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Marketing legalities – dull but essential

Image courtesy of www.123rf.comWhile I’m the first to bang on about marketing, it’s important anyone involved in promoting their business stays within the law.  We’ve had a huge surge in the number of telesales calls and speculative emails in the past few months, many of which are breaching the regulations.

TPS (Telephone Preference Service) Checking

Like many businesses, our telephone number is registered with the TPS.  This means we don’t accept cold calls on that number, yet we are regularly called by companies which haven’t bothered to check the numbers on their mailing list.  If they are reported, they could face a £10,000 fine.

TPS checking is a very simple process and there are many companies offering the service.   It’s not expensive either.  Unless you’re planning a big telemarketing campaign, don’t check too many numbers at any one time.  When you’ve carried out the TPS check, you have a month to call the numbers on your list.  After that, you have to go back and check them again.

MPS (Mailing Preference Service) Checking

Unlike the TPS, at the moment there is no restriction on sending direct mail letters to businesses, although I’m sure that will change in time.  However, if you’re targeting the domestic market, you will need to check your addresses against the MPS lists.  This works in the same way as the TPS, and breaching the regulations could mean you face a substantial fine.

Email Marketing

Personally I’d rather have a marketing email than a hard copy letter.  At least if it’s an email, I don’t have to make a trip to the recycle bin if it’s not of any interest.  But again, there are a lot of companies blasting out marketing emails which breach the regulations.

If you’re thinking about a speculative email campaign, check out the Information Commissioner’s website.  While email marketing can reap rewards, it can also get you into hot water if you don’t do it properly.

Networking Contacts

Finally, if you’re into networking you’ll know the importance of keeping in touch with people.  While you might have their permission to send them emails or newsletters, it’s very poor marketing practice to bombard them with all the dreaded email jokes and funnies which go the rounds.

If you’re working hard to portray yourself as a professional, your credibility will be seriously compromised if you abuse your fellow networker’s email addresses!

Blog post by Joy McCarthy

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