I can’t believe we’re less than a week away from WWDC. I think I’m ready! I’ve had the requisite discussions with friends and family about what I hope will happen (an iMac Pro announcement, a refreshed MacBook and MacBook Pro line, new operating systems across the board), my bags are packed, and I have my App Launch Map elevator pitch prepared and practiced!
Let’s talk about that last item a little bit. Developing your elevator pitch is important, whether or not you’re going to WWDC.
What is an elevator pitch?
The premise of an elevator pitch is simple: make sure that you can tell someone about your idea, business, or app in a short period of time (such as the amount of time you’d spend on an elevator ride). When people think of elevator pitches they usually think of large-scale opportunities, like pitching a movie or trying to convince venture capitalists to buy into a multi-million dollar startup. Those of you reading this probably aren’t in that boat, but it’s important for you to have an elevator pitch nonetheless.
While most people say elevator pitches should be under a minute long, I recommend something a little different. Write your pitch down and keep it a sentence or two. Sixty seconds is a pretty long time to explain something in a busy environment; limiting your pitch to a few sentences will help keep your audience’s attention from straying.
Writing your pitch makes it simple to rehearse. Being able to recite your pitch consistently each and every time you give it is important, as the last thing you want to do is stumble or say the wrong thing when your time is limited. Best of all, if you write your elevator pitch, you can reuse it easily instead of reinventing the wheel every time.
Why your elevator pitch matters
There are three major reasons to develop a succinct summary of your app and how it can help people:
First, you’ll get your point across in as little time as possible, which is vital at events like WWDC. There are dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people to talk to in between sessions and events, and there isn’t always time to explain things in-depth. People often get pulled away in the middle of conversations, so it’s vital that you give people an exciting overview of your project in the short time you have available.
Second, you’ll show that you have a clear understanding of what you’re doing and how your app is valuable to others. Don’t expect other people to figure out what your app does if you’re not sure! After you develop your elevator pitch, you’ll feel more confident about what you’re selling and the people you talk to will feel confident in your abilities. You’re selling yourself just as much as your app. Make a good impression.
Third, you’ll be able to use your pitch in other situations. It might be the inspiration for your marketing materials or the explanation you send tech journalists in advance of your release. Doing this work now means that you’ll have less to do later, when it’s crunch time.
Crafting a great elevator pitch
The great thing about developing your elevator pitch is that you’re already half done. What do you tell people about your app now? Write that down. That’s your raw material. Now refine and condense it into a couple sentences at most.
Remember to focus on benefits, not features. “16 GB of memory” is a feature, and most people don’t know or care what that means. “You can keep more apps open without things slowing down” is the benefit, and that’s something people do care about.
It may seem strange to spend so much time and effort on what will amount to only a sentence or two, but this is time and energy well spent. Think about it from the perspective of people you’re going to be talking to. For many of them this sentence or two is going to be the only thing they know about you and your app, so you’d better make it sound good.
If you’ll be at WWDC or nearby conferences, I’d love to hear your elevator pitch! Right now, I know I’ll be at the following events:
- Sunday night’s pre-release screening of App: The Human Story, benefiting App Camp for Girls
- Monday night’s Relay FM Meetup
- Wednesday night’s James Dempsey and the Breakpoints concert, benefiting App Camp For Girls
- Layers design conference
I’m also going to do a limited free App Store reviews for developers on Thursday; details to be determined. Follow App Launch Map on Twitter for information as it becomes available!