It might not seem like the most dangerous of business activities, but bad practice when it comes to marketing can get you in hot water. False advertising, bending the truth, contacting people when they haven’t given you permission to and breaking consumer protection laws are all ways that doing marketing wrong could put you in trouble.
Making sure you know the rules – and stick to them – is essential in any aspect of a business, and marketing is no exception.
Tell the truth
Honesty is always the best policy, no matter what the scenario. Depending on which state that you live in, the laws on false advertising might vary. For instance, in California, the dissemination of information about products and services that is “untrue or misleading” is prohibited through both civil and criminal enforcement. Across the nation, however, the laws generally focus more on prevention rather than punishment, simply ordering an advertiser to stop illegal acts or to publish extra information to avoid the chance of deception.
Either way, this isn’t a situation you want to be putting yourself into. Telling the truth from the beginning and avoiding false advertising is always the best course of action. If you are found out to have been misleading customers with your marketing, then your public relations will take a serious hit, as your once loyal customers and clients lose confidence and trust in you.
GDPR – Marketing emails and texts
If you are a business that uses marketing emails and text messages, you must make sure that you have the permission to do so. If somebody has opted out of marketing content, or never opted in, and you continue or begin to send them such communications, then you could be breaking GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) rules.
In the United States, the CAN-SPAM act dictates the conditions you must follow when sending marketing emails. These rules mainly target spammers, and if you are using widely accepted emailing software, you have permission to email that customer, you don’t have misleading information in your header. Your emails are clearly identified as advertisements, then it is unlikely you are breaking any laws. Checking out and familiarizing yourself with the laws in your country or state should happen before you embark on this type or marketing campaign.
These rules mainly target spammers, and if you are using widely accepted emailing software (here is a comprehensive guide on email marketing services here).
Email marketing under GDPR means that, as an email marketer, you need to collect and send emails to only users who have given you consent to do so. In order to be compliant with GDPR, there are many email marketing services that are going to help you achieve that. CrazyEgg has put together an in depth guide about the best email marketing services, be sure to check it out and pick what fits your business needs.
Follow consumer protection law
You must always abide by the regulations set out in consumer protection law. Knowing consumer protection law is useful in many ways, for example, ensuring that you don’t be a victim of debt collector harassment or that you aren’t tricked by false environmental claims. Consumer protection law is, therefore, vast and varied in the way it protects consumers. When it comes to marketing, it also protects against businesses misleading consumers with product packaging or brochures and mistreating them through telemarketing.
Finding out what laws are governing your marketing strategy and abiding by them is the most obvious, yet sometimes forgotten, method of keeping your business out of trouble. Familiarize yourself with regulations, check your business’s practices from top to bottom and make amendments as quickly as possible where necessary.