As I was driving to work this morning, I heard a PNC commercial on a major New York City radio station. The commercial started something like this. Keep in mind that I’ve paraphrased some details that the vast majority of listeners like me would never remember because those details are irrelevant.
Hi, I’m John C. Executive, Vice President of Something for PNC Bank, with a tip for small businesses…
Offering free advice, as long as that advice is useful and relevant, is an effective way to market your business, show people you care, and establish your expertise. But when you start any marketing piece like this PNC ad did, what you’re really saying is:
I’m dressing up this commercial as a public service announcement, but I’m really trying to sell you something, and I’m more interested in plugging myself and my company than helping you.
If you’re really concerned about helping someone, or you want to at least create that perception – whether it’s an ad, social media post, email blast, landing page or video – lead with the tip.
That tip is what’s most relevant and useful to your target audience. That tip will get them to keep listening, reading or watching.
Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Are you more likely to pay attention to a message that leads with a helpful tip, or a scripted introduction that amounts to a self-serving plug from someone with zero name recognition?
Quite frankly, nobody cares about who you are or what your title is.
People will be much more likely to care after you’ve shown how your company can solve a problem or fill a need to make their lives better. That’s how you create a connection without being “salesy.” And that’s the point of offering free advice in the first place, right?