Software programs such as PowerPoint (or Keynote or OpenOffice or Google Docs) can create slick digital slideshows to show off your work. Unfortunately, these programs are often used to show text and bullet points when, instead, they can be powerful visual communication tools. Neuroscientists call it the visual superiority effect - essentially pictures trump all other forms of communication.
Another way to think about slideshow design is to relate it to sales brochures. Just as with brochures, make sure every slide is visually stimulating and leads into the next slide to keep your audience interested. Leverage this idea of slideshows as digital sales brochures when you work on your next marketing presentation by using the tips below.
Full Slide Graphics
Let the pictures speak for themselves. Use full-bleed graphics that go all the way to the edges of the slides in your presentation. Don't put a picture in a box inside the box of the slide. That creates visual barriers and makes people feel separated from the image - like they're looking at it through a window. Instead, use full screen graphics to draw viewers into the images.
Don't use clip art. Don't use low-resolution photos. And don't use cheesy snapshots from your camera phone. The difference between a well-framed photo and an amateur picture is painfully clear. You can drastically improve the photos you take with a quick primer on taking photos from your local community college, or invest in the work of a professional to showcase the work you're doing.
Create Different Media
Most slideshow software will let you save the file as a PDF so you can share it freely without the recipients being able to edit it. Use PDFs for email campaigns instead of sending a proprietary slideshow file that might not work on your customer's computer.
If your slideshow software allows it (PowerPoint, for example, does), save the slideshow as a video. Then you can keep any transitions and animations that you've put into the presentation, and you can even do a voiceover or add music to the slides. Upload the video to YouTube so it can go viral!
Don't Ignore Print
Print brochures and digital brochures aren't in competition. You can use them together to great effect. In other words, use your slideshow as a basis for your printed brochure design or vice versa. Then include a QR code (the square barcodes) in your print brochure to quickly link smartphone users to your online video with more images. You can also include a static link in your printed brochure that points to dynamic content online. So you might put the site address "mybusiness.com/seasonal" in the brochure and then you can upload a slideshow to your site for each season's products.
A slideshow can be a powerful marketing tool. Just make sure yours is the best it can be so that your digital sales brochure actually creates conversions.