There was time when TV advertising was king, telemarketing was effective, doorstep selling was perhaps not welcomed but was tolerated, and direct mail worked. To say that all of these tactics are now obsolete would be to overstate my point, but the truth is that they are widely considered to be unwelcome and intrusive, and as a result they are not only less effective than they once were, but could also be damaging to a brand. Without wanting to labour the point, let’s look at a couple of examples:


Adverts are considered by many to be an unwanted interruption to their viewing pleasure… hence the growing tendency to watch recorded shows rather than live TV, which enables us to skip over the adverts with the fast-forward button. TV advertising still has its place for raising brand awareness, particularly the series sponsorship slots at the start and end of the commercial break that are more likely to be seen, but it is no longer the powerhouse it once was.


At least 80% of the calls that I receive on my landline, and an increasing number on my mobile, are cold calls with people – or even worse, recorded messages – trying to persuade me that I’ve been in a car accident or sell me products and services that are of no interest to me. I find these calls intrusive and annoying, to the extent that I would not engage with these callers out of principle.

I should qualify these comments by acknowledging that there are some reputable telemarketing businesses out there, and it can be an effective tactic in a B2B environment… but I would still focus on inbound marketing initiatives first.

The age of empowerment

These outbound (uninvited and pushy) marketing and sales tactics are being replaced by inbound marketing activity. The key difference being that consumers are now empowered by the ability to conduct their own research as and when they are ready to make a purchase. We can search the internet, read reviews and visit forums to learn from the experience of others and gather the information that we need to make an informed choice.

The trick of effective marketing in today’s world is to ensure that when customers are shopping, they find your business’s products and services, and they are impressed by what they see.

A good website is essential

For almost any business in any sector, having an effective website is a great place to start. By effective, I mean your website needs to look professional, be easy to navigate, be informative, have clear calls-to-action… and it needs to be found by the right people at the right time.

Content is king

The search engines love original and informative content. More often than not, when people search the internet they are looking for the answer to a question: Where can I buy a particular product? Which product is best? What should I consider before making a purchase? How much does a product or service cost? Search engines like Google tend to prioritise the websites that they feel are most likely to be able to provide the answers that people are searching for.

Creating fresh content for your website should therefore be an important part of your regular marketing activity. Thought leadership pieces, case studies, white papers, blogs, news and video can all be helpful in improving SEO for your key search terms. Importantly, this content should be original, informative, and designed to help potential customers with their purchase decision.

The great thing about good content is that it can be promoted through other channels too. You can share it on social media, email it to your contacts list, use it in your advertising and PR, and promote it on affiliate websites too. If you can maintain a high profile across several channels with regular fresh content, you will increase the likelihood of being found and considered by potential customers. By doing this you can also increase the number of inbound links to your website, which is good for your website’s SEO too.

Reputation management

Reviews from past customers can be very influential for potential new customers. Whilst this is impossible to control completely, you do have the ability to influence your company’s online reputation. Invite customers who you know have been satisfied to provide a testimonial or to leave a positive Trust Pilot score. Respond to any negative comments in a positive way – most potential customers understand that you can’t please everyone, but if you are seen to be making an effort, it will help put their mind at rest.

Inbound marketing works

You can’t force customers to buy from you and being too pushy can put people off. The trick in this age of customer empowerment is to focus on inbound marketing tactics: make sure your business is found when people are looking, that the products and services you offer are presented in the best possible way, and that your offering compares favourably with the competition.

Here to help

49Red is a full service marketing agency based near Cambridge and offering low-cost, effective marketing services to small- and medium-sized businesses across the UK. If you’d like to talk to us about developing your own inbound marketing strategy, our experienced team are just a phone call away. Contact Hugh Moss on 07808 365214 or email to find out more.

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  • Is our website working as well as it could?
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  • What could we do to diversify our customer base?
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I will explore each of these questions in more detail in a series of five blogs under the title ‘Five steps to post-pandemic business success’. Follow 49 Red on LinkedIn or visit our website at to see more.

The team at 49 Red can offer strategic advice that is tailored to the needs of your business. Whether you need a post-pandemic business or marketing strategy, a new or improved website, an e-commerce website, help with your SEO, content marketing, market analysis, a comprehensive digital marketing campaign… whatever you need, we are here to help with cost-effective, no-nonsense marketing. Contact Hugh Moss on 07808 365214 or email to find out more.