How To
11 min read

How to Write an Effective Elevator Pitch

Kevin Jusino

October 21, 2022

Whether you’re a college student or a corporate executive, knowing how to deliver an elevator pitch is essential for getting any business idea off the ground.

This short description can be considered a "blurb" for your business, much like the one you would read on the back cover of a novel at a bookstore. 

However, not every elevator pitch is automatically successful. 

Yours needs to be clear, concise, and interesting enough to capture the attention of potential investors or customers and convince them to "buy your book.”

The process may seem daunting, but it can be pretty simple if you follow a few essential guidelines. In this blog post, we’ll teach you how to write an elevator pitch that helps your business thrive!

What is an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch is a short, compelling presentation that can be delivered in the short span of time it takes to ride an elevator with someone. It describes your business, service, product, or idea in a way that makes listeners want to learn more and get involved.

The thought of condensing a project you might've taken years to develop down to 30 seconds might be frightening. However, elevator pitches prevent those listening from feeling as if their time is being wasted by stripping down your idea to only the most important aspects.

As such, an elevator pitch should ideally be one sentence long and, at most, no more than three sentences. Anything longer than this might turn away potential clients or customers who assume you don't understand the professional standard. 

Additionally, they may not have time to review a lengthy presentation, so brevity is key.

6 steps to write the perfect elevator pitch

Now that you know what makes elevator pitches such a common and essential business skill, let's review what you can do to make yours impactful.

1. Introduce yourself

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how often people forget to introduce themselves before diving into the specifics of their business. 

When meeting someone new, it's proper etiquette to extend a handshake and say your name; the same rules apply here. In this case, you should also include your title and company.

For example: "Hello, my name is Jane Smith, and I'm the CEO of XYZ Corporation."

This simple introduction accomplishes two objectives. First, it shows that you're professional and polite. Second, it tells your listener who you are and what you do. 

Remember, people like doing business with those they know, so you're already drawing them in with one line.

You don't have to go into great detail about your career, or even why you decided to speak to a certain investor. If you nail your pitch, you should have ample opportunity to dive into these specifics later while cultivating the business relationship. 

For now, keep it short and sweet!

2. Explain what you do or what you're selling

The next step is to explain what it is you do or what you're selling. This is where things can start getting tricky.

If your product or service is too complicated, you risk losing your listener's attention. They might not understand what you're offering if it's too brief.

The key here is to find a middle ground. Give them enough information to pique their interest, but don't get too bogged down in the details. You can provide more information later if they express interest in your product or service.

For example, if you’re a therapist who helps people deal with their anxiety, it's not enough to just say: "I help people with their anxiety." That's too vague. An investor might be left wondering: What do your clients get from the service? Why should they hire you instead of someone else?

Instead, try this: "I help people overcome their anxiety by using cognitive behavioral therapy techniques."

This is still one sentence, yet you've managed to answer:

  • Who you are and what you do (a therapist)
  • Your target audience and their problem (patients struggling with anxiety issues)
  • The solution you offer (cognitive behavioral therapy techniques)

3. Share how you help people and solve their problems

Now it's time to start selling yourself by explaining why your solution is better than your competitor's offerings. You can do this by sharing how you help people solve their problems. 

For instance, a web designer might say: "Our team of experienced designers create custom websites that are user-friendly and responsive so our clients can reach their target audience."

Problem solving is a major focus here, as you want to show that you understand the client's needs and have a plan to address them. 

Even better if you can find a way to share statistics or other hard data! This will help your listener visualize the potential success of working with you.

Keeping this in mind, our therapist from earlier might say: "I help people overcome their anxiety by using cognitive behavioral therapy techniques that have been proven to be effective in over 70% of cases."

Also, remember that an elevator pitch isn't the time to be modest. For some, these few seconds could mean the difference between success and failure for their company.

Though the stakes might not always be so drastic, viewing them this way is worth viewing, as you never know what the market's climate holds next. 

A great elevator pitch to the right investor could be your key to salvation during a low tide.

4. Explain who your target audience is

The next step is to identify your target audience. You must explain:

  • Who they are
  • What they need
  • How they differ from other audiences in the market

For example, if you’re creating an elevator pitch for a new social media app, it may be helpful to define the differences between your app versus Instagram or Snapchat. 

In addition, you may want to explain why your target audience needs this product. Ask yourself: why is it important that they have access?

This helps the listener understand who you serve and why your product or service is relevant to them. Hopefully you've done extensive research on this listener before meeting with them, but that doesn't mean they know that. 

By showcasing your consumer-reaching strategy and how it lines up with their previous projects, you prove they were carefully chosen, rather than picked from a random list of potential investors.

5. Tell them what sets your company apart from competitors

The next step in writing your elevator pitch is to tell your listeners what makes you unique. 

In a world filled with endless business ideas and startups that never get off the ground, everyone from investors to consumers are searching for something different. 

Again, you don't need to go into extensive detail here. A simple statement defining your company's advantage can be incredibly effective, though it should still be written to capture immediate interest. 

As an additional challenge, you want it to tell investors how they can benefit from doing business with your company.

For example, a wedding planner might say: "We make sure that every detail of our client's big day is accounted for, so they can relax and enjoy the occasion. Plus, we're always on call in case any last-minute changes come up."

Any reader or listener can immediately tell this company is dedicated to top-notch customer service. While no specific examples are included, it's clear that "every detail" will be overseen by the planner, ensuring customers can "relax," a key word for an often stressful event without proper help. 

Finally, it mentions that the company is "always available on call," which is a special feature not many competitors may offer.

6. End with a strong call to action

In most cases, an elevator pitch should end with a strong call to action (CTA). This is your chance to tell the reader or listener what you want from them in a few words. 

Here are some examples of different types of CTAs.

Ask for their contact details

This is probably the most important CTA to end your pitch with, and it’s one you should ask for no matter what. 

Without a way to directly reach your audience, you risk wasting your energy on a lead that disappears as soon as you "leave the elevator." 

Use one of the following lines to keep them in your sights:

  • "I'd love to tell you more over phone or email."
  • "Let's grab coffee next week. What is the best way to stay in touch?"
  • "Please visit my website to learn more and submit an inquiry."

Ask for their business information

You might've just delivered your elevator pitch to a stranger you met at a cafe or a friend of a friend. 

Though it was unexpected, this could be a great opportunity to expand your scale and kickstart that idea you've been working on, so don't miss out on the chance to acquire a new connection!

Here are some good ways to ask for someone’s business information:

  • "I'd love to help you grow your audience. What's the best way to connect with your business?"
  • "We're interested in working with you. How can I get in touch with your team?"
  • "We're searching for new partnerships. Please reach out via email if you're interested."

Ask for their time

Time can be just as valuable as money when it comes to business, if not more. 

You've already taken some out of your listener's day with your pitch, so you might hesitate to ask for more. However, most investors and customers will expect some sort of request, so don't be afraid to (respectfully) ask for another hour or two.

To ask for someone’s time, consider using one of the following lines:

  • "Can we schedule a meeting to discuss this further?"
  • "I'll be in your area next week. Can we meet then?"
  • "I have some free time now if you're available."

Ask for their money

Including a call to action is especially important if you're seeking financial support or customers, as it tells the reader or listener exactly what you want from them. 

The key here is to avoid being overly demanding, yet not so vague that you lose their attention. Instead, aim for a strong suggestion.

Use the following lines for inspiration:

  • "Visit this link to support my Kickstarter campaign."
  • "You can find tickets to my event here."
  • "Please let us know if you’re willing to invest in our upcoming project."

If you need help brainstorming a CTA that excites your listener and encourages them to learn more, try using Copy.ai's free Call to Action generator!

Great 30-second elevator pitch examples

Now that we've gone over what an elevator pitch is, what it should include, and how to end it with a strong CTA, it's time to see some examples of great pitches in action.

Example 1

"My name is Nadia, and I'm a freelance writer. I help businesses connect with their customers by creating content that showcases their unique brand identity. Please visit my website to learn more about my services."

Example 2:

"My name is George, and I'm a fitness influencer. My app 'Daily Workout' offers short, effective workouts that can be done in under 30 minutes, which is perfect for busy people who want to stay active without sacrificing their time. You can download it for free on iOS and Android devices."

Example 3:

"My name is Sarah, and I'm a web developer. I create custom websites for small businesses that are easy to use and look great on all devices. If you're interested in working with me, please visit my website or reach out to me via email."

Example 4:

"My name is John, and I'm a real estate agent. I help people buy and sell luxury homes in the Greater Los Angeles area. If you're interested in working with me, please visit my website or give me a call."

Example 5:

"Hi, my name is Alex, and I'm a software engineer. I develop mobile apps that help people manage their time and be more productive. If you're interested in working with me, please visit my website or reach out to me via email."

Final thoughts

Writing an effective elevator pitch can be daunting, especially if there are high stakes associated with it. However, you don't need to dive into it blindly. 

By following the steps in this post, you can write multiple impactful pitches that help advance your career for years to come.

Some key takeaways to remember when writing your elevator pitch include:

  • Keep it short and sweet (you only have a few seconds to make an impression!)
  • Introduce yourself and your business
  • Describe what you do in a way that is relatable and easy to understand
  • Explain your target audience
  • Include a strong call to action

Finally, be sure to browse Copy.AI's lineup of free AI writing tools to perfect your pitch and any other business documents you're working on!

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