Presentation software is an excellent option for small businesses that are looking to share information in a more interesting way than traditional word documents and pamphlets. Having a visual aid offers a more stimulating presentation of ideas and can help you deliver your message with ease, even to large crowds. However, if you’re new to presentation software, it can be tough to know where to start.
While there is a huge list of presentation software available, three of the most popular options are PowerPoint, SlideRocket, and Prezi. In this article we will briefly discuss the benefits of each and feature a business that has successfully used that presentation software in the past. Knowing about the options and successes should help you discover what presentation software will work best for your small business.
If you’re completely new to presentation software, PowerPoint is a great place to start out. One of the main benefits is that it is so wide spread. As part of Microsoft Office, it comes automatically with programs like Word and Excel, so there is a good chance it is already on your computer. Because it is widespread, many people already have some level of familiarity with it. Plus, it’s fairly user friendly, so you can be a self-taught PowerPoint user in a very short amount of time.
As a drawback, PowerPoint does not have the range of advanced options that other presentation software products have, like increased customization, visuals and animations. Further, since the presentation is stored on your computer, it can be harder to collaborate on a presentation with other users at remote locations, versus cloud-based presentation software. Finally, the file size is quite large, making it difficult to email files back and forth.
Despite the drawbacks, Kristin Buckholz, a Marketing Coordinator at MultiAd, decided that PowerPoint was the best option for her business. MultiAd is marketing company that is thoroughly involved in all aspects of the marketing process, including creating, organizing and distributing marketing content. Kristin decided on PowerPoint because it is a stable program for the business that most people have some familiarity with. Having sensitive client information on a website/cloud tool was not a secure option, so PowerPoint was the perfect choice. In addition, Kristin points out that PowerPoint can be used as a graphic design tool and not just a presentation tool, giving it more flexibility.
During her time at MultiAd, Kristin has been able to use PowerPoint to gain many new clients, as well as retain clients as they went through the renewal process. The presentations have become a staple for their sales, as they make visits to client’s offices to present a pitch. PowerPoint slides are also used to distribute the company’s message at trade shows.
SlideRocket is an online presentation tool, and as such, one of its benefits is the fact that the information is stored online. Because of online cloud-based storage, SlideRocket allows users to collaborate on a presentation even if they are working from different locations. It is user-friendly like PowerPoint, and even allows you to import existing PowerPoint presentations, or create your own from scratch.
The flexibility of online presentation software comes with some downsides. It’s not the best format for sensitive information, and working on or actually presenting your slides will require an internet connection. SlideRocket does give you the option of downloading your presentation and using it offline, but you have to pay for this feature, as well as other features that are not available in the basic, free edition.
Alicia Phillips handled the marketing responsibilities at an eight-location car dealership group. Needing a presentation software to efficiently do her job, she researched various options and ultimately decided on SlideRocket. She chose SlideRocket because it was essential for her to reach numerous parties in various locations, and she didn’t want to clog up everyone’s emails with large PowerPoint attachments. The active hyperlink associated with her presentations allowed for quick viewing and sharing. Plus, when post-publishing changes to the document are made, the presentation is automatically updated for everyone, eliminating the need to re-send the material.
Alicia successfully used SlideRocket in many aspects of her job. The leader of a ten-person team, she used SlideRocket presentations for training purposes. Having the information online made it easy for everyone to access the presentation one day in advance, giving everyone a head-start to the material and allowing for a greater discussion time during the training session. In addition, SlideRocket allowed Alicia to quickly and easily conduct monthly Marketing Updates & Reviews. She found SlideRocket to be the best way to deliver uniform information to large numbers of people.
Prezi is the newest software of those we’ve discussed and it has a very different take on how presentation software should work. Unlike other slide-based presentation tools, Prezi takes a non-linear approach by giving you a blank canvas on which you can add content anywhere. Other features allow you to incorporate movement and zooming in on the presentation for a more stimulating show. Prezi is web-based and completely free. In all, it allows you to give unique presentations that can quickly win over audiences.
With all the benefits of Prezi, there also are some downsides. There is a steeper learning curve when it comes to using Prezi, so it will take longer to learn and perfect it, which may be a hindrance if you need to complete your presentation quickly. Using options like movements is nice, but if you go too far and include too much you risk making your audience dizzy. Finally, because it is a web-based presentation tool, you will need to have internet access to create and deliver your presentation.
Ryan Hamilton and his business partner Bret Faber created the toy wholesale company Geared for Imagination in 2009 (the same year Prezi came out). They create and discover a range of children’s toys and have introduced several different lines of products including Topozoo, wooden 3D animal puzzles for kids. It was when they were promoting Topozoo that they started to use Prezi. They chose this presentation software over the others because innovative features allowed them to tell the Topozoo story in the most compelling way.
Ryan and Geared for Imagination started using a Prezi presentation to introduce Topozoo toys at trade shows. The toys are hard to categorize and explain, but Prezi allowed them to clearly demonstrate how the toy worked, and deliver the message in an interesting way. They continued to use the Topozoo Prezi presentation as their company began to take off. Using it in sales pitches to Whole Foods and The Smithsonian, their attractive and persuasive Prezi pitch convinced buyers from both companies to begin selling Topozoo.
Clearly there are great aspects to all three of these presentation software options. The key is finding the one that best meets the needs of your business and has downsides that you can live with. We hope the information we’ve provided will help you choose the best presentation software for you. The success stories should give you new ideas about how presentation software can help your business, and motivate your own presentation-based success.