by Eric Hinson
Few things in this world can induce the kind of jitters, cold sweat, and sheer terror caused by the possibility of pitching your startup to a VC. This is your baby, after all. Your big idea. And lined up in front of you and behind you are dozens – maybe hundreds – of other startups, ready to pitch their big ideas to the same VC.
Even worse? It’s a buyer’s market. Which means that VC you’re about to pitch to has the luxury of being choosy. Which means you’d better make this good.
You see, it’s not just about having the best idea or business model – both of which are of course important! Your pitch’s success also rests on presentation. How do you stand out from the entrepreneurial crowd as a unique voice that deserves to be heard – and funded?
I’d recommend video.
It may seem counterintuitive, but there are some really great reasons to make a short brand video before you land funding – in fact, it might even help you close that Series A. Let’s look at four ways an explainer video could help your pitch hit home.
1. Your Pitch – Refined and Perfected.
For a lot of entrepreneurs, their first few pitches are a wash. Your pitch isn’t perfect, and it takes a few trial-and-error meetings to figure out what sticks. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Why waste your initial pitches trying to refine your message?
A great video storytelling company can see your UVP and your story a lot more clearly than you can – like they say, you can’t read the label from inside the bottle. A really great video production company will dig in to your company and your vision, and help you craft an amazing story before you ever set foot in a meeting. If you work with a company that really knows what it’s doing, they’ll be able to understand what you do, offer mind-blowing insights on how to make that message stick, and then package it into a top-notch video.
Not only have they helped you discover your best story, they’ve also given you a pitch that you can use anytime, anywhere. Takes a lot of the pressure off, right?
Odds are you’re not going to pitch your startup to just one VC. More likely, you’re going to be pitching to potential investor after potential investor. A lot of these VCs know each other, and there’s a good chance they’ll talk about you. So why not give them something to talk about?
When you tell your story with video, you create something memorable and shareable. Even if they don’t remember exactly what you said, your audience will still remember you as “that guy with the video.” Do you see what just happened? You immediately became 10x more memorable. There’s a conversation around what you do. And it’s that top-of-mind status that gets you the traction you need to close the deal.
This one actually works on a couple of levels. For one thing, video gives you an air of authority because people trust video. Without it you’re just a guy with a powerpoint and an idea; with it, you’re suddenly an expert. The real deal. When you have a high-quality video that tells people what you’re about, they’re more likely to sit up and listen. This applies even more so if you haven’t nailed a meeting to your calendar yet. If you have just a moment to get a VC’s attention, what’s going to rope them in more effectively than a video in a sea of powerpoints?
But on a deeper level, video gives you authority because it gives you power. Think about this: When you walk into a pitch meeting, you have to get your audience’s attention. You have to do something to earn that VC’s interest. And the VC can either choose to give his or her attention, or withhold it. You can deliver a better pitch to increase your chances of getting their attention, but at the end of the day it’s out of control. The power’s in their hands.
With a video, though, you completely turn the tables on this dynamic. Whether they see it in or out of your pitch, your video demands a VCs attention. I’m sure there’s the rare outlier who won’t be phased by your video, but the vast majority of people won’t be able to avoid perking up and paying attention. You’ve earned your audience’s interest, and all you had to do was press play. Anything you say after your video will have more immediacy, more weight, and more impact. Take advantage of that!
4. Brand Lift
Naturally, your pitch to a VC has to be great. You have to be confident, well-spoken, and organized. Not only that, you’ve got to be engaging and memorable. But really, no matter how great your numbers, how perfect your powerpoint, or how compelling your tagline, at the end of the day you’re still just one in a crowd of entrepreneurs, each with their own sleek powerpoints and perfectly practiced pitches.
This is where video comes in. You see, at this point, when you pitch to a VC, you’re an individual with an idea. You might even have a website, but websites are frequently vague, and the VC doesn’t hear about your company until you open your mouth. With a video, though, suddenly the VC has access to your brand’s story. Suddenly your brand has developed an identity. Suddenly the VC can relate your incredible pitch to your incredible company. By investing in video, you’re utilizing materials to sell your premium product or service.
I’ve focused on the ways an explainer video can help you knock your pitch out of the park. But while this is huge, there’s a whole other audience your video can help you reach: your potential customers. Explainer videos have been shown time and again to boost sales, increase conversions, and lift brands into the stratosphere. So if you invest in video now, while you’re working hard to close funding, it will pay dividends in the future, when you’re ready to offer your product or service to the world.