pays off. At this point, you should have given your attendees all the value they came for, and fulfilled your promise to empower them. Now, they trust you enough to be open to an offer.
Include three things on this slide:
- The offer, in as few words as possible. “6 months of coaching for $XXX”
- A bonus. “Sign up today and get 2 months free!”
- Whatever info is needed to redeem the offer/bonus, either by following a link, entering a coupon code, etc.
Keep it minimalist and to the point. Emphasize the value of the specific offer, not the value of the product — that should already have been implied by the lesson.
Not much to this one. Just create a branded slide to mark the point in the presentation where you open the floor to questions.
Thank You Slide
The final slide, where you express your gratitude for everyone who stayed to the end. To get the last bit of juice out of this webinar for your business, include the following:
- An expression of gratitude (“Thank you” tends to work, but feel free to get creative.)
- An email address for post-webinar questions or concerns
- Instructions for accessing the replay (live webinars only)
- Instructions on accessing your offer, again
For live webinars, the replay part is especially crucial — you’ll find a significant percentage of registrants skip the live show and convert on the replay.
Tips on Branding Your Slides
“Branding” is a nebulous concept that involves the full spectrum of human-company interaction. Words, ideas, shapes, colors, it’s all part of the subconscious seduction that is marketing.
All of which is a wildly pretentious way of saying that your slides have to look like your own, even when you use a template.
Every slide should include your logo (You have one of those right? If not, check out 99 Designs). On the title slide, go big, literally. Have a large version of it, centrally located above or below the title itself. Stamp that baby right onto the frontal lobe of your attendees while the greatest number of them are still there, getting excited about the title’s promise.
On subsequent slides, I recommend leaving a smaller logo discreetly (but not too discreetly) in one corner. Alternatively, if you want to get bougie, you can keep a watermark of your logo in the background of each slide, if possible.
You’ll also want to keep your brand’s color scheme consistently woven throughout the slides. As long as it’s reading-friendly and visually appealing, I recommend your company’s primary color be the background color of each slide, with any secondary colors reserved for other details.
Be careful, though, not to challenge the audience’s eyes. Red and blue, for example, don’t get along well visually, especially on a computer screen. When in doubt, just include the primary background color, and let other details like the font be a neutral white.
And speaking of which, don’t use a plain white background. Visually, it comes off as neutral to the point of unfinished, even unprofessional. Middle school teachers use white slides, not entrepreneurs!
Nothing against middle school teachers, btw.
A Final Note on Creating Webinar Presentation Slides
With slides as with most marketing materials, the fewer words, the better. The words on your slides should be a jumping off point, not a script. You can actually create a script for yourself, but don’t sound too “readerly” when you speak.
Think of the slides as guideposts for a conversation.
Always remember to see things from attendees’ perspective. As someone who’s sat through many a terrible presentation, I can tell you nothing is worse than being read to. If you read, attendees will only wonder why you can’t just send them the thing you’re reading! It totally negates the value of a spoken presentation.
Put the effort into your slides, and they’ll reward you. They’ll give you the confidence to relax, speak naturally, and let yourself shine — which is the whole point of a great webinar.
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